Column: Cybersecurity, Understanding & More

February 28, 2024 | 1 Comment

[Column written by The TLC Group of Companies]

Fostering a Culture of Understanding

In the world of cybersecurity and data protection, it’s not uncommon to hear about the latest data breaches, security lapses, and phishing incidents. We often focus on the technical aspects of these events, analysing the vulnerabilities, patches, and encryption methods. But what about the human element of security – the users? It’s time we shift our perspective and reconsider the practice of user shaming.

The Blame Game: Shaming Users

In many organizations, when a security incident occurs, the first instinct is to point fingers at the users. Phrases like “human error” and “negligence” often emerge, putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who interact with the company’s systems daily. This culture of blame and shame can have detrimental effects, both on individuals and the organization.

Understanding Human Error

To appreciate why user shaming is counterproductive, we must first understand the nature of human error. Human beings are fallible; it’s in our nature. We make mistakes, misjudge risks, and can be tricked or manipulated. The digital world is complex, and not everyone is tech-savvy. Expecting users to be infallible is unrealistic.

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The Consequences of Shaming

Shaming users for their mistakes or lack of technical knowledge has numerous negative consequences:

1.Fear and Hesitancy: When users feel they are under constant scrutiny and risk public humiliation, they may become hesitant to report incidents or admit to mistakes. This reluctance to share vital information can hinder incident response and leave the organization vulnerable.

2.Low Morale: Shaming users can lead to low morale and a lack of motivation. Employees who feel that their best efforts are never enough may disengage, leading to decreased productivity.

3.Blame-Shifting: When users know that they may become scapegoats, they may start shifting blame to others or withholding information. This culture of mistrust can disrupt teamwork and collaboration.

4.Missed Learning Opportunities: Instead of fostering a culture of learning and growth, shaming squashes these opportunities. People are less likely to learn from their mistakes when they fear punishment or humiliation.

A Better Approach: Empowerment and Education

So, how can organizations adopt a more constructive approach to human error in the realm of cybersecurity? Here are a few key strategies:

1.Education and Training: Instead of blaming users for their lack of knowledge, organizations should invest in education and training programs. Teach users about cybersecurity best practices and make them aware of potential threats.

2.Encourage Reporting: Create a culture of open communication where users feel safe reporting incidents, even if they were responsible. The goal is to learn from mistakes and improve security, not to point fingers.

3.Positive Reinforcement: Recognize and reward good cybersecurity behaviours. When users identify and report threats, acknowledge their efforts. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in fostering a security-conscious culture.

4.User-Friendly Solutions: Implement user-friendly security solutions and processes that don’t require advanced technical knowledge. Make security measures as seamless and unobtrusive as possible.

5.Empowerment: Empower users to be an integral part of the organization’s security strategy. Encourage them to take ownership of their role in data protection and provide a sense of shared responsibility.


Shaming users for their involvement in security incidents does not lead to improved cybersecurity. It creates a culture of fear, mistrust, and blame that ultimately hinders security efforts. Instead, organizations should adopt a more empathetic, educational, and collaborative approach.

By focusing on empowerment and positive reinforcement, we can build a stronger and more resilient cybersecurity culture, with users as active allies in the fight against cyber threats.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Hilarious! says:

    These cybersecurity articles are hilarious! Everything is defensive instead of being offensive. Governments need to offensively go directly after the hackers. By that I mean drone them, drone their operations centers, and drone their leaders instead of hiring them after they are caught. Where appropriate, substitute Special Forces for drones. For example, when the French Foreign Legion goes in, bodybags come out along with computers and anything else relevant.

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