How secure is your security?

The University of Twente has unveiled research that shows human behaviour to be the key criteria in the security of your belongings.

PHD researcher Trajce Dimkov asked his students to attempt to steal 30 laptops which he had loaned to randomly selected staff members. All of the staff members who were provided with laptops were asked to make sure that these machines were always chained to their desks, to lock the door when leaving their room, and to secure the laptop with a password. Yet, out of 60 attempts to steal the machines, 30 were still successful.

Despite the organisational security controls put in place, the rate of theft was largely determined by human behaviour. Dimkov explains: "For instance, some people forgot to lock their door. In other cases, the students were able to think up a cover story that was sufficiently convincing to get a cleaner or caretaker to open the door for them. Other students were able to obtain the laptops by posing as technicians. Some claimed to have left their laptop in their supervisor’s office, and that they needed it urgently, to complete an assignment. People tend to make an effort to be helpful, and a good cover story often does the trick."

To help tackle real criminals, Dimkov has developed a prototype model (a sort of navigation system), to predict gaps in a security system using data from security controls and users. It is a reminder that security systems are only as good as their users.

Source: University of Twente

James Shaw


James Shaw

James is an assistant editor at IamExpat, and is the newest member of the team. Interests include travelling, parties, and his beloved Manchester United. From Manchester, UK, but now living...

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