Faculty

Commerce Professor Ryan Wright Appears in Forbes Cybersecurity Article

The article referred to Wright’s 2018 study.

Ryan Wright, the C. Coleman McGehee Professor of Commerce at UVA, specializes in cybersecurity and works with UVA’s information security team to improve cybersecurity at the University. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

A recent Forbes article discussing the role of the individual in organizational safety against hackers quoted Commerce Professor Ryan Wright and referenced his study on the effectiveness of mindfulness when defending against cyber attacks.

“Reaching Zen in Cybersecurity,” written by Akshay Bhargava, Chief Product Officer at internet security company Malwarebytes, discusses the problematic nature of preparing for cyber attacks and references Wright’s mindfulness as an example of how awareness “in the moment” by employees can help employees “simplify in order to enable focus.”

The article referred to Wright’s study incorporating batches of test phishing emails sent to three groups, “one group trained in mindfulness techniques, one trained in traditional cue-based techniques (like suspicious subject lines, spelling, and other cues) and one control group with no training,” noting how the group educated in mindfulness performed best when finding the phishing messages.

Bhargava explains how the need to develop a culture of cybersecurity in his industry requires what he calls possessing “a zen mindset around cybersecurity for the company, for the IT department, and for every employee—especially employees because they are the weak link.”

The author underlines the point by quoting Wright’s assertion that “90% to 95% of attacks on organizations are attacks on individual people.”

Using a fable of a revered sage and a curious king, Bhargava goes on to explain that simplicity is key, as it is often provides the easiest approach for busy employees, while complex approaches often lead to an expansion of vulnerability points for hackers.

Read the full article at Forbes.

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