With 2020 coming to a close, SC Media is delivering through a series of articles our picks of the most high impact events and trends of the last year, which we predict will factor into community strategies in 2021 and beyond. This is the first in that series.

There’s a term that’s used to describe a naïve person who is unknowingly manipulated into furthering another party’s nefarious agenda: a “useful idiot.” It often refers to the unwitting targets of Russian or Soviet intelligence, but it could just as easily apply to an employee who is socially engineered into granting hackers unauthorized access to systems and information.

In the cyber world, just about anyone can be turned into a useful idiot. Indeed, prominent account takeover (ATO) incidents at Twitter and GoDaddy this past year reminded us that insiders within your organization don’t have to be malicious to be a threat. Rather, they can be innocent pawns, fooled by phishing and vishing scammers whose clever ruses are difficult to detect.

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