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Hybrid work can lead to cybersecurity errors

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Hybrid work can lead to cybersecurity errors

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Many people are returning to the office for the first time in years or moving to a hybrid work schedule. This new shift can cause new distractions and disruptions. Employees must adapt to a new work environment, or they will have to switch between different locations and navigate both video and in-person meetings. The impact on employee wellbeing and cybersecurity behavior must be considered by business leaders.

In a new report from email security company Tessian, nearly half of employees cited distraction and fatigue as the main reasons they made a cybersecurity mistake, up from 34% in 2020. These errors are common — nearly 25% of employees fell for phishing emails at work last year while 2/5 sent the wrong email. This can lead to data breaches, customer loss, and possibly regulatory fines. In fact, almost one-third of businesses lost customers after an email was sent to the wrong person. Employees are also at risk: one-fourth of employees who made a cybersecurity error at work lost their job.

Cybercriminals use advanced techniques to impersonate employees and manipulate our behavior in a hybrid workplace. Businesses need to understand the psychological and stress factors that lead people to fall for these schemes in order to outsmart them.

Why hybrid work and Zoom fatigue lead to errors

After two years of remote work, people had to learn to use new technologies like video conferencing every day. People are constantly context-switching as offices reopen. They face distractions from both the real world and the virtual, never-ending communication that remote work brings. It can be mentally exhausting. It can cause cognitive overload and distraction, which can lead to mistakes.

For example, a recent study done by Jeff and his team at Stanford shows how virtual meeting fatigue leads to cognitive overload. Face-to-face interactions are a natural way for us to communicate nonverbally, and we interpret these cues subconsciously. Video communication requires our brains to work harder to transmit and receive signals. Additional stress can be caused by the mental strain of constantly being on camera, as well as the additional mental strain that comes with it. It is more difficult to focus when our cognitive loads are high. This can lead to tasks such as identifying a phishing scam and double-checking you have sent the right file to the right email recipient.

This is where mistakes can occur that could compromise cybersecurity. Scammers also know this and will send phishing emails later on in the day, when people’s security is less likely.

Simple changes can have a positive impact on employee well-being and reduce the fatigue and distractions that can lead to errors. Encourage employees to take breaks from virtual meetings and to turn off their screens throughout the day. It can be a good idea to have no meetings during work hours and make video optional in meetings that are not necessary. Businesses can also use data to measure how tired a team or employee is, and offer targeted support. The Stanford Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue (ZEF) Scale [survey required] is a helpful measurement tool.

How cybercriminals use psychology to manipulate employees

Cybercriminals are able to manipulate human behavior using Techniques. Social proof is a phenomenon where people conform to others’ behavior in order to be accepted. Social proof is a core principle of influence. It becomes stronger when authority is invoked. Cybercriminals are well aware that people tend to trust those in authority. This is why impersonation scams work so well. Combining authority and urgency creates a compelling message. In fact, Tessian found that more than half of employees fell for a phishing scam that impersonated a senior executive in 2022.

Another psychological concept that attackers leverage is the “known” network. People who are part of our networks are more trustworthy than people who are completely strangers. Cybercriminals use SMS text messages and chat services to send malicious messages. It was a trusted and reliable channel of communication that could be used to communicate with us. However, many people now give their phone numbers when they shop online. And phone numbers have been stolen in data breaches. Text messaging has become just as risky as emailing, with SMS text scams, or “smishing,” costing Americans more than $50 million in 2020.

No matter what platform you use, SMS text, email, or social media, be on the lookout for unusual requests and messages that cause a sense of urgency. To get people to respond quickly, attackers will often resort to time-sensitive and stressful themes such as missed payments or deadlines. It’s easier to recognize the signs and trust your gut instincts when you feel something is not right. You can then confirm the request with a colleague, or call a financial institution to verify it before you click on a link.

Knowledge is power

Let us be clear, the goal is not to create fear, stress, or guilt about cybersecurity at work. Human nature is to make mistakes. However, hybrid work environments might be making it more common for people to make them.

Only by understanding the impact of stress, distraction, and fatigue on people’s behavior, and understanding how cybercriminals manipulate psychology, can businesses find ways to empower their employees and prevent them from becoming serious security threats.

A greater understanding and context awareness of threats can help to override impulsive decision making that occurs when stress levels and cognitive loads are high. This gives people time to think twice. Employers can avoid high-stakes cybersecurity threats by taking the necessary steps. Employees can also be more secure and effective in their work if they take the correct steps.

Tim Sadler is CEO of Tessian and Jeff Hancock is Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication at Stanford University.

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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