Security threats to critical infrastructure: the human factor

I. Ghafir, J. Saleem, M. Hammoudeh, H. Faour, V. Prenosil, S. Jaf, S. Jabbar, T. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the twenty-first century, globalisation made corporate boundaries invisible and difficult to manage. This new macroeconomic transformation caused by globalisation introduced new challenges for critical infrastructure management. By replacing manual tasks with automated decision making and sophisticated technology, no doubt we feel much more secure than half a century ago. As the technological advancement takes root, so does the maturity of security threats. It is common that today’s critical infrastructures are operated by non-computer experts, e.g. nurses in health care, soldiers in military or firefighters in emergency services. In such challenging applications, protecting against insider attacks is often neither feasible nor economically possible, but these threats can be managed using suitable risk management strategies. Security technologies, e.g. firewalls, help protect data assets and computer systems against unauthorised entry. However, one area which is often largely ignored is the human factor of system security. Through social engineering techniques, malicious attackers are able to breach organisational security via people interactions. This paper presents a security awareness training framework, which can be used to train operators of critical infrastructure, on various social engineering security threats such as spear phishing, baiting, pretexting, among others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4986–5002
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Supercomputing
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2018


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