March 8, 2024 3 min read


Tribal Cybersecurity Summit Deems Human Element As Biggest Risk

The 4th Annual Tribal Cybersecurity Summit has raised the problem of the human element being the greatest vulnerability faced by tribes

The 2024 Tribal Cybersecurity Summit that took place on March 7 via TribalHub has marked the fourth annual edition of the event that is meant to bring participants “a deeper understanding of current trends/challenges that tribes are facing collectively and hear from experts in the field,” as explained by Pepper Consulting’s chief executive officer, Toni Pepper

The summit conveyed the message that, while the tribes’ goals concerning cybersecurity are still focused on not becoming hackers’ next breach victims or falling subject to ransomware, it is ultimately the human element, and not technology, that represents their greatest vulnerability.

“It’s Not a Case of If But When”

As explained by Appalachia Technologies’ chief information security officer, Mike Miller, cybersecurity continues to be a business risk that can severely damage companies’ reputations and finances. 

MGM Resorts International’s cybersecurity problem in 2023 is a good example of that. Miller went forward and emphasized that, daily, “some of us go to sleep stressing about what can happen to the organization if there’s a breach” while others believe it would not happen to them. 

“The truth is, it’s not a case of if but when,” added Miller, which is why organizations must be ready to fight back by getting a deep understanding of the trends and threats and employing intelligence to reduce vulnerability.

“We Need to Strengthen Our Human Firewall”

Miller referred to the matter of social engineering that, in his opinion, “never gets enough time” in the content of the yearly cybersecurity breaches originating in social engineering. 

Social engineering occurs when someone calls and claims to represent tech support, asking for access to a computer to do an update, or when employees receive emails from alleged corporate executives informing them of a change in the company’s policy, followed by an automated click on the message.

As human beings, we are forever socially engineered, argued Miller. Despite spending millions of dollars on software and appliances to secure our perimeters, we should “strengthen our human firewall,” as argued by Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians’ chief information officer, Steven Nino

During his closing keynote, he emphasized the large number of threats faced by his tribe in relation to its casino while also mentioning the importance of the human element, “one of the biggest vulnerabilities in a cybersecurity program.”

Miller also asked tribes and companies to install and preserve a powerful cybersecurity culture while adding more strength to the “human firewall” via training

TribalHub’s chief executive officer, Mike Day, expressed a similar opinion, saying that even the best cybersecurity tools in the world are only as good as the human factor using them.

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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