Risk
6/10/2013
12:36 PM
50%
50%

Security Talk: 7 Ways To Make Users Listen

Zeus reboot underscores the fundamental cause of many security breaches: Human error. Here's how to keep users listening when you talk security.

The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
(click image for larger view)
The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
Privacy might be all but dead. That's no excuse for poor security.

Yet the gap between ambition and execution is often wide when it comes to keeping the corporate perimeter secure. The usual culprit: human error. As the recent reappearance of the Zeus banking malware reminds us, the next expensive breach is only an employee click away. Malware, phishing emails and similar schemes thrive because people make mistakes.

You know the importance of educating staff, enforcing policies and deploying strong security technologies to backstop your training and awareness efforts. You know people need help to steer clear of phishing emails and similar scams. You're well aware that social sites are fertile ground for malicious links and social engineering attacks. The pain is that no one seems to listen to your well-intentioned preaching on security best practices. And when they do listen, they seem to forget 15 minutes later.

[ What's your worst security nightmare? Read Ransomware, Social Scams Lead 2013 SMB Security Fears. ]

How do you get the word out and make sure your users are actually paying attention? For starters, give those emailed security bulletins a rest.

"End users rarely read security emails -- and comprehension decreases with length," said Nate Ulery, head of the IT infrastructure and operations practice at West Monroe Partners, in an email interview. "IT organizations should focus on alternate means of consistently getting the message out to their employees."

If not email, then how? Ulery offered this advice for getting your security messages across.

1. Use The Corporate Intranet Or Internal Social Network.

Quick, ad-like images on the company intranet, social site or other internal Web presences are a good place to start, Ulery said. Any pages that offer customizable messaging and images are worth considering -- providing employees actually visit them regularly. (If the intranet hasn't been updated since 2009, skip to tip number two.)

2. Screensavers: No More Baby And Cat Pictures.

Some users might grumble, but Ulery advises a required, custom corporate screensaver. It's desirable real estate for corporate communications and marketing, company goals and values, and a healthy dose of IT training and security messages.

3. Decorate The Water Cooler -- Or The Water Closet.

Use old-school signage as a means of regular, repetitive security reminders. "Brief, graphical and comical signs on common-area doors work well," Ulery said. "A little humor in a sign hanging above the bathroom sink will be more memorable and effective than a boring, technical email."

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
trent.flood
50%
50%
trent.flood,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/3/2013 | 7:12:13 PM
re: Security Talk: 7 Ways To Make Users Listen
Using flash-based games as a training tool - when properly hosted on your internal network - can be an effective way to reinforce messaging. It is also important to incorporate an engaging "story" and strong "teachable moments" as part of the game.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-1774
Published: 2015-04-28
The HWP filter in LibreOffice before 4.3.7 and 4.4.x before 4.4.2 and Apache OpenOffice before 4.1.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted HWP document, which triggers an out-of-bounds write.

CVE-2015-1863
Published: 2015-04-28
Heap-based buffer overflow in wpa_supplicant 1.0 through 2.4 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash), read memory, or possibly execute arbitrary code via crafted SSID information in a management frame when creating or updating P2P entries.

CVE-2015-3340
Published: 2015-04-28
Xen 4.2.x through 4.5.x does not initialize certain fields, which allows certain remote service domains to obtain sensitive information from memory via a (1) XEN_DOMCTL_gettscinfo or (2) XEN_SYSCTL_getdomaininfolist request.

CVE-2014-6090
Published: 2015-04-27
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in the (1) DataMappingEditorCommands, (2) DatastoreEditorCommands, and (3) IEGEditorCommands servlets in IBM Curam Social Program Management (SPM) 5.2 SP6 before EP6, 6.0 SP2 before EP26, 6.0.3 before 6.0.3.0 iFix8, 6.0.4 before 6.0.4.5 iFix...

CVE-2014-6092
Published: 2015-04-27
IBM Curam Social Program Management (SPM) 5.2 before SP6 EP6, 6.0 SP2 before EP26, 6.0.4 before 6.0.4.6, and 6.0.5 before 6.0.5.6 requires failed-login handling for web-service accounts to have the same lockout policy as for standard user accounts, which makes it easier for remote attackers to cause...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.