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
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
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-2011-4403
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Zen Cart 1.3.9h allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) delete a product via a delete_product_confirm action to product.php or (2) disable a product via a setflag action to categories.ph...

CVE-2012-2930
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in TinyWebGallery (TWG) before 1.8.8 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add a user via an adduser action to admin/index.php or (2) conduct static PHP code injection attacks in .htusers...

CVE-2012-2932
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in TinyWebGallery (TWG) before 1.8.8 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) selitems[] parameter in a copy, (2) chmod, or (3) arch action to admin/index.php or (4) searchitem parameter in a search action to admin/...

CVE-2012-5451
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in HttpUtils.dll in TVMOBiLi before 2.1.0.3974 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (tvMobiliService service crash) via a long string in a (1) GET or (2) HEAD request to TCP port 30888.

CVE-2015-0297
Published: 2015-04-24
Red Hat JBoss Operations Network 3.3.1 does not properly restrict access to certain APIs, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary Java methos via the (1) ServerInvokerServlet or (2) SchedulerService or (3) cause a denial of service (disk consumption) via the ContentManager.

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.