User Awareness

User awareness should be the standout point in any security program; no scanner or box exists that provides a higher level of security than good user training and awareness. It has been said many times before, but never enough: The horrible state of Internet security is due to an epidemic of ignorance.

With proper awareness and enough technical skills, users will not be such easy prey for social attackers; they could learn how to check an SSL certificate; they would neither follow a link in an email nor even call their bank back on the phone number included in an email they just received.

The Chinese proverb—"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"—has never been more valid. Increasing user availability in your organization or family circle will spread knowledge, and this works as a multiplier. How many times have we seen computer-savvy users with no formal training helping others to, for example, recover from a virus infection or even mentoring friends and family on making regular backups?

Invest some time preparing an email campaign, bulletin board tips, or better yet, try to set up simple training sessions to show users how to identify fraudulent emails and what to do with them (redirect to /dev/null or train your Bayesian filter).

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