[ISN] Stressing security training
isn at c4i.org
Wed Dec 1 06:10:04 EST 2004
Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk at c4i.org>
By Florence Olsen
Nov. 30, 2004
Teaching basic computer security has become an essential part of
training government employees, and agency officials who neglect
security education will regret it, said David Jordan, chief
information security officer for Arlington County, Va.
Employees who are aware of the pitfalls of using computers connected
to the Internet are "the most powerful weapons against cyberthreats
that you can have," he told Federal Computer Week during a Nov. 29
That's why Jordan said he spends 15 to 20 minutes with all new county
government employees talking to them about cybersecurity. And it's why
he sends computer and network security information to employees on a
biweekly basis via the county's electronic newsletter. For the latter,
he solicits the help of editors in the county's communications office.
Information security officers, he said, should cultivate good
relationships with communications experts who can help them teach
employees how to avoid being victims of computer worms and viruses.
Editors can take a security officer's message and craft it to suit to
the audience, Jordan said.
Company officials who sell computer security products also recognize
the role user awareness plays in protecting computers and networks
from malicious software code. Security policies and firewalls alone
won't provide adequate protection, said Kathy Coe, regional director
of educational services at Symantec, which makes antivirus and other
Last year, for example, officials at a federal financial institution
tested employees' adherence to the agency's computer security policy
against opening e-mail attachments from unknown sources. About half of
the employees failed the test, Coe said.
Against agency policy, they opened an e-mail attachment that purported
to show a traffic snarl in Washington, D.C., after a North Carolina
tobacco farmer drove his tractor into a shallow pond on the National
Without consistent and continuous user awareness training, Coe said,
all of us are easy prey.
"Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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