[ISN] Stressing security training

InfoSec News 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 
security software. 

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
C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org

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