These SEA incidents are great to demonstrate the importance of overall awareness, using anti-malware software, not reusing passwords, identifying the distinguishing factors of phishing attacks, etc. The Target, Neiman Marcus and similar attacks also serve as a reminder of the importance of good security programs.
More importantly, if you do it properly, putting out such information can create a new perspective about your security department. You are not an organization that is there to inhibit your organization, or to punish people, but to support your employees when they need it. As we described in another article, you want to be the Department of How.
Besides providing useful information, taking advantage of security related current events keeps your security awareness program fresh. It demonstrates that awareness is not a stale topic with nothing new to contribute. You are not just rehashing policies and putting up posters, forcing people to watch videos, or tricking them with phishing messages. Highlighting the latest SEA attacks, also demonstrates why those efforts are relevant.
To take advantage of incidents, be succinct. Let people know the basic issues involved, what it means to the employee, and what actions, if any, they should take if they are affected. A sample message you can distribute regarding the current retailer attacks can be found at this link.
The fact is that all organizations will suffer some form of a breach. It is impossible to know what form that may take when it hits your organization. While you should not delight in the misery of other security professionals, it doesn't mean that you cannot use that misfortune for the benefit of your own organization and its employees.
Security awareness has ongoing applicability inside and outside of your organizational walls, and if you can demonstrate that applicability is relevant to your employee's personal and business lives, they will practice better security behaviors both at home and at work.
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