As the coffee permeates the morning air, two colleagues chat it up in the lunchroom.

“Hey Sue!”

“Hi Tim.”

“So Tim, how did that install go last night?”

“Well, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about this morning.” “I followed the instructions you gave to a ‘T’ but…there was an advertisement on the side of the screen that I wanted to go away…and well…it took me to some weird sites. Then, it downloaded something and…”

As Tim continued his frantic rant Sue calmly thought to herself, “Why does everybody click the shiny, red, candy like buttons?”

Sue’s attention fades back to Tim, “…and then it seemed as if I would never get back to my desktop, because there were so many windows…”

“Tim.” Sue puts a consoling hand on his shoulder.

“It’s going to be all right. Did you bring your laptop to work?”

“Yeah. Would you please take a look at it?”

“Sure thing, but you have to promise you’re going to hang my Security Awareness list in your office…preferably next to your monitor.” Sue says with a gentle smile.

Tim chuckles and nods, “But of course.”

Unfortunately, we have all been Tim at one time or another. But, we’ve learned our lessons and now follow Sue’s list, right?

For those of us who may need a refresher, here is her Security Awareness list, courtesy of the security gurus at SAC:

1) When surfing online, never click on advertisements. Instead, type in the URL address of the company that you want to visit, or just Google the name of the product/company. 

2) Never click on links in emails that you have no idea where they came from. Even if the email appears to have come from a colleague or friend, look for clues (bold text, all caps, misspellings) that are red flags. Also, remember to hover over the links in the email to see where it will take you. If the link looks odd, or is going to take you to the site of some tribal king who rules a land that’s far, far away, you should be very leery.

Notice the different green indicators for each browser.

3) Look for “https” (vs. “http”) or a lock icon in the address bar when making online transactions. Unless you’re okay with every criminal hacker and their grandmother seeing your financial information.

4) When buying things online consider using a PayPal account or something similar like ApplePay, Google Wallet, or Samsung Pay. The reason is that there’s an extra layer between you and thieves. In addition, each company encrypts your information, practically making the information useless without the right decryption key.

5) If someone calls you pretending to be an executive of your company, possibly barking out orders or yelling to frazzle you into giving up information, remember two letters: H and R. It’s better that you protect the company, customers, and everyone’s information, than to get flustered and put all at risk.

6) Backup your files and computer. That’s right; backup your files separately, and then backup your computer. This ensures that all of your important documents are safe and that if the backup of the computer doesn’t work, you at least have your important documents.

7) If you’re in doubt about anything computer related, call the I.T. department. They are trained and certified professionals, who have a better chance at beating whatever it is that’s lurking on your system.

That’s it for now! Remember to thank the Sues of your company because they (the I.T. department) are one of the unsung heroes, who truly keep the business running in this modern day and time.

The Security Awareness Company

With over 25 years of industry experience, we serve both small & large organizations to create successful security awareness and compliance programs on an international scale. Our team is a strong, creative powerhouse with a passionate vision and we consistently produce on-trend end-user training materials of the highest caliber.

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