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24 Feb 2017

28 days of awareness: day 23

One advantage of having covered malware many times before is that we have a stock of awareness graphics already in the bank, including the poster images, mind maps and so on created for our previous modules.  As such, we own the copyright on them and can use them freely without the bother and expense of commercial graphics.

Good quality graphics not only illustrate and amplify on the words, they also make the awareness materials more enjoyable to read. Our poster images are particularly effective because of the way they are designed: most consist of bright photographs with just a few words on a plain background, a deliberately simple yet visually appealing style. Furthermore, most have a touch of humor about them. Even when shrunk down from high-res poster-size to fit a seminar slide or document page, they remain eye-catching. 

Adjusting the word wrapping to make the text flow around the image, and adding a subtle shadow, makes the finished product still more impressive - closer to a professional type-set look than the blockwork typical of home-made awareness content.

To see it in action, here's an extract from the draft staff awareness briefing on ransomware.  First the original text:

And now the exact same text wrapped around a bright embedded graphic with shadow:

Which of those would you be more inclined to read? Easy when you know how!

Having suitable high-quality striking and relevant graphics is key to this approach. You might be lucky enough to find suitable clip art or other royalty-free artwork online, but simply searching for it is tedious and time-consuming. Commercial services such as Getty charge an arm and a leg for this kind of stuff. Another possibility is to call on your in-house Graphics Department (remember them?) or establish a relationship with an external commercial graphics specialist. Of course, if you are a skilled artist and have the facilities and props for professional photography, then you can do it all yourself - given enough free time and inspiration. Just one word of warning though: there's more to this than meets the eye  :-O

Today ended on a high: the general employee awareness materials are virtually complete bar the posters (expected in the next few days), plus any last-minute changes and corrections as a result of fresh sparks of inspiration or proof-reading. We're still actively scanning the news sites and blogs for information about ransomware, particularly major or unusual incidents and other interesting angles on the problem - which is why the newsletter is usually the very last item to finish as the module is completed. Old news is not news!


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