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31 Jan 2020

NBlog February - just-in-time security awareness

This afternoon, we completed, proofread and published February's security awareness module on malware, a few short hours before our (self imposed!) end-of-month deadline. 

The atmosphere in the office has grown increasingly tense this week as the deadline loomed. Early in January we took the decision to use the Travelex ransomware incident as a very topical (live!) case study for the module, and as such we were hostage to their timeline. By sheer chance, the main Travelex websites were up and running again this very morning, neatly tying off the month's events.

Comparing and contrasting the Sony and Travelex ransomware incidents has been fascinating: they each handled the situations in their own way, and yet there are common themes - for instance they were both forced to fend off an inquisitive (hostile!) pack of journalists. Travelex also made effective use of social media, and completed the main part of their recovery roughly twice as fast as Sony, so things have moved on in the five years since Sony Pictures Entertainment were all over the headlines with salacious gossip about film stars and wild speculation about North Korean cybertage.

Meanwhile, down here in rural NZ, our 4G wireless broadband Internet connection has been playing up something rotten. It's not good at the best of times but has been notably unreliable this week until, with perfect timing, the connection dropped out entirely as I was uploading the completed awareness module to our server. You probably know that we're a micro-company. I am the network technician, the IT Department in fact. Also the Procurement, Finance, Production, Marketing and Customer Services Departments, and yes I even make the tea. I'm not doing this totally alone, quite, but we rely on third party suppliers for various essential services, such as our comms. This week I could really have done with some technical help to get the broadband connection fixed while finishing the awareness materials, but as it was I found myself lashing-up a temporary Internet connection just to deliver the module at the most stressful time of the month.
On top of that, strong winds brought down trees across the track ... and guess who is the Chainsaw Operative part of the Grounds Maintenance Department!

Such is life. Business continuity is a challenge even for a microbusiness in sleepy NZ. But, like Travelex, we made it through and live to fight another day.

Over the next few days I'll catch my breath and crack on with a long to-do list, including (I hope!) a more durable fix for the broadband, plus preparations for the next and final NoticeBored monthly module. Although I know I'll miss the challenge, I'm really looking forward to leaping off this monthly treadmill, like an exhausted mouse. Hey, pass the cheese ...

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