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I spy with my beady eye ...

Jan 5, 2020

NBlog Jan 5 - plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Malware has clearly been an issue for a long time. It was prevalent enough to be the topic of our second NoticeBored security awareness module way back in July 2003. I've just dug the old NB newsletter out of the archive to see what's changed.  

In 2003, I wrote about viruses (macro, boot sector and parasitic types), Trojans, worms and logic bombs. Although other forms of malware were around back then, we elected to stick with the basics for awareness purposes. 

Getting on for 18 years later, we're taking a broader perspective. Today's workers need to know about spyware, BEC & VEC (Business/Vendor Email Compromise), phishing, infectious mobile apps and more. Actual computer viruses are practically unheard of now, although the term remains.

We're still concerned about preventive, detective and corrective controls, and malware risks that include data corruption - only now it's mostly deliberate in the form of ransomware rather than cybertage or bugs in the malware code.

The 2020 and 2003 newsletters have a very similar style with minor differences that only catch my eye because I wrote them, and I've been responsible for using and updating the format throughout. We've changed from Arial to Calibri font. Shouty "EMAIL" became calmer "email" at some point. The Hinson Tips on awareness migrated from the newsletter to the train-the-trainer guide, and the NoticeBored banner logo was smartened up. We have reverted from 'American English' to English spelling. The two-column newsletter format remains, though, despite the layout problems that has caused me over the years, particularly when I wanted to include full-page-width diagrams. I've learnt to overcome most of the limitations of MS Word but not always without grief! 

We have more actual news now, too, finding short but relevant news items on the web to push the point home that the information risks are not merely theoretical: actual incidents are occurring all the time. Finding quotable news clips is becoming harder, however, due to the spread of paywalls: it's simply not economic for us to subscribe to all the commercial sources we'd need to maintain a broad-based newsletter, so we're increasingly using soundbytes from blogs and social media rather than the traditional news media. 

Are you scouring this blog for quotable content for your security awareness newsletters, I wonder? If so, go ahead, be my guest!

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