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Check your stuff!

By Dan Hadaway | Thursday, June 10, 2010 - Leave a Comment

Note:  The following is a “Vigilize Post.”  If you want regular fodder for your security awareness reminders, along with catchy subject lines if you intend to use e-mail, consider following us on www.twitter.com/vigilize!  Each week we tweet a post that you are welcome to customize to your own situation.  The tweet itself is designed to be an e-mail subject line that will entice your users to at least open the message.  This is in reaction to a very common complaint from our ISO clients:  “They don’t even open my awareness reminder e-mails.”

For example, this particular post uses the e-mail subject hook, “Check your stuff!”  You might try this to see if you get more users to read your reminder about checking privacy settings in social media.  Of course, be careful you don’t suffer from “The Boy That Cried Wolf Syndrome!”


Check Your Settings

When it comes to social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. one of the key protections we have as a user is your Privacy Settings.  We must be sensitive to the privacy policy of the site.  But we should also be sensitive to the “privacy settings” in our own profile.  Usually we have a myriad of choices besides the default settings.

We should limit the people who can “watch” our on-line actions.  Most reputable social networking services will allow us to choose what information is made publicly or privately available.  But we can’t rely on default settings.  Let’s think it through!

  • We should keep in mind that social media sites can be hacked.  Just because we mark something as private, we have to proceed as if once we type it into a computer, somewhere down the road it could be public.
  • Meanwhile, let’s do some data classification on our own personal information.  Just like the financial institution does, we should decide what information about ourselves should be kept confidential.  And let’s keep in mind that our Social Security Number is probably MORE public than our mother’s maiden name, our first Dog, our first car, etc.
  • At [Name of Financial Institution], we call this “need-to-know.”  Let’s start a policy for our own behavior that we don’t share information that we do not HAVE to share!
  • Review your privacy settings several times per year.  If for no other reason, you’d be surprised at the third party applications that accidentally get installed when you respond to a legitimate request from a legitimate “friend.”  Beyond that, it’s simply a security best practice.

Finally, if we do not like the privacy settings of a particular social media, DEACTIVATE your account.  It’s that simple.  Life will go on.  We will not experience harm if we decide to limit our social media usage to those sites who are big on privacy.  Instead, we will experience privacy!

Click here for more information about User Awareness Training!


Intended Use:

The purpose of Vigilize is to respond to ISOs’ complaints that users never read ISO’s “ongoing security awareness training reminders.”  Our tweets are designed to be copied into the subject line of your awareness reminder, with the language on these pages put into the body.  The goal is that the user will have to read the subject line to know to delete the message, and if they understand the subject line the reminder is communicated.  If not, they will go into the message and read the reminder.

Feel free to use Vigilize in your own Security Awareness Program.  Let us know if you have any ideas, suggested tweets, or ways to improve this FREE service.

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