Information Security Isn’t About Information or Security

NOTE: Throughout this article, I’ll refer to “we” and “us”. This collective is defined as me, FRSecure employees, SecurityStudio employees, our families, our customers, our partners, and everyone else who thinks in similar ways.

We have a strong belief that:

Information security isn’t about information or security as much as it is about people.

The fact is, if people didn’t suffer when things go wrong (cybersecurity incident, data breach, etc.), then nobody would (or should) care. Obviously, people do suffer, and we DO care.

There’s a second point related to our belief, it’s the fact that people (NOT technology) pose the greatest risk (to themselves and to each other). Technology only does what we tell it to do, but it’s people who tell technology to do the things that are risky (click links, download files, misconfigure settings, etc.).

We’ve held fast to this belief for years, and it’s not just a catchy saying. This is a deep belief we apply every day, in all that we do. For example, our sales team only sells what people need*, our analysts pour their heart and soul into every project, we’re committed to being product agnostic, and we always sleep well knowing we did right by the people who count on us.

*A rumor has been circulating for years at FRSecure; if you sell something that a customer doesn’t need (i.e. money-motivated BS solutions) I’ll run you over with my truck. I want to dispel this rumor. I will NOT run you over with my F250 (officially). Unofficially, this is a good rumor. For the record, I’ve never run anyone over (yet).

Why am I bringing this up again, and why now? Simple, I think it’s relevant.

People who love other people make the best information security people.

When making information security decisions, it’s important to feel the weight of those decisions. Especially when the information you’re protecting isn’t yours, meaning you’re not the one who suffers when it’s lost or stolen.

Relevance to Current Events

We’ve lived our belief (about people) for years, and it’s as relevant today as it’s ever been. People are suffering, directly and/or indirectly from the results of information security incidents. These are people from all walks, regardless of race, religious beliefs, economic backgrounds, political affiliations, or sexual or gender preferences.

Risk doesn’t discriminate, and neither do threats (attackers).

This is true in general terms. There are always specific threats targeting specific groups; however, in general, risk by itself doesn’t discriminate. Even if you’re not specifically targeted, you’ll still encounter some degree of consequence. In today’s world, most of us are digitally connected. In fact, most of us are digitally connected through a mesh of associations; networks, applications (SaaS platforms, social media, online shopping, and other shared services), etc.

The truth is we are all at risk, and people DO suffer. When people suffer, we shouldn’t roll over an take it. We all should get a little (or a lot) pissed off! People taking advantage of others should raise an ire in all of us. Playing the victim helps no one.

Beyond the non-discriminatory nature of information security, there’s additional relevance related to focus, emotions and lack of personal accountability.

Focus

While we’re focusing on VERY legitimate racial injustices in our society, the attackers are still attacking. Attackers know that we’re not paying as much attention to them, and they’re crafting attacks that are more likely to succeed given our emotional state.

Attackers are taking down (DDoS) local and state government websites and services, using language like “Black Lives Matter”, “Peaceful Protest”, and “Support Racial Injustice” as click bait (opposed to legitimate causes), and setting up fake fundraising sites to lure people into giving money for fake causes.

Attackers always use current, well-known, and emotion-laden events to take advantage of panic, fear, and compassion. The attacks happen every time these types of events, and it’s because they work. The attacks work so well that attackers don’t even bother changing their tactics.

Do your best to maintain (at least some) focus on information security. Easier said than done for some of us, but you can do it if you try!

Emotions

When emotions run high, we are quicker to react, and more likely to find ourselves in bad situations. This is due to the way our brain works. Our left brain is more pragmatic and tells us to act logically, while our right brain tells us to follow our heart. In a “normal” state, the left brain and right brain wrestle for control of a decision and the result is a compromise between the two. In highly emotional states, the right brain tends to dominate our decisions and logic takes a back seat. We think less and react more.

People are beautiful. Human beings are delicate and intricate systems, yet we come with this magnificent resilience that seems to defy logic. Most (or maybe it’s many, I don’t know) of us posses empathy, compassion, and love that are interwoven perfectly together. While these things are true, sometimes our emotions get the best of us, and we do things we wouldn’t normally do. It almost seems like things get a little jumbled when we’re in a highly emotional state.

There are at least two important tendencies that are more common for us when we’re in a highly emotional state:

  1. We make more mistakes. In our rush to act, we’re more likely to act before thinking things through to a logical conclusion. The right brain sorta kicks our left brain’s ass.
  2. We open ourselves more to manipulation. If an attacker knows you’re in a highly emotional state, it’s easier to use these emotions against you. Let’s say that you’re torn up about racial injustice. You feel the need to do something about it, driven by your deep compassion for others. If an attacker makes up a compelling story about how you can help right some of the wrongs in our society, don’t you think you’d be more likely to act on it? In a less heightened emotional state, you might be more logical about it the decision to help, be skeptical, and even do some research first.

If you can learn to recognize where your decisions are coming from, you’ll be better prepared to make good decisions. This takes self-discipline and honest introspection. For the time being, it might make sense to put off important decisions until after you’ve had time to process your emotions. Maybe take some time off.

Personal Accountability

During tense and emotional times, there is a much stronger desire to hold people accountable (for something or anything). We’re quicker to assign blame, point fingers, and lash out at anyone we perceive to be going against our personal version of right. This is true in societal issues like racial inequality and to some extent it’s also true with information security. In our rush to hold someone externally accountable, we lessen (even more) our own personal accountability.

Sadly, a great number of people think that their information security is somebody else’s responsibility. The truth is, you’re the one who’s primarily responsible for your own information security, privacy, and safety. Nobody cares about (or should care about) your information security more than you. If information security doesn’t motivate you, maybe your privacy will. If that still doesn’t work, maybe your own safety, and the safety of your loved ones will motivate you to act. In today’s world, safety, privacy, and information security can’t be separated.

Sure, there are others who play a role too, but you are responsible for all parts of information security for which you can control. You can control what your children are accessing online. You can control patching of your home network equipment. You can control which passwords you choose, what applications you run, and which websites you visit for entertainment.

What to Do

So, I covered a lot of stuff. Mostly educational stuff. Now, the practical stuff (hopefully).

The best thing you and I can work on is our habits. If we take the time to learn and form good information security habits, we’ll be in a much better spot to protect ourselves from attackers, especially in light of world-shaking events. Habits form a mindset of default actions, and default actions form a baseline that’s less likely to change, even in response to high stress situations.

In Organizations

Develop an information security program that fits with your culture and master the fundamentals. A good security program is built around risk management and risk management starts with:

  1. An intimate understanding of what “risk” is.
  2. Management commitment, not just endorsement.
  3. An objective and measurable risk assessment.
  4. A roadmap built from the unacceptable risks discovered in the risk assessment.
  5. Execution of the roadmap using creative solutions and processes that fit your culture.
  6. Re-assessment and repetition. This builds the habits.

If your information security program is counter-culture it won’t result in good habit forming. If you can’t secure management commitment, you’re just going through the motions.

At Home

You are the CEO at home, you make the calls, and you are ultimately responsible. The same process outlined above for businesses applies at home. You will need management commitment (you), an objective and measurable risk assessment (see below), a roadmap for improvements, action to implement the improvements, and repetition.

At SecurityStudio we’ve built all of these steps into a simple and FREE tool called S2Me. The only thing we couldn’t build into the tool is your commitment. That’s on you.

Quick Conclusion

There’s too much hate in the world, and we don’t want to make problems worse. I can only think of one thing I hate, and it’s people taking advantage of other people. For me, it’s the lowest of the low. Today, we’re witnessing riots all across the country (and world). They’re not about information security, but they’re about people taking advantage of other people. It’s all bullshit, and it needs to stop! Learn and play your role in information security, and don’t let yourself be a helpless victim.

You Don’t Know Me

Let’s cut through the bullshit. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you.

Here’s why this is important; despite us not knowing each other, I will judge you and you will judge me. This is human nature. We make our judgements based on information we have available and our own historical perspective (or world view). Judgement might not be overt, but you and I are always engaging in making judgements. You might think this is a bad thing, but it’s not. Judgement, by itself, is nothing more than:

  • the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing
  • an opinion or estimate so formed
  • the capacity for judging: discernment
  • a proposition stating something believed or asserted

Judgement is good. When you judge me or I you, this could be a good thing; however, it’s only good without bias (unlikely).

Bias is a one-sided, closed-minded, and destructive mindset. Bias doesn’t discriminate, but it leads to discrimination. Look at the definitions of “bias”, “racism”, and “discrimination” for a second.

We can conclude that judgement is good, bias (and racism and discrimination) is bad.

The point

You don’t know me; therefore, if you were to judge me, what would your judgment be based on? If you don’t get to know me, you’d have to judge based on superficial things like how I look, the vehicle(s) I drive, how I dress, etc.

What if I told you these things about me?

  • I’m white/Caucasian.
  • I’m a man.
  • I have a long beard.
  • I drive an F250 pickup truck.
  • I drive a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
  • I live in a small town.
  • I have a good job.
  • I am licensed to carry a firearm.
  • I go to church every Sunday.

Would you think that I’m some sort of right-wing nut job? Would you treat me like one?

How about you? Let’s say:

  • You’re black/African American.
  • You’re a man.
  • You look “normal”, but you’re not clean shaven.
  • You’re middle-aged.
  • You’ve never been married.
  • You have plenty of money.
  • You wear nice clothes.
  • You drive nice sports cars.
  • You didn’t graduate high school.
  • You grew up in New Orleans

Would I think you’re a drug dealer, a thug, or involved in some sort of criminal activity? Would I treat you like you were?

God, I hope not!

In both cases, these judgements are 100% wrong! Like not even close. The judgements are wrong because they are biased.

Me, I am not some right-wing whacko. I despise most of what they stand for and I would never consider doing some of the things they do. Despite this, I can see how someone would mistake me for one. I look the way I look and like the things I like because I do. That’s it, nothing more and nothing less. I hate hatred in all its forms and have a genuinely deep love for people. I don’t just love people like me either, I love people from all walks, all backgrounds, and all beliefs. People who aren’t like me fascinate me.

About the only time I don’t love people is when I must share the road with them, but I’m told that’s sort of normal(ish).

The second person I referenced is Tyler Perry. He is an amazing man with an incredibly inspiring story. Rising from where he did to where he is now is a miraculous journey. He’s impacted thousands (maybe millions) of people across the globe with his works and his story. If you don’t know his story, I’d suggest you read up on him. He grew from a very troubled youth (shitty father figure, attempted suicide, child molestation, etc.) to become a tremendously successful actor, writer, producer, comedian, and director. In my opinion, he’s one of the most inspiring men alive today.

So, again, bias is bad. Put your bias to death as much as you are able.

What to work on

Here are some of the things I will work on to kill my own bias. I can’t change the world, but I can work on me. Here’s my pledge (to myself as much as anyone else):

  1. I will give people the benefit of the doubt. If I don’t know something to be true, instead or going the shitty route, I’ll take the good path in my thoughts and feelings toward others.
  2. I will seek other people’s perspectives. I don’t know what it’s like to be someone else. A person’s perspective is their reality. Understanding their reality and validating it where possible will go a long way towards killing my own biases.
  3. I will listen to people more. We’re all quick to offer advice and stories about the things we’re passionate about. I’ll do better at hearing these things from other people. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn a bunch.
  4. I will embrace the uniqueness in people. We all belong to people groups, either by birth or by choice. Despite whatever people group we belong to, there are beautifully unique things about each one of us. I want to discover the unique gifts in people and embrace them.
  5. I seek to change people and/or their minds less. You have your beliefs and I have mine. We can each be us.
  6. I’ll be a friend to anyone. This doesn’t mean there aren’t boundaries. All relationships have them, even friendships.
  7. I’ll work to find common ground. You’re not me and I’m not you. You believe certain things and so do I. We’re both human beings and if we can’t find anything more common than that, so be it. We’ll start there.

These are seven things that I’ll work on. I said it earlier, I don’t know you, so I can’t suggest the things you should work on. Only you can determine these things, and (probably) only after deep, honest introspection.

I truly love people, and it saddens me to see us hurt each other like we do.

Memorial Day & Other Things

Memorial Day

We live in the best country in the world. Period.

We all have something to complain about and everybody whines. Some of us do these things more than others, and this is “normal”. It’s not normal when we can’t see the good in things. When we can’t see the good, we’re blind and maybe the blindness comes from our sense of entitlement.

Entitlement is taking advantage of and taking for granted the things that were given to us. Given freely, and not earned.

We all take things for granted, at least I do. I take for granted that I can wake up without soldiers outside my door. I take for granted that I can leave my house and take a walk. I take for granted that I can practice the religion I want, drive the truck I want, go many of the places I want, etc. The list of things I take for granted is long, too long.

These things I take for granted weren’t free and they didn’t magically appear. They were were paid for. Our freedom, our way of life, the good things about us were paid for with sacrifices, sacrifices of blood and death.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. The day to stop and remember the people who sacrificed for us. We remember the ultimate sacrifices made by some of the best among us. These are men, women, fathers, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, and sons. They gave, we got.

There are no words to express my gratitude. God bless all who serve in our military, especially those who sacrificed all.

Other Things

This morning I’m writing this post from a coffee shop in a small Wisconsin town. The town is Black River Falls, and the name of the coffee shop is Revolution. We’re still inside the COVID 19 pandemic, but there are signs of hope everywhere.

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We came to Wisconsin for Memorial Day weekend because our neighbors to the East have opened their campgrounds, and we can use the sanity. We’re playing by the rules, being responsible, and for the first time in months, things almost seem right. Whatever “right” is. The picture below is our campsite, with our friends.

While hiking on the first evening, we came across this little fawn. We snapped the picture below while maintaining our distance.

I’m grateful for this amazing country and I’m grateful for all it has to offer; wonderful people, hope, togetherness, beauty, and love. There are so many amazing and good things about our United States (keyword “United”). Again, this is the best country in the world. Period.

UNSECURITY Podcast

We’re not recording anything tomorrow. We’ll pick up the show (Episode 81) on Tuesday (5/26). Both Brad and I are wishing you all the best; the good graces of health, family, etc.

Daily inSANITY Check-in

If you want to join us in our Daily inSANITY Check-ins, you are welcome to! Join us by going here.

Compassion Wins

As you know too well, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have changed everything. Nothing is the same. We don’t work the same, we don’t shop the same, we don’t entertain the same, and some of us don’t even defecate the same (without toilet paper). No doubt, we’ve endured massive changes to our lives. Compounding the resulting chaos is the uncertainty about our future.

One thing hasn’t changed, and that’s our human compassion.

Through human compassion we will endure together. By our endurance we will prevail together too.

The Start of the Daily inSANITY Check-in

We knew early on, from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, that we’d struggle with mental health. The truth is, some of us have always struggled with mental health. Sanity is precious and need to do all we can to protect it. Rather than sit idly by, and let ourselves blow in the wind, we decided to do something. On March 23rd, six days after FRSecure and SecurityStudio closed our physical offices, we started this thing called the Daily inSANITY Check-In.

Here’s what the Daily inSANITY Check-In is all about:

If you need a break from the chaos, or just want to talk about things, we’re hosting the Daily inSANITY Check-in for these reasons (among others).

Never has the world changed so significantly and affected so many in such a short period. These times are historic, and the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are not fully known. What we do know is we’ll never be the same. The prominent changes to our lives can force many of us to lose focus and even affect our mental health. Noise generated by the unrelenting media coverage, marketing, and scams only exacerbates our problems.

The purpose of the Daily inSANITY Check-in is to provide a safe place for people to discuss current events, information security things, challenges we’re facing, or whatever else comes to mind. The check-ins are short (30- to- 60-minute) daily meetings with discussion. People are always free to come and go as they please.

This is a joint effort from FRSecure and SecurityStudio, and the host is FRSecure and SecurityStudio CEO, Evan Francen. Joining Evan as co-hosts are Ryan Cloutier, SecurityStudio Principal Security Consultant and Brad Nigh. FRSecure Director of Professional Services & Innovation.

We hope you’ll come join the conversation aimed at restoring and/or maintaining our sanity!

Rules for the Daily inSANITY Check-in are:

  • Be yourself.
  • Respect everyone.
  • Respect opinions.
  • Be kind.

Anyone not playing by the rules is not welcome. Sorry.

Still Going Strong

Today is May 11th, 2020 and we still meet every day. Altogether, we’ve had seventy-nine (79) people visit, and there are many of us who’ve been here since the start. The relationships we’ve built here are real and they’re strong. These solid friendships around our “virtual water cooler” (as it’s been called by some) are incredible, and you’re invited too!

Everyone is welcome to join us. If you need some support or you’ve got some to give, come say “hi”! If you want to share your audio or video, you can. If you don’t, don’t. We’ll welcome you when you come and we’ll be here when you need us!

Sign up here.

The UNSECURITY Podcast – Episode 78 Show Notes – Working From Home

Keeping the show notes short again this week. It was another crazy week at FRSecure and SecurityStudio. We make progress towards our mission each and every day, regardless of COVID-19. Our mission is to fix the broken information security industry, which can be summed up by this statement:

Information security isn’t about information or security as much as it is about people.

When we help people, we help our industry. After all, would anyone care about information security is nobody suffered when things go wrong?

We’ll keep on trucking! We’re grateful for the people who put their trust in us and our credibility.

Let’s just get to it, episode 78 show notes below…


SHOW NOTES – Episode 78

Date: Monday, May 1st, 2020

Episode 78 Topics

  • Opening
  • Catching Up (as per usual)
  • Working from home
  • S2Me/S2Team
  • Listener Mail
  • News
  • Wrapping Up – Shout outs
Opening

[Evan] Hey guys and gals. Welcome to the UNSECURITY Podcast. This is episode 78, the date is May 4th, 2020, and I’m Evan Francen. With me today is my co-host, Brad Nigh. Good morning Brad!

[Brad] It is a good morning and Brad’ll be in a good mood for sure. Let’s see how he responds.

[Evan] Another good show planned for today, but before we jump in, let’s catch up. It’s sort of our usual thing to do about this time.

Catching Up

Quick discussion about some of the cool things we’re doing.

[Evan] We’ve been talking a lot lately about working remote or working from home. This has been a hot topic for some time, but since the COVID-19 outbreak, this is one of the top trending topics in the information security world. Let’s discuss another take on this, more of a future looking strategic perspective.

Working from home

Discussion about:

  1. What work from home looked like before COVID-19.
  2. What happened because of COVID-19.
  3. What the future looks like after COVID-19.

There are plenty of news articles about these topics and there’s no shortage of “expert” advice. Here’s just a few:

  • Is Working From Home The Future Of Work? – https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2020/04/10/is-working-from-home-the-future-of-work/#4260c2c846b1“An early-April 2020 MIT survey of 25,000 American workers found that 34% of those who’d been employed four weeks earlier said they’re currently working from home. Combined with the roughly 15% who said they’d been working from home pre-COVID-19, that means nearly half the U.S. workforce might now be remote workers.”
    • “The Brookings Institution’s Katherine Guyot and Isabel V. Sawhill just wrote their take on remote work and COVID-19, calling the pandemic “among other things, a massive experiment in telecommuting.”
    • ‘In a March survey of HR execs by the Gartner IT research firm, 76% said the top employee complaint during the pandemic has been “concerns from managers about the productivity or engagement of their teams when remote.”’
    • “In Buffer.com’s9 State of Remote Report, 19% of remote workers called loneliness their biggest struggle with working from home and 17% cited collaborating and/or communication.”
  • Some May Work From Home Permanently After COVID-19: Gartner – https://www.crn.com/news/running-your-business/some-may-work-from-home-permanently-after-covid-19-gartner“Gartner last week released results from a March 30 survey of 317 CFOs and business finance leaders that found 74 percent of those surveyed expect at least 5 percent of their workforce who previously worked in company offices will become permanent work-from-home employees after the pandemic ends.”
    • “According to Gartner, about 25 percent of those surveyed expect 10 percent of their employees will remain remote, 17 percent expect 20 percent will remain remote, 4 percent expect 50 percent will remain remote, and 2 percent expect over 50 percent of employees now working from home to permanently work from home after the pandemic subsides.”
  • Working from home has a troubled history. Coronavirus is exposing its flaws again – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/12/working-from-home-history-coronavirus-uk-lockdown“According to the Office for National Statistics, only 5% of the UK labour force worked mainly from home in 2019, but well over a quarter had some experience of home-working.”
    • “With all but key workers confined to their homes, the virtual office is now the new norm – a development that could prove to have far-reaching consequences.”
  • As working from home becomes more widespread, many say they don’t want to go back – https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/24/as-working-from-home-becomes-more-widespread-many-say-they-dont-want-to-go-back.html“States of Play, a joint CNBC/Change Research survey of swing states, finds 42% of respondents nationwide saying they are working from home.”
    • “Once the economy reopens, 24% say they’d like to work either entirely or more from home compared to how they worked before, while 55% plan to head back to the office.”
    • “Some 60% report being either as productive or even more productive than they were working from the office.”

But what about information security?

There is no shortage of information security tips for people working from home. Just a small sampling:

A different approach – S2Me and S2Team

[Evan] In early 2019, SecurityStudio release its first version of S2Me. The S2Me was released (well ahead of COVID-19) to gauge people’s information security habits at home and S2Team was a way to share the results with an employer without violating privacy at home. Last week, SecurityStudio released version two of S2Me and I’d like to talk about all this.

  • What is S2Me?
  • What is S2Team?
  • How do S2Me and S2Team work together?
    • S2Me is a simple, personal information security risk analysis tool for use at home. S2Me helps people understand their risk related to security, privacy, and safety. Once these risks are understood, S2Me attempts to motivate people to build better information security habits at home.
    • S2Team is a collection of S2Me aggregated results to help organizations understand their employees information security habits. Organizations use S2Team to develop better, more personal information security training programs.
    • A couple of quotes from the “Introduction to S2Team and S2Me Topic Descriptions” draft document:
      • “The problem isn’t people. The problem is managing risk related to people.”
      • “People are creatures of habit. People will occasionally deviate from their habits, but habits are their default. Habits create peoples’ baseline and become nearly (or in some cases completely) involuntary.”
      • “People choose to form new habits because if they desire the positive outcome or because they fear a negative one.”
  • A quick peek into S2Me.
  • A quick peek into S2Team

[Evan] I think we’re on the right track, trying to help people build better information security habits at home where everyone ultimately benefits.

Listener Mail

[Evan] A loyal listener, one who got a shout out from me last week, Jason Dance, sent us this article that I thought was interesting and worthy of a brief discussion; It’s Not Just Zoom. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Webex Have Privacy Issues, Too. – https://www.consumerreports.org/video-conferencing-services/videoconferencing-privacy-issues-google-microsoft-webex/

Brief discussion

[Evan] Alright, now some newsy things quick.

News

[Evan] It’s easy to find interesting things to talk about in our industry! Here’s a few that caught my attention:

Wrapping Up – Shout outs

[Evan] Wow. Lots of things. Well, episode 78 is almost in the can. Brad, got a shout out or two?

[Brad] Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t…

[Evan] Here’s mine…

[Evan] Seriously, a huge thank you to our listeners! We love your encouragement and we don’t take your advice lightly. You’re all great! Keep the questions and feedback coming. Send things to us by email at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you’re the social type, socialize with us on Twitter, I’m @evanfrancen and Brad’s @BradNigh.

Have a great week!

The UNSECURITY Podcast – Episode 74 Show Notes – COVID-19 MN Response

If you reading this, I hope you and your loved ones are well! From what I read, we have another few tough weeks ahead of us in the U.S. before (maybe) we turn the corner a little. Keep up the good work by staying at home and/or maintaining your distance from others. Now is NOT the time to let up.

If you missed last week’s show notes or episode 73 of the UNSECURITY Podcast, we had a great time taking with our special guest, Oscar Minks. Oscar leads FRSecure’s Technical Services Team, and he shared some great insight into their current incident response activities.

Episode 74 Topics

Topics for this episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast include:

  • Opening
  • Special Guest – Jim Nash
  • Catching Up 
    • Another week at home.
    • What’s new?
  • COVID-19 Talk With Jim Nash
    • What’s going on in MN state government
    • What’s he hearing from other states
    • How he’s helping our community and tips for listeners
    • Opinion about impact on information security
  • Web Conferencing Craziness (mostly Zoom)
    • The Rise
    • The Bug
    • Zoombombing
    • Other Stuff
    • Overreaction
    • Benefactors
    • Logic and Reason
  • Work From Home – S2Me
    • NASCIO – COVID-19 Response Resources for State IT
    • Safety and Cybersecurity at Home 101 Webinar Series
    • Version Two
  • Other News
    • The Daily inSANITY Check-in
    • FRSecure CISSP Mentor Program
  • Wrapping Up – Shout outs

You can find the full show notes later in this post.

Thoughts

It’s good to get things off your chest from time to time, and it doesn’t matter if anyone else reads what you write. If you are reading this, I hope you get some value from it.

Good News

It’s been hard the last few weeks to find good news. Seems like everywhere I look, there’s bad news. Most of the time is related to Covid-19, but now always. The bad news can come from another breach, vulnerabilities in some application (this week it was Zoom), or any number of things.

If you want to find good news, you have to be intentional about it.

Here’s some good news sources/stories:

See? There are lots of good things happening around the world. Look for them and be encouraged.

Struggling

In the middle of all that’s going on, there are many people struggling. I may be OK and you might be OK too, but the number of people who aren’t OK has grown fast and continues to increase every day. People are losing their businesses, losing their jobs, and losing their minds.

For people who have lost their business, it may feel like you’ve lost your dream. You haven’t! The dream is still alive, it’s just deferred. It’s paused. You may have to start over, or maybe not. The point is to NOT give up. Starting over gives you a chance to do it better this time, using all that you’ve learned from the last time.

For people who have lost their jobs, you might be worried about bills or even where your next meal comes from. When you’re in the middle of the crap, it’s hard to see the other side. Missing payments can be stressful, but it’s not the end of the world. Do what you can to survive this (and you WILL survive this) and try to focus on what you will do or be on the other side. Plan now for what’s to come.

Personal Story

When we started FRSecure in 2008, the U.S. was in the middle of a recession. I thought we could power through it, and succeed despite the odds. I was wrong. We couldn’t find customers, and within a year, it became evident that we wouldn’t be able to pay our bills, including our house payment. I could have given up on the dream of my business and entered the job market again, or I could believe that things would get better. 11-12 years later and FRSecure is a very healthy company, employing more than 70 people and serving more than 1,000 customers. Foreclosure with a wife and five kids was very hard, but we didn’t give up.

Mental Health

For people who have or feel like they’ve lost their minds, please get help. Maintaining mental health during times of crisis can be extremely difficult. It’s OK to not be OK, but it’s not OK to let it rule you. There are many people who care about you and want you to let them help. This is the truth! The most common lie (I think) is believing that you’re not worthy and nobody cares. That’s the lie. Believe and follow the truth, here are some people who care (100%):

Remember, there is hope and there is help! This is the truth, and you have to believe it.

Social Media Stuff

It dawned on me that we have a lot going on, and we share a lot of it on social media. Here’s the list of social media accounts for us:

Those are some thoughts right now. Let’s get to the show notes!


SHOW NOTES – Episode 74

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2020

Show Topics:

  • Opening
  • Special Guest – Jim Nash
  • Catching Up 
    • Another week at home.
    • What’s new?
  • COVID-19 Talk With Jim Nash
    • What’s going on in MN state government
    • What’s he hearing from other states
    • How he’s helping our community and tips for listeners
    • Opinion about impact on information security
  • Web Conferencing Craziness (mostly Zoom)
    • The Rise
    • The Bug
    • Zoombombing
    • Other Stuff
    • Overreaction
    • Benefactors
    • Logic and Reason
  • Work From Home – S2Me
    • NASCIO – COVID-19 Response Resources for State IT
    • Safety and Cybersecurity at Home 101 Webinar Series
    • Version Two
  • Other News
    • The Daily inSANITY Check-in
    • FRSecure CISSP Mentor Program
  • Wrapping Up – Shout outs
Opening

[Evan] Good morning everyone! This is the 74th episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast. The date is April 6th, 2020 and I’m Evan Francen. Joining me is my co-host Brad Nigh along with our special guest Jim Nash.

Good morning Brad.

[Brad] He’ll say what he wants.

[Evan] Welcome to the show again Jim and good morning!

[Jim] He’ll also say what he wants.

[Evan] Jim, do you remember the last time you were on the show? How long ago was that?

[Jim] Still saying what he wants.

[Evan] It’s customary now that we start the show by catching up a bit with each other.

Catching Up

Discussion between Evan, Brad, and Jim.

[Evan] Alright! We invited Jim to be on the show again for a couple reasons. #1 – We like him and #2 – We want to get his perspectives on COVID-19. He’s certainly got some unique things to share.

COVID-19 Talk With Jim Nash
  • What’s going on in MN state government?
  • What’s he hearing from other states?
  • How he’s helping our community and tips for listeners?
    • Supporting the community and small business.
    • Where can we find his videos, pictures, and updates?
  • Opinion about impact on information security

[Evan] For those who don’t know, Jim is my state representative. He represents the district in which I live and I couldn’t be prouder of the way he represents me!

OK, last week, news about Zoom was all the rage it seemed. There’s plenty of fear, misinformation and confusion about the web conferencing solution. I think our listeners could benefit from some straight talk about the issues.

I put together a series of stories and organized them into subtopics. It’ll be cool to get you guys’ perspective.

Web Conferencing Craziness (mostly Zoom) DIscussion

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[Evan] Crazy. The plot is thick surrounding Zoom, isn’t it. The noise is loud and it’s hard to find the truth in all of it.

Let’s switch gears now and talk about something else that’s related. There is no shortage of articles and guidance for working from home. We built a simple assessment in the beginning of 2019, before all hype surrounding the pandemic. The simple assessment is known as S2Me, and it’s importance is higher than it’s ever been.

Work From Home – S2Me

Discussion about S2Me, including:

[Evan] There you go. S2Me is free and always will be free. Either of you guys feel comfortable sharing your personal S2Score?

Other News

[Evan] We had so many things to talk about this week. We’re going to skip other news stories again. Two quick things to tell you about though, before we go.

  • The Daily inSANITY Check-in
    • Still going strong.
    • Everyone is invited all the time!
  • FRSecure CISSP Mentor Program
Wrapping Up – Shout outs

[Evan] Well, that’s it for this week. Plenty going on and lots to do. Either of you guys have any shout outs?

Thank you for listening. We’re a couple of guys who really care about you. We’re hoping you all stay healthy and sane! We love hearing from you, so if you’ve got something to say, email us at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you would rather do the whole social thing, we tweet like that. I’m @evanfrancen, and this other guy is @BradNigh. Jim, you’re all over the place. Want to share some places where people can interact with you online?

Jim, thank you for coming on and sharing with us today!

That’s it. Talk to you all again next week!

The UNSECURITY Podcast – Episode 73 Show Notes – COVID-19 IR

Hope you and your loved ones are well! We can’t understate the importance of physical, mental, and spiritual health, especially in times like these.

If you missed last week’s show notes or episode 72 of the UNSECURITY Podcast, there’s some pretty good stuff there.

Episode 73 Topics

Topics for episode 73 of the UNSECURITY Podcast include:

  • Opening
  • Catching Up 
    • The first full week with a closed office.
    • Staying sane and healthy at home.
  • COVID-19 Affects on Information Security (some of them)
    • Introducing our special guest, FRSecure’s Director of Technical Solutions and Services
    • Incident Response During COVID-19
      • Current Events/Incidents
      • FRSecure’s IR Risk Registration (what is it and why would I consider it?)
    • COVID-19 Scams and Attacks
      • What have we seen?
      • What are we planning for?
    • Physical Security Considerations
  • The Daily inSANITY Check-in
  • FRSecure CISSP Mentor Program Update
  • Wrapping Up – Shout outs

You can find the full show notes near the bottom of this post. Before getting there, I need to get some thoughts out.

Thoughts

It’s been 13 days since FRSecure and SecurityStudio closed their offices. All of us are still around and working, but it’s crazy how much life has changed. Personally, I’m still struggling to make sense of things and I’m mulling over COVID-19 data almost obsessively. The COVID-19 scoreboards plastered everywhere don’t help. On one hand, I like being informed. On the other, I’m tired of tracking the number of infections and deaths.

As I write this, there are 140,164 infections in the United States and 2,476 deaths. What does this mean in the context of everything else? How do I make sense of these numbers? Here’s one attempt:

What does a “normal” 30 days look like in the U.S. for deaths/mortality? According to the CDC, there were nearly 3,000,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2018 (the latest data available). Using this data, here are the number of people who died within an average 30 day window:

  • 53,867 from heart disease (the top killer in the U.S. with 655,381 deaths)
  • 49,255 from cancer (#2 – 599,274 deaths)
  • 13,736 from accidents/unintentional injuries (#3 – 167,127 deaths)
  • 10,029 from Alzheimer’s Disease (#6 – 122,019 deaths)
  • 3,973 from suicide (#10 – 48,344 deaths)

Compare these numbers to where we’re at now with COVID-19. I’m NOT at all minimizing the impact of COVID-19. I’m trying to make sense. I know the number of infected people and deaths will rise significantly over the coming weeks/months, and sadly, we’re in for more terrible news. I’m trying to understand what the numbers mean in the context of other things that aren’t as foreign to me.

A single sick person and/or a single death is sad enough, let alone thousands.

OK. Got that off my chest. Lots and lots of great things going on at FRSecure and SecurityStudio. The best place to keep up with them right now is probably on social media:

Let’s get to the show notes now!


SHOW NOTES – Episode 73

Date: Monday, March 30th, 2020

Show Topics:

  • Opening
  • Catching Up 
    • The first full week with a closed office.
    • Staying sane and healthy at home.
  • COVID-19 Affects on Information Security (some of them)
    • Introducing our special guest, FRSecure’s Director of Technical Solutions and Services
    • Incident Response During COVID-19
      • Current Events/Incidents
      • FRSecure’s IR Risk Registration (what is it and why would I consider it?)
    • COVID-19 Scams and Attacks
      • What have we seen?
      • What are we planning for?
    • Physical Security Considerations
  • The Daily inSANITY Check-in
  • FRSecure CISSP Mentor Program Update
  • Wrapping Up – Shout outs
Opening

NOTE: The show notes were written by me (Evan), but Brad’s leading this episode.

[Brad] Hello listeners, this is another episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast. My name is Brad Nigh, this is episode 73, and the date is March 30th, 2020. Joining me is my co-host Evan Francen. Good morning Evan.

[Evan] Good morning Brad!

[Brad] Also joining us for the show is our special guest and FRSecure’s Director of Technical Solutions and Services, Oscar Minks. Good morning Oscar!

[Oscar] Says good morning or something with his cool southern accent.

[Brad] We’ve got lots to talk about! As is our custom, let’s get started by catching up quick.

Catching Up

Topics here include how we’re coping with COVID-19, the first full week with a closed office, and staying sane (and healthy) at home. Brad found a really good video online; Covid-19 Protecting Your Family, Dr. Dave Price

[Brad] Here’s a can of worms (maybe). Let’s talk about some of the effects that COVID-19 has on what we do. Some of the effects on information security, starting with incident response and physical security. We already mentioned that we’ve got our special guest Oscar Minks here. He’s got some good insights to share, and this should be a good discussion.

Discussion – COVID-19 Affects on Information Security (some of them)
  • Introducing our special guest (again), FRSecure’s Director of Technical Solutions and Services
  • Incident Response During COVID-19
    • Current Events/Incidents
    • FRSecure’s IR Risk Registration (what is it and why would I consider it?)
  • COVID-19 Scams and Attacks
    • What have we seen?
    • What are we planning for?
  • Physical Security Considerations

[Brad] Sadly, the frequency of scams and attacks only increases during times of distress. It’s important that we keep our eye on the ball and not compound our problems with an information security lapse.

OK, switching gears now. Some people are struggling right now. Struggling with making sense of things, struggling with employment, struggling with anxiety, or struggling with any number of things. We started this thing called the Daily inSANITY Check-in last week. Evan, tell the listeners about this thing.

Daily inSANITY Check-in Discussion

The purpose of the Daily inSANITY Check-in is to provide a safe place for people to discuss current events, information security things, challenges we’re facing, or whatever else comes to mind. The check-ins are short (30- to- 60-minute) daily meetings with discussion. People are always free to come and go as they please.

[Brad] The Daily inSANITY Check-in is just one place to get support out of many within our community. The point is to find help when you need it and to help people where you can. It’s cool to see so many people rally and help.

FRSecure CISSP Mentor Program Update

[Brad] Real quick, we made an announcement last week about the FRSecure CISSP Mentor Program. We’re happy to say that we are still going through with this year’s class! The only change is that we have cancelled the in-person portion of the program. As of last Monday, the 23rd, we have 1,007 registered students! That’s crazy! Oh, and I should mention, if you haven’t registered yet, registration is still open.

Wrapping Up

[Brad] No news this week because we had so many other things to talk about. Two last things to mention:

  • Our pal Ryan Cloutier, aka “Cola” just wrapped up the second episode of his K12 Cybersecurity Podcast. It’s a great podcast and you should give it a listen!
  • A shout out to one of our regular listeners, Olga Hoogendoorn – Startseva. Evan promised to give her a shout out because she’s pretty awesome!

Well, that’s it for this week. Plenty going on and lots to do.

Thank you for listening. We’re a couple of guys who really care about you. We’re hoping you all stay healthy and sane! We love hearing from you, so if you’ve got something to say, email us at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you would rather do the whole social thing, we tweet like that. I’m @BradNigh, and this other guy is @evanfrancen. Also, don’t forget to check out @studiosecurity and @FRSecure. They post some good things! Let us know how we can help you!

That’s it. Talk to you all again next week!

The UNSECURITY Podcast – Episode 72 Show Notes – COVID-19

Hi everyone. We’re hoping and praying for everyone’s health and mental well-being right now. Take care of what really matters, yourself and your loved ones.

Episode 72 of the UNSECURITY Podcast will be dedicated to continued discussion about COVID-19 and what the pandemic means, in our daily lives and in our vocation as information security people. It’s the topic on everyone’s mind, so to not talk about it seems a little tone deaf.

Before we get to the show notes (below), I’d like to highlight a few things going on around here.

One Word

What one word would you use to describe your past week? If you’re a Twitterer, let us know by tweeting your word with the hashtag #UNSECURITYoneword. Be sure to include us (@evanfrancen and @bradnigh) in the conversation.

Not Adjusted Yet

Not sure about you, but I haven’t adjusted yet. I’m an introvert, so I was expecting to thrive in isolation. I was wrong (for now). I was surprised to learn how much personal interaction really means to me.

Everything seemed different this past week and I was definitely a little off my game. I had trouble focusing on tasks and struggled with processing events occurring all around me. Nothing made sense at times.

On Tuesday (3/17) we (FRSecure and SecurityStudio) closed the offices, and by the next day, almost everyone was online and functionally working from home. Since there was nobody at the office, I decided to work from there.

The empty office was quiet. Too quiet. The quiet forced me to realize how social we are in our office. Every (normal) day is like a family get together. A family get together where everybody actually likes each other.

In a quiet office there are no dumb office jokes. No laughter. No smiles. No fist bumps. A quiet office is just filled with empty. Our office was filled with empty and me. It was a eerie and it was lonely.

I’m assuming the adjustment will just take time. Between now and then, let’s all keep our head up and look for ways to help others. Helping others can be a great coping mechanism!

The Pledge

Also on Tuesday, I wrote a pledge and posted it on LinkedIn. This pledge is one that I plan to live by, especially now.

My pledge:

  • I will NOT panic.
  • I will NOT give in to fear.
  • I WILL think things through.
  • I WILL make prudent decisions based upon the best (non-biased) information available.
  • I WILL be the person I’ve always been and learn to be better.
  • I WILL help my fellow humans whenever and however I can, putting my family first.
  • I will NOT use this (or anything else) to take advantage of people, and
  • I will NEVER put someone in danger if I can help it.

coronavirus panic fear think prudence decisions learning helpingpeople

What Else

We did a lot this past week.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Information Security Webinar(s)

In the midst of the chaos, we decided to put together a last minute webinar for Wednesday (3/18) afternoon.  Our motivation for the webinar was to help people and bring calm to the storm. Despite last minute arrangements and everything else going on, we had ~250 people come to the first session. Participation and interaction was more than we expected! There were many unanswered questions after the first session, so we decided to do a second session on Friday (3/20).

The topics we discussed were:

  • Introductions.
  • Before we get started.
    • #1 – The current state of affairs.
    • #2 – My pledge.
    • #3 – FRSecure Open Letter.
    • #4 – Ideas we’re kicking around.
  • Topics:
    • What is the impact of COVID-19 on information security?
    • How to securely shift employees to remote work during social distancing.
    • Some of the current social engineering scams around COVID-19 and how to avoid them.
    • How to create or adjust your business’s disaster recovery plan.
  • Where to go if/when you need help.

I’ve posted a copy of the presentation online for everyone.

Virtual Happy Hours

Our team started doing virtual happy hours on Thursday. Every organization should do these! We all get into an online Zoom meeting and hangout for a while. We share. We laugh. We joke. We smile. We love. These are amazing experiences that are healthy and good for the soul.

I prefer to sit and listen most of the time. Just taking it in. The sounds of my team laughing, their smiles, their dumb jokes (like really dumb), and sharing our day together are beyond magical. The joy these guys bring to my day is the best way to end it!

The Daily inSANITY Check-in

Nobody has this thing figured out and nobody has it all together.

We want to help, so we’re starting the Daily inSANITY Check-in webinar series. The purpose of the Daily inSANITY Check-in is to provide a safe place for people to discuss current events, information security things, challenges we’re facing, or whatever else comes to mind. The check-ins are short (30- to- 60-minute) daily meetings with discussion. People are always free to come and go as they please.

This is new, and we’re just getting started. Don’t expect all the kinks to be worked out day one. Visit the registration page for the full description and to signup.

K12 Cybersecurity Podcast

Good news! Our buddy Ryan Cloutier just released the first episode of the K12 Cybersecurity Podcast. His first episode is awesome! It’s so much better than our first UNSECURITY Podcast. In this episode, Ryan’s special guest is Amy McLaughlin. Amy is the Information Services Director at Oregon State University and cybersecurity project director for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).

This was a timely and well done episode. I recommend you subscribe to Ryan’s K12 Cybersecurity Podcast and get ready for more great content!

Pretty sure I forgot something, but that’s all for now. Let’s do a podcast (or something)!


SHOW NOTES – Episode 72

Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2020

Show Topics:

  • Opening
    • The week that was.
    • The week that is to come.
  • COVID-19
    • Priorities, and where does information security fit?
      • Mental and Physical Health
      • Yourself and Your Loved Ones
      • Business – Survival
    • The Bass and The Barracuda
      • Don’t be a bass. Be a barracuda.

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Opening

[Evan] Hello listeners, this is another episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast. My name is Evan Francen, this is episode 72, and the date is March 23rd, 2020. Joining me in studio is my buddy Brad Nigh. Good morning Brad!

[Brad] If it’s a good morning for Brad, we’ll know by how he responds.

[Evan] Last week was nuts. You and I hardly had a chance to connect with all that’s going on, so we’re a little out of sorts. This would normally be your week to lead the podcast, but since we didn’t really connect, I’m hosting again. Hope that’s OK.

[Brad] He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s probably OK with this.

[Evan] We’ve got a lot to talk about this week. Top of mind or course is COVID-19 and what the pandemic is doing to our daily lives. Sort of hard to talk about much else right now, right?

[Brad] He might agree.

[Evan] Last week was crazy. Let’s talk about the week that was and then talk a little about what’s coming this week.

Catching Up Discussion

Discussing last week’s events and what we’re expecting this week.

[Evan] Alright, there has never been anything in my lifetime that’s been as disruptive as the COVID-19 pandemic. I sort of feel like we’d be tone deaf if we didn’t keep up the conversation.

COVID-19 Discussion

Our topics this week include:

  • Priorities, and where does information security fit?
    • Mental and Physical Health
    • Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones
    • Business – Survival
  • The Bass and The Barracuda
  • Another plug for S2Me.
  • Next Week:
    • Maybe a guest; it’s been a while.
    • What happens on the other side?
    • Daily inSANITY Check-in Update
    • What we’re doing to help.

[Evan] The world has hardly seemed any crazier than it is today. Do all you can to maintain (or restore) your health. Good talk. Now let’s get to some non-COVID-19-related news.

News

[Evan] Alright, let’s talk about a non-coronavirus story (or two or three). Remember, attacks aren’t going to stop. In fact, they are increasing and are expected to continue to increase. Don’t ever put anything past or too low for the lowest among us.

Here’s two news stories to consider this week:

Closing

[Evan] There you have it. Episode 72. Thank you for listening. We’re wishing everything health and sanity! Remember, we love hearing from you. If you’ve got something to say, email us at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you would rather do the whole social thing, we tweet like that. I’m @evanfrancen, and Brad’s @BradNigh. Check out @studiosecurity and @FRSecure frequently. They’re always posting good things!

Be safe. That’s it. Talk to you all again next week!

The UNSECURITY Podcast – Episode 71 Show Notes – Coronavirus

My good friends Brad and Ryan recorded episode 70 last week, and the topic was voting machine security. If you missed it, go check it out. Kudos to those guys, the show was great!

The Twilight Zone

Crazy. Life over the course of the last week was like an episode right out of Twilight Zone.

I was on vacation last week, taking a planned seven day cruise out of Long Beach, California. Cruises are a great vacation option for anyone who wants to disconnect from the world for a while. Connectivity on a boat is terrible, so why bother trying?

Never in my life has the world changed so much in a week.

When we flew out of Minneapolis on Friday (3/6) morning, the world seemed sort of normal. Sure, there was an increased awareness of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but fear and panic appeared to be in check. Our collective awareness led to more people washing their hands, more people covering their mouths when they coughed or sneezed, and more use of various sanitizers. Occasionally, I’d run into someone wearing a surgical mask, but it wasn’t alarming or all that unusual.

The Cruise

We left the hotel for the cruise terminal on Saturday (3/7) around noon. As we got closer, we got our first glimpse of Carnival’s newest ship, the Panorama, and the excitement started to build. Seven days of sun and much needed rest. Something seemed off though. When we pulled up, we noticed there were hundreds of people just standing around with their bags. Nobody from the previous cruise was being allowed off the ship for some reason. Rumors were spreading and things were getting weird. After an hour or so, Carnival sent this message:

Thank you for your patience. Debarkation remains suspended pending medical test results for a guest who was on board last weeks cruise. Results are expected sometime after 6PM. Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal as the parking garage is full. We apologize for this delay and will provide an update in two hours.

Next, the news media started arriving in troves. Within minutes, news stories were already been published.

Carnival didn’t cancel our cruise, so we spent the night at the Long Beach Airport Hampton Inn, and went back to the cruise terminal on Sunday (3/8) morning. All the cruisers from the previous cruise had left, and we were permitted to board. Embarkation went off without a hitch, and before we knew it, we had arrived!

Our cruise was cut from seven days to six, and our originally planned visit to Mazatlan was cancelled. No matter, we were (and are) grateful for everything! Some people were mad, but what the hell?! One day in the sun is better than none! Even if they would have cancelled the cruise altogether, we would have been grateful.

This started the six days of limited (or no) connectivity for us. Almost like we were cut off from the world for a while.

Back on Land

On Saturday (3/14), we arrived back in Long Beach. The hot topic on the ship was all the chaos that the coronavirus (and media) had caused. We got connectivity again, and whoa! You’d think the world had lost its mind. Every news channel was dominated by the coronavirus. Seemed like bad news was everywhere and we’d stepped into an apocalyptic Twilight Zone episode.

What happened over the past six days?! Is the world ending? No, it’s not, despite what you might think from reading the news.

Store shelves are bare, there’s no toilet paper to be found, people are standing in long lines to buy everyday goods, people are physically assaulting each other over innocent items like sanitizing wipes, the NCAA cancelled the men’s and women’s national basketball tournaments, the NBA season is postponed (or cancelled), the NHL season is postponed (or cancelled), schools are closed, Disneyland and Disneyworld are closed, flights are cancelled between the United States and dozens of other countries, conferences and concerts are being cancelled, etc., etc.

Reality

Did thousands, or God-forbid, millions of people die while we were away on this six-day cruise? No, not really.

By the end of the day on Saturday (3/14), there were 3,043 confirmed infections in the United States and 60 deaths. Every single illness and every single death is significant, especially to loved ones, but are these numbers that should cause panic? There are some 329,000,000 people in the United States. Using rough math, the infection rate in the United States has grown to .000925% and the mortality rate for those who are infected (meaning those who were infected and died) is 1.9%. This means that one in every 108,000 people has become infected, and even if you were infected, you stand a 98.1% chance of surviving.

The math is good, but the inputs are extremely variable. These numbers are going to change, I know. If we don’t take action now, the numbers will be much worse than they should/could be, I know this too.

I’m not making any sort of case against taking proper precautions. Things like social distancing, cancelling group gatherings, and all of the (common sense, or should be common sense) sanitary measures like hand washing, mouth covering, etc., are prudent things to do. What’s wrong is the panic! People need to think and stop the panic.

We deal with panic on a much smaller and less significant scale every time we help a client through a troubling event or incident. In these cases, we always confront panic with facts. Panic is always bad. Panic makes things worse. Panic is NOT good for you. Panic makes you more susceptible to harm and opens you up to making poor decisions.

  • For those who are using this pandemic and panic to profit off other people – You suck and your actions are despicable.
  • For those who are using this pandemic and panic for political gain at the expense of others – You suck. Learn some decorum, stop dividing and start uniting. There’s a time for politics and responding to a pandemic is not one of those times.
  • For those who are not taking this seriously by taking proper and prudent precautions – You also suck and you’re putting others at unnecessary risk.

We are all in this together, and we all need to work together.

Seriously, don’t panic!

What does all this have to do with the UNSECURITY Podcast?

Lots! There are significant information security implications related to the coronavirus pandemic and the panic that has come from it. All of this is going to be our base for conversation in this episode.

On to the actual notes now…


SHOW NOTES – Episode 71

Date: Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Show Topics:

  • OpeningCatching up.
  • CoronavirusWhat’s happened?
    • What are we doing?
    • Information security implications
    • Business continuity, disaster recovery, and pandemic planning.
    • How does working from home affect information security?
    • What are the most important precautions?
    • If you haven’t planned well, it’s not too late.
    • How you can use S2Me and S2Team to make better choices.
  • News (non-coronavirus)
Opening

[Evan] Hello listeners, this is another episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast. My name is Evan Francen, this is episode 71, and the date is March 16th, 2020. Joining me in studio is my buddy Brad Nigh. Good morning Brad!

[Brad] If it’s a good morning for Brad, we’ll know by how he responds.

[Evan] It’s good to be back. What the heck happened while I was out?

Catching Up

[Evan] Did you happen to read my Twilight Zone reference about what it was like to be gone for a week, then to come back to what seemed like utter chaos?

[Brad] Of course he did. Brad’s good at preparation and stuff.

[Evan] Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that coronavirus is a pandemic. Nothing has been the same since. Let’s discuss some facts, our opinions, and give some advice to our listeners, based upon our own information security experience.

Coronavirus Discussion

IMPORTANT: Get your priorities straight; God, family, friends, work, etc., but don’t let your guard down. Attacks always increase in frequency during major events. Attackers know that many people are preoccupied mentally and physically, and they won’t/don’t hesitate to take advantage of the situation.

Be as vigilant with information security as you always have. In fact, be more vigilant than ever!

We’ll address all this (and probably more):

  • What’s happened?
  • What are we doing?
  • Information security implications
  • Business continuity, disaster recovery, and pandemic planning.
  • How does working from home affect information security?
  • What are the most important precautions?
  • If you haven’t planned well, it’s not too late.
  • How you can use S2Me and S2Team to make better choices.

[Evan] Thanks for sharing and thank you for the great discussion! To wrap this up, I’d like to highlight two online discussions that I had the other day about coronavirus on Twitter. The first started with a question posed by a Twitter user:

Twitter User: So how are you talking to your children about the pandemic?

A good question for sure. My answer:

Me; I’m telling them to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and to be kind to others. Like I always have. I also tell them the world is a wonderful but dangerous place. They’ll be OK.

The other discussion also happened on Twitter. This Twitter user was calling for us (U.S. citizens) to vote everyone out of office because of the coronavirus (and probably their response). In this exchange, I responded with a question:

Did we have the same reaction with H1N1 that infected more than 59 million Americans and killed more than 12,000? It was only 10(ish) years ago.

Rather than engage in a discussion, this Twitter user blocked me. 🙁 I didn’t think my question was offensive. It certainly wasn’t meant to be. Maybe this Twitter user was more motivated by politics than any sort of constructive conversation. Sadly, politics get in the way of working together for solutions. Please don’t be like this Twitter user!

News

[Evan] Alright, let’s talk about a non-coronavirus story (or two). Remember, attacks aren’t going to stop because you’ve self-quarantined. Quite the opposite is true, sadly. Here’s two news stories to consider this week:

Closing

[Evan] There you have it. Episode 71. It’s good to be home. Let’s hope and pray for a good week with some sanity. Thank you to our listeners, we love hearing from you. If you’ve got something to say, email us at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you would rather do the whole social thing, we tweet like that. I’m @evanfrancen, and Brad’s @BradNigh. Check out @studiosecurity and @FRSecure frequently. They’re always posting good things!

Both Brad and I are praying for health for you and your family. Please don’t panic, and make good decisions.

That’s it. Talk to you all again next week!