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.


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!


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.

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

[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? –“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’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 –“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 –“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 –“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. –

Brief discussion

[Evan] Alright, now some newsy things quick.


[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 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 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


[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.


[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:


[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 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.


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)

[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!


[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:


[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 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!

The UNSECURITY Podcast – Episode 69 Show Notes – Who does what?

After last week’s BSOD on Brad’s laptop…

We were 50+ minutes into last week’s podcast when Windows said no more. The operating system crash brought episode 68 to a dead halt before we had a chance to cover the last part of our Roles and Responsibilities series. So, instead of two parts, we’re doing three. This is how it all worked out:

I’m excited about this episode because it hits close to home. It should hit close to home with everyone!

RSA Conference

We’ll also talk about last week’s RSA Conference in this show. SecurityStudio sent seven people to the conference this year, and here are some highlights we will discuss:

  • The theme for the conference this year was “Human Element”.

  • Roughly 36,000 attendees this year.
  • San Francisco’s State of Emergency, mid-conference
  • The money grab was alive and well (literally).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • SecurityStudio’s first appearance as a sponsor.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    • Gave away 1,000 free, signed copies of UNSECURITY.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    • We became known as counterculture (which was super cool).
    • The theme “Mission before $” was born and etched onto each book.
    • We made (at least) 961 new friends.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Overall, the RSA Conference was a great experience for everyone and a huge success for SecurityStudio.

On to this week’s show notes…

SHOW NOTES – Episode 69

Date: Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Show Topics:

Our topics this week:

  • Opening
    • What’s up?
    • One thing.
  • RSA Conference
  • Information Security Roles and Responsibilities (Part 3 of 3)
    • Last week, quick recap of roles and responsibilities (at work).
    • People are creatures of habit.
    • SIMPLIFY – What are things we can do?
    • At home:
      • Information security, privacy, and safety cannot be separated.
      • Parent
      • Spouse
      • Children
    • What should every “normal” person know about information security?
    • The importance of definition, formality, and communication.
  • News

[Evan] Hi again UNSECURITY podcast listeners! My name is Evan Francen and this is episode 69. The date is March 2nd, 2020. Joining me in studio is my co-host, Brad Nigh. Good morning Brad!

[Brad] Rumor has it, he’s been working hard on some IR work. Let’s see if he’s in the mood to talk this morning.

[Evan] It’s great to be back in the office and good to be here. We have a really good show for our listeners this week, but before we dive in, let’s catch up. Brad, tell me about your week.

Catching up

Some back and forth happens here.

[Evan] I’m behind on just about everything. Hoping for a good catch-up week!

RSA Conference

[Evan] So, there was this RSA Conference thingy last week. Let’s talk about it.

RSA Conference discussion. What we learned and what we wish we hadn’t.

[Evan] We’ll invite some of the interesting people from RSA to join us a future guests.

Information Security Roles and Responsibilities (Part 3 of 3) – Micro Level (at home)

[Evan] OK. So last week, we had a nice visit from the BSOD genie. Probably a good thing because we were going sort of long anyway. We originally planned two episode for Roles and Responsibilities, but instead we’ve got three now. No big deal. I’m looking forward to this talk with you Brad! What do you think about the series thus far?

[Brad] His opinions…

Last week, quick recap of roles and responsibilities (at work).

[Evan] We’ve talked about roles and responsibilities at a macro level and we’ve talked about roles and responsibilities within an organization. Now, let’s talk about roles and responsibilities at home. I know that you and I both are very conscious of information security at home.

Roles and Responsibilities at Home:

  • People are creatures of habit.
  • SIMPLIFY – What are things we can do?
  • Information security, privacy, and safety cannot be separated.
  • Roles
    • Parent
    • Spouse
    • Children
  • What should every “normal” person know about information security?
  • The importance of definition, formality, and communication.

[Evan] Great conversation. These things will all be covered in our book, and I’m really looking forward to finishing it with you. This book could help tons of people! Alright, as usual, let’s get to some news.


[Evan] Here’s what we’ve got for news this week:

Bonus, maybe a future episode; This breast cancer advocate says she discovered a Facebook flaw that put the health data of millions at risk


[Evan] There you have it. Episode 69. It’s good to be home this week.

[Evan] Thank you to our listeners, we love hearing from you. If you’ve got something to say, email us at If you would rather do the whole social thing, we tweet sometimes. I’m @evanfrancen, and Brad’s @BradNigh. Check out @studiosecurity and @FRSecure frequently. They’re always posting good things! Is FRSecure out at SecureWorld North Carolina this week? Lots going on and lots of chatter!

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

The UNSECURITY Podcast – Episode 68 Show Notes – Who does what?

Trying to get back to posting show notes on Fridays. We’ll see…

The Week

It’s been another amazing week at SecurityStudio and FRSecure! I was in the office all week, so I got to see some of the magic first hand. You’d be amazed, truly.

OUR PEOPLE ARE INCREDIBLE! (yes, I shouted that).

Some of the things that come to mind right now:

  • Discussions and meetings with awesome people like Chris Roberts, Steve Hawkins, Mike Johnson, Augustine Doe, Jeremy Swenson, and Devin Harris this week. Each of them is awesome in their own way. Had lots of meetings this week, but these are the ones that stand out right now. Giving them all shout outs. They are wonderful people.
  • Brad’s kickin’ butt on some new service offerings, including a new CMMC readiness assessment. Checked out his executive summary report mock-up, and it’s sweet!
  • One of our analysts, “Ben” (he’s been on the podcast show before) has discovered some (16ish) significant potential/confirmed breaches of data in his research. Learning a ton about responsible disclosure. 😉
  • Lunch with John Harmon, FRSecure’s president on Thursday was incredible. We ate some sweet BBQ and talked strategy. This dude has some great ideas and I’m pumped about what he’s up to!
  • Ryan (“cola”) Cloutier is a machine. Opening doors, making a difference in education (K-12 & higher ed), and taking things global (UK, Australia, APAC, etc.). Letting this guy do his thing.
  • The marketing stuff and coordination for RSA next week is all set, thanks to the leadership of Andy Forsberg. This dude’s got in under control! There are seven SecurityStudio people heading out to RSA next week and we’ve all got brand new blue Nike’s and brand new blue branded T-shirts, not to mention 1,000 books to give away, and all the details. Excited to go have some fun with this group next week! (P.S. I think I got Andy hooked on Rockstar Energy drinks. I’m a bad influence, and I’m sorry.)

I could write something about every person here. The ALL pour their heart and soul into our mission of fixing this broken industry. They ALL understand that information security isn’t about information or security as much as it is about people. There are no words to describe the experience of working on this mission with this amazing group!


OK, enough braggin’ for now, we got a podcast to do.

In last week’s show, Brad and I discussed the topic of information security roles and responsibilities at a macro level. We gave our opinions about the role of government, the role of business, the role of schools, etc. This week, we’re going to take the same topic and apply it at a micro level.

This is sure to be a great discussion!

SHOW NOTES – Episode 68

Date: Monday, February 24th, 2020

Show Topics:

Our topics this week:

  • Opening
    • What’s up?
    • One thing.
  • Information Security Roles and Responsibilities (Part 2 of 2)
    • Last week, quick recap of roles and responsibilities at a macro level.
    • The importance of definition, formality, and communication.
    • SIMPLIFY and operationalize.
    • At work:
      • Executive Management
      • CISO (or similar), two jobs.
      • IT
      • Legal
      • Everyone else.
    • At home:
      • Information security, privacy, and safety cannot be separated.
      • Parent
      • Spouse
      • Children
    • What are things we can do to simplify and operationalize?
    • What should every “normal” person know about information security?
  • News

[Brad] Good morning UNSECURITY podcast listeners! I’m Brad Nigh and this is episode 68. The date is February 24th, 2020. Joining me in studio is my co-host, Brad Nigh. Good morning Evan!

[Evan] Stuff and things…

[Brad] We have a great show planned today. Before we dive in, let’s catch up. Crazy week behind us and another crazy one ahead! What’s going on?

Catching up

Some back and forth happens here.

[Brad] Wow! Alright, let’s shift gears now a little. Last week, we talked about information security roles and responsibilities. Not the most exciting topic, but an absolutely critical one for sure! We’re approaching this topic from two different perspectives, from a macro level and a micro level. Last week was part one, the macro level. This week is part two, the micro level. You ready to get started?

[Evan] For sure.

Information Security Roles and Responsibilities (Part 1 of 2) – Micro Level

[Brad] You mentioned that we’re working on this book together. It’s a book focused on simplifying and operationalizing information security for underserved markets like state/local government, schools (K-12 and higher ed), small businesses, and individuals. Part of all this is understanding who does what, or at least who should be doing what. We started last week with our opinions about the importance of defining roles and responsibilities for governments, businesses, schools, etc. Now, let’s take it down to a more practical level.

We’ll share our opinions this week on the following:

  • How important is it to define, formalize, and communicate information security roles and responsibilities?
  • If we haven’t defined, formalized, or communicated information security roles and responsibilities, where should we start?
  • Why is it important to simplify information security, and how can I do it?
  • What does operationalizing information security look like and how can I accomplish this?
  • Roles and Responsibilities at Work:
    • Executive Management
    • CISO (or similar), two jobs.
    • IT
    • Legal
    • Everyone else.
  • Roles and Responsibilities at Home:
    • Information security, privacy, and safety cannot be separated.
    • Parent
    • Spouse
    • Children
  • What are things we can do to simplify and operationalize information security at home?
  • What should every “normal” person know about information security?

[Brad] Great conversation. We could have taken any one of these subtopics and devoted an entire show to it. I’m really looking forward to finishing this book with you. This book could help tons of people! Alright, as usual, let’s get to some news.


[Brad] Here’s what we’ve got for news this week:


[Brad] There you have it. Episode 68. Good talk today. Got any parting words?

[Evan] It’s a secret.

[Brad] Thank you to our listeners, we love hearing from you. If you’ve got something to say, email us at If you would rather do the whole social thing, we tweet sometimes. I’m @BradNigh and Evan’s @evanfrancen. Be sure to watch social media for news from RSA! SecurityStudio will be tweeting and LinkedInning all week! Check out @studiosecurity frequently. FRSecure’s Twitter handle is @FRSecure, and they’re sure to have some good things too. Especially the week after next when FRSecure is out at SecureWorld North Carolina. Lots going on and lots of chatter!

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