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Schneier: Security Awareness Training 'a Waste of Time' 284

An anonymous reader writes "Security guru Bruce Schneier contends that money spent on user awareness training could be better spent and that the real failings lie in security design. 'The whole concept of security awareness training demonstrates how the computer industry has failed. We should be designing systems that won't let users choose lousy passwords and don't care what links a user clicks on,' Schneier writes in a blog post on Dark Reading. He says organizations should invest in security training for developers. He goes on, '... computer security is an abstract benefit that gets in the way of enjoying the Internet. Good practices might protect me from a theoretical attack at some time in the future, but they’re a bother right now, and I have more fun things to think about. This is the same trick Facebook uses to get people to give away their privacy. No one reads through new privacy policies; it's much easier to just click "OK" and start chatting with your friends. In short: Security is never salient.'"
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Schneier: Security Awareness Training 'a Waste of Time'

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  • Not news (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:46AM (#43221873) Homepage Journal

    Nice to hear it from someone with a big name. I'm an IT security specialist, giving talks every now and then, and I've basically been saying the same for years now. It is one of the topic where I face the most fierce opposition, usually from (big surprise) consultants and other people who offer security awareness trainings.

    I've been doing this for so long that I can sum it up in one sentence by now: If security awareness trainings would work, don't you think we would be seing SOME effect after doing them for 20 years?

    Of course, I am exaggerating a bit to make the point. I do think that training to make users familiar with specific security protocols is useful. I don't think general security awareness is. There is a plethora of reasons why it's a failure, from the context-specific nature of the human mind to the abstract level, but the main reason is that we have enough experience to show that it really is a waste of time and resources. Putting the same amount of money and effort into almost any other security program is going to give you a better ROI.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun