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Security Awareness

Featuring 54 Papers as of June 17, 2014

  • Using Influence Strategies to Improve Security Awareness Programs by Alyssa Robinson - October 25, 2013 

    Many of the problems faced by information security professionals could be solved, or at least ameliorated, if people acted differently.

  • Information Risks & Risk Management by John Wurzler - May 1, 2013 

    In a relatively short period of time, data in the business world has moved from paper files, carbon copies, and filing cabinets to electronic files stored on very powerful computers.

  • Robots.txt by Jim Lehman - May 31, 2012 

    Every minute of every day the web is searched, indexed and abused by web Robots; also known as Web Wanderers, Crawlers and Spiders.

  • A Process for Continuous Improvement Using Log Analysis by David Swift - October 26, 2011 

    A great deal of money has been spent by organizations on security technology, with only moderate success. Technology is often installed, but often left untuned and unmonitored. Though vendors have touted self-defending networks (Gleichauf, 2005), and claimed their products are impervious, reality teaches otherwise.

  • Rationally Opting for the Insecure Alternative: Negative Externalities and the Selection of Security Controls Masters
    by Craig Wright - September 19, 2011 

    Absolute security does not exist and nor can it be achieved. The statement that a computer is either secure or not is logically falsifiable (Peisert & Bishop, 2007), all systems exhibit a level of insecurity.

  • Scoping Security Assessments - A Project Management Approach by Ahmed Abdel-Aziz - June 7, 2011 

    Security assessments can mean different things to different people. This paper will explore what a security assessment is, why it should be done, and how it is different than a security audit.

  • Managing Insiders in Utility Control Environments Analyst Paper
    by Matthew E. Luallen - March 17, 2011 

    This paper discusses techniques attackers use to exploit missing insider controls and offers a cohesive set of cyber, operational and physical controls to manage a range of user access types for better security and compliance in utility control environments.

  • Measuring Psychological Variables of Control In Information Security by Josh More - January 12, 2011 

    Perceived Control is a core construct used in the psychology field that can be considered an aspect of empowerment (Eklund, & Backstrom, 2006). Effectively, it is a measure of how much control people feel that they have, as opposed to the amount of Actual Control that they may have. It is often paired against constructs such as Vicarious Control and Vicarious Perceived Control, which measure the amount of control that outside entities have over the subject. Often, these are variables measured in the psychology/health field. For example, in the world of medicine, when patients report a lack of perceived control over controllable illnesses such as diabetes (Helgeson, & Franzen, 1997), breast cancer (Helgeson, 1992) and heart disease (Helgeson, 1992), they often do more poorly than patients who feel that they have a greater sense of control over their illness. There is also evidence that students with high perceived control do substantially better academically than those with low, though this seems to also link with emotions surrounding the tasks at hand (Ruthig, Perry, Hladkyj, Hall, & Pekrun, 2008). In short, people who are interested in and excited by what they are doing tend to perform better.

  • Which Disney© Princess are YOU? by Joshua Brower - March 18, 2010 

    Social engineering takes many form; some obvious, some not so obvious. One not so obvious form is that of questionnairesbe it a knock on the door to answer a survey for a census worker, or a harmless quiz found on a social networking site. Depending upon their content, they can serve as a very powerful means of capturing and correlating information for nefarious purposes.

  • Prelude as a Hybrid IDS Framework by Curt Yasm - March 24, 2009 

    In this paper, I will discuss the Open Source Security Information Management (SIM) system known as Prelude.

  • The Importance of Security Awareness Training by Cindy Brodie - January 14, 2009 

    One of the greatest threats to information security could actually come from within your company or organization. Inside attacks have been noted to be some of the most dangerous since these people are already quite familiar with the infrastructure. It is not always disgruntled workers and corporate spies who are a threat. Often, it is the non-malicious, uninformed employee (CTG, 2008).

  • Vendor-Supplied Backdoor Passwords - A Continuing Vulnerability by Astrid Todd - September 26, 2008 

    Vendor-supplied passwords embedded in software/hardware continue to be a securing vulnerability. Securing your network against vendor-supplied backdoor passwords is an ongoing process of staying informed through security mailing lists and bulletins, increased scrutiny of software/hardware before purchase, intense review of vendor documentation, application of vendor-supplied patches, and proper handling of default passwords/accounts.

  • Making Security Awareness Efforts Work for You by Rebecca Fowler - May 20, 2008 
  • The Controlled Event Framework for Information Asset Security by Chris Cronin - February 20, 2008 

    This paper proposes a framework for implementing, operating and testing document security controls within an organization. While much security management is meant to prevent people from doing things they ought not do, a framework is meant to help people do what they ought to do. In the case of the Controlled Event Framework for Information Asset Security, people are directed with some specificity on how to handle documents so they do their work effectively and securely.

  • Data Leakage - Threats and Mitigation by Peter Gordon - October 24, 2007 

    This paper explores data leakage and how it can impact an organization. Because more forms of communication are being utilized within organizations, such as Instant Messaging; VOIP; etc, beyond traditional email, more avenues for data leakage have emerged.

  • Identity Theft by Ian Wolff - July 2, 2007 

    The research shows that with the help of technology, legislation and general consumer awareness identity thieves can be thwarted.

  • Social Engineering Your Employees to Information Security by Martin Manjak - December 19, 2006 

    Information security should be part and parcel of a set of internal controls that govern the processes, operations, and transactions that constitute the life of the organization.

  • Building a Security Policy Framework for a Large, Multi-national Company by Leslie VanCura - May 5, 2005 

    Information Security is not just technology. It is a process, a policy, and a culture. Our organization had spent millions of dollars on technology to keep the "bad guys" out, but we had spent little time building the foundations of our Information Security Program.

  • The Role of the Security Analyst in the Systems Development Life Cycle by Brad Gray - May 5, 2005 

    This paper will proceed in a very logical manner to describe how a sequential development life cycle increases in depth as security is applied. Each major portion of the paper will address a phase of the system development lifecycle.

  • A Discussion of Spyware by Patria Leath - January 28, 2005 

    The insidious nature of spyware combined with the lack of user awareness and spyware's potential for surveillance, data gathering and system hijacking pose a threat to home users and businesses. Commercial interests, the technology industry, consumers and legislators must combine efforts to address this threat.

  • Developing a Security-Awareness Culture - Improving Security Decision Making by Chris Garrett - January 18, 2005 

    CIOs, managers and staff are faced with ever increasing levels of complexity in managing the security of their organizations and in preventing attacks that are increasingly sophisticated. As individuals we are subjected to enormous amounts of information across broad ranges of subjects, for example, security policies, new technologies, new patches, new threats, new sources of information, the list is endless.

  • Examination of PC security: How we got where we are and how to fix it by Thomas Sprinkmeier - November 30, 2004 

    This essay explores the reasons for the poor state of PC security that currently exists. This essay focuses on the end users rather than the administrators. Threats and solutions are examined form an end-user's perspective.

  • Moving from Consciousness to Culture: Creating an Environment of Security Awareness by Mary Munley - July 25, 2004 

    Although the aftermath of September 11th has brought to the forefront the realization that security threats are real, most companies are still far from creating a culture of security awareness within their organizations.

  • Overview of Security Issues Facing Computer Users by Michael Boeckeler - June 9, 2004 

    Every security safeguard a computer user takes will reduce the number of people skilled enough to break into their computer. After all, there are a finite number of people who have the skill required to break into computer systems.

  • The Many Facets of an Information Security Program by Robert Behm - March 9, 2004 

    This document is a review of the various programs and processes that should be in place within any organization for the protection of their information assets. The many areas of any organization's security program play key roles in supporting the certification and accreditation (C&A) process of an organization's information assets.

  • Vendors and External Outsource Providers How Safe is Your Companys Confidential Data by Stan Gucwa - March 9, 2004 

    Let us assume your business is fairly accomplished in the Risk Assessment evolutionary ladder. Perhaps your company already assesses its network configurations regularly, all the applications in use have been reviewed for stringent security guidelines, maybe the IT team has even classified all your corporate information assets, and the vulnerability assessments are complete.

  • System Vulnerability Mitigation by Kevin Vasquez - March 4, 2004 

    This essay addresses various facets of IT security and offers insight into the different areas that should be considered when attempting to adequately protect a system.

  • Attacks Against The Mechanical Pin Tumbler Lock by Craig Kawaga - March 3, 2004 

    This paper examines an overview of the common pin tumbler lock and the five methods to exploit them. Pin tumbler locks are found in a vast majority of residential, commercial, government and educational institutions.

  • The Relevance of Quantum Cryptography in Modern Cryptographic Systems by Christoph Guenther - March 3, 2004 

    This paper explains the basic principles of quantum cryptography and how these principles apply to quantum key distribution. One specific quantum key distribution protocol called is described in detail and compared to traditional (nonquantum) cryptographic systems.

  • Securing Wireless Networks for HIPAA Compliance by Daniel Odorisio - March 3, 2004 

    The intent of this paper is to discuss wireless networks and why it is useful to organizations, namely healthcare organizations. Once we have established the foundation for why we need wireless, we will cover the vulnerabilities and problems with wireless networks.

  • Distributed Computing: An Unstoppable Brute Force by Michael Hill - March 2, 2004 

    Distributed computing allows groups to accomplish work that was not feasible before with supercomputers, due to cost or time constraints. Although the primary functions of distributed computing systems is to produce needed processing power to complete complex computations, distributed computing also reaches outside of the processing arena to other areas such as network usage.

  • Security Concerns in Using Open Source Software for Enterprise Requirements by Sreenivasa Vadalasetty - January 11, 2004 

    This paper highlights the security concerns of the end users in considering open source software for their enterprise requirements.

  • Essential Information Security For Corporate Employees by Lloyd Guyot - August 22, 2003 

    This paper was written to raise security awareness and provide corporate employees with essential security information that emphasizes critical issues surrounding an implementation of security "best practices" throughout an organization.

  • Developing an Integrated Security Training, Awareness, and Education Program by Courtney Gilbert - August 8, 2003 

    This essay describes how to successfully implement a comprehensive Security Training, Awareness, and Education program within a federal arena and further illustrates these processes are applicable and utilized in commercial organizations as well by using the Instructional System Design (ISD) process or model.

  • Creating the effective Security Awareness Program and Demonstration by Fred Hinchcliffe - June 3, 2003 

    Statistics gathered at the writing of this document indicate there are in excess of 160,000,000 computers that have access to the internet in some way.

  • Community Policing on the Internet by Tim Brown - March 4, 2003 

    This paper applies the principles of community policing and crime prevention to the Internet and details establishing relationships between law enforcement and potential victims, their individual roles and responsibilities, and some of the problems the relationship may alleviate such as fears a victim may have concerning the reporting of cybercrime.

  • The Need for Information Security in Today's Economy by Jeff Tarte - February 8, 2003 

    The role of Information Security is essential for the protection of consumers, businesses, governments, and the U.S. and World economy from the threats caused by the natural advancement of Information Technology and society as we know it.

  • Ghosts in the machine: The who, why, and how of attacks on information security by Cary Barker - January 27, 2003 

    To provide the best security one, needs to know the enemy: who they are, why they are attacking, and how they attack.

  • Security Awareness - Implementing an Effective Strategy by Chelsa Russell - October 25, 2002 

    This paper examines the importance of security awareness, how it supports the fundamental goals of an information security program and provides a recommendation for implementing an effective security awareness strategy.

  • Methods and Techniques of Implementing a Security Awareness Program by William Hubbard - April 8, 2002 

    This paper will illustrate why security awareness is so important and what it is supposed to accomplish.

  • Consumer Labeling for Software Security by Tom Melton - January 27, 2002 

    There are steps we can take to improve computer security. For corporate computers, the answer is twofold: make security a priority for the organization and get security expertise either by hiring or training.

  • Data Center Physical Security Checklist by Sean Heare - December 1, 2001 

    This paper presents an informal checklist compiled to ascertain weaknesses in the physical security of the data centers that their organization utilizes.

  • Security Awareness: Help the Users Understand by Kenton Smith - October 17, 2001 

    The purpose of this paper is to give you a guideline that you can use to put on a basic security awareness workshop.

  • Modeling the Silicon Curtain by John Saunders - October 6, 2001 

    This paper presents the available range of modeling and simulation capabilities in Information Assurance and establishes some principles for extending these capabilities into the community.

  • Security Awareness Starts in IT by William Farrar - September 10, 2001 

    This practical defines the current state of business operations, security design function, introduction policy development, security awareness, and communicates our new found knowledge to the IT security design team.

  • Introduction and Education of Information Security Policies to Employees in My Organization by Harbinder Kaur - August 29, 2001 

    This paper discusses a regional Information Security Office in Asia Pacific, setup to introduce the Information Security Policies to all Asia Pacific staff and educate them on these policies.

  • License to Surf? by Eddy Vanlerberghe - August 21, 2001 

    This paper discusses the similarity between car and computer evolutions, used to highlight security shortcomings in today's personal computer usage, as well as hint at possible remedies.

  • Secure This: Organizational Buy-in (A communications approach) by Wendy Ady - August 14, 2001 

    This paper will discuss the importance and recommend methods for soliciting and securing the organization's executive buy-in using a communications theory perspective.

  • Security Awareness Training Quiz - Finding the WEAKEST link! by David Sustaita - August 13, 2001 

    This paper discusses the need to employ not only an company wide security overview but also put in place a testing mechanism to make sure their employees understand the basics of computer security.

  • The Ultimate Defense of Depth: Security Awareness in Your Company by Brian Voss - August 11, 2001 

    By including the human factor in your security infrastructure via an effective Security Awareness Program, you will be implementing the ultimate defense of depth.

  • Security Awareness Training and Privacy by Michelle Johnston - July 28, 2001 

    An organization's security policy sets the standard for the way in which critical business information and systems will be protected from both internal and external threats.

  • Selling Security To Management by Jeff Hall - July 25, 2001 

    This document will help you understand how to create presentations that will engage management and will discuss the common presentation pitfalls that befall technology people.

  • awareness, quality assurance, security, techniques, implement, sans, white paper by Elizabeth Stanton - July 21, 2001 

    This paper discusses how quality is the responsibility of the whole organization and security is a part of the totality of quality of a system, implicit in customers' expectations.

  • Awareness, A Never Ending Struggle by Douglas Alred - July 18, 2001 

    This paper provides examples the importance of computer security awareness training and discusses some key points to any successful awareness program.

Most of the computer security white papers in the Reading Room have been written by students seeking GIAC certification to fulfill part of their certification requirements and are provided by SANS as a resource to benefit the security community at large. SANS attempts to ensure the accuracy of information, but papers are published "as is". Errors or inconsistencies may exist or may be introduced over time as material becomes dated. If you suspect a serious error, please contact

All papers are copyrighted. No re-posting or distribution of papers is permitted.

Masters - This paper was created by a SANS Technology Institute student as part of their Master's curriculum.