• United States



by Sandy Kendall

Will an Ad Campaign Improve Cybersecurity?

Nov 03, 20032 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

The health of corporate networks, and perhaps the Internet itself, is now imperiled by users who do not heed the cry to refrain from opening unsolicited attachments, to install a firewall, or to routinely update their anti-virus software. And the Department of Homeland Security thinks its worth spending nearly $2 million to get them to listen up.

Two weeks ago, DHS announced that it is partnering with the National Cyber Security Alliance, a group of more than 50 technology companies (from Akamai to Worldcomand, for the record, including CSOs sister CIO magazine), to launch a $1.8 million ad campaign to educate consumers. DHS will match funds raised by the Alliance up to $650,000. According to a Washington Post report on this project, the Ad Council, which uses donated advertising space for public service announcements, will also help out. Spots for TV, radio, print and movie theaters are slated to begin hitting consumers next year.

One hopes that the creative will be as amusing and compelling as that in Citibanks current identity theft ads, where a sweet old lady talks to the camera while placidly skimming her above-ground pool, but her voice is that of the crook who stole her ID and bought himself a big truck with the mudflaps with the naked ladies on em. Whatever their content, the ads will direct consumers to the National Cyber Security Alliances website called Stay Safe Online. While it features a page of colorful logos from sponsors, theres no overt selling going on, just a mix of quizzes, links and tips about firewalls, patches and passwords.

Thats the plan. What do you think of it? Is this a good use of $1.8 million? What will it take to make it work?