Is East Korean Really Your Biggest Threat?

By Dave Tuckman from Golden State Web Solutions, Inc. ( / Nov 2017   

We did a Cybersecurity presentation at the Microsoft Store in Fashion Valley on November 3rd, 2017 and called it ‘Don’t Let The Grinch Cybersteal Your Holidays’ (here’s the recap). These are always enjoyable, it’s great to see all the attendees so interested, engaged and having such a desire to learn. Ironically my biggest takeaway from this event, took place before it even began.

Earlier that morning, I was out/about picking up last minute supplies for the event. When I was at one location purchasing the food, the cashier noticed my GSWS/Cybersecurity shirt and commented on the Cybersecurity tagline. Paraphrasing, the conversation something like this:

  Cashier:  Good morning! Were you able to find everything you are looking for?                Dave:   I hope so. Thanks for asking                                                                                      Cashier:  Cybersecurity? I bet that gives you some good job security…                              Dave:  (smiles), It definitely keeps us busy. There’s definitely a need, actually                          everything here is for a presentation we have today.                                       Cashier:  Yeah, you need to be real careful with those Vietnamese. Their leaders                           are crazy, and he’s behind all of this.                                                                           Dave:  (smiles), actually, if I can share some of my intel with you, it’s actually                         the East Koreans you really want to keep your eyes on.                                     Cashier:  Man, you do know your stuff. I was reading about them the other day.              Dave:  (still using the previous smile) Thanks, yes there’s going to be                                         something new every day. Best thing you can do is continue to keep                             your eyes open, and ask questions. Here’s my card – reach out if you                       ever have some questions. Happy to help.

From there we wrapped up and I went on my way. The conversation itself may sound a bit silly, but underneath, there was a pretty serious message that made me pause. Employees and co-workers are the life blood of an organization (and a hacker’s primary target). If they don’t know what’s going on, what do we think is going to happen?

Here we have a good/intelligent person, who enjoys where they work and is perfectly capable of their responsibilities - but at the same time had no clue what the real risks are.

So who really is our biggest threat?
It’s not Vietnam, East Korea, or the employee - It is the organization itself.

How much more secure would this organization be, if they simply implemented security awareness training to their staff?

I walked into our presentation wondering how many attendees might have a similar perspective. That influenced what (and how) the presentation ultimately got communicated, and I think, overall, it helped make the event that much better an experience for everyone.     

Questions/Comments? You can reach Dave directly at (619-905-4468) or email