Security Awareness Posters

Weird and amusing tour of U.S. government security awareness posters.

Posted on October 21, 2005 at 2:54 PM • 16 Comments

Comments

Davi OttenheimerOctober 21, 2005 3:35 PM

Excellent. I think posters like these need to be far more prevalent in the US, even today:

http://afsf.lackland.af.mil/Images/WWII/pages/...
http://afsf.lackland.af.mil/Images/WWII/pages/...

This one now just reminds me of Bill Maher's book:

http://afsf.lackland.af.mil/Images/WWII/pages/...

How odd is this?

http://afsf.lackland.af.mil/Images/WWII/pages/...

And I have a hard time believing that this was really a WWII poster:

http://afsf.lackland.af.mil/Images/WWII/pages/...

Gov't security posters are definitely different than the sort of thing you'd want to put up in a company. I've found simple slogans like "Ctrl-Alt-Delete when you leave your seat" can really grow on people, while posters about confidentiality (Loose lips sink ships) aren't usually popular. Another one I've had some luck with is "don't get hooked by phishers", with a picture of a big fishing hook and a blurb describing the problem.

jasonOctober 21, 2005 4:14 PM

Davi: During WW2 vegitable waste and animal fat was used to produce nitroglycerin for bombs (by reacting with caustic soda). Makes a little more sense in that context.

Davi OttenheimerOctober 21, 2005 4:36 PM

@ jason

Yeah, I figured as much but I was a little surprised to see a poster that seems to say, "pour your fat out at the meat dealer and explosives will be fired at you". Maybe I just don't like the image of all those bombs headed right at me...

It made me think, though. I'd like to see a poster produced today that says "save your fat for refineries -- biodiesel helps create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil".

Davi OttenheimerOctober 21, 2005 5:32 PM

Thanks Zwack. It appears that the AirForce is a little better with image editing than the Navy, eh?

http://www.navysecurity.navy.mil/st030704.htm

I wonder if he was naked, or just wearing the wrong color shorts?

This one could still work today:

http://afsf.lackland.af.mil/Images/WWII/pages/...

Incidentally, I once put Microsoft's security posters in front of a group as a test case. The response was highly amusing and the images couldn't be used due to a backlash-effect (e.g. "Oh, WE should be worried about viruses? What are THEY doing about it?":

http://www.microsoft.com/Education/...

Roy OwensOctober 21, 2005 6:50 PM

Posters do a poor job of communicating anything. Reducing something meaningful to a slogan, then posting the slogan with a picture -- be it cutesy, dramatic, comic, or puzzling -- is a distraction that offends those tricked into looking at them.

It is an easy and useful skill to learn to ignore all posters and never notice their content. It's a lot like ignoring animated ads on browsers.

pw|VedOctober 21, 2005 8:46 PM

The lackland links (and most of the other mil links from the page) are dead from my browser. Do they still work from USA IPs? Maybe Fortress America has been locked down to protect it from...Australia. haha

daveOctober 22, 2005 9:41 AM

These have been around for a long time and will be around even longer. Think about the fun someone could have working with Photoshop and creating some of these weird ones.

AnonymousOctober 23, 2005 9:24 PM

The most interesting part of this is the link to the WW2 historical stuff that indicates that during WW2, they actually did studies to find out which ones worked, while today it seems to be left to inadequately trained people to make up their own (with rather variable results).

My vote for "most effective" was the one showing the convicted spies with their sentences. Not because it made me think "ooh, I must not spy because I might get caught" but because it emphasised that the threat is real.

Dancho DanchevOctober 24, 2005 9:21 AM

Security awareness posters always have an unprecedented long-term educational effect that hopefully turns into a "dynamic habit" by both the authors building awareness on constantly changing threats, and the end users' realizing that what used to be secure today is no longer secure tomorrow.

Central Cost Security's team have taken the effort to regularly update and provide for free, a *huge* archive of security related posters :

http://members.impulse.net/~sate/posters.html

FritzOctober 30, 2005 5:54 PM

I grew up as a military brat. Overseas, the on-base cable channel broadcast operational security reminders regularly.

It doesn't seem unreasonable, bizarre or weird to remind military personnel to keep their eyes open -- Schneier constantly writes about the importance of vigilant people instead of technology to recognize threats that fall outside of movie plot patterns, after all.

Besides, it isn't really paranoia if they're really out to get you :-)

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