ACSC goes silly on cybersecurity as public outreach campaign hits YouTube

The newly formed Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has tapped its funny bone with a series of humorous video vignettes designed to educate the public about a range of common online threats.

Spearheading a campaign called 'Recognise. Report.”, the video (see it here) features well-known comedian Merrick Watts offering light-hearted warnings about a laundry list of online threats including deceptive emails, cyber crime, identity theft, and personal devices.

While much of the content is thoroughly tongue-in-cheek – “how can I share personal information when I'm stuck in the '80s?” Watts asks as he speaks into a voluminous 'brick' cell phone – the goal of the videos is to raise awareness of common scams and to encourage online citizens to report suspicious activity to the ACSC.

The ACSC began soliciting incident reports after the November 2014 opening of the facility, which brought together specialised cybercrime experts from a range of government bodies.

“Two of the key roles of the ACSC are to raise awareness of cyber security and enable reporting of cyber security incidents,” an ACSC spokesperson said in a statement.

“The ACSC is trying a different approach to traditional methods of security communication....We envisage 'Recognise. Report' will be a useful resources for organisations to start a conversation about protecting their vital information.”

The ACSC handles reporting of cybersecurity incidents from Australian businesses and government agencies, while members of the public are referred to the Australian Cybcercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

Time will tell if the video becomes a viral hit. But with equal helpings of silliness, good advice, pizza and geography lessons, it may well help attract attention to the growing need for cybersecurity caution.

Suggesting this won't be the last time you see Watts spruiking the cause of cybersecurity, the ACSC has established its own YouTube channel.