Popcorn Training, Security Awareness Training firm, held their official Cape Town launch at the V & A Waterfront’s Cinema Nouveau. Popcorn Training has created a unique awareness program. Its effective story based approach addresses the weighty topic of Cybercrime and the threats to personal and corporate information via animated characters in a ‘movie-style’ scenario that is fun and memorable.

‘While Technology is rapidly advancing, so are the strategies that online criminals use to steal large quantities of critical and personal information. These Cybercriminals use increasingly complex approaches in order to be less detectable,’ says Claire Hoets, director of Popcorn Training.

They often target mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are less aware of security risks. The result according to Norton’s cybercrime report 2012 is a staggering $110 billion dollars lost to Cybercrime per year with 556 million victims annually – that’s 18 victims every second. Out of 24 worldwide countries, SA has the 3rd highest incidence of Cybercrime.

The cybercrime report shows startling statistics. Most victims of cybercrime are mobile internet users and social network users. 2/3 adults use a mobile device to access the internet, most of them don’t use a security solution on their mobile device and 44% of mobile device users aren’t even aware that security solutions exist. 4/10 social network users have fallen victim to cybercrime on social networking platforms. Email is another potential gateway for criminals looking for personal/ corporate info.

IT security is becoming increasingly pertinent for both businesses and individuals. Corporate companies are now also being pressured to ensure that their staff is aware of the security policies and principles designed to protect personal, client and corporate information. Data leaks can be detrimental to corporate reputations and with the introduction of the new POPI bill; they could result in financial penalties as well.

So how to begin addressing such a dangerous and rapidly growing form of crime? Experts agree that the human element is the weakest link for criminals to target. Yet 30% of people don’t think about cybercrime when online because they don’t expect it will happen to them and a further 30% don’t understand the risks or how to protect themselves.

Security awareness programs are becoming critical to ensure that potential victims are able to recognise and avoid Cybercriminal scams and adopt security savvy behaviour that limits their exposure to cybercrime attacks. The most vulnerable targets are usually those who do not regularly update their virus software, are careless with passwords or visit websites with little or no security.

There are however many more avenues criminals will exploit. The more educated and aware individuals are, the smaller the opportunity for cybercriminals.

Popcorn Training has developed a series of short 4-minute animated cartoons that link together in a continuing storyline. Each cartoon episode focuses on a relevant security awareness topic by using quirky cybercrime villains named ‘Mannie Laundering’ ‘Fraudy Skimbag’ and ‘Robbin Yodata’ to explain IT security threats and the possible repercussions. The cartoon hero’s SupaPOPI, and targeted victim ‘Vicky Tim’ explain and demonstrate what actions individuals can take to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime.

‘With impactful and memorable Security Awareness Training, organizations can raise staff awareness ultimately resulting in positive behaviour change towards information security. This in conjunction with sound security policies, processes and effective technology will improve companies’ overall information risk and security posture,’ says Anna Collard, Popcorn Training director.

‘The value that lies in knowledgeable, security-aware staff is far-reaching. When end-users become security assets rather than liabilities an organization is truly security conscious.’

The Popcorn Training team draws on many years of IT Security and Communication Management experience to effectively get their vital message through to corporate staff. Using high quality video animation, the material is easily accessible and entertaining, featuring short stories that are well told and carry important, punchy messages.

And while the training material applies to companies, it also teaches practical skills helping individuals navigate the increasingly complex world of Internet threats that they face in their daily personal lives.