Public Service Announcements have long been used to warn society of threats that have the potential to affect a large portion of the population. PSAs are routinely done for antismoking, infectious diseases and texting-while-driving public awareness campaigns.
Perhaps it's time for PSAs focused on cybercrime?
The federal government is certainly stepping up its warning calls about computer crime. This morning the FBI issued a warning about a fraudulent e-mail message with the subject line "New Patterns in Al-Qaeda Financing." The message is delivered with a malicious attachment that is suspected of having files to steal user system credentials.
The problem is, though, who routinely keeps a lookout for FBI cybercrime warnings? Television is by far a more popular medium and a better way of getting the word out. PSAs would be a great forum to warn the public about threats like the Hotmail Phishing attack or the latest Facebook malware. PSAs can be so popular that they can achieve cult status -- remember the Crash Test Dummy ads?
Phishing attacks often involve excellent mimicking of legitimate sites and are therefore becoming harder to detect, particularly for novice users. It's time for a strong PSA campaign about cyberthreats---the same as would be made for any other outbreak that could threaten the population.