Confessions of an Awareness Nerd

A blog providing insights and tips into the ways people learn about cybersecurity and privacy

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I’m Tom Pendergast, and I’m the Chief Learning Officer at MediaPRO.

I believe that every person cares about protecting their data, they just don’t know it yet. That’s why I write this blog and why I’ve spent my career at the intersection of education, training, culture, cybersecurity, and privacy 

I’ll use this space to write about how people, organizations, and cultures learn about cybersecurity and privacy.

Follow along if you’re interested in any of these topics:

  • How people learn about information security and privacy
  • Large-scale ramifications of peoples’ understanding of data privacy in greater depth
  • Social, political, and cultural impacts of privacy and security regulation, law, and policy


Privacy and a Return to Normal Part 2: Contact Tracing Apps Are Doomed

6 minute read

If returning to normal after the coronavirus pandemic means implementing contact tracing apps large-scale, trust will be a key factor. This might spell doom for them.

Read Why

Learning the Hard Way: Zoom and the Public Face of Security and Privacy

6 minute read

The Zoom platform learned the hard way the importance of data privacy and security to consumers. We can all take some lessons from this experience.

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The Perfect Pandemic Project: Set Up a Password Manager

3 minute read

Tired of baking and endlessly organizing all the nooks and crannies of your home during the pandemic? Take on a new project: Setting up a password manager.

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Is a Return to Normal Worth Our Privacy? Part 1: Voluntary Health Tracking

7 minute read

Health tracking may raise tough questions on privacy as we work on returning to normal after the coronavirus pandemic.

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Phishing Paranoia Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree: A True Story

2 minute read

The lessons promoted in the security training and awareness world can show up in surprising places in your personal life. Exhibit A: This true story.

Read the Story

6 Things the Coronavirus Can Teach About Security Training and Awareness

8 minute read

Even hard times can be learning experiences. Here are six lessons training and awareness managers can take from the coronavirus pandemic.

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When 'Use a VPN' Becomes 'Stranger Danger'

2 minute read

When situations change, your advice should change too. Here’s how my advice on VPN use changed when the world started working from home.

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Building a Privacy Culture for GDPR, CCPA and Beyond

6 minute read

Building an organizational privacy culture will require executive messaging, training, and ongoing communications. Here are some tips for getting there.

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The Time Is Now for Privacy Officers to Build Privacy Cultures in Our Organizations

5 minute read

The increased focus on data privacy rights means now is the time for privacy officers to focus on creating organizational privacy cultures. Here’s why.

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8 Tips for Building a Security Culture

10 minute read

Achieving a security culture through security awareness training is far from easy, but here are eight tips to put you on the path.

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It’s Time to Combine Security and Privacy Awareness Training

8 minute read

Can the seemingly disparate disciplines of security and privacy awareness training find something in common? Read my take on this topic.

Read My Take