Australian Government Cyber-Security Video Is Painful To Watch

How do you like to receive your information on so-called cyber-security? If you like it to be outdated, littered with terrible puns and just a little bit racist? If you answered yes, you're awful and will love this atrociously bad public service announcement from the Government about how to protect your digital assets and online identity.

The ad stars former Australian radio "personality" Merrick Watts in the "humourous" narrator role, telling us all the things we ought to do to keep ourselves safe.

The lessons we walk away with are: nerds are fat and have no friends, don't let foreign pizza guys into your house, be a pervy stalker with night vision goggles and generally just be a douche.

Honestly it's 2015, and we're smarter than you think. Pull your fucking socks up.



    WTF.......that, my friends was certainly cringeworthy.

    Looks like a parody rather than an infomercial.

    The worst part is that it's better and more engaging than your general Australian govt advert.

    only use outdated technology?. Better fire up my 486 and quickly hack the password i forgot.

      Woah! That's 100 more... 86es...??? ... than I had. But nothing was cooler than hitting the Turbo button!

        you turned the turbo off?

    Honestly it’s 2015, and everyone's stupider than you think. Hooray for information security. Lets bake a cake.


    Jesus, what arsehole okayed this??

    ..oh yeah, Coalition government. I forgot where I was for a second.

      This sort of garbage comes direct from the public service usually, governments don't get involved in this low level sort of activity. So thank your heavily unionised, lazy, over paid and protected, shiny pantsed lefty public "servants" for it.

        Yup. Anyone who's worked in public service can tell you that the actual ministers of the sitting government have very little to do with the day to day running of a department.

        Usually stuff like this gets made as a personal project by someone trying to earn a better, higher paying position in the department.

        And this was the advertisement that made it, it doesn't count the number of failed ones that cost us money.

        You honestly think a national campaign would be considered too "low-level" to not be signed off by it's respective minister? So by your account those heavily unionised, lazy, over paid, shiny pantsed lefty public servants are kept busy DOING THEIR BOSSES WORK.


          As a federal public servant I can tell you this for a fact - We only do what the ministers want us to do - unless we want to get fired. And apparently the ministers are doing what the public wants, seeing as the democratic majority of y'all voted the Government in.

            If they were doing what the public wanted they wouldn't be the least liked government in 60 years. They weren't voted in based on pretty much anything they have then done after coming to power.

        If you want to call anything garbage, it's this Murdoch-inspired hate of public servants and decrying how overpaid and lazy they are.

        In my personal experience, and that of close friends, there are plenty of hardworking public servants and plenty of lazy people working for private enterprise, and vice versa.

        From an assortment of public servants, big business employees, non-for profit organisations... heck, pretty much ANY employer type you can name, you'll find lazy and hardworking individuals. Are their lazy public servants? Most certainly. But to dismiss all public servants as lazy is just pathetic.

    D.I.C.S. - that just about sums this campaign up

    I can't understand why Merrick keeps getting gigs. He must be the least funny person I've ever heard or seen. Absolutely no charisma or timing.

    The people who masterminded this are the same people that want to retain our data?

    To be fair, this video is from the ACSC, which sits in the Australian Signals Directorate, which is itself part of the Department of Defence, and none of whom are known for their sense of humour. Just 9 months ago, they were out trying to scare businesses away from implementing BYOD, and scare governments away from online service delivery:

    And as bad as it is (and I'll admit I briefly guffawed once during it), this unintentionally unfunny video is a massive improvement of their previous unintentionally funny videos from just over 3 years ago:

    Does anyone else see Merrick Watts and think he'd be a complete arsehole in real life. Like he'd leave everytime it was his shout for beer....

      I went to high school with Merrick. He was a top bloke. Back then, he was actually funny.

        Nice to know - I'll see him in a better light now. Maybe it was just a little envy creeping in.

    Wow, I cant believe I helped pay for this shit. That was terrible.

    So I bit and watched the video, expecting an atrocity. Honestly though, I don't think it was that bad.

    Could it have been done better? Well yeah, sure. But you need to keep in mind, this video is not targeted at us, the technology-savvy visitors of a site like Gizmodo. This is targeted at those not-so-technologically savvy people. And the advice given in the video is to spot dodgy emails, how to avoid putting personal information online, be careful what you post on social media, etc. None of that is bad advice. Except the part about using outdated technology, but that was clearly a joke. Some jokes were bad yeah, but I also admit I did crack a smile on a couple of occasions.

    It wasn't the best delivery, but it gets the point across, and I can see how it would appeal to your average technology user. I think you're being needlessly condescending about this Luke, and I think you also need to lighten up a bit and have a sense of humour.

      Please look at the NBN the government is putting in place, and tell me that the "using outdated technology" line was a joke.

      I think it really IS government policy.


    I don't this ad is intended for you or even 99% of the population. It actually makes sense that they would try to appeal to the lowest denominator with fat jokes and racist "humor". I'm surprised their isn't a fart joke in there. The reason being is that most cyber fraud targets the very gullible i.e.

    The technique most cyber scammers use in phishing via e-mail etc is to make the e-mail so ridiculous that only the most gullible of people will engage. This increases the close rate on respondents reducing total workload. i.e. if you make it too clever you'll get more respondents, of which a high percentage will figure out it's a scam before the scammer gets the loot.

    So they need to engage & educate the most gullible, not you, not me, not 99% of the population. Unfortunately I think this Ad may actually help to do that job, if anything it may be a little too clever.

      My concern is that it doesn't serve anyone.

      It doesn't have enough information in it for people to be adequately informed as how to *fix* their cyber security issues because it's too busy trying to be glib and funny. It doesn't have time to be funny because it's busy trying to be informative, and it isn't informative because it's too busy trying to pander to people who don't know anything. It's trying to be all things to all people and ends up in a steaming heap of nothing for noone. It sucks.

        It's hard to be informative and get the desired result with that target audience. i.e. many campaigns informing on perils of anti-vaccination had been followed by vaccination rates going down.

        It gave 2 fairly clear messages. Don't let strangers use your tech. Don't post personal info online. They probably have some data that recommends education on these two points will have a reasonable ROI in % reduction of cyber crime.

        Is this perfect? Far from it.
        Will it help? probably

          I'd love it if we could educate people without lowering the tone to suit the lowest common denominator. I think I'll cease to draw breath before we get there though.

            I was shown this at my yearly induction training (death by powerpoint presentation) for army reserves - it's not about educating people, its about arse covering - when someone screws up they can hang you out to dry because you have been trained and should know better. And this is hilarious compared to the rest of the training.

        With respect Luke, I disagree:

        The takeaway message here is the best way to fix your cybersecurity is YOUR behaviour.

        If some tech luddite clicks on an e-mail link or shares personal information over social networks or regularly thinks nothing of a lost usb key and just replaces it there is NOTHING that can be done on that person's PC to fix that. Nothing at all.

        Everything mentioned in this video still happens on an extremely frequent basis - like everyday frequent.

        It's trying to address the root cause of most cyber threats, which is the human behaviour, even though you might find it cringe worthy because you are a tech journalist.

        You and me and others who visit this site are not the target audience.

    Such a bad ad. I'm kind of surprised the government made an ad showing an arab looking man with a shirt that says bomb, and a shoe (ala shoe bomb) device.

    How about showing a few examples of the most common phishing emails so people know what to look out for. This is much more common then someone knocking on your door and trying to use your computer, ie. has anyone ever had a hacker enter their house to hack them.

    Tax dollars hard at work. The only thing I liked in that was the ticker in the background "Password has been changed to Password2"

    ..."former Australian radio “personality” Merrick Watts "...
    Hmm you do know that he is currently do the drive home shift on TripleM Melbourne right?

    The best bit is how they give zero constructive suggestions on how to avoid cyber crime other than "report it". I'm really supposed to report every single spam email I get?

      Isn't the idea that this ad is run as an ad on youtube and like all youtube ads if you want more information on what you are seeing you tap/click on the ad to go to the corresponding website?

    You guys are a cynical bunch. It wasn't that bad. Can see it being targeted at older generations not us tech folk.

    Last edited 06/02/15 3:29 pm

    Is this for real? I am actually having trouble accepting/believing this is not a hoax on the part of gizmodo. Why have we not seen these ads our there in the wild? Where will they be shown?

    @jonoc330 This would be terrible for technically illiterate folks. It's so dripping in sarcasm and loaded with domain knowledge irony it would just leave people confused about what to take seriously.

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