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Introducing “Rube”

Meet Rube!

Rube is an abstraction to help us get over some of the dated and increasingly inaccurate cliches. Specifically using “your mom” when talking about naive web users. It was inspired by a tweet by Thomas Steiner after a great web-security keynote at WWW2016 by MEZ (known to her parents as Mary Ellen Zurko). It seems like there’s a need for a new hypothetical persona to discuss security questions without causing offence to our increasingly technically-literate mothers.


Rube works for your company. Rube is a stand-up guy. He helps anybody move house if they just ask. He is the best at his job and the director of the company worries what would happen if Rube ever retires or leaves. A member of staff who is mean to Rube has made a grave career mistake. Rube runs the secret santa and convinced the boss to get a pool table for your office.

Sadly Rube has one fault… and it’s a doozy. Rube believes everything he is told and everything he reads on the Internet. He believes the boss when he says this is the best place to work in the whold world, but he also believs he going to be rich soon thanks to a Nigerian widow who just needed a little money to unlock her husband’s bank account.

Rube clicks on every link. He opens every email attachment. He also carefully reads and then ignores any security advice you send out. Rube will give his password to anybody who “seems trustworthy”. Rube is still waiting for the one unsolicited email that will make him rich.

He’ll never quit and never be fired but One day Rube might retire. On that day the director will promote his loathsome deputy Edward Zachery Markus Jones. A man with all the same gullibility and none of the talent. People call him E.Z.Mark (pron. Easy Mark)

Every Friday after work, Rube buys the entire IT department a round of drinks in the bar and listens humbly and nods when they explain basic security practice and every Monday he installs another browser toolbar he saw in a popup ad.

Your corporate security policy must take Rube into consideration. He can’t be fired and he can’t be trained.

Rube is an entirely public-domain concept, but please feel free to link back to this article. For bouus points, please leave comments with links to your Rube and E.Z.Mark stories and artwork!

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