April Letter

Hi there,

Email-based cyber attacks have surged since last year, and it's expected to get worse. More on that later - it's part of a bigger story that starts with this:

Cyber Attacks on Affluent Families is Rising

The Chicago-based firm Hillard Heintze is one of the leading security risk management firms in the world, and Steve Bova is Vice President for their Private Client + Family Office division. 

On March 8th, Mr. Bova wrote:

"For many of our private clients, we are seeing evidence that cyber-criminals are employing the same methods they use in corporate espionage to target them and the offices that support them.

Several of the schemes our team has encountered recently are very sophisticated and contain elements that corporate entities are tracking and trying to counter with protective strategies.

Wealthy families are an attractive target for cyber-attacks because their cyber defense systems are usually not as robust as those in a corporate environment supported by a full team of experienced information security experts with access to advanced technology and robust practices, procedures and training." 

Steve Bova, Hillard Heintze, March 8th.

Bova is a colleague with deep experience in security and law enforcement, especially in technological and cyber activities. You can read the report in the tile below, but his  point is about trickle-down technology in cybercrime.

The digital trickle-down effect is what's increasing hacker sophistication while decreasing target-size profiles of potential victims.  It's driving cyber risk to unprotected targets, including individuals - what we call the "personalization of cyber risk."

The Personalization of Cyber Risk

The trend toward the personalization of cyber risk was just emerging in 2012, and it's why I started TDS the next year. After 25 years of working with private banks, family offices, and wealthy clients, I was in position for an early view of what was coming with cyber threats in daily life.

In the years ahead, as I saw it in 2013, sophisticated cyber attacks would mass-target individuals and personal technology. Attacks would be increasingly effective, hostile, and with a criminal motive. Perpetrators would include lowly thugs, organized cartels, nation states and militaries, and hordes of the marginalized from everywhere. The personalization of cyber risk will in our day become one of society's great challenges. 

“Cyber attacks are the #1 threat to mankind today.”

   Warren Buffett on May 6th, 2017 – Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting.

What's It Mean?

The digital equivalent of financial theft, fraud, blackmail, and extortion are on the rise. Cybercrimes committed against anyone that has anything to lose is fast becoming an experience of daily life, and a consequence of mainstream activity. 

The nature of cybercrime coupled with the lure of easy money in a troubled society equates to a vast pool of potential victims. It's trillions of dollars that are at stake, and before long, cybercrime will be a big problem for more than just the wealthy.

"Opportunistic" Mass Attacks are the Future

The mega-trend in cybercrime is mass-targeted "opportunistic attacks" against the vulnerable and unprepared - people using their personal technology. 

Here's a chart by F-Secure Labs illustrating how "opportunistic" attacks have already become the most active cyber-related threat today:

F-sec opportunistic red chart annot-1

It's the bottom piece of the chart that we need to watch - the Mass Attacks. These are opportunistic exploits that target the unprepared in high-volume.

The trickle-down effect of technology means anyone anywhere can use sophisticated hacking tools to profit quickly from easy prey. Cybercriminals are targeting the unprotected, low-hanging fruit that is all that stands between themselves and their claim to the trillions of dollars on the other side.

Over the next 5-years, it's the mass-opportunistic attacks where most of the damage will occur in cybercrime.

Email is Attack Vector #1

And that brings us full circle to email.

If our digital home has a front door, it's our personal email account. Most users don't protect and secure their email, so it's not surprising most cybercrime activity starts at the inbox.

"Today, a new generation of cybercriminal organizations is the driving force behind rapidly-evolving, socially-engineered email threats that grow more dangerous by the day."

Agari, an email security company in their Q1-2019 report.  

The best thing you can do to avoid loss and damage from cybercrime is to think differently about personal email.

TDS brand icon- private email accountPrivatizing email moves you away from most of the risk and abuse online.

We provide a secure, authenticated email system that you own and control personally. The system is enterprise-class, it's the only email account you need, and it will provide a lifetime of peace of mind.

If you're still using Yahoo Mail, AOL, Hotmail, MSN, or their equivalents, contact us here or reply to me to see about private email and how it can work for you.

Thanks for reading,

Brad Deflin

Click to view online

Click to print PDF

front gate hacker laptop-2

Cyber Attacks on Affluent Families

Steve Bova from Hillard Heintze on "Cyber-Criminals’ Latest Targets: Ultra-High Net Worth Families, Offices and Businesses."

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