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I received an email from a car I inquired about on AutoTrader.com. I got a reply from the person who lives far away. All the alarms went off in my head as I read the reply. Misspelled words, too much information about facts that are irrelevant, no address listed on the ad, abnormal requests (no loan or financing on my side is required for this deal,)  spaces   between words that were irregular (yes, I did it here to show you.) Being that this is outside of a working environment the gmail.com address and the lack of a signature in the email, I let slide.

This made is past the office mail filter as it was from a legitimate source. It did not trip any of the impersonation protection key words or any of the other basic alarms. The new scam is based on my inquiry of a deal that was “too good to be true.” I totally replied and I’ll be happy to let you know more about this. When a “scammer” claiming to be Microsoft calls our office we transfer the call to each other in circles as a game. Mostly to torture the scammer, but also to waste their time that could be used to harm someone else. I’m really worried what will happen when they get good at emailing, calling. COVID made technology jump a few years into the future over the course of a few months. For example, “Zoom” has raided the dictionary in just a few days to become the new word for telepresence or virtual meeting the same way “Google” became search over the course of a few years. There is a new normal and a new “we are fine” being de-fined.

This has opened the doors to the wild west that we experienced when we were able to use modems on a phone line to communicate. Leaps in technology are wonderful, but the world isn’t good at them yet. We are so intrigued by the convivence which enhances or optimizes our lives, we forget to look at safety. These cars get us to work so much faster than a horse or bike, why do I need to spend money on a seatbelts? I don’t need the latest and greatest, I’m fine. The landscape is similar today, the leap into working remotely exposed firefighting IT. Firefighting IT is how most IT get’s done. These can be inhouse IT experts that have become a purveyor of antiques. These can be outsourced IT who are looking at the wrong numbers, if they are measuring anything at all. Both are limited by a general lack of process to the point where government has stepped into provide a base line.

Lack of operational maturity has been a problem for a long time because awesome IT isn’t a topic of conversation at a board meeting and often goes unnoticed in general. Ransomware isn’t a new threat. It’s just jumped up a few years. It’s not just foreign countries sponsoring buildings of people to attach US companies, it’s a summer job for kids. Highschool kids can use the dark web to find Ransomware as a Service and get all the tools they need to attack businesses. They even know how to hide the money they make in online banks using bitcoin. It’s not rocket science and it pays better than making french fries.

Most business owners couldn’t tell us if they have a car or a bike when it comes to the technology, and they certainly don’t know if the antique firefighters are keeping the company safe. To make better decisions business owners should, know at a high level, what is measured and so that they know it’s getting better or worse.  What results from IT does your company require and are they delivered? How do you measure this?

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A Field Guide to Phishing Attacks

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