Sunday, August 5, 2018

$400 or your (Online) Life!

Do you remember the story (and then the Tom Hanks movie) about Captain Phillips? I remember when I first heard about "Pirates" I thought it was a joke.  Pirates? Like men on tiny boats attacking other people on massive ships? I said to myself, this cannot be true.

Michael Scott Moore spent 977 days held hostage for ransom as the result of pirates. The book covers the true root cause of the modern pirate problem. If there were more decent paying jobs for kids in Somalia, there would be fewer pirates.

It is connected to money, as most things in life usually are. I myself, will not be visiting the Somalia coastline anytime soon. And I do not anticipate that many of the people reading my blog will also not be anywhere near Somalia in the near future.

But many of us are "live" on Facebook. 
And that might be just as dangerous.

Cyber Crime is a plague on any size business. Ransomware. Identify Theft. Only a few years ago, it was only a problem for large corporations, targets of extortion. Pay a ransom, or say good-bye to your data.  Pay a ransom, or you are locked out of your account. Pay a ransom or your entire client and customer file will be compromised.

I am somewhat knowledgeable in the area of Cyber Security. Which makes me a little embarrassed.
Keep reading to see why.

Just this past month the hosted a "Cyber Security Summit" in New York City in partnership with Wells Fargo.

We had 1,206 "CISO" from very large corporations respond to our VIP invitation. Yes, Cyber Security is a big deal in today's world. A chief information security officer (CISO) is the senior-level executive within an organization responsible for establishing and maintaining the enterprise vision, strategy, and program to ensure information assets and technologies are protected.

This past week, my personal and business Facebook accounts were attacked. 

But it was not a sophisticated attack that a CISO would defend against. 

It was from an disgruntled employee from Asia who worked for us for a total of 11 days. They simply downloaded from Facebook all of our contacts (business and personal) data and held us ransom. 

I wonder how many of the 800 million Facebook users realize how exposed they are to such a Cyber Crime?

Pay us $400 or we shall take down your accounts.  Pay us $400 or we shall publish disparaging information. Pay us $400 or we shall destroy your reputation and your business. $400? I am insulted!

I mean, it's not Somali Pirate ransom money, but only $400? Come on! I think I need to teach this Filipino Cyber Criminal how to negotiate a ransom. 

But I do understand the low amount. If it is only a few hundred bucks, people might pay the ransom to just put it behind them and move on. 

Well first of all - it pays to have friends at and to also have deep relationships with the top Cyber Security vendors. I am in "the Cyber Security business" so I am a little embarrassed by all of this. It will be interesting to see how this escalates and how long it takes to have this knucklehead and his "gang" arrested. 

If such a ransom attack ever happens to you, your first step is to open a CASE at your local Police Department.  

From there, it will quickly escalate to the Cyber Crime unit at and also the Cyber Crime units at Facebook. Many countries (like the Philippines) take Cyber Crime very seriously. They realize that their Gross National Income (GNI) relies on their Internet Security reputation. 

So, this blog post is now less about ex-staffer Filipino Cyber Criminal Hackers, as it is really about Facebook itself. 

800,000,000 x 1% = 8,000,000 bad actors. Even if you cut that number in half many times, that is still a lot of Pirates! 

My friends are just not that into Facebook anymore. Maybe it was the way Facebook tried tracking us across the web. Or how it got busted for sharing our private information with advertisers. Or how Facebook used their platform applied rules that wound up favoring hate speech by conservative white men over political speech by leftists and people of color. Or how Facebook gave people a free, easy-to-use tool to broadcast anything, including gun violence and sexual assault. Or how it researched our emotions without our consent. Or how it enabled Russia to wage a successful propaganda campaign against the United States. 

I will probably not completely get rid of my personal and business Facebook accounts. 

I do use Facebook from time to time make a post, or to do research. Many of our vendors and sponsors have Facebook business pages. 

But in today's world, using Facebook has become more and more like sailing around the Horn of Africa. It's just not safe. 

No comments:

Post a Comment