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The Truth To Cybersecurity

Get to Know Scott Augenbaum

What the Industry Isn’t Telling You

I decided to write, The Secret To Cybersecurity: A Simple Plan to Keep your Family and Business Safe, to share my decades of fighting cybercrime as an FBI Special Agent. My goal after retiring has been this- to prevent you and your organization from becoming the next cybercrime victim. After working with thousands of victims, I discovered a majority of the incidents could have been prevented with proper education and awareness. My heart would break each time I had to explain to a victim that they weren’t getting their money back. It felt even more unjust when I would explain that the chances of putting the bad guys in jail were slim-to-none.  

As this became a constant in my everyday job description, I knew I needed to try to initiate a change. 

During my last five years with the FBI, I provided over one thousand cybercrime prevention briefings to a variety of audiences. I spoke to churches, senior citizens centers, accounting firms, schools, Fortune 500 companies and mom-and-pop shops. I never turned down an opportunity to speak; I found it was my calling to share with the world everything I learned. After my presentation, people would come over and ask for more information to inquire if there were any good books that were written pertaining to my expertise. Much to my dismay, I realized this type of book did not exist. So I decided to write it. 

That’s when the cases I dealt with transformed into the pages of what is now The Secret to Cybersecurity.

In this book, and during my talks, I make reference to several statistics I read from Cybersecurity Ventures. According to them, the global cost of cybercrime will cost us $6 trillion per annum by 2021, exponentially more than the damage inflicted from natural disasters in a year, and more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined. 

This is only within the next two years. 

Cybersecurity Ventures also predicts that by 2021 more than 70 percent of all cryptocurrency transactions annually will be for illegal activity, up from current estimates ranging anywhere from 20 percent (of the 5 major cryptocurrencies) to nearly 50 percent (of bitcoin).

Okay, so the problem is increasing. So how do we fix it? The total cost spent on Information Security is $88 billion. These costs are the sale of hardware and software, consulting fees, insurance premiums, intrusion response costs, and cybersecurity awareness training (including retired FBI agents selling books). Well, also by 2021, the total is expected to increase 1000% to one trillion dollars. This is great news if you are a vendor, salesperson or consultant in the Information Security Market or a person looking to make this a career. 

As I see it, there is no solution since the number of cybercrime cases, illegal profit margins and cybersecurity spending to combat it, are ALL ever-increasing. 

I asked my son, who is a junior in high school, his thoughts about this topic. He said, “It appears to be an inverse relationship; as the more money we spend, the more of an increase in the crime problem.” This is true. I explained to him that spending money on the problem isn’t causing the problem, to which he replied, “Then what we are spending money on isn’t working.”  As a father, I realize my kid actually gets it. So why can’t most organizations see it?

While this may be a growing profitable business for cybersecurity and IT experts, it is a life-changing, catastrophic event for the victims. 

I’ve worked on both sides and know how detrimental these crimes are. We must make cybersecurity a priority in our society, since it’s only going to get worse.

Let’s go back to what I learned in my career with the FBI. Almost 90% of the cybercrime incidents I’ve worked on could have been prevented. By no means am I saying that Information Security is easy- it’s really hard to keep an enterprise safe. However, if organizations don’t take steps to change their culture and look at things differently, the victimizations will continue. 

When it comes to cybercrime, law enforcement is not going to arrest our way out of the problem. When it comes to cybersecurity, corporations can’t spend their way out of this problem. 

Read that again.

Maybe that will be my next book; The Truth to Cybersecurity: What the Industry Isn’t Telling You. 

Until then, be aware of the issue at hand by becoming your own human firewall. Ensuring your own protection starts with you!

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