Pay Attention CEO Your A Target!

Over the next several weeks I am going to dedicate my posts to all C-level executives and the importance of keeping your eye on the ball and that ball is your company and financial future.

This CEO Fraud Prevention posts will provide a thorough overview of how to deal with this exponentially growing wave of cybercrime. I will explain how top executives in Finance are hoodwinked, how companies are compromised, how millions are siphoned off by criminals, and fiduciary responsibilities. I will cover how to prevent such an attack as well as what to do if you become the latest victim. This includes checklists of the key steps.

What is CEO Fraud?  It’s ruined the careers of many executives and loyal employees. Successful CEOs have been fired because of it.  Stock prices have collapsed. IPOs and mergers have been taken off the table. Known as CEO fraud or the Business Email Compromise (BEC), the FBI reports that it this type of cybercrime has victimized more than 22,000 organizations worldwide and is responsible for losses of more than $3 billion.

Despite these statistics, cyber-risk management remains a blind spot for most C-level executives. Yet any company, led by its CEO, must quickly learn to integrate these skills and technologies into day-to-day operations or face the consequences.  I am a firm believer of “Knowledge Is Power”, you grew your companies, with late nights and hard work so do not allow the bad guys to steal your brand and reputation.


Next week I will dive in with the topic of “Understanding CEO Fraud”, till then………………………….

Think Before You Click!

Tina Louise Penn    888.413.9186


Unusual Ransomware Strain Encrypts Cloud Email?  

Ok, not just yet this type of ransomware strain is not in the wild at the moment but what if your cloud based email appeared to be a call to action.  A smart social engineering tactic to trick the user to give the bad guys access to their cloud email account, with the ruse of a “new Microsoft anti-spam service”.

Once your employee clicks “accept” to use this service,  it’s game over: all email and attachments are encrypted real-time!  The ransomcloud attack will work for any cloud email provider that allows an application giving control over the email via oauth. With Google it will work if you get the app past their verification process. Outlook365 doesn’t verify the app at this point so its much easier.

“Stop, Look and Think before you click on any link in an email that could potentially give the bad guys access to your data.”   Please watch the video so you can get an idea of what is pending in the darkness so your prepared and protected.

Ramsomecloud Demo

This year be watchful we are all at risk, what is on the horizon is going to impact your business and personal finances.  For more information and training give my team a call for a consultation.  Think Before You Click!

Tina Louise Penn    888.871.6584

Take Action Now ~ CCleaner Hacked!

If you have downloaded or updated CCleaner application on your computer between August 15 and September 12 of this year from its official website, then pay attention—your computer has been compromised.

CCleaner is a popular application with over 2 billion downloads, created by Piriform and recently acquired by Avast, that allows users to clean up their system to optimize and enhance performance.

Security researchers from Cisco Talos discovered that the download servers used by Avast to let users download the application were compromised by some unknown hackers, who replaced the original version of the software with the malicious one and distributed it to millions of users for around a month.

This incident is yet another example of supply chain attack. Earlier this year, update servers of a Ukrainian company called MeDoc were also compromised in the same way to distribute the Petya ransomware, which wreaked havoc worldwide.

Avast and Piriform have both confirmed that the Windows 32-bit version of CCleaner v5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 were affected by the malware.

Detected on 13 September, the malicious version of CCleaner contains a multi-stage malware payload that steals data from infected computers and sends it to attacker’s remote command-and-control servers.

The malicious software was programmed to collect a large number of user data, including:

  • Computer name
  • List of installed software, including Windows updates
  • List of all running processes
  • IP and MAC addresses
  • Additional information like whether the process is running with admin privileges and whether it is a 64-bit system.

How to Remove Malware From Your PC

According to the Talos researchers, around 5 million people download CCleaner (or Crap Cleaner) each week, which indicates that more than 20 Million people could have been infected with the malicious version the app.

“The impact of this attack could be severe given the extremely high number of systems possibly affected. CCleaner claims to have over 2 billion downloads worldwide as of November 2016 and is reportedly adding new users at a rate of 5 million a week,” Talos said.

However, Piriform estimated that up to 3 percent of its users (up to 2.27 million people) were affected by the malicious installation.

Affected users are strongly recommended to update their CCleaner software to version 5.34 or higher, in order to protect their computers from being compromised. Take action and reach out to your IT departments, local PC store for assistance and always do your research when signing up or downloading anything into your network…Think Before You Click!


Call To Action In The Link – Equifax!

No Evidence of Unauthorized Access to Core Consumer or Commercial Credit Reporting Databases

Company to Offer Free Identity Theft Protection and Credit File Monitoring to All U.S. Consumers

September 7, 2017 — Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) today announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017. The company has found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.

The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed. As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents. Equifax will work with UK and Canadian regulators to determine appropriate next steps. The company has found no evidence that personal information of consumers in any other country has been impacted.

Equifax discovered the unauthorized access on July 29 of this year and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. Equifax also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continues to work with authorities. While the company’s investigation is substantially complete, it remains ongoing and is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith. “We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident.”

Equifax has established a dedicated website,, to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers – all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year. The website also provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information. Equifax recommends that consumers with additional questions visit or contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, which the company set up to assist consumers. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern time. Contribution – Equifax.

Think Before You Click!


Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey hit hard and especially Houston, TX got badly flooded. The death toll is rising and you can also count on low-life cyber-scum exploiting this disaster.


Scammers are now using the Hurricane Harvey disaster to trick people in clicking on links on Facebook, Twitter and phishing emails trying to solicit charitable giving for the flood victims.

Here are some examples:

  • Facebook pages dedicated to victim relief contain links to scam websites.
  • Tweets are going out with links to charitable websites soliciting donations, but in reality include links to scam sites or links that lead to a malware infection.
  • Phishing emails dropping in a user’s inbox asking for donations to #HurricaneHarvey Relief Fund.

Previous disasters have been exploited like this, and the bad guys are going at it again will all guns blazing. Be wary of anything online covering the Hurricane Harvey disaster in the following weeks.

I suggest you send employees, friends and family an email about this Scam Of The Week, feel free to copy/paste/edit:

“Heads-up! Bad guys are exploiting the Hurricane Harvey disaster. There are fake Facebook pages, tweets are going out with fake charity websites, and phishing emails are sent out asking for donations to #HurricaneHarvey Relief Funds that they keep for themselves. 

Don’t fall for any scams. If you want to make a donation, go to the website of the charity of your choice and make a donation. Type the address in your browser or use a bookmark. Do not click on any links in emails or text you might get. Whatever you see in the coming weeks about Hurricane Harvey disaster relief… THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK.

3 Types of Cyber Crimes

Cyber criminals can compromise your computer system in different ways. Many people are left feeling powerless after having their privacy infringed by cyber criminals through hacking, malicious malware, and identity theft. The effects of cybercrime can be quite upsetting and daunting for victims including organizations, corporations, national/federal governments and individuals. The best defense against acts of cyber criminality is through awareness and education of different types of cyber crimes and how they are carried out.

The 3 most common types of cyber-crime are;

  1. Cyber-bullying

This is one of the most common cyber crimes in the World. Cyber-bullying is responsible for causing catastrophic effects on victims including death. Many people including international celebrities, business moguls and politicians have fallen victim to cyber-bullying in one way or the other. Cyber-criminals don’t hesitate to engage in offensive behaviors such as stalking, hurling insults, posting hurtful posts/images/videos on victims’ timeline, or even sending abusive texts/emails/messages online. Stalkers can make an individual’s life miserable due to their tendency of intimidating, instilling fear, offending or harassing their victims. As a matter of fact, there have been cases whereby people commit suicide after being cyber-bullied on their social media accounts.

  1. Identity theft

Criminals are becoming smarter with the advancement of technology. They are using all manner of tricks including celebrity deaths scams, hacking, phishing and malware to engage in identity theft for financial benefits, vengeance against personal vendetta or even taint people’s reputations. Identity theft is a major global menace. Cyber criminals use their computers and skills to gain unauthorized access to your personal information including name, date of birth, photographs, address, bank accounts, pin numbers, or national social security details in order to execute their evil plans. Resultantly, they use your personal information to commit all sort of crimes including fraud, intimidation, wiping out your bank accounts, claim government benefits, acquire property or lodge fraudulent claims in your name. Identity theft can be quite distressing both emotionally and financially for victims.

  1. Online scams

The internet has become a hub for hackers, tricksters, and fraudsters. Cybercriminals are quick in taking advantage of different social media platforms to fleece their unsuspecting victims. They always come up with new online scams including dating scams, celebrity deaths scams, job opportunities scams, prize scams, money making scams and threats & extortion scams among many others. Regrettably, millions of curious people across the globe keep losing money to these dishonest online scams.

Other common types of cyber crimes include; Email spam, phishing, hacking, Denial of Service (DOS Attack), Computer Intrusion, Social Engineering, Masquerading,  Smurf Attack, Fraggle Attach and Email Bombing among others. In order to protect yourself against such cyber crimes, desist from responding to unexpected celebrity deaths scams hyperlinks or try to subscribe/unsubscribe from suspicious emails, text, or even calls.


For more information and security awareness training contact or call 888.871.6584

7 Urgent Reasons For Creating A Human Firewall

Employees are your last line of defense and need to become an additional security layer when (not if) attacks make it through all your technical filters.

1. Ransomware heads the list of deadly attacks

SANS’ Ed Skoudis said the rise in ransomware was the top threat. “We’ve seen this can bring down a whole network of file servers and we expect many more attacks”. His advice is that companies practice network security “hygiene” and limit permission for network shares to only those jobs that require it. And of course train your users within an inch of their lives.

2. Phishing leads the IRS dirty dozen of scams

The Internal Revenue Service rounded up some of the usual suspects in its annual look at the Dirty Dozen scams you need to watch out for this year. It should come as no surprise that the IRS saw a big spike in phishing and malware incidents during the 2016 tax season because the agency has been very public about its battle with this scourge.

3. CEO Fraud / W-2 Scams is their close second

Just this month the IRS issued another warning about what it called dangerous, evolving and very early W-2 scams that are targeting a widening swath of corporations, school districts and other public and private concerns. High-risk users in Accounting and HR need to be frequently exposed to simulated attacks using email, phone and text to inoculate them against these attacks.

4. Phone Scams

Your users need to be trained that when they pick up the phone, the person on the other end might be a criminal hacker that tries to manipulate them into getting access to the network. They impersonate “Tech Support” and ask for a password, or pretend to solve technical problems and compromise the workstation.

5. Your Antivirus is getting less and less effective

We all had the nagging suspicion that antivirus is not cutting it anymore, but the new Virus Bulletin numbers confirm your intuition. Virus Bulletin (VB) is the AV industry’s premier “insider site”, and shows how good/bad endpoint detection rates are, but VB also covers spam filters, and tests them on a regular basis.

Both antivirus (aka endpoint protection) and spam filter tests are published in quadrants graphing the results. What most people do not know, is that participants in this industry all share the same samples, and it’s often just a matter of who gets the definition out first, because soon enough everyone else has that malware sample and blocks the hash.

The problem? Proactive detection rates have dropped from about 80% down to 67-70% over approx 9 months.

Now you might think that if AV does not catch it, your spam filter will. Think again.

One in 200 emails with malicious attachments makes it through. That puts the potential for malware making it in your users’ inbox into the millions… every day.

6. The Internet Of Things

Your users need to understand the nature of connectedness. Both consumer and commercial devices are using wireless protocols to connect to each other and the internet, with vendors rushing products to market without proper security features.

Your employees need to be trained to change the default passwords and disable remote access. If your organization has anything to do with critical infrastructure, users need to be aware of the risks and do fire drills so they are prepared for any kind of attacks against the IoT.

7. Over-reliance On Web Services

This break down in two different flavors. First, shadow-IT where employees completely bypass the IT department and create their own storage and services: an invitation to a host of vulnerabilities and data breaches that IT cannot control. Employees need to be enlightened about the dangers of shadow-IT and understand the risks.

Second, web-apps and mobile apps are increasingly vulnerable to attacks while talking to third-party services. There’s no actual certainty that apps are connecting to the expected entity, or if a man-in-the-middle stepped in, stealing data, and possibly returning false information. This is a problem that developers need to solve with industry-strength handshaking and encryption protocols.


If you are not a Cloud Plus Services customer yet. I strongly suggest you get a quote for new-school security awareness training for your organization and find out how affordable this is. You simply have got to start training and phishing your users ASAP. If you don’t, the bad guys will, because your filters never catch all of it. Get a quote now and you will be pleasantly surprised.