Staying safe online

Cybersecurity Symposium provides businesses with tools, tips to protect themselves

Posted on Jul 29, 2019 :: Don't Miss
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Businesses and organizations of all sizes face an unseen challenge: criminals looking to hack into their computer systems to find ways to steal money.

In 2018, cybercrime cost businesses and individuals $1.2 billion — double the amount in 2017, says Eric Burns, a special agent with the FBI, where he specializes in white-collar crime investigations.

“Criminals are more sophisticated than ever, and they are not afraid to use technology in their crimes,” he says.

Burns is the keynote speaker at the Cybersecurity Symposium, slated for 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 10 at the Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley in Appleton. The event shines a spotlight on how businesses can protect themselves from cybercriminals and features breakout sessions, breakfast and networking in addition to Burns’ presentation.

The most common trap businesses fall into is what Burns calls the “business email compromise.” In that scheme — and there are a few variants on it — a criminal breaks into a company’s email system and poses as the CEO or owner and asks someone from either in or out of the business to transfer funds into a new bank account.

“It can look all official and say to a customer or vendor, ‘We’ve changed our bank, so now send your payments here’ or if it’s in-house, it will be asking an employee to send money to an account claiming money is owed,” Burns says. “In the end, it turns out the criminal controls that account and the money is gone.”

Businesses are becoming more aware of the scams, but larger businesses tend to have the infrastructure — more technology tools and trained people — to fight off any cyberattacks, Burns says.

“Small- and medium-sized businesses need to educate themselves about the different schemes out there,” he says. “Training is so important for owners and employees, so they know how to defend themselves.”

If a business is the victim of a cyberattack, Burns says getting the money back can be a challenge. “If we act quickly enough, we can try to claw some of the money back,” he says. “But the impact of cybercrime is far reaching.”

For example, the person who was duped by the cybercriminals may suffer psychologically, feeling “stupid” or “silly,” Burns says.

“The business’s reputation may also be affected. If your vendor sent money to a criminal’s account, they may wonder about the company going forward,” he continues.

In addition to Burns’ keynote, the Cybersecurity Forum will feature four breakout sessions:

• Mark Eich of CliftonLarsonAllen on “Cyber Crime Threats: Top 10 Defensive Measures”

• Jacob Lapacek of U.S. Bank on “Cybersecurity Awareness & Risk Management”

• Jeff Christensen of M3 Insurance on “Crisis Communication”

• Todd Heinz and David Donnelli of Heartland Business Systems on “Crown Jewels of a Security Program: Preventing Ransomware and Phishing Attacks”

To register or for more information, visit Registration is limited to 300 people.

Related story: Scam Stoppers: What businesses can do to protect their businesses

Cybersecurity Symposium

What it is: Half-day symposium featuring a keynote address by an FBI agent and four breakout sessions to help you fend off cyberattacks against your business.

When: 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 10

Location: Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley, Appleton

Cost: $55 (limited to 300 people)


Related story: Scam Stoppers: What businesses can do to protect their businesses