Cyber Threats


By: Blake Dowling

I had a 25 person Association that we work with ask me last week why I did not let them know about the scam “boss phishing.” That’s when an organization receives an email pretending to be from the boss of a company asking accounting to send money ASAP to an account.

I told the client that I had done my absolute best to get the message out.

On two local TV networks, I spoke of the threat. I wrote articles for 850 Magazine, Context Florida, and the Tallahassee Democrat. We had a “lunch and learn” with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on it; we featured it in our newsletter.

But I know where that client is coming from. All the training and information in the world may not help you when the threat comes knocking at your door.

With Boss Phishing and Cryptolocker (ransomware), you can ruin your company’s day pretty fast. This particular client had an accountant with a sharp eye and she noticed the domain was one letter off and she asked the “boss” if he had sent her a request for funds.

The answer was NO.

Not all companies are as lucky. I have talked to victims of both crimes.


Cryptolocker can strike a lot faster. You click on a virus-embedded link that looks like it’s from a debt collector (or Dropbox, UPS, AMX etc). Because of all the client lists and sensitive info that have been stolen (data breaches left and right in the US), you might actually owe money to this entity. Therefore, it looks legit.

But when you click to straighten out the old bill, you are infected. As with any business, and it is a business, criminals are getting smarter.

A lot of tech info these days references going to the cloud. Well, it’s not just us law-abiding folks who are taking email and other business functions to the cloud. Criminals are flocking to the cloud as well.

The people who write malicious code are no longer just writing one piece of software to sell once. They are putting up malware as a service for sale. This way they make money each time it is purchased or rented.

Where could such illegal services be sold? The anonymous dark web, of course. That’s where anything is for sale and your moves are hard to trace by law enforcement.

I have seen black-market code that comes with a money-back guarantee, terms and conditions and terms of use that look just like something Microsoft might sell. The black-market tech landscape is frightening.

If you were the criminal, you would go on the dark web, lease an exploit kit and go about trying to infect PCs around the world, and depending on the attack, steal your bank info, encrypt your files and ask for ransom — or get you in a botnet scenario.

This latest move by criminals heading to the cloud is just another example of criminals getting smarter. So as a reminder, be wary if you see anything odd coming in via email — a request for money, to reset your password, enter your banking info, congrats you have won something, click here to see your pictures from last night.

Do not click, consult your IT professional. It is always better to be safe than to be hacked.

Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. Contact him at or at

2 thoughts on “Cyber Threats

  1. Great info & efforts in spreading the word, Blake! Boss Phishing is also known as Business Email Compromise (BEC) & Whaling. We’re offering free staff trainings on Cyber Security, in case interested.

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