Thoughts From My Inbox

December 10th, 2021

Snakes, Mistakes, and Botox Beauty Queens

It’s been a busy week here at Ashton. Lots of people buying hardware to end the year (if you’re in the market for a firewall, say the word), and our lobby looks like the post office, what with all the cardboard boxes we’ve received.  Our EVP/Director of Operations, Travis Grundke, spoke to the Cleveland chapter of the Certified Financial Analysts society last night, and while our engineers are working on lots of projects, the sales team has been out shaking hands and kissing babies with various clients and prospects.  I’m sure things will settle down for the next few weeks, which will be a great time to get stuff done.  

 

Something About…

 

Snakes

 

Next time you have a snake infestation, don’t try to smoke ’em out. A $1.8M home in MOntgomery County, MD (between Baltimore and DC) recently burned down when the owner tried to eliminate the snake population.  That’s right up there with the meth-head who burnt his mother’s house down, trying to get rid of cobwebs with a blowtorch.

 

Ransomware

It’s becoming more and more likely that if you get hit once by ransomware, you’ll get hit again.  And that doesn’t include double extortion during the same incident (pay to decrypt your files, and pay again to prevent the data from being leaked).  Ransoms paid(at least according to the survey used in this article) averaged $1.6M in the US, time to detect an incident increased to 146 hours from incursion, and 69% of respondents blamed remote workers for their ransomware issues.  If you’re concerned, the Ashton team has a solution for all of that, thanks to our security partners at Sophos.

  

 

$31M Mistake
A couple of weeks back, I sat through an event at which the speaker was a well known local content creator.  I was interested to learn his thoughts on content, but he quickly got onto the topic of the cryptocurrency that he had created.  I know very little about crypto and didn’t think it was as easy as “I’m going to make my own” (I’m not).  It seems that others are making their own currencies as well; just make sure you don’t make a mistake in your coding that leads to a $31M loss. 

 

 

Ted Lasso
If you’re ever in need of a good writer, you should call our friend Frank Lewis.  He writes a lot of the content on our website, and has worked with a lot of other similarly-sized clients; he even quoted yours truly in an article he wrote for the New York Times.  Anyhow, he and I used to coach hockey together, and it’s too bad that Ted Lasso wasn’t on back then.  We both could’ve learned a thing or two.  Frank sent me a list of Ted’s best quotes so I figured I’d share it with the other fans in the room. (And even if you’re not a fan, you’ll enjoy at least some of these.)

 

Insurance Loss Ratios
Way back when I was at Progressive Insurance, our target loss ratio was 96, meaning that for every dollar of premium written, we made $0.04 while $0.96 was paid out in claims.  According to this article, the industry loss ratio on cyber insurance  has gone from 43 to 73 since 2016, meaning that insurers are making less and paying out more in claims (although $0.27 on the dollar still isn’t bad!)As loss ratios and ransom amounts go up, premiums are increasing as well.  Lots of other good statistics herein, if you’re so inclined. And while the article’s conclusion correctly suggests you’re better off relying on security instead of insurance, please don’t take my inclusion of this article as endorsement of the provider’s solutions.  We have better ways to make sure your data and network are secure!

 

Botox Beauty Queens

The enhancements mentioned herein remind me of a lot of the things I saw during the year or two that I was selling (well, trying to sell) medical devices and cosmetic fillers to plastic surgeons.  But they were working on human patients, rather than camels.

 

NFTs

Some time back (March 12th, 2021, to be exact), I mentioned a “piece of art” that sold for $69M. It wasn’t really a tangible work, however. It was a non-fungible token, or NFT. This week, I received a quite lengthy piece on NFTs, how they work in conjunction with the blockchain, and exactly what was bought and sold when that $69M digital file was auctioned.  

 

Microsoft 365 Phish

The cynic in me questioned the validity of this article, since Microsoft changed the name from “Office 365” to “Microsoft 365” a year or so back.  But what do the editors know, anyway?  This Microsoft 365 phishing effort is another great example of “trust but verify”.  Looks pretty much like the real thing, including Microsoft logos, but text formatting issues are usually a dead giveaway. 

 

 

WordPress Cyber Attack

If your website is built in WordPress, you should probably take a look at this article.  There have been almost 14 million attack attempts on 1.7M WP websites this week, especially as it relates to those on the Epsilon Framework.

 

 

Thanks to those who’ve sent me topics for this week (you’ll be getting your Ashton swag, once the shipping delays are figured out), as well as those who read and provide me with feedback.  Number one on that list is Pete O’Toole, a former schoolmate who regularly sends me Facebook messages reminding me to check my spelling. Nobody else has ever called me out on that, so I wonder if he’s just doing it to cause me problems.  If you are reading this, you’re more than welcome to reply, and even better would be passing it on to your friends and colleagues to let them share in the joy. 

 

The Browns are back in action this weekend, and it looks like it’ll be another 9-3 barnburner vs. the Ravens.  In the meantime, tomorrow is looking like a great day to get the last few Christmas lights up outside.  What’s with the good weather?  We need snow.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jim