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If you want to become a high-tech millionaire, sometimes all you have to do is check your e-mail.
Let me explain. In four days, I received two e-mails purporting to help me with e-commerce issues.
Good thing I didn't open them. Each one was a "phishing expedition."
That's the term we use when you get an e-mail that looks legit but actually is an attempt to steal your financial data or launch an attack on your computer.
The reason why I'm telling you this now is that odds are pretty good you will receive at least one yourself. And during the frenzy that is Christmas shopping, you may get careless – and hacked.
So, at the very least, today's chat may save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars.
It will also help keep your key financial data secure from cyber thieves who have used bogus e-mails to do at least $12.5 billion in financial damages.
Even better, I'm going to reveal a cyber leader that is exactly the type of stock that can hand you a seven-figure return in a few short years…
One Step Ahead of the Scam
Both said the firms had spotted "suspicious activity" with my account. Let's take a look at the one from "Apple." It was the more obvious of the two – it asked me to log in to my account and provide credit card data.
That got my attention. So, I do what I always do with such e-mails. I checked the return address, and it was a dead giveaway. Here's the string:
I receive plenty of e-mails from Apple, and I guarantee that this is no return address for the Silicon Valley legend.
Here are a couple of ways to spot a phishing e-mail quickly. First, if there are any typos or grammatical errors, it's almost certainly phony. Second, the return address may have the company's name in it, but the string will be a crazy one like the one I just shared with you.
I do have a bit of an unfair advantage when it comes to thwarting phishing attacks. You see, my wife is in charge of the computer network in Lafayette. It's a suburb of San Francisco where NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana once lived, and that is currently home to SNL alum Will Forte. She has trained the staff to be vigilant.
But to get a handle on the extent of the threat, she did a little stealth phishing of her office. It was a test to see how vulnerable the city really is.
To her shock, she found the city had a 40% failure rate.
In other words, two out of every five staff members either clicked on a fake link or opened an attachment in the e-mail. Either mechanism could spell disaster, resulting in a data breach, malware, spyware, or a computer virus.
If you want to get a better sense of the threat the business community faces nationwide, just multiply these examples by more than 1,000-fold.
Yes, it's that big of a problem. But don't take my word for it.
Data compiled by the FBI show there were 78,617 reported cases of e-mail fraud between October 2013 and May 2018, the last period where full data is available. The direct losses, those that could actually be measured, came to more than $12.5 billion.
And since the ease and low cost of sending out reams of phishing e-mails isn't going to end anytime soon, protecting clients from these attacks is a very lucrative market for a savvy cyber security firm.
The Performance Is the Proof
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is a 35-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top technology financial analysts working today. He regularly delivers winning trade recommendations to the Members of his monthly tech investing newsletter, Nova-X Report, and small-cap tech service, Radical Technology Profits. In the past two years alone, his subscribers have seen over 100 double- and triple-digit gains from his recommendations.
As a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs and high-profile industry insiders. In fact, he was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon. And he was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business Network, Michael is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book, "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before "bailout" became a household word.
You can follow Michael's tech insight and product updates for free with his Strategic Tech Investor newsletter.