cyber-crimeKnowBe4: $35,000 Cybercrime Against Florida Attorney Could Have Been Prevented

According to a new case study published by the Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) firm KnowBe4, Bradenton-based lawyer Kimberly Graus found out the hard way that data security breaches can happen to any business, anywhere, at any time when hackers bypassed her antivirus software and initiated $35,000 in wire transfers from a trust fund she manages. She was just one of the nearly 20,000 Floridians who filed a case with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center last year - making Florida #2 in the nation in cybercrime complaints.*
Graus was most likely the victim of a phishing attempt disguised as a seemingly innocuous email. When she clicked a link within the message, it surreptitiously downloaded a program to her computer. This malware allowed the hackers to capture Graus' account passwords when she entered them online, and then initiate the illicit wire transfers from her own IP address.
Upon noticing the missing funds, Graus acted quickly to report the suspicious activity, enabling her bank to stop three of the four electronic transfers. Unfortunately, $9,500 had already gone through to an unknown recipient in the Ukraine. Because businesses do not enjoy the same FDIC insurance that consumers do, that left Graus out nearly $10,000 - plus the cost of a computer forensic analysis and a new laptop.
"Graus protected her account information, maintained antivirus software and had three layers of password security in her online banking system. Yet in spite of these precautions, she still fell prey to the sophisticated cyberheist tactics of Eastern European criminals," explained KnowBe4 founder and CEO Stu Sjouwerman (pronounced "shower-man"). "Many professionals believe that antivirus software will protect them from all external threats, but that simply isn't the case."
Sjouwerman noted that Internet security awareness has led most people to be suspicious of unsolicited emails from unknown senders, especially when the messages are rife with misspellings and poor grammar. But when phishing emails appear to be an official message sent by the recipient's bank or credit card company, a government agency, or a trusted friend or colleague, even the most savvy Internet users may click without thinking. And all it takes is one click to compromise a computer and its data security.
"Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) need to take proactive measures to combat new and evolving cybercrime tactics," said Sjouwerman. "They also need to realize that they can't rely solely on their IT teams alone to guard against hackers and other cyber threats. Any employee that inadvertently clicks on a phishing email can expose the entire company to potentially devastating damages and loss. That's why Internet security awareness training is critical for staff at every level of the organization."
KnowBe4 offers a free phishing security test that allows SMEs to determine how Phish-prone™ their employees are. The company's exclusive First2Know™ Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) is an industry first, providing high-quality, interactive training to educate staff about phishing, malware, social engineering and other related topics. Afterward, scheduled phishing security tests help to keep employees on their toes and determine if remedial training is necessary.
To view the case study about the Bradenton trust account cyberheist, or to learn more about the Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) offered by KnowBe4, visit
*Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). 2010 Internet Crime Report and Florida IC3 2010 Internet Crime Report; February 2011.
About Stu Sjouwerman and KnowBe4 
Stu Sjouwerman is the founder and CEO of KnowBe4, LLC, which provides web-based Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) to small and medium enterprises. A data security expert with more than 30 years in the IT industry, Sjouwerman was the co-founder of Sunbelt Software, an award-winning anti-malware software company that he and his partner sold to GFI Software in 2010. Realizing that the human element of security was being seriously neglected, Sjouwerman decided to help entrepreneurs tackle cybercrime tactics through advanced Internet security awareness training. He is the author of four books, including Cyberheist: The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses Since the Financial Meltdown of 2008, available in April 2011. For more information on Sjouwerman and KnowBe4,


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