The Biggest Threat to Your Wealth Today
Wednesday, 29 May 2019
By Bernd Struben
- A Richter scale for cybersecurity
- There’s only one solution…
- ‘“Extraordinary” Permit Delays for Medical Pot Company’
What keeps you up at night?
As a young child it might have been thoughts of the three-eyed monster curled up beneath your bed.
As a teenager it might have been angst over whether the person you had a crush on had similar feelings towards you.
As a young adult it might have been whether you were prepared to pass your final exams. Or ready to interview for your first regular job.
The things that have us tossing and turning in the wee hours of the night tend to change as we get older.
Fears of monsters, exams, and relationship anxiety are pushed aside by new concerns. Chief among those for most Aussies is money worries.
If you have a little money, you want to invest it and make more. If you have a lot of money, you want to protect it…and also make more.
Helping you do so is, of course, a primary goal of Port Phillip Publishing’s editors and analysts. But even when their advice is spot on and you follow it to a tee, your wealth could still be at risk.
There is more than one way you could potentially see your hard earned money siphoned away before your eyes.
One of the biggest risks today is the proliferation of increasingly brazen and sophisticated hackers.
It’s a concern that’s certainly caused Revolutionary Tech Investor editor Sam Volkering to lose a few hours of sleep.
Now if you follow along with Sam’s work, you’ll know he’s a glass half full kind of guy. So aside from some useful tips on how to make yourself a more difficult target for cyber criminals, he spent most of his time looking at this as an opportunity. And working out how you could gain from this fast growing threat.
We’ll get back to that right after a look at the markets…
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 237.92 points, or 0.93%.
The S&P 500 closed down 23.67 points, or 0.84%.
In Europe the Euro Stoxx 50 index finished down 15.18 points, or 0.45%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 lost 0.12%, and Germany’s DAX closed down 44.13 points, or 0.37%.
In Asian markets Japan’s Nikkei 225 is down 256.49 points, or 1.21%. China’s CSI 300 is down 0.51%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is down 46.03 points, or 0.71%.
On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$58.80 per barrel. Brent crude is US$70.01 per barrel.
Turning to gold, the yellow metal is trading for US$1,281.45 (AU$1,849.67) per troy ounce. Silver is US$14.38 (AU$20.76) per troy ounce.
One bitcoin is worth US$8,711.45.
The Aussie dollar is worth 69.28 US cents.
A Richter scale for cybersecurity
Swindlers have been around since the dawn of time. People who’d rather spend their time and effort working out how to relieve you of your money rather than how to earn their own.
But the advent of the internet gave rise to a whole new class of swindlers…hackers.
Today, hackers still use all the old tricks of the swindling trade. But they’ve added an ever evolving basket of new tricks on the back of rapid technological innovations.
Just how big is this threat?
Industry insiders say the risks to insurers for covering cyber security risks will soon exceed the risks for covering natural disasters.
According to Scor Chief Executive Officer Denis Kessler the costs of cyber risks could reach US$600 billion. That dwarfs the US$230 billion cost of natural catastrophes.
‘“I dream of a kind of Richter scale for cyber security,” Kessler said at a conference on cybersecurity held at the Bank of France, referring to the scale used to measure earthquakes. “It would be very helpful to have measurement and modeling tools…”
‘ECB Executive Board Member Sabine Lautenschlaeger said it was “but a matter of time” before serious incidents would hurt the systemic sector…
‘Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy said the cybersecurity threats are a “major and systemic risk” to the financial sector as attacks are more frequent and public action on cyber attacks in the sector is “sub-optimal.” …
‘“The monetary impact — of attacks so far — was not so high, negligible. But I don’t feel comfortable, calm, not at all, it is a question of time, let me be very clear,” Lautenschlaeger said.’
I don’t know about you. But when I ponder these words of warning it leaves me nostalgic for the monsters that used to lurk under my bed. Even the fiercest of them could be banished with the flick of a light.
But cybercriminals can operate from any corner of the world with a power outlet and web connection. If you do manage to shine the spotlight on them, they’ll likely just pop up somewhere else. And they target individuals, corporations and governments with equal abandon.
You probably recall when the computer systems of Australia’s major political parties were hacked earlier this year. That was back in February.
New Zealand’s government became the latest target yesterday when its Treasury computers were hacked. As Bloomberg reports:
‘New Zealand’s annual budget has been thrown into disarray after the opposition National Party released parts of it early and the Treasury Department said its computer systems had been hacked.
‘Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf has called in police after finding evidence of more than 2,000 attempts to access secret budget documents on its computer systems since Sunday night...’
The Kiwi government said that no market sensitive data, like projected budget surpluses or debts, has been released yet. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t accessed.
You can imagine the advantage that would give unscrupulous investors. Not to mention getting a jump on the government’s infrastructure and other targeted investment plans.
These are some of the big picture risks.
On an individual level, I’d say the risks are even larger. Hackers work around the clock to gain access to your email accounts, smartphone, and eventually your banking and stockbroking details.
I can attest to this personally. Over the past four years hackers have twice managed to infiltrate my online banking account. Both times they walked away with several thousand dollars before their unusual activity — like buying pricey jewellery in Orlando Florida — alerted the bank that something might be amiss.
Fortunately the bank, or their insurance company, covered that risk. It took a few weeks, but I was eventually reimbursed.
Next time I might not be so lucky.
There’s only one solution…
So what can you do to protect your wealth from disappearing into the ether?
Keep in mind that hackers can only steal what they can access on the internet. For example, that puts cash and precious metals in a secure vault beyond their reach.
The cash in your bank account and even your share holdings are a different matter. Though environmentalists may frown at you, I recommend keeping up to date paper records of all the assets you own, atop your digital records.
As I mentioned up top, Sam Volkering has been researching the firms working to beat hackers at their own game for more than six years now.
Here’s an exert from what Sam wrote to subscribers of his premium advisory service Revolutionary Tech Investor back in September 2015:
‘There’s only one solution to securing information…
‘The common theme with these issues is how we share, store and collaborate on information. Sharing info on a USB, a hard drive or in an email doesn’t cut it anymore.
‘These are simply not secure enough. We need to be able to safely work on, share and send information around the world in an instant. And we need to do it without fear of someone getting material they’re not supposed to.
‘But how do you secure data without compromising the ability to access it?
‘If it’s too secure, it’s hard to access. At least that’s how it’s been in the past.
‘The simple answer is to stop using email, and stop putting vital information on hard drives and USB sticks. Stop sharing information across the insecure internet.
‘So how do we then work? How do we communicate? How do we operate in a modern world without those systems we’re so used to?
‘We change. And we use new technology, new systems and work in a new way that’s secure and collaborative.’
At the time Sam went on to recommend a particular stock at the forefront of securing your data. The share price on that stock has since gone up 53%.
It’s among a group of stocks Sam labels ‘cyber defenders’. And while not all his cyber defender recommendations have gained to date, they remain active recommendations on the Revolutionary Tech Investor buy list.
That’s because the risks posed by cyber criminals has only increased since 2015. And judging by the dire words of some of Europe’s top bankers, things are only going to get worse.
Finally, here’s the latest on Australia’s budding medicinal marijuana efforts from The Australian Tribune:
‘“Extraordinary” Permit Delays for Medical Pot Company’
‘The Australian government legalised the medicinal use of marijuana last year. But they’re certainly not making it easy for companies to provide the product.
‘If liquor stores and gambling venues thought they had a lot of red tape to cut through, they need to chat with ASX-listed medical cannabis company THC Global.
‘THC Global has…’
If you’re fed up with sanitised, politically correct dogma cut and pasted from one mainstream source to another then The Australian Tribune is for you.
And it’s absolutely free.
Sign up here to get The Australian Tribune delivered free to your inbox five days per week.
You can visit our website at https://www.theaustraliantribune.com.au/ to read the complete article above now.