Last Thursday, Setar, Aruba’a national telecommunications company, hosted its Business Event 2020.

The speaker was John Sileo. His identity was stolen from his business and used to embezzle considerable amounts of money from his clients. The exposure destroyed John’s company and consumed precious years as he fought to stay out of jail. These events also took a turn on John’s family. 

We recommend to watch John’s interview on CBS’s “60-minutes” at John is a leading authority on this matter and his experience has led to speaking engagements with the US Pentagon, Visa, Pfizer and Homeland Security.

As a result of listening to John, we found it important to send the following internal memo to our staff at Ecury | Crouch:

More and more companies and individuals are confronted with e-mail messages that are thought to have come from a reliable source. One can think of one from a local bank asking to activate your password again. I recently received one regarding our e-mail addresses and website. 

However, such e-mail messages are nothing more than a way to get confidential information from a person and then harm that person. Not only people can be the victims, but also companies.

Think of instances when an e-mail message is opened and then the e-mail sender asks for money, in order to regain access to the company’s network. This is in fact blackmail.

We cannot afford to be confronted with what is called “cyber terrorism” from both a business and personal perspective. The costs and consequences for us personally and as a company are drastic. Our network has confidential information about client and must be protected at all costs. Programs that can invade our network through such unreliable e-mail messages can also retrieve our log-in codes from our bank and our network, with all the (financial) consequences. 

We must be more attentive and alert about e-mail messages that we receive. Not only messages of which we do not know the sender, but also e-mail messages of which the sender appears to be reliable and legitimate, but the content of the message is questionable. It should not be forgotten that unreliable e-mail messages give the appearance of being reliable. 

The bottom line is that with every e-mail message and its content, we must assume that it has a criminal intent and that it can harm the company. We have to be more careful when opening attachments. If in doubt about an e-mail, ask first and do not respond to such an e-mail.

Maybe it is a good idea to talk to your staff about this and not to endure the same faith as others.