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Protect yourself: Learn how to thwart online criminals

Peter Bloom helps educate businesses and individuals about threats from ransomware attacks and hacking

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Peter Bloom is a digital crimefighter — but instead of swooping in to fight bad guys on the street, his war is waged online against hackers who want to disrupt your personal and business livelihood.

“I’ve devoted my technical experience to protecting people,” Bloom said. “I want people to be safe online, and I work to help them.”

With a background as a computer scientist and programmer, Bloom has held positions managing risk and protecting institutional data from threats. He served as a member of the New York Electronic Task Force and led a team to recover the technology trading capability of firms following the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Today, he helps educate businesses and individuals about threats from ransomware attacks, cyber hacking and other forms of digital intrusion.

“These threats can be mitigated with some easy steps that individuals and businesses can take,” Bloom said.

Bloom will elaborate on those steps during his keynote at Inman Connect New York, “Safeguarding Yourself in the New Battlespace: Thwarting trolls, vandals, bandits and spies who want what you have!”

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One of the problems that comes with protecting yourself online is the perception that you aren’t a target.

When people think of online security, most aren’t worried about a foreign government targeting them — and Bloom says, they’re right. The real problem with cyber crime, however, “is that it’s cheap and it’s easy to execute.”

Unlike robbing a bank, the techniques used in cyberattacks can be wielded against a large number of individuals at very little cost to the perpetrator. It’s largely non-attributable with guaranteed anonymity.

“They can break into your computer and you’ll never know who they are,” Bloom said.

These types of attacks can be especially detrimental to small businesses.

Bloom gives an example of an attack that took place just weeks ago when a small, owner-operated business in New York sent an invoice to a customer for a product that had been ordered. The business never got paid and the customer never got their product because a hacker had intercepted the emailed invoice and altered it with different payment instructions before the customer opened the email.

The customer unknowingly wired $200,000 to the hacker’s account thinking it was going to the business.

Bloom said the customer’s Apple account had been hacked.

But if the business had been breached instead, it could have been sued and put out of business.

These types of incidents happen all of the time, Bloom says — in fact, the same week, two other small business experienced the same criminal attack.

“Most of the successful cyber crimes are for surprisingly low amounts of money,” Bloom said.  

If you want to know how to protect your business, your clients and yourself from online attacks, don’t miss this must-attend session at Inman Connect New York, January 16 through 20.

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Email Kristy Hessman