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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox Sept. 15th, 2023

It’s been quite the busy week.  First, Travis, Francisco, and I spent Wednesday in Columbus, OH, at the Smart Business Dealmakers conference.  We were one of the sponsors and chose to be there for two reasons; one, we’re looking to get in front of more private equity and M&A types to discuss technology due diligence.  Two, we’re looking to expand our presence from a technology management perspective, into the Columbus area.  That was a great event, we met a lot of people, had some good conversations, and now have a lot of follow up to work on. 


Yesterday, Jim, Francisco and I spent the day with clients and friends at a sporting clays shooting event, benefiting the Boy Scouts.  This is our fourth (I think) year participating, and it’s always fun to see who has the best eye when it comes to moving targets.  I’ll admit that Francisco embarrassed me yesterday, which is pretty good considering it’s only the third time he’s ever shot (unless he’s sandbagging on me).  Finally, last night was our client open house (now forever known as “Ashtoberfest”). We had beautiful weather and a nice crowd of clients, partners, vendors, and prospects, as well as German food and beer.  


So, with two days out of the office and not able to pay attention to emails, I’ve spent today trying to dig out of a hole, as well as putting together this newsletter. Scroll down for more on passwords, gambling, Google, and feedback. 

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Security Updates

I couldn’t wait to delete all of the security update emails I had sitting in my inbox this week.  The list is long and includes Fortinet (security solutions), Firefox (web browser), Google Chrome (web browser), Microsoft (a wide variety of issues), Apple (iOS and MacOS), Adobe (Acrobat), as well as an NSA update on the threat from deepfakes.  

For more about BEC at a somewhat technical level, you can read about the W3LL group and how they’ve compromised thousands of corporate Microsoft 365 accounts around the world. 


Both MGM and Caesar’s have been hit with cyber attacks in the past couple of days, and Caesar’s acknowledged paying $15M to prevent stolen data from being leaked.  As is often the case, the Caesar’s hackers got in through an outsourced technology provider, although in this case, it sounds like some social engineering took place, first.


For a deeper, more technical look at the MGM episode, you can also read this article.  

SEC Cyber Regulations

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently updated their requirements as to how (when) organizations must acknowledge that they’ve suffered a data breach. This piece talks about the importance of a strong cyber effort by companies and states, “By affording cybersecurity the same strategic importance as financial well-being, organizations can significantly enhance their resilience against cyber threats.”  


Too many times, we still see organizations that view cybersecurity as an afterthought, and that way of thinking always comes back to bite them.

Google Search

As much as I dislike Google (as Ashton’s Jim Millican likes to remind people; “Google- where YOU are the product”), I have to admit that they provide much better search results than any other solution (I’ve tried to like Bing and Duck Duck Go, but they’re just not as good).  Google’s anti-trust case started this past week, and it’ll be interesting to see how they defend the fact that 90% of users use Google to search online.  


And while this New Yorker article about internet algorithms (best known for Facebook and Google, but everybody uses them) is a year old, it was appropriate to appear in my inbox this week, thanks to the Google trial.  

Password Guidelines

Every now and then our friend Anton at TechLinq in New Jersey creates a good blog post that I need to share.  This one is on NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) password guidelines.  Lots of good reminders herein in terms of keeping your network safe.  No matter how secure your network is, you still have users, and that means you’re still open to human error.  


I don’t normally rant in this publication, as I don’t feel like offending anybody. I’m sure it’s been done, and it might’ve been a Steelers or Michigan fan, but generally I try to stay neutral.  That said, I welcome any and all feedback you might have for me.  And if you think I’m ever going to refer to it as “feedforward”, you don’t know me very well.  

Nancy's Nuggets

Nancy was quite busy this week, getting us set up for the Dealmakers Conference in Columbus, while also putting the finishing touches on last night’s AshtoberFest. She was still able to find a couple of good ones for inclusion herein, however.  


I lost my wedding ring in the snow at the end of our driveway, about a year after we were married.  Rented a metal detector and got absolutely nowhere with it.  Maybe I should’ve hired this Norwegian guy.  And while Nancy believes that aliens and UFOs might exist, it’s still going to ake a lot more to convince me of that fact.  And the recent specimens displayed in Mexico surely aren’t the stuff to convince…

All I have to wrap up with is one that I typically include at this time of year (9/11). The story of the guy in the red banadana, who saved numerous people immediately following the attack on the World Trade Centers.


Have a great weekend, and go Bucks/go Browns!


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