Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Grass Roots Campaign Delivers For Cyber Security Expert

A few months ago  my team at Media Connect ( began promoting an author with a timely and interesting book about cyber security, identity theft, and avoiding being scammed or lied to online. She has great credentials – she works for the Department of Defense. But she’s a first-time author with a smaller publisher (Career Press). The strategy to push her to the media was to start with local media and to do a grass roots approach.

Weeks before her book launched we secured media in Washington DC, LA, and San Francisco, cities she was visiting or lived in. We then used that TV footage and testimonials from the coverage to conduct a radio tour blast by phone. We scheduled over 20 interviews. We also did a one-day satellite television tour and had interviews with 17 TV shows and network affiliates, including nationally syndicated First Business and Fox News Edge. While that was going on, we promoted her book, Catching the Catfishers: Disarm The Online Pretenders, Predators, And Perpetrators Who Are Out To Ruin Your Life, to national media, referencing how all of these local shows interviewed her.

We got the attention of The Wall Street Journal and it did a huge story, as well as an online video interview that circulated all over the place. By the end of the  day that the article hit was over, we had over a half-dozen media requests. The author, Tyler Cohen Wood, did a Skype interview that aired with ABC-TV in New York City. She did the same with Fox-TV in New York City. CBS in Orlando also arranged for an interview. . picked up on the story and wrote about her and the book as well. Radio shows, including several nationally syndicated ones, came calling too. Heck, even The Today Show talked on-air about the story.

Now we can leverage this exposure to earn more media hits. Media begets media. This just shows how it takes hard work to get the big hit and how the big hit then opens up lots of doors. It’s a classic PR dream, but it happens more often than you think.

By the way, the book is fascinating. It reveals how you can protect your identity and data from being hijacked or used to harm your children, distort your reputation, threaten your safety, jeopardize your career, or lead to a dangerous mismatch at online dating sites.  The book also provides strategies, tips and a checklist to help you see through online deception and protect yourself from crooks, creeps, crazies, and con artists.

The author offers smart, up-to-date maneuvers to help you:

·         Protect your children from online predators, pretenders and cyberbullies – and what to do when you give a child his or her first cell phone.
·         Engage in safe online dating.
·         Catch digital liars before they can harm you physically, financially, or socially.
·         Vet someone you or your child are communicating with online is actually who they say they are.
·         Advance your career without building a trail of harmful or embarrassing posts.
·         Protect a business from hiring or dealing with unsavory characters.
·         Be smarter about spotting hoaxers, catfishes, facelifters, and spear phishers.
·         Make it harder for companies or strangers to follow your activities online.
·         Understand what rights and information you give up when signing off on the terms of agreement with social sites like Facebook. You need to be aware of what information is collected on you and what you can do about it to protect yourself.
·         Create or restore your online reputation management. Manage your online image to get the things you want personally and professionally.
·         Understand what perception others have of you based on your online presence --and how to fix it.
·         Understand how information posted by or about you can be used against you.

Wood shows readers how to arm and inform themselves against those who will use social media sites, apps, searches, and posted photos to harm them.  Whether showing how a product review could be a fake or the person you’re instant messaging is lying, Wood calls upon what she’s learned while working in cyber security for the Department of Defense, NASA, IBM, and other companies.

She not only shows how to play defense, using predictive analysis and modified statement analysis techniques, but also tells how you can do reconnaissance using available tools online to vet people for red flags.

Below is an interview with the author:

1.      As a cyber security expert, what do you believe we need to know about the increasing dangers in regards to protecting one’s safety online? New technological threats come out on a daily basis.  These threats come from predators, hackers, bullies, liars and thieves.  You have to remain vigilant and informed and realize that the Internet can be a dangerous place if you don’t know what you’re doing or are careless in your online activities.

2.      How about our privacy – is there a way to keep our personal information from being sent all over the place? Make sure you understand the terms of service for all the applications and sites that you use, so you can understand exactly what is being collected on you.  Also, be careful with the information that you choose to self-disclose because hackers or people will ill intentions can easily create a pattern of life on you – and use it against you.

3.      How can businesses protect their data from hackers? Make sure that your security policies are up to date.  More importantly, now that employees are working from home or use their mobile devices for work on the go, make sure they are educated on the risks of using these mobile devices and separate personal use from business use.  For example, employees linking their mobile devices to unsecured wireless networks could potentially give full access to all data contained on a device to the owner or operator of the network or a third party.

4.      What should a parent do to insulate his or her children from the predators lurking online? A parent needs to be educated and well versed in the applications that their children are using.  They should have passwords to children’s Google Play Store and Apple iTunes accounts and make sure they are friends with all their kids’ friends on social media.  Most importantly, educate your children and teach them to look for the signs that someone is not who they say they are, such as if a person won’t Skype, won’t send real-time photos, and if they don’t have an appropriate and normal amount of online “digital puzzle pieces” for their generation.

5.      How can any of us know who we’re really communicating with at online dating sites or social media platforms such as Facebook? Initially, you don’t necessarily know who you’re talking to.  But over time, you start building a baseline of who a person is.  You can also do some reconnaissance on a person using some of the tips that I teach in my book, such as photo searching or looking for realistic banter.

6.      What exactly is “catfishing?” How prevalent is it, and what should we be on the lookout for? “Catfishing” is when someone pretending to be someone they’re not preys upon someone online.  Unfortunately, it’s very prevalent.  People will always give away clues that they are not who they say they are.  You just have to know where to look.  Red flags can be things like if someone won’t have a telephonic conversation with you, if they have no other or very limited online presence, and if their facts just don’t seem to match up.

7.      What does the average person fail to do to protect their digital information? They don’t read the terms of service for the tools they’re using. They don’t have a good understanding of the technology.  Use the privacy settings, don’t self-disclose too much information on yourself and make sure you know what people can find:  Look at your records and do an online search on yourself to see what information is out there.  For example, a lot of public records give away things like addresses, social security numbers or other sensitive information that can be used against you.

8.      Please tell us some cyber judo tricks so we can keep our homes safe from those who use the Internet to steal, cheat, or violently attack others. Be careful about the information that you disclose, such as posting to social media about going on vacation, posts that give away your exact location and being aware of the types of data that is contained in digital photographs—things like EXIF data and geocords.

9.      Why do people still fall for online hoaxes? Because the hoaxes are really good.  They have gotten very sophisticated and appear to be completely legitimate.  They look and feel like real emails that would come from a bank, or PayPal or other bona fide senders.  But what you have to know is that no bank or financial service would ever send you an email asking to update your account information or give away any financial data.  They will never ask you for your account number or password.  Make sure to look at the sender’s email address carefully.

10.  You say that we can train ourselves to read deception online.  How so? When people aren’t telling the truth online, they give away clues in their words.  By learning to analyze those words, you can determine when someone is being deceptive.  For example, if you ask a question and the answer is evasive, where the person talks around the answer, that’s an indicator of deception.  Tense-hopping is another indicator.  You can learn how to look for these giveaways.

11.  You have conducted digital forensic examinations.  What exactly are they and what might they reveal? A digital forensic examination is analyzing any digital device that was either used to perpetrate a crime, or that belonged to a victim, to determine whether a crime was committed or if a digital intrusion was made, and if there is evidence on that device.  If a device was used in a crime, virtually all evidence of that crime will be contained on the device.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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