If you are not a multi-billion corporation, consider yourself unprotected.
Keep an eye all the time on everything you can, every detail. It is very time consuming.
Keep records and print screens of every conversation or document you find important and keep them organized so you can access them.
As a part of our series about “5 Things You Need To Know To Tighten Up Your Company’s Approach to Data Privacy and Cybersecurity”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Augustin T. O’Brien Caceres.
Since the age of 16, Augustin has mastered the art of sales and expanded his experience worldwide. His success made him found his own company in Miami in 2010, LEGroup Industries.
Augustin’s main interest is politics, aiming to reform the legal and the safety system in order for it to be more accurate of the reality of the 2000’s and put an end to this new Dark Age we live in.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
Thank YOU for this opportunity. I am very happy to expose my story and my case, making it as public as possible. I have been sending press releases for months and you are the first serious interview since then.
I grew up in an international family as my father was an Argentinean expat working in Brazil for Italian and American companies, despite our families being Italian and Irish. Since early age, I travel international and speak at different levels the four languages I am fluent in. Coming also from a family of entrepreneurs I ended up experiencing a phenomenal worldwide sales career that allowed me to see a good portion of this huge and beautiful world, which makes me very proud of. I have been everywhere, from top 5 star restaurants in London or Miami to shantytowns in Asia, Africa, or Brazil. It has been an exciting life which I always like to share not only online but also through postcards.
Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in cybersecurity? We’d love to hear it.
That’s a very good question. The particular story is the fact of being sick of being ‘a victim of my own success’, referring to a comment I heard from a banker in Miami one day during a meeting. I have not only one specific story but several and the gun used against me is the cyberspace. I started my sales career in 1994 when cell phones barely exist and PC computers were very limited. At that time, I was a teenager and to sell, you had to use all face to face skills. As I enter college, I moved to international business and exports, which required an intense remote and long distance approach with only few meetings face to face after long international and costly travels. This was 1997 and I have been through the entire development process of this technology affecting my industry every year more. Since the beginning, there was suspicious feelings against the internet. The general feeling was that it was a gun of two edges, one of them pointed against you and I can sadly say that this edge that points against you is much stronger than the one that helps truly professionals. I have already half of my book written about these 20 years and also about the main problem that I faced which was in 2018, when my company was attacked both physically and online. I have experienced similar problems in the past but as my career evolved, this time I was already sitting in over 20 million dollars worth of sales, over 400,000 dollars in receivables of sales commissions with my own company, my own brands, suppliers, and clients, managing two offices: one in the USA and one in Europe. After 20 years of hard work, study, and talent? What else to expect, right? Success! But then I was a victim of my own success again. This time falling for a higher altitude and with more violent attacks and victim of some sort of international crime organization who very likely have arms in the police in different countries who this time not only cut me off, embezzled all my results but used my sales commissions to do money laundering. I have had the most horrible years of my career but as always I make the best opportunity out of all of this and I am expanding into several different projects for a relaunch at a higher level with proper structure so that these attacks don’t happen again.
One of them is that I am at the very early stage of my political career, which is a bit international as it comprises America, Ireland, Italy, and Argentina but predominantly in Italy where I have created my own political campaigns called Forza Italia Ciberspazio, where I refer to the immediate necessity of regulating and protecting the Cyberspace, a term that was serviced to me officially by a police report issued by the Plano Texas police in September 2018 when I reported the crimes I mentioned above to them. At this stage I am just offering my candidacy internally to the Political Party of Bersluconi but I am not officially a candidate.
Beyond cyberspacial matters, I also aim to intensify the American-Italian and the American-Irish relations.
In America, I support Donald Trump and I am trying to contact Tiffany Trump as Cyberlaw is her specialty and I believe we have lots to talk about once I manage reach to them.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?
Again, I love this question. As I said, as a user I am on the Cyberspace for over 20 years professionally but specifically on Cybersecurity I would say only two years and it is like I almost crashed into it by necessity. It has been a roller coaster of trying to do my international business work and solve security and legal matters at the same time. Running on an still low paced organic world and competing with criminal activities conducted at ultrasonic speed online. I have operations worldwide but I am not a multibillion dollar corporation with offices and personnel in several different countries. I was reaching that direction but then crime showed its power and made my growth messy once again.
I have learnt that small and medium sized companies are the easiest and most frequent target and the reason for that is that the state is not equipped still to keep up with the gigantic demand. The world is all technological now but no matter what refers to cyber crime, you need to go through police stations as that’s the nature of criminal law. You can’t just hire an attorney and sue somebody criminally. Attorneys work only defending the perpetrators but the victims have to be protected by the state and there’s where the 2000’s have been a total failure. When it comes to the cyber security the police stations are still in the 80’s I would say. There’s a total absence of specialized personnel not only on understanding digital life, cyberspace but predominantly white collar level cases. And I can tell about my own experience since 2018 on the following jurisdictions which I have been working on my last cases which represent a good sample of the entire world, which are: Thailand, Dubai UAE, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Malta, USA, Sint Maarten, Libya, and Brazil.
Coming back to the question, the most exciting of this career on cyber security was the first two months fighting for justice which happened in Dallas, Texas and in Sint Maarten, Caribbean in October-November 2018. I remember crying at the police station in Dallas with my genius like pile of documents after my MBA, results of millions of dollars, explaining crying to this police officer that had no clue what I was doing there talking to me through the thick glass and the radio and all her guns. That’s when I reported part of the crimes I was being victim of and it is going to be possibly the trailer when the movie I will produce. Also the part in Sint Maarten when I bought a bicycle, fighting gangsters and cyber criminals face to face in that island when I was cycling under rain and mountains crossing that entire island to get a shipment of rice there solved. Angry about the millions of dollars on business stolen and still the attacks and the total lack of protection but counting yes with common people that helped me and thinking to myself: those people robbed me millions, I will make BILLIONS out of these couple thousand dollars left and keep cycling up the hill under the rain. I will make a movie about the story, which is not finished yet. It has just started! I still have 40 years more of career at least.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have a list of at least 10 people that have helped me a lot in these past two years but the two that I will remember the most first is Francesca. She’s an Italian old lady who lives in Sint Maarten and she was introduced to me at a restaurant because I am Italian too. We became friends and it seems she was living on her car. The island is not only destroyed by the hurricane but run by drug dealers and other dangerous people and lots of corruption so people are surviving surrounded by debris and garbage as they can and me there, trying to collect payments for a shipment of 25,000kg of rice, being attacked 24/7 online by cyberspacial gangsters who attacked my reputation, stole my clients and suppliers, etc. And then I meet this lady who had a car, so I could save money renting cars and she even purchased some of my bags of rice and help me donate them to the homeless and the Red Cross as you can see on this picture below.
Another person is also an older attorney who is the only one I could find who is helping me on a pro-bono basis. From the same generation as Francesca, Edmund has been helping me altruistically. I met him through political meetings in Ireland in 2019 while fighting for the regulation of the cyberspace. His assistance has been of essential importance. I have hired other attorneys in the other countries but all of them cease working once I can’t pay their fees and they do not help on my interactions with the authorities.
Edmund and Francesca have been of precious help.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am and they are all grandiose. My mind has been boiling for two years and I want to use my capacity of persuasion and communicating to make the crowds understand this complicated world of white collar at easy to understand levels and promote the adjustments at government level of the proper conditions that every common person has to have when it comes to cyber law. Another topic that I frequent talk is Cyber Labour Law and Copy Rights which are completely neglected nowadays, what refers to my other campaign called ‘The Bill is Past Due’ which refers to contents creation on social platforms and these laws.
These are the names of my current projects:
- LEGroup Foods Relaunching: which is my food business. We are on year 12 and I am relaunching my global operations at a higher scale and forever now with proper structure and conditions so that the case of 2018 never happen again.
- AugusTV!: the movies, talk shows, and other media related productions which will surround my person but with very wide topics from music to politics. This project is always there for several years. I just decided to get it done finally after the attacks of 2018 as it seems I paid the price for not being known yet at that time and all the results I get on my business come from my personality, which I need to manage properly and drive this energy through proper channels.
- Forza Italia Ciberspazio: my personal candidacy a candidate in Italy for one year now, where cyberspace jurisdiction is the main pillar.
- Donald Trump Rally in Ireland: another political venture that started in 2015 and keeps growing.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Follow me, sponsor me, and join my team and my causes. If you are not working for a massive corporation, the only thing you can do online is personal matters and online shopping. Don’t risk to much and pray every time you send an e-mail with an attachment asking it not to be copied, and all your precious white collar work that took years in college to be ready stolen in fractions of seconds. Wait until I manage to get all this projects done and believe me. Today, the main forces are not to regulate and protect the cyberspace as the lack of presence of the government on the cyberspace created a global elite that makes their money on the cyberspace and have no interest at all on regulating it. At the same time, I don’t see any other road in the following years but increasing limitation, regulation, and strong cyber security on every aspect. It’s the natural course of any invention. It was the same with cars, with planes, and now with the internet.
Contact me! Let’s get this done. The quickest the best for the world!
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. The Cybersecurity industry, as it is today, is such an exciting arena. What are the 3 things that most excite you about the Cybersecurity industry? Can you explain?
That’s a hard question but let’s try to find only three things:
- Extreme necessity. I am a sales guy with a need of a concrete base. This means I love jokes and laughing but I need a real and concrete meaning to what I do and Cyber security is not only a priority but a basic need to survive nowadays. The more the merrier.
- Flexibility and global aspect of it. I love big cities and lots of people combined and crowds and that’s what the cyberspace is and it only work under safe and regulated norms, otherwise… it is 2020!
- High speed. It is just fascinating how fast and immediate results can be but still not as it is. The technology is fascinating and very ingenious but still far from safe.
Looking ahead to the near future, are there critical threats on the horizon that you think companies need to start preparing for?
Lobbyism coming from the current main beneficiaries of the system as it is. They managed to prosper and have their own global presence and private global security. Therefore, they have no interest in governments offering this service to common people and increase competition.
Lack of resources can be a problem too. The digital era requires too much plastic, titanium, and time. It should be simplified and limited in the future.
Companies need to be ready for regulations coming. I say this as a threat to the companies as this requires costs, products that wouldn’t be available and even entire companies that may become obsolete and non-profitable once their industries are regulated and cyber protected. This sounds good for the entire society but for some companies themselves it should be considered as a real threat for the future.
Understand, please, that my aim on regulating the cyber space and increasing cyber security as a politician is not of punishing companies but improving worldwide welfare, protecting human rights that took hundreds of years to achieve and are under threat today, creating good sense among all, companies and citizens.
Do you have a story from your experience about a cyber security breach that you helped fix or stop? What were the main takeaways from that story?
I have several as I mentioned earlier but the main one are these attacks I suffered in 2018. The crime I was victim of was ‘Invoice Redirection Fraud’ perpetrated through ‘on line actions of slandering and defamation against me’. When my company was infiltrated by a person I hired in Dublin, Ireland, they attacked my reputation with the most absurd stories, also known as ‘fake news’, and created the alibis they needed to justify the reasons for suppliers to reroute their payments to their other invoices accounts with possibly a discount. The fact is that my suppliers knew me from years but there were elements of passive and active corruption where the suppliers ‘accepted the alibis exposed to them’ even knowing they were false as they would have economical compensations if doing so.
My lesson is: run to a police station and get a police report the quickest you can and file official notifications against the parties involved, all of them. Make it the most old fashioned you can, through attorneys, registered in embassies and have that in hand as that’s the only gun you have to protect yourself and at least prove to the world and to the perpetrators that they are not only dealing with an e-mail address of a whatsapp number but with a real legit company and person and that the case is already registered publicly in the standard safety institutions. This action at least makes them slow down and not to believe it is this easy. Before those actions, they would even rob you on your face certain of not being punished. Has similar action as an alarm that is finally on alerting the world about what’s happening.
As you know, breaches or hacks can occur even for those who are best prepared, and no one will be aware of it for a while. Are there 3 or 4 signs that a lay person can see or look for that might indicate that something might be “amiss”?
I have such an experience that my intuition never failed. I will write some of the signs I had every time I was robbed by co-workers, business partners, suppliers, and clients on the cyberspace:
- Change of behavior. The ex-colleague and now a perpetrator starts to be vaguer, answers take longer to come. Similar to if you are betrayed on a relationship. It is not that different. It is just much easier as it is all online and it can happen on your face as they are using their computers or phones, which in my case I even supplied to them…
- Lack of responses, ghosting. The most obvious sign you have been robbed.
- Being blocked without any reason on the apps you would communicate with them. They do that so you don’t know they are on line and talking to your customers.
- Take this as a habit to checking every of all your e-mails in detail. There are always signs there if things are going bad. Do that as a common control. I found precious e-mails that were in history of long e-mails and attachments that you can be shocked as e-mails come and go. Check details: who sent it to, misspellings, removed data, all.
- Sudden ideas coming from employees of not using the company e-mail and other apps or gmail accounts.
My problem is not knowing it is happening is the system itself. It is just too easy to steal and as I said the protection structure is minimal or inexistent today. That’s why I am avoiding taking new risks until I see safe tools available.
I think they are fantastic. I was shocked when I saw that our private data was being used and traded for years without our knowledge. It is the beginning of society reaching power again of our own rights. I am very excited and I can’t wait to be actively working on these matters at a government level myself. The sooner the better so that, not only me but anybody else, will be able to act on the private sector again but at a safer position.
What are the most common data security and cyber security mistakes you have seen companies make?
Since the COVID19 Pandemic began and companies have become more dispersed, have you seen an uptick in cyber security or privacy errors? Can you explain?
I just see less companies and more presence of the massive corporations and they all operate with their own private security. Most companies are just running out of business.
Ok, thank you. Here is the main question of our interview. What are the “5 Things Every Company Needs To Know To Tighten Up Its Approach to Data Privacy and Cyber security” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Criminal persecution starts at the police station near your house or your office. Go and talk to them. If they do not understand cyberspace or cyber security, move your business somewhere else. It is going to be hard but most police stations do not understand cybercrime and without their corporation you can only avoid crimes. Once you are a victim, it will be very hard to make justice at the prosecution starts at the police station and they won’t help… No-No situation.
- If you are not a multi-billion corporation, consider yourself unprotected.
- Keep an eye all the time on everything you can, every detail. It is very time consuming.
- Keep records and print screens of every conversation or document you find important and keep them organized so you can access them.
- Engage and politics and insist on bringing cyber security and legal assistance from your local authorities. Don’t wait until you need it as large corporations are lobbying against these structures to be created as they don’t need them but you do if you are not one of them.
This was very inspiring and informative. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this interview!