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The CPA Cybersecurity Survival Guide
Your Easy Guide to Spot Social Engineering and Phishing, Stop Ransomware and Fraud, and Sleep Soundly at Night
By David McHale Posted in Non-fiction 8 min read
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My name’s David McHale.

I’m a professional security consultant that’s helped people from dozens of organizations learn how to better protect themselves from the growing threat of cybercrime.

Some of the organizations that have trusted me to help them in recent years include the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Department of the Interior.

It is becoming increasingly important for organizations to develop a culture that prioritizes cyber security.

The training and security implementation are no longer soIely IT or security team functions.

They are now functions for everyone.

It’s important for each and every one of us to learn how to better protect ourselves, our families, and our employers.

Why group it all together like that?

It’s because professional and personal lives are being melded together more often than not.

Not to mention your behaviors are very similar in what you do, in that which you do at home is what you’ll most likely do at work.

You’re constantly hearing warnings about new threats, new breaches, and new attacks. It can be overwhelming to keep up with.

When you or your business does fall victim to an attack, people want to point fingers.

That is never the right way to approach security.

I want you to know that as we go through this course together I’ll speak to you from a place of compassion and not of condescension.

I don’t want to beat you over the head or speak down to you.

My number one goal is to help you understand how to protect yourself.

And we’ll do that by going over what threats are important to know about, why they’re important to understand, and what they look like in real life.

So now you might be wondering, “why is this a big deal?”

91% of cyber attacks start with someone just like you or me clicking on something we think is trustworthy, and being taken advantage of to get access to our company’s network.

The average cost of an attack like that succeeding is $5 million dollars according to the NCSA.

This means there is a huge need to protect devices.

Both in your home and in your workplace.

Your nerdy friend or your IT department can’t fully protect you anymore.

It’s extremely important to understand:

All of us have an important role to play in security, no matter what level you’re at.

And I get it, there’s hacks and intrusions and technical stuff that you can’t help detect and stop.

I’m not asking you to learn complicated hacking skills that require the kind of experience that’s taken me years to build up.

In all honesty an attacker is 16.6x more likely to breach your company by taking advantage of your trust by way of a phishing email than with any fancy attack.

This is effective because you’re busy juggling a hundred different things at your job.

You want to work quickly, and keep your organization moving forward, so it’s easy to fall prey to these kinds of attacks if you don’t know exactly what to look for.

By investing this time in developing your security awareness, you’re potentially saving your company millions of dollars in damage from cyber crime.

I saw a story recently about a cosmetics company that suffered a ransomware attack that came through a phishing email and the hackers wound up accidentally deleting the files they’d held ransom.

The entire company of 50 people was wiped out overnight because they weren’t keeping backups and someone happened to open a file from a phishing email.

As you go through this course, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me any questions you have.

This course is intended to be a living reference for you to come back and review every few months.

And remember…

Security awareness is just as important for Mac users too.

Don’t buy into the myth that you’re safe because you don’t use Windows.

Usernames and passwords from your banking website or retirement account or insurance company will work on any computer regardless of the operating system.

Plus, there are plenty of viruses made specifically for Mac.

What is Cybersecurity?

Defending yourself against cyberattacks starts with understanding the risks associated with cyber activity, what some of the basic cybersecurity terms mean, and what you can do to protect yourself.

It seems that everything relies on computers and the internet now.

Communication like email, and smartphones.

Entertainment like digital cable, and mp3s.

Transportation like car engine systems, and airplane navigation.

Shopping like online shopping, and credit cards.

Medicine like medical equipment, and medical records…

And the list goes on.

How much of your daily life relies on computers?

How much of your personal information is stored either on your own computer or on someone else’s system?

Cybersecurity involves protecting that information by preventing, detecting, and responding to cyber attacks.

Read The Entire Book

Dear Friend,

Welcome to The CPA Cybersecurity Survival Guide.

This represents nearly 10 years of hard work, experience and the efforts of my incredible team and customers. Maybe you’re one of them!

I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts with you in no particular order about what to expect in this book.

If you have a short attention span, have ADD (like me), or learn better and faster with video, make sure to head over to because you can join our training platform that explains the principles in this book in a concise video format.

First, it’s interactive. There are lots of opportunities for you to go deeper in the content, gain access to free training videos, participate in some interactive masterclass events and more.

Second, this book is for business. It’s intended to help you grow your security culture, protect your business, and sleep easier at night. It isn’t intended to serve poets, fiction-writers or people who want to write memoirs, children’s books or novels – however , it will work for those businesses but I don’t focus on them.

Third, it’s for implementers. You’ll see there’s LOTS of ideas that you can use to secure any business type. If you’re the type who’s looking for free, easy security, this isn’t the book for you. I’m not here to blow smoke up your butt and lie to you.

Fourth, this book wasn’t intended to be a NY Times #1 Bestseller. It’s designed to start a conversation with you, give us a chance to get to know each other better, develop trust, a bond and ultimately help us decide if we will work together someday.

Fifth, this is a book that’s packed with content and lots of ideas. It’s a WHAT book, as well as a WHY and step-by-step HOW TO book. My intention and the purpose of this book is to show you the most powerful ways to protect yourself, expose you to multiple ways to defend yourself against criminals, build a security culture, gain insight and leverage the latest technology and strategies available and set yourself up for long-term growth and peace of mind in the future. We have a how-to system available that includes everything you need to execute what you read in these pages.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a shameless self-promoter – and I want to help you protect more people, keep your business making money and add value to your life and everyone you come in contact with. You’ll notice there are opportunities throughout this book to register and watch videos and YES, I do have some great products I’d like to sell to you because they work and you’ll have a better life with them.

Having said that, if you like what you read, or most of what you read, I’d absolutely, positively love to hear from you and get to know you better and find out what you learned – or better yet post a picture or video on my facebook page at or tweet me @hailbytes.

The best way to start a relationship with me will be to visit my website, watch my free Q&A session, and learn more about how to protect your business and brand. I’m looking forward to getting to know you better!

David McHale in Laurel, MD USA

cyber security it security technology

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