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Keep Your Money Safe From Hackers. Nick Espinosa
It seems like every other day there’s a new story in the news about a major company getting hacked. Personal information is stolen, customer data is compromised, and millions of dollars are lost. How does this affect you and the trust you place in these companies?
Our next guest is Nick Espinosa, an expert in cybersecurity and network infrastructure. He founded Windy City Networks, Inc at age 19 and was acquired by BSSi2 LLC, where he is now their CIO. In 2015, Nick launched Security Fanatics, a Cybersecurity outfit dedicated to designing custom Cyberdefense strategies for medium to enterprise corporations.
Additionally, Nick serves on the Board of Advisors for Roosevelt University’s College of Arts and Sciences and their Center for Cyber and Information Security. He is also the Official Spokesperson for the COVID-19 Cyber Threat Coalition.
Nick is a nationally recognized speaker, member of the Forbes Technology Council, and a regular columnist for Forbes. He is also the award-winning co-author of a bestselling book, Easy Prey, and host of a nationally syndicated radio show, The Deep Dive.
Nick and I discuss the emotional impact of trust in the digital era and practical security tips to implement a sound cybersecurity strategy.
[2:28] How Nick got to building his first computer at age 7 and became a cybersecurity expert in his teenage years.
[6:51] Finding a work-life balance after achieving financial success as a teen.
[8:35] Understanding two core sides of trust, affective and cognitive trust.
[12:36] “Maintain a certain level of vigilance and distrust when it comes to technology.”
[18:44] Using a debit card over a credit card for extra security.
[26:18] The Government has our backs, don’t they?
[29:45] When approaching technology and new tech trends, it has to be married to cybersecurity. Have a skeptical eye, be aware of potential risks and make good choices.
Connect With Nick Espinosa
For the latest news on cybersecurity follow Nick at:
World Leading Experts: including Nick Espinosa
The term Easy Prey aptly describes those businesses exposed to the illegal, immoral and illicit industry known as Cybercrime. Unsuspecting and often unwary businesses and their personnel…
Click to Read Full Transcript
[00:00:00] Bob Wheeler: Welcome to another episode of Money You Should Ask, where everyone has something they can teach you. I’m your host, Bob Wheeler. In this episode, we are going to explore why we do? What we do when it comes to money as a CPA for the past 30 years, wait, let me say 25 because that makes me sound younger. I have seen it all when it comes to money and emotions.
And if you think I’m talking about my clients, I’m not. I’m talking about myself. My relationship with money has been and sometimes still is an emotional roller coaster. Maybe that’s something you’re also familiar with. Good news, you and I are not the only ones. Our next guest is going to share their money beliefs, money blocks and life challenges as well. Buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.
[00:01:06] Bob Wheeler: Our next guest is Nick Espinosa, an expert in cyber-security and network infrastructure. Nick founded Windy City networks at age 19 and was acquired by BSSi2, where he is now their CIO. In 2015, Nick launched security phonetics, which is a cyber-security, cyber warfare outfit dedicated to designing custom cyber defense strategies for medium to enterprise corporations.
Nick is also a nationally recognized speaker, member of the Forbes Technology Council, and a regular columnist for Forbes. He is also the award winning co-author of a best-selling book, ’Easy Prey’ and host of a nationally syndicated radio show the ‘Deep Dive’. He’s also the official spokesperson for the COVID-19 cyber threat coalition. Nick is known as an industry thought leader and is sought after for his advice on the future of technology, and how it will impact everyday businesses and consumers. Nick, I’m super excited to have you here. I think I said everything right.
[00:02:01] Nick Espinosa: Yeah
[00:02:01] Bob Wheeler: But I think if it all boils down to, is it sounds like you might be a professional hacker?
[00:02:06] Nick Espinosa: You can call me that. Yes, yes, I tell most of us start very early before we’re professional anything just trying to see if we can break into stuff so.
[00:02:15] Bob Wheeler: Exactly. Well, so that leads me to the fact that you started your first business at 19. Did you do that in lieu of college? Did you decide to go to college? And was it the hacking that sort of said, hey, how did we get here?
[00:02:28] Nick Espinosa: My 90 second life story, if you will. Basically when I was five years old, my dad brought home our very first computer and I was just so fascinated by this thing. And he went to work after setting it up the next day. And I took it apart piece by piece, screw by screw, because I wanted to figure out how it worked. And when he got home and he got done whooping me, I put it back together and it turned on, and at that point to his credit. He’s like, okay, he’s got something here, like, let’s let him keep going. So he fostered that in me, I built my first computer at seven.
[00:02:58] Bob Wheeler: Wow
[00:02:58] Nick Espinosa: I started programming in languages by the time I was nine, I had about 10 or 12 languages that I could do. I started getting very early certifications from like Novell and other places that were big at the time. And at 14, I basically broke into my first system, which was I think, the natural progression because when you get a computer and you know everything about it, you want to learn how they can talk to each other and…
[00:03:17] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:03:18] Nick Espinosa: Once you know how they talk to each other, you want to know how you can capture it, break it, defend it, corrupt it, all these kinds of things. I wasn’t doing that to ruin anybody’s day, unlike the hackers of today that are criminals and want to rip you off. I wasn’t trying to ruin anybody’s day, I just want to see if I could do it. And so that kind of started that road.
[00:03:34] Nick Espinosa: And then I basically got a job, basically running Tech Support for a company here in the Chicago land area. And I did that from about 16 or 17 years old to about 19. And I said, you know what, I started actually in college for computer science. And I said, you know, I get enough of this at work.
[00:03:51] Nick Espinosa: So, you know, I switched to history major. And then I founded my first company by 19 years old when he said he networks and grew that for about 15 years before being acquired. So here we are.
[00:04:01] Bob Wheeler: That is so awesome. And are you an only child?
[00:04:03] Nick Espinosa: I am, which is probably to my advantage. I don’t have to fight for computer time with a sibling.
[00:04:09] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, exactly. And I love that your dad encouraged you after he beat you, of course, but…
[00:04:14] Nick Espinosa: Well, yeah
[00:04:16] Bob Wheeler: I mean, you got it. Got to learn the lesson here but…
[00:04:18] Nick Espinosa: Yeah
[00:04:18] Bob Wheeler: But that he actually saw that. But when you were growing up, what about other things besides supporting you in computers? Did he talk about money with you? Did you understand like a budget, or was nothing spoken about with money, what was that like?
[00:04:33] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, so my dad eventually got his financial planner certification, if that is any indication, although interestingly enough, he worked in IT, he worked in technology. So I’m a second generation nerd is what I like to call myself.
[00:04:45] Bob Wheeler: Okay
[00:04:47] Nick Espinosa: You know, in that sense, but yeah, and it was very interesting because he was a very meticulous person. He was essentially my first CFO, if you will…
[00:04:54] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:04:54] Nick Espinosa: He would come with the spreadsheets and tell me to the penny you know, good, bad and ugly and all of that. And I honestly and maybe it’s the father son relationship, but I just didn’t want to hear it. I was very much like my mom in the sense that, you know, oh no, like, we’ll figure it out. It’s fine.
[00:05:10] Nick Espinosa: I’m just winging it, you know. And so a lot of that didn’t seep in. He was the one that recommended rightfully so that, you know, when I’m in college, I take business classes and all of that. I happen to be on the 11 year plan, literally for college, just because I was working full time and…
[00:05:25] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:05:25] Nick Espinosa: You know, doing everything else. But yeah, so I did get interesting financial advice. I don’t think I really took it, especially in my 20s. You know, I mean, think about it, you know, you’re 19 you’re 20 years old, you’re making way more money than anybody around you making more than my dad was making. You know, when he was in this business. I mean, you’re gonna do stupid things.
[00:05:44] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:05:44] Nick Espinosa: And so I went through my stupid phase era. And I’m also an extrovert, so that doesn’t help in any way.
[00:05:48] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:05:49] Nick Espinosa: So, but yeah, no, I did get solid financial advice. I just can’t say it took it.
[00:05:53] Bob Wheeler: You just didn’t take it?
[00:05:54] Nick Espinosa: Right, now I do.
[00:05:56] Bob Wheeler: And when did that turn around? Like, what was the, was it getting married? Was it just realizing, Oh my God, I just blew through a billion dollars. Like, what was that moment that you said, I gotta do this crap different?
[00:06:08] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, yeah. So honestly, the realization was a relationship ended. I’d had a girlfriend for about a year, and we were getting serious and all that. And she’s like, NO, like, you spend all your time at work like, this isn’t going to work. And what I would do at the time, is I would throw a relationship would end and I had lost multiple relationships, because I’m more focused on growing a business, that I am really anything else at that point in my life.
[00:06:31] Nick Espinosa: And so by virtue of that, you know, it really made me become introspective in a way that I just hadn’t been before. And I think that really started to change for me, in the sense that. I think by my late 20s, early 30s, I was really starting to recognize, you know, you can’t go out and party every night, you know what I mean, or…?
[00:06:51] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:06:51] Nick Espinosa: But you don’t have to have every ridiculous thing on the planet. And that really, I think, started to hone in focus that, hey, I need a work life balance. And by virtue of that, that brings savings that brings relationships, that brings things that you don’t really think about.
[00:07:06] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, for just a second. Because as we go on here, trust is gonna play an important factor. Even for those listening don’t know that. So I watched a bit of your TED talk, and you talk about like, trust sucks. And in fact, you actually trick the audience into trusting you. And so which was brilliant, brilliantly played, but you talk about trust sucks. So like, why should we trust you?
[00:07:30] Nick Espinosa: Yeah
[00:07:30] Bob Wheeler: How do we know when to trust?
[00:07:32] Nick Espinosa: Right. Well, I think the TED talk you saw mine was my second one. I’ve done for actually…
[00:07:37] Bob Wheeler: Watch them people.
[00:07:39] Nick Espinosa: And my first one was actually called trust sucks. And I think what we need to understand is that we need trust in our lives. So don’t get me wrong when I have a title called trust sucks, or law number three, that you’re talking about the five laws of cyber security as humans trust, even when they shouldn’t, right?
[00:07:54] Bob Wheeler: That’s right.
[00:07:55] Nick Espinosa: Like we need trust in our lives, we cannot have a society without trust. And if you can look at without getting political, you can see the political divide how one side doesn’t trust the other…
[00:08:04] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:08:04] Nick Espinosa: And how that’s contributing to what is seems like a breakdown of society. So we need trust, we need to be able to trust our spouses, our kids to some extent, you know.
[00:08:13] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:08:14] Nick Espinosa: Our parents, all these kinds of things. But where we have to draw the line is basically creating a filter of distrust when we’re online, when we’re doing things online. Meaning, the way we approach let’s say, an open and honest conversation with a loved one is not the same way you’d approach a conversation with somebody that just connected you on Facebook and says, Hey, I’m your long lost friend.
[00:08:35] Nick Espinosa: And we have multiple aspects of trust. So for example, there are two core sides of trust. There’s affective trust, and there’s cognitive trust. And cognitive trust is the logic, it’s the experience, it’s the knowledge. And so as a perfect example, wireless infrastructure around you, like you go to your local coffee shop, and you connect to wireless, oftentimes, it’s very vulnerable to people like me. I’m able to spoof it, attack it, crack it, which means I can get to your device, all these kinds of things.
[00:09:03] Nick Espinosa: But think about it from the cognitive trust standpoint, you’ve walked into that coffee shop 99 times, your logic tells you it’s been safe, it’s been secure. I know this place, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences, and so on time 100, and you connect. Now your effective trust is essentially that nostalgia, that emotional trust that you have to someone or something.
[00:09:23] Nick Espinosa: So you walk in the door, and everybody’s like norm, and there’s your favorite barista, and she knows your order. And there’s your comfy seat, you have this warmth, the security that you are feeling. And it’s a false sense of security, in the sense that one aspect of what you’re doing is using infrastructure that doesn’t belong to you, you don’t know who you’re sharing it with. And so when we’re walking into these coffee shops, we can have that norm kind of experience, but understand it starts and stops.
[00:09:50] Nick Espinosa: Let’s say with that interaction. We are entering a trust relationship. When we’re walking into a coffee shop, a supermarket, whatever it is and handing over a credit card that they’re going to basically take that into secure manner trusting that their wireless is going to be secure. And oftentimes it’s not. So that’s essentially the premise here we trust and it gets us into trouble online constantly.
[00:10:10] Bob Wheeler: People joke with me that technology, and I just always have issues. Like, even the other day, I was going on a zoom call, and I couldn’t get the freakin video to work. And there’s 10 people waiting for me and the CEO goes, now it’s Bob, it’ll take five minutes. It always does, right?
[00:10:25] Nick Espinosa: Right
[00:10:26] Bob Wheeler: So I’m wondering about us that we want to go online and do our banking, or we want to trust when we hand our credit card to the server that when they come back, they didn’t process it through some cyber internet thing that just stole all of our information
[00:10:41] Nick Espinosa: Right
[00:10:41] Bob Wheeler: How do we know the difference? Because there is so much stuff online, and yet constantly be like, Bob, don’t use the hotel internet and I don’t know.
[00:10:48] Nick Espinosa: Right. Well, it’s good advice not to use the hotel internet, or the airport internet, or the airplane internet or the Starbucks internet you know.
[00:10:55] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:10:56] Nick Espinosa: Whatever internet that is not directly you that you control, that’s a good one. But I’ll be honest, I do my banking online, I have no problem with it, I have my mobile phone, which has a lot of security and protections on it. I can enable things like multi factor authentication, so that it’s not just a single username and password that gets me into my money.
[00:11:13] Nick Espinosa: And I think that’s where a lot of people really fall down. Understand that when you’re looking at a bank, or any kind of financial institution that you do business with, there are two sides to the security coin. One is the security that they are giving on the back end, meaning how is the bank or the financial institution not getting themselves hacked?
[00:11:31] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:11:32] Nick Espinosa: Because if I can get into the backend of the bank, I might be able to access not just your account, but everybody’s account. And that is something that terrifies the bejesus out of them. Because that’s reputation damaging, that’s putting you out of business. That’s the FTC and the SEC coming down on you like the fist of an angry God.
[00:11:47] Nick Espinosa: So that’s the one side of it. And financial institutions tend to have pretty solid, above average to excellent cyber security, because they fall under a lot of compliance laws, but they also recognize this is where the money is. So people want to rob us.
[00:12:01] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:12:02] Nick Espinosa: I mean, that’s this the dawn of civilization, I mentioned that in the talk to you know.
[00:12:05] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:12:06] Nick Espinosa: At the very time that somebody created the very first bank on the planet, there was a person like, oh, that’s where the money is, I’m gonna rob that.
[00:12:12] Bob Wheeler: I’m gonna take that
[00:12:14] Nick Espinosa: You know, you decentralized everything for me, this is great. And so you have those people out there, they’re always going to be out there. And the banks basically hire armies of people like me, to ensure that the back end of their security is good. Now, that’s the one side. The other side is what you control your shared responsibility with that financial institution, that you have a good password, your password isn’t ‘password,’ right.
[00:12:36] Nick Espinosa: And usually, they have complexity requirements, that you’re enabling good security controls, that you’re not connecting to a machine that is heavily infected, and then trying to get into your bank, and they’re stealing your credentials, and all these kinds of things. This is why we need to maintain a certain level of vigilance and distrust when it comes to our technology so that when we are banking online, you know, it’s more secure and we can also do other things too.
[00:12:58] Nick Espinosa: So for example, I don’t use credit cards, I have a debit card. And what I do is I have two bank accounts, within the credit union that I actually use one of it has the pool of money, the other one is actually attached to the card. So I have no more than maybe 50 bucks, 200 bucks on that card. And so if it’s ever stolen, you’re not going to get anything, the only difference would be like, if I’m going out to like a nice dinner, I might move a few $100, or I’m gonna make a purchase immediately.
[00:13:21] Nick Espinosa: Let’s say buy a new TV, I might move a couple grand, and then it gets moved out of the bank account immediately. But if you were to hit that card right now, I mean, I can live without 50 to 100 bucks as the fraud protection kicks in and gives it back to me in six months, some people can’t. So by virtue of that, it’s one of those things that if you don’t think about you can make a debit card vastly more secure than a credit card.
[00:13:41] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:13:42] Nick Espinosa: Because I don’t have the ability to just cut off funds, I have a $10,000 limit. Well, only 500 is allowed until I unlock it.
[00:13:48] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:13:49] Nick Espinosa: And that’s not a feature that you typically see. So there are some tips and tactics that you can use yourself to actually make sure that you’re working in a secure manner. Also making sure like your phone is encrypted. So if your phones ever lost or stolen, they can’t get access to the app, don’t save the password to your bank in the phone or the computer. That way anybody from your kid to an attacker can just log in, but it’s those kinds of things.
[00:14:10] Nick Espinosa: We just have to be considered of these things. A lot of people just trust technology, they’re oblivious of it, or they go the opposite route and say, you know what, I’m straight up Amish, I’ll take my horse and buggy to the bank…
[00:14:19] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:14:20] Nick Espinosa: And deposit it in dollars.
[00:14:21] Bob Wheeler: Exactly
[00:14:22] Nick Espinosa: Everybody’s different. But you don’t have to be by just coming from somebody that’s under attack on a regular basis given my job. I bank online. So what does that tell you?
[00:14:30] Bob Wheeler: There you go. You know, my cousin used to have like 42 symbols. And every day it changed to a different I’m like, that was a full time job trying to keep up with his password?
[00:14:40] Nick Espinosa: Right. People don’t understand how to make a good password. And I see that all the time when we’re walking into a corporation and audited and the IT department is probably like we have the best password policy. And it’s like 47 characters 9X27-34, you know what happens when we walk around? We see the passwords on post it notes on the monitor…
[00:14:58] Bob Wheeler: Hmm
[00:14:58] Nick Espinosa: Or something under the keyboard.
[00:15:01] Bob Wheeler: Hmm
[00:15:02] Nick Espinosa: So when we’re looking, we just pop over the keyboard, oh, there’s every password that you’ve got for the month. So understand you don’t have to go that crazy, but length in passwords is your best friend. And so the longer your password is, the harder it is to crack. And that’s one of those things.
[00:15:15] Nick Espinosa: So one of my key passwords that I have that is actually the encryption on my laptop is about 30 characters long or so it’s a phrase from my childhood, I will never forget unless I go senile. And in my house, we had English, Spanish, Hungarian and German spoken. So you can figure that one out, you know, so…
[00:15:32] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:15:33] Nick Espinosa: It’s one of those things.
[00:15:34] Bob Wheeler: Good luck
[00:15:34] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, right. It’s just one of those things where I’m going to know it and nobody else is. And I don’t have to have the 97X, whatever that I’ll never remember. So there you go.
[00:15:42] Bob Wheeler: Alright, so what I’m also hearing is that I need to take all the pieces of paper that I flipped on the back of all my employees monitors so I could get into their computer.
[00:15:49] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, yeah. See, we look for those kinds of things.
[00:15:53] Bob Wheeler: I wasn’t the only one that thought of that.
[00:15:55] Nick Espinosa: Oh, yeah. In drawers under desks…
[00:15:57] Bob Wheeler: Oh my God
[00:15:58] Nick Espinosa: We had one that basically took a stack of post it notes pulled up half of it wrote the password down and then put the stack back on top. And we could see the crease or like, there’s the pass, you know, people try different things. But yeah, no, if it’s written down in its eyeballs, we run what’s called a shoulder surfing attack on you.
[00:16:15] Bob Wheeler: Oh, that’s hilarious
[00:16:16] Nick Espinosa: Meaning we’re surfing on your shoulder, watching what you’re doing so.
[00:16:20] Bob Wheeler: It’s hilarious. So how concerned should we be when target or chase comes out and says, we accidentally gave out your information. We have the best security, but we’re gonna have to issue you know, debit card, or we’re gonna like 1000s of 1000s of 1000s of 1000s of people…
[00:16:36] Nick Espinosa: Millions
[00:16:36] Bob Wheeler: Get those notices a lot.
[00:16:38] Nick Espinosa: Millions
[00:16:39] Bob Wheeler: Millions
[00:16:40] Nick Espinosa: Hundreds of millions. It’s the problem. I mean, so think about it this way. You know, we’re both sitting here in America, you know, both of us are US citizens, I presume, which means…
[00:16:49] Bob Wheeler: For now
[00:16:50] Nick Espinosa: We’ll see
[00:16:51] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:16:52] Nick Espinosa: I have a social security number, you have a social security number. We’re all in the same boat, thanks to Equifax in 2017, getting us hit and getting everything dumped out. Understand that there are some things that are intrinsically yours, let’s say that social security number which for the record, you can’t change.
[00:17:06] Nick Espinosa: It’s not something you can’t go to them and say, I’ve been the victim of identity theft, or I’m under attack for this, you can ask the guy that put his LifeLock. The LifeLock CEO, he plastered his actual social security number on every billboard, in the United States. And from what I learned, he basically had 80,000 attacks on his credit in the first year
[00:17:25] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:17:26] Nick Espinosa: What he went to, from what I understand he went to the Social Security Administration said, please change my social security number. They’re like, NO, we don’t do that.
[00:17:34] Bob Wheeler: You were stupid.
[00:17:35] Nick Espinosa: Right. My point being is that some things about you are immutable. If you lose a credit card, you have fraud protection, you’re going to get a new card, those kinds of things, you can go back and you can dispute claims and get your money back. There is a process for that, even though it’s a pain, but some of your information remains the same.
[00:17:52] Nick Espinosa: The upside though is that while we have this, we are entering into a trust relationship with the targets of the world when we’re walking in there and handing over our credit card. The upside to this though, is that a lot of our information changes and ages over time, which makes it less valuable to attackers. Meaning, you might get divorced, you might get married, you know, you might change an address, these kinds of things happen.
[00:18:14] Nick Espinosa: And so the further away we are from a data breach, it tends to be the less valuable that our information is minus those immutable things. So that is one of the plus sides, one of the upsides if you will of that, but yeah, no, it’s a problem. And again, this comes into that trust methodology. It’s also why like I said, I use a debit card.
[00:18:33] Nick Espinosa: I go to target, I’m going to use a debit card, I’m not going to use anything else, because I know I can control the purchases. If I’m ripped off, I’m not losing my money. I’m losing 50 bucks, 100 bucks. I’ll get it back, you know.
[00:18:44] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. And I’ve heard that before about because of that reason, they can only take so much.
[00:18:50] Nick Espinosa: Right
[00:18:51] Bob Wheeler: And I love that secondary account that you feed the money to.
[00:18:54] Nick Espinosa: Right. Yeah, don’t keep your whole paycheck on the debit card, you know, move 90% of the paycheck out, leave what you need. And then by virtue of that, you’re not going to be scrambling to like pay your mortgage next month if you get hit.
[00:19:07] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. Now in the TED talk that I saw, which was obviously the second one, and so the numbers may have changed, because it’s a couple years, but at that time, 7.6 billion people on the planet, and about 3.6 billion go online.
[00:19:21] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, around four now.
[00:19:22] Bob Wheeler: Okay, so is the other 4 billion, are they all babies, or are they just people that are not trusting like, what’s the other group of people that aren’t on the internet?
[00:19:33] Nick Espinosa: So overwhelmingly, the extremely poor. A lot of countries don’t have infrastructure, or they have very minimal infrastructure that only caters, let’s say to Senator urban areas where only the wealthy can afford it. And so if you’re looking at large swaths of Asia, large swaths of Africa where they’re heavy populations, there is little infrastructure in some of those places.
[00:19:54] Nick Espinosa: But it’s also why we have deep concerns with hacking as well because groups in economically depressed areas like the Russian mafia, for example, are looking for kids with aptitude. And those kids can’t get make jobs, they’ll make more money breaking in and stealing money from fat rich Americans, and they will anything else
[00:20:08] Bob Wheeler: Wow
[00:20:09] Nick Espinosa: Which is essentially their training platform, come rip them off. They don’t mind, you know, and so we see that constantly. But the vast majority of them are not hermits, by any which way of the world, it’s that they’re economically disadvantaged.
[00:20:21] Nick Espinosa: And by virtue of that, having a lack of access to the Internet gives them a lack of opportunity for more advanced education, for communication, for potential jobs outside of their current geography, it most people don’t go beyond 50 miles from where they’re born.
[00:20:36] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:20:36] Nick Espinosa: In the world historically. We have in the United States, the privilege of being blanketed by a massive amount of infrastructure. And while we have economically depressed areas, you know, statistically, they’re vastly smaller than, you know, the access. I mean, I can drive 20 minutes outside of Chicago hit cornfields, and I can still get internet.
[00:20:54] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:20:54] Nick Espinosa: You know, and that’s something that, you know, people just really don’t think about, but now, a lot of it is coming from areas where they just simply don’t have they don’t have the money.
[00:21:03] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:21:03] Nick Espinosa: The economics to do it.
[00:21:05] Bob Wheeler: We are definitely very spoiled and entitled and thinking it’s everywhere in the world. So it makes me think of two things. One, I’ve been to Nepal a couple of times, and it was about a 10 year span in between. The first time I was there, you were lucky if you could go to an internet cafe and maybe make a connection. And it might have even still been man, you know, the old school
[00:21:24] Nick Espinosa: Right
[00:21:25] Bob Wheeler: I don’t remember. But when I went there the last time, it was an amazing infrastructure. But the Western, the Europeans, the Americans, all these people have this brilliant infrastructure and I’m sure it wasn’t for the locals. It was just because it was really inconvenient for all the privileged folks to not have access.
[00:21:43] Nick Espinosa: Right. Well, and if you think about it, developing nations, which is essentially, you know, one of those things that I’ve been starting to work on with the United Nations on developing cyber defense strategies for developing nations. There are developing nations that are tourist hotspots, meaning they don’t have a lot of infrastructure for their people. But believe me, when the massive Hotels and Resorts show up, they are going to pay for that.
[00:22:04] Nick Espinosa: Because, you know, when the Americans show up, or the Europeans show up, or whoever shows up with money, they want internet and they want good internet. And so yeah, I think that’s one of those things that if you’re looking at, let’s say, the capitalist side of this, you know, a rising tide really does raise all boats.
[00:22:19] Nick Espinosa: The only problem is, is that the government, because they’re so focused on tourism dollars oftentimes are, they’re focused on those urban centers that are actually generating, you know, money for their economy. That’s where they’re focusing the infrastructure out. But you can go like, as well connected, and surveilled as China is there are huge parts of China, where they basically don’t have the internet, or if they do, it’s only for the party, you know, that is basically watching everybody else.
[00:22:44] Nick Espinosa: So we see it worldwide. It’s not an un unique thing. And we have pockets here in the United States, where people simply can’t get good bandwidth or decent internet at all, you know, and imagine if you’re in that depressed area, and you’re like, you know, what I’m done with, you know, living rurally, I’d like to apply for jobs, you know, my local urban area, and you can’t get to the internet, how much harder is that for you?
[00:23:05] Nick Espinosa: You’re going to walk in with paper resumes to 50 companies at this point, it just doesn’t happen, right. So we have to understand that, you know, as we are continuing to expand that infrastructure, we’re trying to bring access to everybody in the world.
[00:23:16] Nick Espinosa: That’s one of the reasons why Elon Musk’s Starlink and Amazon and their other competitor as well are very promising, because they can hit locations without having to run data cable, you know, at a very expensive rate, you know, around the globe, they can literally bring the internet to the rest of the planet.
[00:23:33] Bob Wheeler: Well, there’s two questions there. One, we were out camping, and somebody looked up in the sky and said, Oh my God, look, there’s like 60 stars in a row just going across the sky, and we were all freaking out and they’re like, it’s an asteroid. It’s a falling star.
[00:23:45] Bob Wheeler: No, it was Elon Musk shooting satellites. It was a very fascinating thing.
[00:23:50] Nick Espinosa: Yeah
[00:23:51] Bob Wheeler: But I also thought, Oh my God, if we were being invaded by aliens right now, right?
[00:23:55] Nick Espinosa: Right
[00:23:56] Bob Wheeler: We were like defenseless. Like, it was an amazing thing to see.
[00:23:59] Nick Espinosa: Yeah
[00:24:00] Bob Wheeler: But it was also I felt very defenseless.
[00:24:03] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, well, from an alien invasion. I mean, we have space shuttles and a space station that holds like 10 people. I don’t know if it’s Star Wars or Star Trek, or you know, but like, if they show up with an armada, we’re pretty much sure. I for one, welcome our new alien overlords at that point, you know?
[00:24:21] Bob Wheeler: That’s right
[00:24:22] Nick Espinosa: Right, I mean, but we’re continuing to do that. And when you’re looking at the amount of satellites that Musk and Bezos and cannot remember, the third company is also out of California though. They want to put up a combined something like 60 to 70,000 low orbit satellites to blanket…
[00:24:37] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:24:37] Nick Espinosa: Basically the world with internet. Obviously, focusing on statistically the places where they’ll make the money the most like the United States, Europe, etc.
[00:24:44] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:24:45] Nick Espinosa: But they’re bringing it to everybody. And so yeah, it’s kind of amazing to me. It really is.
[00:24:50] Bob Wheeler: So here’s the double edged sword for me though, right? If we’re now doing all my banking online, I’m doing my investments online. I’m doing my trades. I’m moving money and now somebody decides to massively shut out all of us access or the power goes out, right?
[00:25:07] Bob Wheeler: And now all my money’s through my ATM, or all my money’s through my laptop and now all of a sudden, I’m broke. Because the power’s out for six weeks, or somebody hacked in and shut down all of the major banks.
[00:25:22] Nick Espinosa: Right
[00:25:23] Bob Wheeler: I’m completely trusting that the internet and the government are going to take care of me. And that may not be true.
[00:25:27] Nick Espinosa: Right. Well, I mean, that’s one of the reasons why I’m surprised you’re not heavily invested in canned foods and shotguns as well. You know, I mean, given the way we’re going. The point is, you’re right, and that is a deep concern. We have a 16 core critical infrastructure verticals here in the United States. And if you recall recently, President Biden a month ago, earlier this year, was on stage with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, basically saying you can’t hit these things, you can’t Colonial Pipeline us again.
[00:25:57] Nick Espinosa: And that is a deep concern. We have some very seriously inadequate controls around a lot of our critical infrastructure. One of the biggest challenges we have right now is actually securing our water districts, we have over 50,000 water districts in the United States, most of them don’t even know what assets they’re running, they can’t even identify all their computer assets…
[00:26:17] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:26:18] Nick Espinosa: Let alone secure them and defend them. The federal government has this problem as well. We also know that our nuclear power plants have been probed consistently by basically state sponsored intelligence agencies and attackers, to see where we would be vulnerable. Think about it this way, from a cyber-warfare standpoint, if we were to get into a hot war with any country that, let’s say, stood a chance of really doing damage to us, the first thing they’re gonna want to do is make us Deaf and Blind.
[00:26:45] Nick Espinosa: They’re going to want to cut the power, they’re going to want to cut communications as fast as they can. Russia actually did this in 2014 in Ukraine, when they literally shut down a power plant and then they hit the phone system in the area. And so 80,000 people lost power, they couldn’t pick up phones, they couldn’t make a call and all of that. So that’s a huge thing. Now a lot of governments are responding to that by essentially taking total control of the internet, basically, running dry runs to see if the internet gets cut off from the world, meaning we have our own intranet just in the country.
[00:27:17] Nick Espinosa: Can we still function like the internet without being able to connect outside. Russia has run this test, China’s run this test, Iran’s run this test, as well. And so we’re seeing countries start to take control of that. Now, there might be a logical reason to, let’s say, shut down the internet in an area, let’s say that’s full of panic, in the same way that as we were talking about earlier, you know, we just had the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict that came in, you know, they’ve called the National Guard in the state of Wisconsin, they are bracing for impact on this.
[00:27:47] Nick Espinosa: And no matter what that verdict was. Guilty or not guilty, they were bracing for impact. And so the police will deploy things that will actually suppress the internet in the area. So that coordination is much more difficult to happen. They have devices known as sting rays that will kill cell phone coverage that is done specifically so that communication can come in and out for coordination, or what happens if there’s a national panic, and everybody decides to make a run on the bank, you kind of want to cut the internet off.
[00:28:12] Nick Espinosa: So that people can’t hit the ATMs can’t drain the banks to stabilize the economy temporarily. So there may be justifications in the national emergency to actually, you know, take those kinds of actions or localized emergencies in that case, but overall, to your point. Yeah, I mean, part of having a diversified portfolio is to understand that you can withstand an extended outage. Now most of the time, these are highly redundant.
[00:28:37] Nick Espinosa: They’re running massive data centers, and Microsoft and Amazon and all of this. And so your data is actually replicated multiple places. So you’re sitting in California, for example, let’s say you’re in LA and LA just happens to get nuked and you survive. The data center in LA has been replicating the San Francisco and Dallas in Chicago in New York, like all the time constantly. So understand that we have peace of mind in the redundancy of the infrastructure that we’ve created, even though we have these weak points that we can attack.
[00:29:06] Bob Wheeler: My other final question as we jump into some other stuff, but what is our other hope? And I was gonna say our other hope Obi Wan Kenobi because I feel like you’re the wise one here. And it can feel overwhelming, right?
[00:29:16] Nick Espinosa: Sure
[00:29:17] Bob Wheeler: It’s like, is there any hope, do we live just a paranoid life? Like how do we go forward from here?
[00:29:22] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, so I speak a lot I get on stage a lot. And my message while there are terrifying things out there is basically like, look, I love technology. I embrace technology. I use every technology. I’ve every stupid gadget that you can possibly think of. I have a ring that’s a fitness band. I’ve actually seen a toaster that you can connect to wireless so you can print things on bread, like I love technology.
[00:29:45] Nick Espinosa: But I know that anything that I’m doing with my technology has to be married to cyber security. It has to be married to awareness and good choices. And as long as you are approaching technology, I don’t care if it’s answering an email from your grandkids or your spouse or whatever, you are looking at it in a correct skeptical eye until you validate, it’s actually legitimate. That’s all we’re talking about here.
[00:30:05] Nick Espinosa: So love technology, embrace technology, just understand it has to be married with cyber security. And I think that’s just the message that has to be out there in the world. We’re not going Amish, we’re not going back. And we’re going to have new and innovative products out there, which brings, you know, opportunity for exploitation.
[00:30:22] Nick Espinosa: But it’s our job, it’s our responsibility as we’re using these things to use them in the safest way manner. And that means that we have to have awareness that becomes awareness of basically the infrastructure around you.
[00:30:33] Bob Wheeler: Alright, so I’m going to trade in my buggy and my horse, I just got a newest upgrade on that, but I’m going to let it go. I’m gonna let it go.
[00:30:41] Nick Espinosa: Horse 2.0?
[00:30:42] Bob Wheeler: Horse 2.0 exactly
[00:30:44] Nick Espinosa: There you go.
[00:30:44] Bob Wheeler: We’re at the Fast Five, which is brought to you by cute bunny, a cash envelope system made easy, real time, financial awareness without time, hassle of tracking expenses and carrying cash. I have five hopefully fun questions, top of mind and I’m just gonna throw these out here and let’s see where we go.
[00:31:00] Nick Espinosa: Lay it on me.
[00:31:02] Bob Wheeler: What was the first financially related online scam you ever encountered?
[00:31:05] Nick Espinosa: The first financially related online scam I ever encountered was a client calling me that basically had a bank account wiped out.
[00:31:12] Bob Wheeler: Wow
[00:31:13] Nick Espinosa: Does that count?
[00:31:14] Bob Wheeler: It does, were you able to help them recover it?
[00:31:16] Nick Espinosa: We were able to help him secure himself. But it’s usually up to the bank to basically say, can we pull the money back. Does it fall under FDIC insurance? But that was my first one. I mean, and like everybody, you know, I’ve had a legal card use, you know, my debit card, somebody stole the number some way like probably at a gas pump or something. And by virtue of that, you know, they tried to charge $2,500 to my card, and they didn’t go anywhere, because I had like 50 bucks on it. That’s why I do this.
[00:31:43] Bob Wheeler: That’s how you do it.
[00:31:43] Nick Espinosa: Yeah
[00:31:44] Bob Wheeler: Have you ever gotten in your own way of your financial goals in the past?
[00:31:47] Nick Espinosa: Oh my God, that describes my 20s. And yes, absolutely, absolutely, I have. You’re making good money and like I said, I wasn’t listening to the sage advice of those that were smarter than me at the time. Lesson learned, but yeah, absolutely, I have.
[00:32:03] Bob Wheeler: So you focus on cyber security, what is your biggest insecurity around money that you’re experiencing right now?
[00:32:11] Nick Espinosa: Well, I mean, just sitting right now in the pandemic, you know, with the great resignation, just as a business owner, it’s difficult to find good people, which means it’s difficult to grow, it’s difficult to expand. And so by virtue of that, you know, am I affecting my top and bottom line by, let’s say, not spending more to hire, when people aren’t worth it, but they’re needed?
[00:32:32] Nick Espinosa: So I would say that that’s one of those things right now that we’re really focused on. And it’s a concern of ours, because we’re gonna keep growing, cyber security is not going away, you know, and so we just have to keep finding those people and that is a concern.
[00:32:45] Bob Wheeler: That’s hard, because I’m frugal. I hate spending money if it’s not money well spent.
[00:32:50] Nick Espinosa: Yeah. Oh, well, I mean, when I’m on stage, and like, somebody asked me says, Hey, I’ve got a kid in college, he or she go into cyber security, and I said, Look, even if they suck, they will make six figures right out of the gate. They’ll be out of your basement, you know, I mean, that’s just the nature of it.
[00:33:04] Nick Espinosa: And so we will hire people, and not just me, any cyber security outfit will hire inexperienced people for a lot just under the expectation that you’re gonna spend even more money to train them, and hopefully retain them. So yeah, it’s a huge thing.
[00:33:17] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, it’s crazy. Have you ever re-gifted a gift?
[00:33:20] Nick Espinosa: Only on white elephants, if you know what a white elephant.
[00:33:25] Bob Wheeler: I do, I do
[00:33:26] Nick Espinosa: Yeah.
[00:33:27] Bob Wheeler: All right.
[00:33:27] Nick Espinosa: Yes, we actually have a set of Star Wars mugs kid you not sitting in the basement, and every year it goes back into circulation, and one of my friends is going to get that thing. And I might get back one year, but yes, yeah, we do that constantly.
[00:33:38] Bob Wheeler: That’s funny. Have you ever dined and dashed when you were like in your 20s, and money was tight? Do you ever dine and dash?
[00:33:46] Nick Espinosa: No. Actually, I’m trying to think if I would have done that it would have been in my teenage years.
[00:33:51] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:33:51] Nick Espinosa: And now, I can’t I don’t think I ever did. And I think it’s in part the, my dad was a pretty religious guy.
[00:33:57] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:33:58] Nick Espinosa: And I think that guy, just the morality and the ethics of that would not allow me to do that. Couldn’t do, I have to sleep at night, you know.
[00:34:05] Bob Wheeler: I would have looked so guilty. Like, I’ve never done that. Like, I’ve had cousins like, let’s do this. I’m like, they will find me there.
[00:33:58] Nick Espinosa: Yeah
[00:34:13] Bob Wheeler: There could be 10 billion people, they will find me so.
[00:34:15] Nick Espinosa: Yeah. Well, and if you think about it, I mean, my day job, literally a good chunk of my day job is to lie to people. Because I got to break into your life, right? You’re hiring me to break into your company. I’m going to have to lie to you. But I got to look myself in the mirror at night. So yeah, there are lines. I don’t want to cross for that.
[00:34:31] Bob Wheeler: Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re at our M&M moment, our money and motivation piece. And I’m wondering if you have a piece of financial wealth, wisdom, or a practical tip that you’ve found around money that’s helped you. I mean, you gave that tip about having the two accounts, because that’s an awesome one, but you have another one.
[00:34:51] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, rob a bank right now. Yeah, no, honestly, I think that yeah, if I’m thinking money advice, and I’m thinking this through, one of the things that I think is benefited me well, is to understand essentially trending, meaning what’s trending on Google, like, what are we looking at in terms of, let’s say, adoption by people, and then investing in that? So for example, there are some things that never go out of style, we will always generate waste.
[00:35:18] Nick Espinosa: As we have an aging population, we will be generating even more medical waste. So investing in medical waste companies makes a lot of sense. We’re always going to have technology, we’re always going to have innovation, which means we’re always going to have cybercrime, we’re always going to have hackers investing in cyber security not to plug my industry tends to be a very safe bet, we’re not going anywhere. And we’re 500,000 bodies short, meaning we are coming up with new and innovative ways like artificial intelligence to make our jobs easier to basically offset the bodies that we need easy investment.
[00:35:49] Nick Espinosa: So as you’re looking at these kinds of things, I’m looking typically society wide to see okay, where are the gaps? What are things that will never go away? And by virtue of that, those are things. Transportation is another one, you know, you can think about health care is another one, these are safe bets, in my mind, because you might not make a billion dollars overnight, but you will make money in these over time. And that’s what I learned from the Vanguard guide, the founder of Vanguard cannot remember his name, like Steve Vanguard or whatever it is.
[00:36:17] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:36:18] Nick Espinosa: I don’t know.
[00:36:18] Bob Wheeler: [Inaudible 00:36:18] Vanguard, yeah
[00:36:20] Nick Espinosa: Right. He basically said, never check your, just if you’re putting money into an investment account, and they had just don’t check it. Don’t check it. Don’t check it. Because that freak you out, you’ll see it go up, you’ll go down. But over time, you do nothing but go up.
[00:36:33] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:36:33] Nick Espinosa: And I thought that was really good advice to.
[00:36:35] Bob Wheeler: That’s so true. I mean, we talked about that a lot. The market is driven by emotions. And I can tell clients hold, hold, and I’ve lost all this money. No, you didn’t lose it until you sell it. Now you’ve lost it. Yep.
[00:36:47] Nick Espinosa: Right.
[00:36:48] Bob Wheeler: You lost it. There we go. Gone.
[00:36:48] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, right.
[00:36:49] Bob Wheeler: Right. But it is that you’ve got to put it in and not look at it, and not rely on your emotions, because you can’t always trust them.
[00:36:56] Nick Espinosa: Right. Exactly. And nobody wants to see money, like, you see, Oh my God, I’m losing money every day that I’m not doing something well, not necessarily. Look at Bitcoin, right. Look at crypto currencies. I mean, they’ve gotten nothing but up for the most part, despite all of the issues and the lows and the problems and the theft and everything else. But it tends to still be a hot commodity right now, even though it’s very hard to catch in.
[00:37:21] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:37:21] Nick Espinosa: You know, so here we are.
[00:37:22] Bob Wheeler: Here we are. Well, Nick, I so appreciate you coming on. You know, what I really love is that, even though you started building computers at five years old, and your father saw something there and help nurture that you did have your bad years where you were not necessarily being responsible, not necessarily doing it right.
[00:37:40] Bob Wheeler: But then you had that epiphany moment or self-reflection that said, ahh, it is nice to have everything in the world, but maybe I don’t need everything in the world. And maybe there are other priorities that I need to focus on. And so, you know, I don’t really hear any like regrets, or any of like, oh shaming, where I know a lot of people will beat themselves up for past instead of just going, it’s part of my history, right?
[00:38:04] Nick Espinosa: Yes, I have a motto in business that basically is I can’t fix what I can’t see.
[00:38:08] Bob Wheeler: Right.
[00:38:08] Nick Espinosa: One of the best things any one of my employees can come to me and say is. Nick, you’re an idiot, and here’s why. The caveat to that is, you actually have to tell me why I’m being an idiot?
[00:38:18] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:38:18] Nick Espinosa: What am I not seeing? And I think that’s just so important. And so, you know, I am who I am, I’m a product of my choices, good, bad and ugly.
[00:38:25] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:38:26] Nick Espinosa: And by virtue of that, you have to forgive yourself, you have to reconcile things you have to move on. But understand that if you’re doing those things, hopefully you’re learning a lesson not to repeat the mistakes of the past, you know, and that’s…
[00:38:39] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:38:39] Nick Espinosa: Everybody, if I could give my 19 year old self advice, I would probably say don’t change a damn thing.
[00:38:46] Bob Wheeler: Right
[00:38:46] Nick Espinosa: Because I think I’m doing pretty good here, you know, 20 plus years later, and I don’t want to tamper with that even though there was a lot of hardship.
[00:38:54] Bob Wheeler: Yeah
[00:38:55] Nick Espinosa: You know,
[00:38:46] Bob Wheeler: I love that. I can’t fix what I can’t see. Where can people find you online? Where can people get your book? Where can people listen to you? You’ve got a great show. Where’s all that? Where can we find it?
[00:39:05] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, so at this point, I believe my books about five years old.
[00:39:08] Bob Wheeler: That’s all right. It’s still good info.
[00:39:10] Nick Espinosa: Yeah, so you can get that on Amazon. It’s called ‘Easy Prey’. But yeah, you can follow me on Twitter at NickAEsp or feel free to connect to me on LinkedIn, obviously mentioned that you saw me here with Bob and you can also find me on Facebook. It’s slash Nick Espinosa and LinkedIn slash Tech Espinosa and feel free to connect. I always love the followers.
[00:39:27] Bob Wheeler: Nick, this has just been an awesome conversation. I hope we’ve enlightened some people about online banking and security and cyber security because I think it’s so relevant and I think it also keeps people in so much fear that everything’s gonna be taken away from them. So I love that there’s this positivity of, even though there’s some crazy stuff out there. The world can be a rough place, as long as you’re mindful and understanding and marriage the security with the online gadgetry and technology that lifestyle good.
[00:39:56] Nick Espinosa: Yeah
[00:39:56] Bob Wheeler: Worth being here.
[00:39:57] Nick Espinosa: Absolutely. I completely agree and thank you for having me. I had a really good time.
[00:40:02] Bob Wheeler: Thanks again.
[00:40:08] CLOSING: We hope you enjoyed this episode. Did you learn something new about your relationship to money today? Maybe you have a friend who has some financial blocks or beliefs that are holding them back. Please share this podcast so they too can get off the roller coaster ride of financial fears and journey towards financial freedom. To learn how to have a healthy relationship with money, visit themoneynerve.com, that’s nerve not nerd. We’ll be back next week with another perspective on ‘money and the emotions that bind us’.