If you’re like most of my readers, you’ve probably seen this very high-voltage teaser a few times in recent days — it’s all about cybersecurity, but the Oxford Club folks aren’t content to just tell you that online security and hacker-fighting is a large and growing business, they apparently also want to scare your pants off. Or scare your wallet open, at least.
Here’s how the ad opens:
“Starting as soon as tomorrow, a group of world-class “cyber-terrorists” will attempt to steal $105 billion from global bank accounts….
“By tomorrow morning, it might be too late…
“When you wake up, everything might seem routine.
“You eat a quick breakfast. You turn on the news. Then you pull out your laptop to check your bank balances.
“As you look at your computer screen, it takes you a minute to realize what’s happened…
“Your entire life savings have been wiped out.”
With an opening like that, I can see how this ad must get quite a few readers — especially among the core demographic for investment newsletters, folks in their 60s and 70s who are likely to have a (probably wise) high level of mistrust for electronic banking anyway.
So you keep reading, of course, because the ad tells you that “Your money might be gone forever.” And who wouldn’t want to be prepared for that?
The letter comes in from Matthew Carr, who says he’s the “resident cyber security expert” for the Oxford Club, and he tells you not only that he has some “secrets” that will make your bank account safer — other than the standard advice of using complex passwords and updating your computer’s security and keeping accounts under FDIC limits, I have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about with that, or if that advice would have any value for you.
But the next part is where your friendly neighborhood Stock Gumshoe gets more interested — he tells us not only that there’s a way to protect yourself, but, antennae up, there’s also a way to get rich.
See, the fear synapses are probably quite well developed here at Gumshoe HQ — but the greed synapses are off-the-charts sensitive. Scare us if you want, but while you’re at it you’d better throw off a few hints about how we can become fabulously wealthy.
And the Oxford Clubbers, as you might expect, are happy to oblige. Fear makes you look over your shoulder, greed makes you pull out your wallet.
Here’s how Carr puts it:
“Right now, there are several small breakthrough tech companies that are being paid billions of dollars to stop these cyber terrorists in their tracks.
“Over the coming months, these small-tech companies stand to go up substantially in value – becoming household names practically overnight.
“Over the next few moments, I’ll give you all the details on these companies.”
So after sitting through the first 13 pages of this “presentation”, we finally get to our clues … page 14 starts us on the parade of hints about these “breakthrough tech companies” that are going to be our cyber-security salvation.
So, any further ado? No? Without it, then … the clues:
“It’s a small company.
The market cap is just $722 million.
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But it’s about to make a big move on Wall Street…
“Because they’ve developed a new technology capable of stopping these cyber terrorists in their tracks and keeping them permanently locked out of America’s electronic networks.
“Their new ‘cyber fortress’ software is unlike anything the tech world has ever seen when it comes to protecting web-based transactions from sophisticated cyber attacks.
“It’s said to be as powerful as having 100,000 IT professionals working simultaneously around the clock to protect an enterprise’s network against new threats.”
Sounds good, right? Some more details:
“every single branch of the U.S. military depends on their software to secure the most highly classified computer networks.
“In addition, nearly every Fortune 100 comp