Q&A With Murray von Hirschberg: Act or Be Preyed Upon

Digimune safeguards businesses, families and individuals from cyberthreats. Murray von Hirschberg, the owner of several established enterprises such as The Blue Cafe and Enmasse, can testify.

After two desktops were compromised and a friend’s business was cloned on social media, he realised the seriousness of the situation. It was a case of ‘act or get preyed upon’. His biggest concerns were falling victim to web-based threats like hacking and the safety of his staff online.

Fortunately, Digimune could help Murray deal with these issues, preventing significant losses. In this Q&A, we selected some of the top moments along his journey, highlighting advice and learning material to help simplify the complexities of cybersecurity.

What is your business background?

Murray von Hirschberg: My wife and I are the owners of several established businesses, including The Blue Cafe and Enmasse. Each of these businesses is linked in some way – most having a strong retail focus with in-store products being sold and services provided.

Murray von Hirschberg
Murray von Hirschberg’s The Blue Cafe in Cape Town

We add value to our customers’ lives by giving them a consistent experience to hold on to – something they can trust to deliver a desired outcome, irrespective of where or when they engage. As long as it’s connected to the chain of stores, they can bank on receiving that same level of quality that they are used to.

What was going on in your business when you started looking into cybersecurity?

Murray von Hirschberg: It was a rude awakening when two of our desktop computers started operating very slowly. When we looked into it, we found several things downloaded onto these computers that slowed down the processing speed and produced significant cyberthreats. Additionally, none of these files was business related in any way. At that stage, I started becoming concerned.

Around the same time, a friend of ours’ business was cloned on social media. And that’s when you realise – it’s not about how big you are. If you are not protected, you are a sitting duck. Either act or be preyed upon.

Did you have any cybersecurity measures in place before contacting Digimune?

Murray von Hirschberg: Unfortunately, at the time, in terms of cybersecurity, we were doing nothing. It took a big wake-up call in the form of a cyber breach to get us paying attention to the issues at hand.

If you have different people working from multiple locations, with various businesses and suppliers, you really can’t afford to not have a cybersecurity solution in place. We were completely unprotected and vulnerable at the time.

And so, we decided to reach out to Digimune to try and solve the problem.

Why did you choose Digimune specifically?

Murray von Hirschberg: I chose Digimune because of the unique combination of services and products contained within the package. It includes cyber protection and cybersecurity training in one bundle.

Murray von Hirschberg

The same thinking applies when it comes to our POS system. It doesn’t help if you’re getting fantastic features on board with new upgrades, but nobody is helping with the training.

From our perspective, a solid cybersecurity solution linked to training is what moved the needle.

What do you think of cybersecurity after your experience with a cyberthreat?

Murray von Hirschberg: Protection against cyberthreats is an unavoidable part of trading online. To use a metaphor, it’s like building a front gate to your house with a big, expensive wall. But, when you constructed it, there was a small tree next to the wall. In a couple of years, that tree will be much larger. Now you have a security threat.

Don’t think it won’t happen to you. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. Find ways to work with your environment.

How long did it take before you started to notice a difference?

Murray von Hirschberg: My team and I experienced the difference right from the start. As soon as the installation was complete, we received an alert, warning us about leaked personal information on the dark web.

Did you think your business was too small to be targeted?

Murray von Hirschberg: It’s not that we thought we were too small to be at risk. It’s literally a case of not even recognising the risk.

Murray von Hirschberg

It’s more a case of understanding that there are cyberthreats. Irrespective of size or sector, you need to be protected when you’re running a business – especially online, which is the case for most companies nowadays anyway.

Has receiving alerts from DigiGuard been an eye-opener regarding the threats your business faces?

Murray von Hirschberg: Most certainly. It is an amazing experience to go through the installation process with Digimune. Firstly, you start to better understand where the threats are coming from. Secondly, almost immediately, we started receiving alerts.

We discovered that detailed and highly sensitive information about our business had been leaked on the dark web – a space on the internet that I basically thought was for drugs and other illicit activities. It really puts things in context in terms of where you are in the world.

Basically, you have various assets online. They were expensive to create, and all of them are open to attack if they are not protected. In our case, we have an online brand, payment gateways, social media accounts, web domains and specialised content – to name but a few.

It doesn’t matter if you think your digital assets are valuable or not. What matters is that there are actual assets that exist in cyberspace, and if privacy is breached online, it has a very real effect in the physical world.

Has your perception of the risks of cybercrime changed since signing up with Digimune?

Murray von Hirschberg: I don’t think anyone reading the news would be oblivious to the fact that banks, investment firms and large corporates like Vodacom and TransUnion are getting hammered by cybercrime. So, the awareness is certainly there.

But, in terms of perception – in other words, how I now understand the risks of cybercrime to be relevant to me as a business owner – I realised that anyone doing business on the internet, irrespective of size or sector, is a target. This insight led to the shift in us actually doing something about the risk.

The risks are there. Everyone knows they are. It’s just a case of what you do about it. Nothing being the greatest risk of all.

Let Digimune safeguard your most valuable assets

Cybersecurity helps protect against malicious attacks, such as ransomware, phishing emails, and malware. It also helps prevent data breaches, which can cause businesses serious financial and reputational damage.

Cybersecurity is paramount because it protects the privacy of individuals and businesses.

It prevents unauthorised access to confidential information and ensures that data is not misused or stolen for malicious purposes. Additionally, it helps protect networks from threat actors who could use them for criminal activities. Finally, cybersecurity also helps to ensure the integrity of systems by preventing unauthorised changes or modifications to system configurations.

If you’re working online, your business depends on a secure cybersecurity solution. Connect with us for more about how we can help you curb cybercrime.

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