Episode 54: S5E9 – Cyber Security and Remote Work
Today, Tom Dunlap chats with Stefan Leipold, the CEO of Stark. He is also the inventor of the magnetic privacy screen for laptops and PCs. Tom and Stefan discuss cyber security concerns and remote work, cyber security and company dynamics and building a career in America.
Stefan’s interest in technology began early when he started hacking computer games at the age of 9 and sending them to his friends. His fascination with technology eventually led him to working at Volkswagen. He started his first business on the side, a cyber security company, and was soon making more money from his side hustle than his day job. He took his career to the US, facing many challenges and soon found himself almost homeless.
Building a Career in America
After fixing computers, Stefan entered a real estate company in New York. From there, he met his best friend and partner, and together, the two worked on a privacy screen with a metalized top, using the magnetics in a laptop to adhere it. They made an 8 second video describing the product and that video went viral. From there, Apple purchased their screen.
The Stark Name and Popularity
Stefan remarks how their name Stark, which means strong in German, only helped. Stefan and his partner picked the name for its meaning, without even thinking about the commonalty with the Marvel movie tech billionaire character, Tony Stark.
Cyber Security Concerns and Remote Work
Stefan’s privacy screen addresses the growing concern of cyber security, not only in the office, but especially now with so many people working from home. Stefan discusses how cyber security attacks are up 400% since Covid began. He pinpoints groups that are more impacted by this than others—lawyers and doctors—and covers why that is. He touches on the difference between an IT team and a security team. He explains what he calls “professional dinosaurs” and why it’s dangerous to fall into this category.
Stefan delves into why law firms in particular suffer from poor cyber security. Not only is it a threat to the lawyers, but also their clients. Listen to the episode to hear more of the discussion.
Stefan covers the simple but detrimental mistakes people make when it comes to creating passwords. Whether it’s leaving stickies on the computer or using birthdays, he explains why these common actions can cause great problems.
Stark’s Privacy Screen
Stefan clarifies that he did not invent privacy screens—he just made them magnetic. Even still, his ingenuity has impressed millions. Listen to the episode to hear how Stefan’s privacy screen came about and how he convinced executives at some of the top companies in the world why they needed it.
Stefan’s Three Pieces of Advice
Stefan gives his advice to any business owner or attorney looking to improve their cyber security while working from home. His first tip is to start viewing your technology as a tool, and if it breaks, then you can’t work. Therefore, treat your technology well and invest in it.
Second, he suggests to anyone to keep their technology up to date. Lastly, he encourages employers to educate their employees. As you onboard new staff, make sure they not only understand the technology, but how to use it safely and how to identify threats.
With phishing emails in particular, Stefan asserts that anytime you receive an email asking for a wire transfer, confirm: confirm with the bank and with the clients.
Cyber Security and Company Dynamics
Stefan and Tom discuss how hackers will prey on company dynamics to make a phishing email more effective. For example, they will target lower-level employees pretending to be their boss. These employees may be afraid to disappoint or question orders, thus fulfilling the money demand without asking the boss about it.
Stefan wraps up the episode with a chat about his book, “Die Entscheidung.” The book follows his journey of coming to the US, failing, and then getting back up again and finding success. The book’s proceeds will be donated to charities helping children with cancer and school classrooms. To hear more about his book and the meaning behind the title, listen to the full episode.