Former FBI special agent, cybercrime expert has advice on hacking risks—Schmidt Lecture Nov. 19

The worldwide cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $6 trillion by 2021, according to CyberSecurity Ventures. The projections were made prior to COVID-19 and according to the FBI, cybercrime has increased 300% since the beginning of the pandemic.

During his more than 30 years with the FBI, retired Special Agent Scott Augenbaum responded to thousands of cybercrime incidents and saw how victims could not recover the loss to their reputation and their finances.

Schmidt Lecture speaker Scott Augenbaum

Augenbaum will deliver the School of Engineering’s 2020 Schmidt Family Digital Technologies Lecture–“Cybercrime: How To Prepare So You Don’t Become The Next Victim”–on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m. The lecture is open to the public but registration for the online webinar is required [].

“I’ve dealt with a lot of very large breaches in my day. It’s still very, very painful for me to have to deal with small companies, retirees, nonprofit organizations that become victimized. But if I can provide education to them, it really helps the community,” said Augenbaum in a Nashville Post interview.

“In the old days, a success for me was putting someone in jail,” he said. “Today, my success stories happen when somebody calls me up after a presentation and they say they implemented two-factor authentication on their platforms.”

Augenbaum offers some statistics to consider:

  • Ransomware – Expected to infect a business every 11 seconds in 2021.
  • Identity theft – 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft.
  • Business email compromise – $26 billion in reported losses.
  • Data breach – 447 million consumer records stolen in 2019.
  • Dark Web – 4 billion account usernames and password combinations for sale.

During his FBI career, bringing criminals to justice was rare because they were based mainly outside the United States. However, Augenbaum knew that damage from cybercrime could be prevented with a few non-cost steps. His lecture will include details of a plan he created to reduce the chances of becoming a cybercrime victim.

Augenbaum joined the FBI in 1988 in the New York field office. In 1994, he became a special agent and was assigned to the FBI’s Syracuse, New York, office on computer crime investigations. In 2003, he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Cyber Division, Cybercrime Fraud Unit at the bureau’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Augenbaum transferred to the bureau’s Nashville office in 2006 to manage the computer intrusion/counterintelligence squad. He retired in 2018 and began consulting with Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, non-profits, and others.

In addition to his training and consulting duties and speaking engagements, Augenbaum has become a cybercrime subject matter expert with appearances on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, ABC and CBS. He has an MBA in information technology and a Master’s certificate in information security management.

The focus of the Schmidt Family Digital Technologies Lectureship is to explore advances in digital learning and their applicability to innovation and practice in the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. Douglas C. Schmidt, associate chair for computer science and professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and his parents, retired Navy Capt. Raymond P. Schmidt and Roberta R. Schmidt, created the lectureship.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314