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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox March 5th, 2021

Thoughts From My Inbox
March 5th, 2021

BEC, TBI, and Bugs Bunny

I get all this interesting stuff in my inbox every week, but just wish that somebody would send me my introductory paragraph.  That’s the worst part of putting this piece together every Friday.  Nobody cares what I have to say- they all just want to get to the good stuff!

 

Something About…

 

Business Email Compromise

Earlier this week, I had an email from a prospect with a link to a Dropbox file, claiming to be a campaign for Coronavirus relief funding.  It’s the second instance I’ve seen of this in the past three weeks, and I immediately assumed it was a scam.  I took a screenshot of the email, sent it to the original sender’s corporate email address, and explained that it seemed his email account had been compromised.  Within 10 minutes, “he” responded saying that the file was legit, and he just needed my email address and password.  So, not only had his email account been compromised, the hacker had now taken control of his inbox and was responding as him (and probably automatically deleting any responses like mine). I quickly called Greg but got his voicemail.  I then called Greg’s boss, not wanting this to go on any further. I explained the situation to his boss, who then went down the hall to have Greg change his email password.  I also suggested that they should immediately apply multifactor authentication to their email accounts. I was reminded of this episode from two years ago, in which a Brunswick, OH church was scammed out of $1.75M during a similar business email compromise.

 

 

Microsoft Exchange

Is your business still using Microsoft Exchange servers on premise for your email solution?  If so, you should probably read up on this new 0-day exploit (zero day meaning that the software developer didn’t know it existed until it went live) in which email accounts are being compromised by a state sponsored actor out of China. If, like much of the world, you’ve moved to Microsoft 365 for email, you can move on to the next item.

 

 

Working From Home

Have you ever used one of those virtual backgrounds that are so common on Microsoft Teams or Zoom video calls?  Maybe you should.  We all know that posting too much personal information on social media is a great way for criminals to use social engineering against us… but I for one never thought about what might be in the background of your video calls.  Whether it be family pictures, addresses, or names of pets and favorite teams, all of that can be used against you.

 

 

Ransomware

Ransomware is a regular topic on this page because it’s something we see on a regular basis.  As a matter of fact, we have a client for whom (until now) we managed some, but not all of their network (they own numerous subsidiaries, all on the same network, but some of whom have been difficult to bring over to our way of working). A couple of weeks back, they were ransomwared, with the initial demand being for $9,000,000 (increasing to $18,000,000 if not paid in three days- insert Dr. Evil meme here).  Fortunately, the key pieces of the network and data were under our management, meaning that no ransom was paid, and no data was lost. Now the entire company and all subs are under our management.  In any case, here’s a piece with all you need to know about ransomware. 

 

 

Solarwinds Hacking

The Senate Select Intelligence Committee recently held a hearing on the SolarWinds cyber attack.  You’ve probably seen coverage in the news, and if you’re looking to get into greater detail, it’s all available on C-SPAN.

 

 

Traumatic Brain Injury

The FDA has approved marketing of a new device meant to help protect athletes’ brains.  I actually didn’t pay much attention to this until I caught the explanation of how this works; by adding “compressive force to the jugular vein when worn around the neck”, it increases blood volume in the skull’s blood vessels, creating a tighter fit of the brain inside the skull, thereby reducing brain movement upon impact.  And here I’d always thought my brain was too big for my skull… maybe my shirt collars are just too tight!?!  Anyhow, here’s a brief but cool video on the Q Collar and its technology.

 

 

Skiing

Well, it is that time of year, at least for a few more weeks. Two American outdoorsmen have become the first to ski Yosemite’s Half Dome (pictured above), all the way from summit to valley.  I’d love to see pics or videos, but one will have to do.

 

 

Real Estate

It seems that many of you prefer interesting real estate to technology… So, in my efforts to keep you happy, I came across this fancy little 2BR/2BA place in Baltimore.  It looks like the Jetsons got together with Barbie and The Brady Bunch to decorate.  Sadly, there is a pending offer, but those things fall through all the time.  And if you’re looking for more interesting places, check out ZillowGoneWild on Instagram.  (I thought I was done, but got down the rabbit hole and found this 6BR/11BA gem in Orem, UT. Had to share, in case somebody has $25M kicking around the sofa cushions.)

 

 

Bugs Bunny

As a kid, I loved Saturday morning cartoons, and nothing was better than Bugs Bunny.  My favorite was Rabbit of Seville, with Baseball Bugs a close second.  What with baseball spring training now underway (and Tom Hamilton back on the radio), it’s appropriate that Baseball Bugs made its debut 75 years ago. This is the most detailed article I’ve ever read on one cartoon!

 

 

The Appalachian Trail

Retired Ashton engineer Keith Weber is getting ready to hike the Appalachian Trail.  He was in the office this afternoon for lunch with the team, and he’ll be flying to Atlanta a week from Monday (March 15th) to begin his journey. From Atlanta, he’ll shuttle to the trail head, and then commence his 2,200 mile hike. According to his timeline, he expects to be standing atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin on or about September 3rd. He expects to his six days a week for the first month, at 10 miles a day.  He’ll be working up to 15-18 miles a day, with breaks every 15 days.  His most recent blog post lists the 25lbs. of gear (not including food and water) he’ll be carrying with him as he starts his adventure. Make sure to follow his progress through his website or via our social media platforms over the next sixth months.

 

I didn’t have any submissions this week (well, the ZillowGoneWild IG page was submitted, but we have plenty of Ashton swag at home), but still found plenty of good stuff to share.  If you come across something interesting or worthwhile (or just want some Ashton gear), feel free to hit that first button in the stack below and send it my way.  In the meantime, have a great weekend!

 

Best,
Jim

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