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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox April 30th, 2021

Thoughts From My Inbox
April 30th, 2021

Beavers, Futbol, and Lindsey Vonn

I always like a funny story, even if I’m the butt of the joke. Six years ago, I blew my knee out while skiing at Whiteface in Lake Placid, NY.  I’d never had any major injuries before, so I figured it was my ACL.  Turns out it was the ACL, MCL, PCL, and patellar tendon. All obliterated.  Surgeons who I played hockey with at the time said “I’ve been doing this for 25 years and didn’t even know that was possible.”  We got back to Cleveland and the surgeon’s first words were “this is a very severe injury.  The only thing worse would’ve been amputation.”  Then he asked “was this a Lindsey Vonn-like wipeout?”  Well, as a matter of fact, it was.  Anyhow, I went back to see him this morning as my knee’s been bothering me. He walked in after looking at my x-rays, not realizing who the patient was, and with his typical bedside manner said “Wow.  This guy’s a f-in’ mess!”  We got a good laugh out of it, and he gave me a cortisone shot and sent me on my way.  That’s why Lindsey Vonn is my cover image today. 



Something About…


Supply Chain Attacks

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a new document highlighting software supply chain attacks (those that come in through items like cellphones, managed IT services providers, anti-virus software, or security updates, to name a few) and how to defend yourself against them.  It’s a somewhat lengthy document (at least in terms of this publication), but I’m sure you’ll find something eye opening if you give it a glance.




A 90 year old resident of Hong Kong has been scammed out of $33M over the course of the past year.  She received a phone call, purportedly from a representative of the Chinese government, and proceeded to make 11 different bank transfers to a random account.  Sadly, the account was not mine.



Stock Prices

First it was encrypting data. Then it was the threat of releasing data.  Now, a ransomware group hopes to negatively effect stock prices through ransomware.  I wonder what the next evolution will look like.




A few weeks back, I had a piece about a yahoo looking to blow up the internet (literally). Maybe he should hire a few beavers.  900 Canadians were without internet connectivity for a day or two when a beaver chewed through the underground cabling laid by the local provider.


Space Junk

In case you missed the article linked below the beaver piece, it seems that space junk (from a recent SpaceX mission) landed in Eastern Washington a few weeks back. I guess considering that it’s referred to as ‘junk’, it makes sense that the owner wants nothing to do with it and somebody else does.  “One man’s trash”, right?


Real Estate

Sadly, this five bed/sixth bath apartment in NYC is under contract at $29.5M (great views of the city, but a rather odd all glass cupboard over the sink in image #9). That said, this three bedroom apartment overlooking the park can be yours to rent (30 day minimum) for $100K/month.


Apple Security

Apple has released security updates for various items, including the Safari browser, Big Sur OS, iOS14.5, and more.

The State of Ransomware

That heading makes me think of a song by one of my favorite bands, The Dropkick Murphys.  Anyway, Sophos (our security solution of choice, from firewall to endpoint and everything in between) just released their 2021 “State of Ransomware” report (linked in the article).  While 37% of respondents acknowledged falling victim to ransomware last year, that’s a decrease from 51% in 2019.  However, paying the ransom didn’t necessarily help the situation; 92% still lost some data, 50% lost at least a third of their data, and 4% lost all of their data. Good backups are still a necessity, but even more you need good defensive measures to prevent ransomware from taking hold.

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing (aka ‘pen testing’) is an authorized cyber attack on a network for the purpose of finding holes and weak spots.  This is something that we at Ashton go through on a regular basis to make sure that our network is secure.  If our network isn’t secure, than neither are those of our clients, and as we’ve discussed here in the past, managed IT services providers are under attack.  The bad guys figure that if they can get access to one MSP, they’ll have access to hundreds of other networks.  This video shows how pen testing works, and how easy it is to hack into a supposedly secure network.  You’ll have to provide a name and email address to get access, but between you and me, you can just make something up.  Even if you don’t watch the entire 45 minutes, you’ll find this pretty eye opening.


Want to learn how to examine emails to determine whether they’re legit vs. phishing?  KnowBe4 offers a variety of tools, and is one of the industry leaders.  As a matter of fact, we’ve even worked with them on some of the security awareness sessions we provide to our clients.  They’re offering a webinar in which they’ll provide tips to help prevent you from being phished or social engineered.  And there’s no charge!


Soccer fan? Like to stream your European matches on illegal platforms? Recent research shows that 92% of football/futbol/soccer streaming services contain malicious content.

I hope you have a great weekend.  The Derby is tomorrow (don’t forget last week’s mint julep recipe), and the Tribe finally sent Logan Allen down.  What more can we ask for?!?!




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