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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox May 28th, 2021

Thoughts From My Inbox
May 28th, 2021

Russian Keyboards, Driving Lessons, and Darkside

It’s Memorial Day weekend which means picnics, parades (usually), college lacrosse, and the Indy 500.  It’s also a good time to think about all of the people who sacrificed their lives fighting for our country, so while you’re having fun this weekend, don’t forget



Something About…


Bitcoin Passwords

Maybe this guy should’ve used one of his bitcoins to buy a notebook and pen.  Or a password manager.  He has $220M worth of Bitcoin in a wallet for which he has forgotten the password.  Ouch.




I had the chance earlier this week to sit through a Sophos webinar on their MTR (Managed Threat Response) solution, which offers 24×7 monitoring (by humans) of networks, looking for suspicious behaviors. MTR also provides a ‘rapid response’ team in the event of a compromise. We’ve seen, first hand, the power of this solution, having put it to use for a client hit by the Darkside ransomware back in February. Instead of having to pay an $18M ransom, the Ashton team, working in conjunction with the Sophos MTR team remediated the issue and restored data from air-gapped backups.



Delivery Scams

Ever get a text or email saying that the package you’re waiting for can’t be delivered, as you still owe shipping costs? This piece details how that scam works, and more importantly, offers some good reminders as to how to avoid being taken.  As is always the case, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  And your bank will never call you telling you they’ve set up a new account in your name.



Jesse Owens

86 years ago this week, Ohio State sprinter Jesse Owens set four world records over the course of 45 minutes. Most sports fans know about his running away with the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics in front of Hitler, but his performance at the 1935 Big Ten track meet gets much less credit.



According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans have lost more than $80M in cryptocurrency scams in last October.  $2M in losses was given to “Elon Musk”.


Driving Lessons 

I think most people in the States learn to drive in a parent’s car, or whatever old beater the driving school has to offer (unless you work with the school here in town that offers Audi convertibles).  In Dubai, you can take your driving lessons in a Porsche, Mercedes, or Bentley.  My only concern is the portion of the embedded video in which the instructor tells the trainee to “check your mirrors every four minutes.”  That’s a little concerning.   Thanks to Ashton security awareness training expert Tom Evans for putting this one in my inbox.



Cyber Liability Insurance

We’re big proponents of having a good cyber insurance policy in place (and not all policies are good ones). Just recently however, French insurance carrier AXA announced that they would no longer cover ransomware payments. Their belief (and the FBI agrees) is that paying the ransom helps to perpetuate the crime. No word yet on whether other carriers will follow suit, but we are seeing more and more instances of tougher underwriting guidelines and more policy exclusions when it comes to cyber.


Russian Keyboards

The gang at Darkside (mentioned above, and those at the root of the Colonial pipeline hack) program their ransomware so as not to work in certain Eastern Bloc countries. If ransomware finds a Russian language keyboard installed on a device, the ransomware will automatically fail to load.  The thought then, is that installing this keyboard might protect you from the Darkside ransomware.   More importantly, it’s mentioned that if you ever mistakenly change the language settings on your system, holding the windows key and space bar at the same time will toggle through the various languages.  This would’ve been great six months ago when we changed our new marketing associate’s system to Bulgarian, as a prank.  Then couldn’t figure out how to get her back to English.


Real Estate

I didn’t get any good real estate listings this week, but Doug Freer from Lawn Lad said that last week’s update reminded him of this video.  And yes, it’s pretty much spot on as the real estate market goes right now.  Thanks for your submission, Doug, and keep your eyes open for some Ashton swag!


If you can believe the news, the number of travelers this weekend will be similar to what it was way back in 2019. If you’re travelling, I hope you’re not delayed too long.  If you’re not travelling, I’d highly recommend the NCAA lacrosse final four tomorrow (UNC/UVA and Duke/Maryland, for the men) and championship game on Monday (Go Blue Devils). Hopefully you’ll also get to spend some time with friends and family.  As for me, I’ll check the boxes on lax and friends, while adding in six yards of mulch.    Have a great weekend!



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