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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox July 2nd, 2021

Thoughts From My Inbox

July 2nd, 2021

Print Spoolers, Bad Practices, and Free Pizza

I compile this publication over the course of the week, as random items hit my inbox.  On Friday morning, I dump everything into our CRM, make it look pretty, and hit the ‘send’ button.  This morning, I realized that I had three pages of content, which is 1/3 more than I normally do. But then I remembered that it’s a long weekend, so you’ll have an extra day to take this all in. 

Something About…


Print Spoolers

This one appeared in my inbox four times yesterday;  One from our security partner, one from a random vendor I’ve never heard of, one from our director of operations, and the fourth from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Obviously, it’s rather important, and it has to do with a print spooler vulnerability.  To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what a print spooler is, so I googled it; every result on the first page was related to this current threat.  It effects Windows-based PCs and servers from the most recent operating systems back to Windows 7 (and many server operating systems). A print spooler is what controls all the print jobs being sent from a network to the printer down the hall, by the way. Anyhow, this is Greek to me, so if you’re not an IT person, make sure to check with your IT provider to ensure that they’re keeping eyes open on this.  And apply the patch as soon as Microsoft releases it.



The Nigerian Prince

You’ve probably all heard of the famous Nigerian Prince (and many of you have probably been emailed on his behalf). You remember- he has a ton of money and just needs a down payment from you so that he can send you your share (or something like that).  It seems that authorities have found the Nigerian Prince, and he’s living pretty large- Hush Puppies and Gucci, don’t ya know.  This is a rather lengthy article- the first half being the most important, as it lays out how a Business Email Compromise (BEC) works.  The rest gets into details about our protagonist and why Nigeria became the hotbed for this type of scam.




I’m sure that one of you were aware that Wednesday (June 30) was World Social Media Day (I had no clue). According to Twitter, it’s an ‘official global celebration’ and Mashable says it’s a great way of ‘recognizing the impact that social media has had on communications around the world…’ (I think they feel that the ‘impact’ has been nothing but positive, but don’t get me started on that).  In any case, this article has some good reminders about passwords, login credentials, and privacy settings.  Many people forget that social media is a great place for social engineers to scrape personal information about their targets- why make it easier for them?




Google Docs

I never use Google docs, unless somebody is trying to send me something.  And even then, I usually have to ask them to attach a Word document, as I can’t get into Google Docs, anyway.  That said, I’m sure there are plenty of you who rely heavily on Google Docs, and to whom this update would be important. Hackers are now using Google Docs to phish for login creds.  Another reminder that users are the first line of defense, and that security awareness training is extremely important.



I guess I’ve already read too many Bloomberg articles this month, so I can’t read this one about “Airbnb making nightmares go away”.  Found it summarized in a couple of other places though. It’s claimed that Airbnb pays out $50M annually to cover up incidents that might make them look bad.  As the NY Post piece says, “Guests cowering in closets while assailants try to sniff them out, crews dispatched to clean up blood and other bodily fluids, patch up bullet holes, or soothe the poor soul who stumbles upon dismembered human body parts — such are the horror stories common to Black Box staffers.”


Bad Practices

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has just published a list of bad practices to help prioritize your cyber security concerns. Honestly, it’s a little concerning that the list starts with only two items on it, serious as they may be (you might recall the recent ransomware remediation we completed that stemmed, in part, from use of outdated software package Windows 7). If you’re interested in a full list of bad practices regarding cyber, let us know. Not to say we know more than the government, but we’ll start with at least five items that should be of great concern.



Real Estate

The recent real estate listings in this publication have been for large houses and apartments.  This week, I figured we’d go small (which isn’t the same as “inexpensive”). We have a nice 2BR, 2.5BA apartment overlooking Central Park, in NYC, that can be yours for $13.7M.  That’s over $6.5M per bedroom, if my 4th grade math is correct.   We also have a 4,750 square foot lot on the west side of downtown Toronto, for just under $1M.  That equates to .11 acre, which would be just perfect for that tiny house you always wanted to build.  Finally, if you’re not convinced that you want to buy “really small”, you can rent a tent in Mountain View, CA, for $900/month.


Pets and The Economy

As Rob McCreary points out in his most recent piece, 11.38MUS households acquired new pets during the pandemic.  We are one of those, although our new guy is a replacement rather than a first time purchase. Rob points out that pets are expensive, the barrier to entry is low, the high end market continues to thrive, and monthly upkeep is almost like having a variable rate second mortgage!  In short, there’s money to be made.




 It was suggested to me earlier this week by a faithful reader, that I should include random items about Cleveland.  Perfect timing, as I already had this bit about The USS Cod, a WWII submarine docked in downtown Cleveland. If you’ve never had a chance, I’d suggest taking a tour of that, along with the Steamship Mather, next door.  The Cod was just towed to an Erie, PA drydock, where it will undergo restoration.  My brother-in-law (a retired engineer who doesn’t seem to have much else to do, besides surfing YouTube for interesting videos) sent me this one last week.  It’s 11 min. long and is a tour of the exterior of the sub, while it sits in drydock, presented by a scuba diver who volunteers his time for the Cod. Yes, it’s really random, but it was pretty cool to see.



 The Wimbledon tennis championships are in full swing, and I came across an article about the maintenance of the grass and the courts.  Interesting if you’re a tennis fan, or an aspiring groundskeeper. And if you’re really curious, you can watch this interview with the head groundskeeper.



Last week, we had a listing of the top 31 restaurants in Cleveland.  In response, Esther Deutsch, my peer in technology marketing (based in NYC, and also with a presence in Marietta, GA) sent me this gem.  Slice (a pizza app) is looking for people to spend a year sampling pizzas from around their home states. Free pizza for a year, plus travel stipends? What could be better?!?!  The application process started last week, and you have until July 30th to get your name in the hopper…  (Thanks, Esther- some Ashton swag will soon be making its way to NYC!)


And speaking of free food, the offer of a free lunch still stands if you’re willing to tell me about the best service you’ve ever had from a business partner/vendor.  Say the word and we’ll get it on the calendar!


Foot Golf

In recent weeks, I’ve highlighted leagues for random sports like surfing and ultimate frisbee. Now, thanks to my friend David Loomis, it’s foot golf.  I figured this was similar to the foot wedge that I occasionally pull out on the golf course, but was surprised to find that it actually uses a soccer ball.  And they play a world championship in Ireland.

Here’s hoping you enjoy the long weekend.  And remember, it’s not just July 4th, it’s Independence Day.  If you’re in the mood for a good parade, I’d recommend heading to Gates Mills on Sunday morning (if you find me, I’ll pour you a bloody Mary). And if you smell smoke in western Geauga County on Monday, no worries- I’m pulling the smoker out of the garage for the first time this summer.  Carolina pulled pork and Texas brisket.  



Have a great weekend, 




Have a great weekend, 


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