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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox October 28th, 2022

Thoughts From My Inbox

October 28th, 2022

Free Mattresses, Smelly Haunted Houses, and Facial Recognition

Did this week go by quickly, or is it my imagination? Sitting at my desk after 5P yesterday and I suddenly realized I’d put together very little content for this week’s edition.  So at midnight (last night/this morning), I figured I’d better get moving…  Anyway, a quick week due to a busy schedule is never a bad thing.  I had lunch yesterday with a friend who’s also in technology sales, but more along the lines of telephone systems, data connections, and security.  He asked if I wrote this content myself ( I took that as a compliment, and yes, I do write it myself), and suggested that I need more real estate posts (he’s not the first to say that).  So, there is one of those today, along with haunted houses, baseball betting, facial recognition, and more.  Enjoy!

 

Something About…

 

Counting Cards

To prevent gamblers from counting cards at a blackjack table, casinos use multiple decks and shufflers that create supposedly random distributions of cards. If you’re curious as to why those shuffling machines may not be as random as one thinks, you should read this article. If you can make it all the way through without your eyes crossing, you’ll get to the moral of the story which is that you oftentimes need outside support when it comes to cybersecurity.  Nice work on the part of the cybersecurity company who posted this article in finding a way to make that connection!

 

Urgent Apple Updates

Our friends at Sophos are suggesting that new Apple software updates for Mac, iOS and iPad are all ‘urgent’.  You can read here for more of the technical details, or go into your settings and update as necessary.

 

Facial Recognition
One item in the inbox this week was the transcript of a podcast on Clearview AI, an American company that scrapes publicly available images of regular citizens (think Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and then sells those images to various entities (including law enforcement). Those entities can then, in theory, create databases connecting faces with names.  France’s data protection agency just fined Clearview $20M (actually Euros, but no clue where that symbol is on the keyboard), matching the $20M (Euro) fines laid down by the Greek and Italian governments.  They all believe that this data is being improperly collected and used. Anyhow, I don’t do podcasts unless I’m on a long roadtrip, and who wants to read a transcript of two guys talking?  So I found an article for your reading pleasure.  
Ticketing App Breach

I don’t know about you, but I have way too many ticketing apps on my phone. Browns (worst app known to man), Indians, Bluejackets, SeatGeek (so I can manage Ashton’s Cleveland Monsters tickets), AXS (I think that’s the app the Agora uses.  Or maybe it’s House of Blues), StubHub, and a couple of others I can’t find but know exist.  I even have an account for the NY Mets, for the one Mets game I caught back in 2019.  That said, I’ve never heard of See, which is used for concerts, festivals, and the like.  They’re just now owning up to a data breach in which attackers gained access back in 2019 and kept that access for over two years (!!!) seemingly getting all sorts of customer financial data (credit card numbers). According to this article, they don’t seem all that concerned about it, however. Maybe they figure that if they don’t act like they did anything wrong, it’ll all just go away?

Common Passwords
New research shows that the vast majority of hackers attempting brute force attacks (throwing numerous passwords at a system until one of them works) focus on the most basic usernames (admin, user, etc.) and passwords (123456 and qwerty).  One more reason to change default usernames, use different passwords on every account, and not be lazy when it comes to creating your login creds!

Real Estate

The real estate listing I receive on a weekly basis is focused on NYC (still not sure why I’m on their list), but this week included a listing from the Swiss Riviera, in Vaud, Switzerland.  So, I figured I’d change it up a little bit.  This is a seven bed, eight bath mansion on the shores of Lake Leman, and is listed as “price upon request”.  I guess that goes back to the old saying “if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it, anyway”.

Smelly Haunted Houses
While I love scary movies (the original Halloween is still my favorite), I’ve never been a big fan of haunted houses.  Now in addition to creatures jumping out at you from around corners, though, they’re actually pumping in horrible smells to make the experience even more realistic.  Some of those include “dumpster”, “electric chair”, “charred corpse” (no mention as to the difference between that and “electric chair”), “mildew tunnels”, “hospital modern day” and “hospital old fashioned”.  I wonder if there’s “fear” or “Michael Meyers”?
Industrial Ransomware

A new study shows that 68% of ransomware attacks in Q3 were aimed at industrial and manufacturing firms, with steel producers being the biggest target in the vertical.  As more manufacturers adopt new(er) technology and move to the cloud, they’re leaving themselves open to attacks from outside.  Based on technology due diligence work we’ve done (much of which is on lower middle market industrial firms), we would strongly agree that this vertical is woefully out of date when it comes to security measures.

Hacking The Election
The FBI is warning that an Iranian hacking group will be targeting the upcoming mid-term elections.  Not to be cynical (I would never do that), but I wonder if they’re just planting that seed in case things don’t go their way?
Social Media Cyber Risks
Mention was made above regarding the AI company that scrapes social media sites for photos of random people.  But how about the risk social media poses to business?  This one is a slide show full of worthwhile info; from biometrics (think the retinal scanner that allows you access to your office) being stolen from images you’ve uploaded to the web to deepfakes, espionage and recon, LinkedIn hiring scams, and more.  I handle the social media for Ashton, and while it’s never (to my knowledge) brought us any business, I feel we have to have a presence to keep Google happy.   This is just one more reason that social media really sucks, though.
Free Mattresses
I thought I was all done for the week, until I came across this piece about a Houston mattress and furniture retailer who’s known for placing enormous bets on sporting events. If the Houston Astros win the World Series this year, he’ll be giving away millions of dollars in free mattresses and furniture.  But he’ll also take home $75M in cash if the Astros win.  Talk about hedging your bets…
I’ve always said that I shop better under pressure.  The closer it is to a birthday, Valentines, or Christmas, the quicker I can make decisions and move on.  I’m sure the retailers love to see me coming at the last possible minute.  I think the same holds true with this week’s edition.  Waited until the last minute (not necessarily by choice) and actually had a lot of interesting articles to share with you.

 

Considering my concern that I wouldn’t have enough info, I thought I might mention the cooking class that my wife and I took at ICASI/Paganini school on Tuesday night (a Dia de Los Muertos menu that was outstanding and that had the two of us in charge of the chicken mole main dish) or my new favorite app, Beli. This is one our son turned me onto, last time we visited him in NYC.  He’s a foodie and likes to track all of the restaurants he and his buddies try, so I figured I’d track ours, as well. And don’t worry, Cleveland is included in the database!

 

Have a great weekend, and Go Bucks!

 

Abbey

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