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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox December 16th, 2022

Thoughts from my inbox

December 16th, 2022

Well, it’s getting to be that time of year… Our engineering team is busy wrapping up projects and clients with budgets to use up are buying lots of hardware. I spent much of this week getting our company Christmas cards out the door and am now finalizing plans for the team Christmas party (which always falls in January).  I’ve already watched four of my favorite Christmas movies (Elf, Home Alone and Home Alone 2, and Christmas Vacation) with a couple more yet to go (Die Hard, whenever I come across it on tv, and Christmas Story at some point during its 24 hour airing).  There’s still more shopping to be done and a couple of parties to host next weekend.  In the meantime, I have spam, fish, AI, and few other items for you, this week. 

Something about ...

Rackspace

Last week, I started to see a few articles about cloud hosting company Rackspace dealing with an ‘outage’. It turns out that it was a ransomware attack (predictable) and that executives have been neither forthcoming or helpful in letting the public know what’s going on (also predictable).  The articles in my in box were more of the technical sort, so I did a search and found something more about the company itself and the huge collapse it’s seen over recent years.  

Heat Miser v. Snow Miser

I walked in the door the other night and The Year Without a Santa was on the tv.  As I watched while I cooked dinner, I asked my wife whether she preferred Heat Miser or Snow Miser and she said “I was about to ask you the same thing” (I’ve always been a Snow Miser fan, which makes sense, considering how much I love the snow and cold). 

Which Miser Do You Prefer?

1. Heat Miser

2. Snow Miser

 

Distributed Spam Distraction

Thanks to our buddy Anton at Techlinq (all the way over in New Jersey) for sending me this one about distributed spam distraction.  I’d never heard of this tactic, although it does remind me a bit of MFA Fatigue. I do have one issue with Anton’s post, however;  he states that the average person goes through anywhere between one and a dozen emails per day.  I’d pay good money if 1-12 was even an hour of my day!

Security Updates

Apple has new security updates out for various platforms (iCloud, Safari, Mac, Watch, and iPad to name a few) and Microsoft does as well (make sure your IT provider is patching your systems on a regular and consistent basis- it’s a huge security threat if they’re not).

Fish Tanks

This one appeared just as I was putting the wraps on today’s edition.  An enormous fish tank in Berlin’s Radisson hotel burst this morning, causing 1000 cubic meters (264K gallons) of water and 1,500 fish to pour out into the lobby and onto the street.  For comparison’s sake, a standard backyard (inground) pool has anywhere between 15,000-20,000 gallons, while an Olympic pool as 660,000 gallons.  That’s a lot of water (and a lot of fish).  Watch the video attached to the article to get a better idea of how big that tank was.  

Stolen Food Products

Business email compromise (BEC) is usually used to divert money into fraudulent accounts. Yesterday, a joint cybersecurity advisory was released regarding BEC being used to steal food products including sugar and powdered milk.  As is often the case, spoofed email addresses are being used to confuse legitimate businesses and con them into shipping product.  Remember, when in doubt, pick up the phone and call for confirmation!

ChatGPT AI

I had an email early this week about a new AI tool called ChatGPT, and how it can be used for social engineering.  I didn’t pay much attention to it and deleted it along with so many other emails, because I’m not interested in AI. Then I saw a piece this morning talking about why the tech market is so excited about this new AI tool that can seemingly reduce the amount of time it takes a user to put together a presentation or research a story.  I started to login to play with the system, but of course I was first asked for an email address.   Then my name.  When it came to a phone number, I tried using my office line, but was told they won’t accept a VoIP number and I had to use an actual phone number.  That’s where I gave up, because I don’t need more of my personal info floating around out there.  Anyway, if you want to play with ChatGPT for free, you can do so here (after you’ve given them your phone number, and probably your first born). 

 

I don’t know much about AI, but did appreciate the quote from a Gartner analyst calling this new tool a “parlor trick”.  What are your thoughts?  

That’s all for today!  I’ll be in a couple of days next week, so we’ll see what sort of interesting info I have to pass along to you.  In the meantime, have a great weekend, and let’s hope for some snow!

 

Abbey

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