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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox February 10th, 2023

Thoughts from my inbox

February 10th, 2023

For the third week in a row, the header image is that of an email scam.  This one claiming to be about corporate compliance.  I’ve highlighted a couple of the items that show this is most likely a scam; both the “high importance” exclamation point in the inbox, and “final notice” are there to create a sense of urgency, while the offer of a “payment” also works to peak the reader’s interest. And while the email claims to be from our own HR Benefits group (which doesn’t exist), it’s clearly from aenriquez@ some random domain. Finally, there’s the usual misspelling as well as the odd salutation (jabbott, rather than a name) and signature (again, not an individual’s name).  And as I write this, I realize that the “attachment” ends in .htm; that’s a webpage, rather than the expected .pdf or .doc.   


So, just another reminder to think before you click.  If you’re concerned, contact the sender in person or on the phone to confirm the validity of the email.


Meantime, stay away from ransomware, don’t share your Netflix password, and go practice your kneel jumping!

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ESXiArgs Ransomware

I’ve had a few items in my inbox this week about a ransomware attack that takes advantage of unpatched VMware ESXi servers. Honestly, while I’ve heard of VMWare and know that our team is very familiar with it, I figured these technical updates I was seeing would be over the head of many of you (as they were, me).  Then I saw that CISA has released a script and guidance on how to recover if your organization has been infected by this attack. Upon reading that, I did a little more research and found this article which explains that a flaw from 2021 is being exploited by hackers, and the effects are being felt globally.  In this case, the hackers are using “triple extortion” to get their money.  First, they encrypt your files, then they release them to the dark web, and finally, they threaten to notify your customers that their data has been breached.  If nothing else, this is an outstanding reminder to always patch your systems! 


If you’re like many other people, you probably share account information for one or more of your streaming apps.  For example, we still use my son’s ex-girlfriend’s parents’ HBO Max account, even though they (my son and his GF) broke up two and a half years ago.  And her parents live in Vermont, so it’s not like we ever see them.  Anyway, Netflix is losing money and cracking down on password sharing, kind of like what YouTube TV does (and probably others that I’m not aware of); if you log in from an IP address that’s not your primary, you’ll be asked to verify the device, and whether it’s permanent or temporary.  It’ll be interesting to see how many people pay up, and how many stop watching.  If I lose HBO Max, I won’t even notice the difference!

Crypto Drainers

Assuming that Sam Bankman-Fried hasn’t already stolen all of your cryptocurrency, you need to be on the lookout for crypto drainers.  Recent research found that there are more than 100 phishing pages out there in the ether that contain crypto drainer malware, which helps hackers gain access to crypto accounts for the purpose of (shocking) draining them.  The article goes on to mention that $3.8B in cryptocurrencies were stolen last year (and I imagine this doesn’t include SBF and his FTX scam).

Business Email Compromise

It’s been awhile since I’ve had anything about business email compromise (BEC), but this article mentions that BEC scams led to $43B in losses last year.  Yes, $43 billion.  That makes cryptocurrency thefts (mentioned above) look pretty minor at just under $4B.  Anyhow, BEC takes place when an email account is compromised and used to request that legitimate funds are sent to a new and different account.  For a reminder of a local example, you can read about the church that was scammed out of $1.75M a few years back

Winter Sports

Ever heard of The Arctic Winter Games? Neither had I!  They took place last week in Alberta, with participants being indigenous to the Arctic.  Alaska, northern Europe/Greenland, and five Canadian provinces/territories.  Lots of the usual Olympic sports like hockey and skiing, but other traditional sports which mirror hunting, fishing, and survival.  Thankfully,  I’ve never had reason to do a kneel jump.  And while we’re on the topic of winter, how ’bout the 14 year old Minnesota kid who’s now slept outside for 1,000 nights in a row?!?!  

The President in AI

Well, ChatGPT items keep coming through my inbox.  Thanks to Gene Billadeau at Big Strategic (our marketing agency) for this one.  ChatGPT was asked to present President Biden’s State of The Union (2022 version) in the voice of various famous people.  You can read them all here, and while I was very impressed with the Churchill version, I found Seinfeld to be marginal at best (I liked the hamburger analogy), and Yogi Berra was way off. 

I’ll wrap up this week’s edition with a recipe that came through my inbox this week.  It was under the heading of “recipes you’ve probably never tried” (or something like that).  This one jumped out at me because I love peanut butter, and over the years I’ve eaten it (most in sandwich for) with bacon, mayonnaise, and bologna (not all together- that sounds awful!).  In this case, the recipe is for peanut butter and tomatoes, and it actually sounds pretty good.  Anybody ever had it before?  Maybe it’ll make you want to go out and run seven marathons in seven days on seven different continents!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl.  I don’t care about either team, so I’m pulling for the former Cleveland Heights hockey player…



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