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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox Feb 9th, 2024

Back in town this week and trying to get caught up after most of a week out of the office.  Welcome to all the new followers here, many of whom we met at last week’s AM&AA event in Charleston!

Earlier this week, I received two phone calls on my direct line from people who said “I just missed a call from this (my) number and am calling back”.  In neither case had I made the call, so I asked one of our engineers to do some digging. The assumption is that somebody is spoofing my number, and trying to get into my MS365 email account.  Our system tracks every login for every user, and alerts are issued if any ‘risky’ sign-ins take place (unusual times and/or places). Tom showed me the image below, which highlights multiple attempts from users in China and the UAE trying to log into my MS365 account on Feb. 3rd.  According to Tom, we keep these records for 30 days, and these attempts had been taking place every day for the past 30 (and probably beyond). Just a reminder that everybody (because who am I in the grand scheme of things?) is a target.  That said, it’s on to the fun things this week; The Super Bowl, a moose on the loose, and critical infrastructure, to name a few.     

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Phone Scams

One of my readers (thanks Brian) sent me this piece about a phone scam ( as it relates to a bank account), earlier this week.  I actually posted a piece a few weeks back in which Bravo TV’s Andy Cohen related how he got scammed in a similar fashion, but this one goes into even more detail. That’s because, in this case, the person who got scammed is a journalist who knows more about this type of thing than most people.  Click through to get all the specifics about how he was taken advantage of by a timely hacker.  

The Super Bowl

I guess I probably have to have something about this weekend’s Super Bowl, even though I don’t care for either team.  The Chiefs have the local guy (who’s getting way too much airtime, and “dating” somebody who I’m convinced the NFL is paying for her services), and the Niners have two of my favorite recent Buckeyes and a former Brown.  I think I’ll pull for SF and some decent ads.


As with any major event, hackers will be stepping up their games in conjunction with SB LVIII.  

Super Bowl Advertising

Based on some quick online research, it seems that 42% of people watch the Super Bowl only for the ads.  And as my son likes to remind me, “76% of statistics are made up”.  For those who want to advertise on the Sphere’s outer surfaceit’ll cost between $1-$2M. That said, it would be pretty cool to see your name in those lights!


As for the ads themselves, there always seem to be a handful leaked in advance of the big day.  I don’t drink Budweiser but have always loved the Clydesdales (and any Labrador retriever), and I don’t use UberEats, but this one was pretty funny too.  There’s even a shoutout to the Cleveland Browns (this is the closest they’ve ever been to the Super Bowl)

Critical Infrastructure

Based on the previous hacks we’ve seen around things like petroleum pipelines, it’s safe to assume that our critical infrastructure probably doesn’t have all the best cybersecurity measures in place.  Now, the CISA has put out more information about China using a tool called Volt Typhoon to hack into that critical infrastructure (utilities, transportation, communications) and cause huge problems for the American population.  This has been going on for quite sometime, and doesn’t seem to be getting any sort of remediation.

AI and Music

Last week, I had a piece about AI saving the Amazon rain forest.  Normally, I wouldn’t have the same (general) topic two weeks in a row, but when I saw this piece about AI and audio engineering, I thought of my brother-in-law the audio engineer. He used to work in a studio with all sorts of mixing equipment, and his best known band was The Lemonheads (before they were known for Mrs. Robinson). He still does some producing in his basement, but I wonder what he’d think about AI and his ability to do his job. 


By now, everybody has probably heard about the Taylor Swift deepfakes making their way around the internet.  This one is even more interesting (and concerning) however- a business person who was scammed into transferring $25M over the course of a week, all using deepfakes.  Wow.  


Since there’s not much skiing to be had around here this year (and since our late spring trip to Tahoe got cancelled), I’ve had to read about it instead.  This one is for Forest, Kurt, and Casey– two long time skiers and first time skier, respectively.  And if you’re in the mood for more things you might want to do, this bit about crossing the Drake Passage also appeared in my inbox this week.  

That’s all for this week.  I won’t make any predictions about the game, but I’ll leave you with two animal stories (one about a moose on the loose in Jackson Hole and another about a pigeon imprisonedand a little more music.  This one came to mind when I was added earlier today to an office email regarding the need (or lack thereof) of an Oxford comma

Have a great weekend, and I hope the squares turn out in your favor!


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