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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox Feb 16th, 2024

I should probably start off by welcoming the 5,119 new readers who are getting this publication for the first time today.  This is something that I started during the early days of COVID, when new business had slowed down and I was trying to keep our clients and prospects informed on technology that applied to them.  I cleaned out my inbox one Friday morning and shared anything useful with a small audience. People found it useful, and here we are almost four years later.

 

For more than just those four years, we’ve wondered whether we should include all of the end users Ashton supports on our newsletters (it’s always been only “VIPs” and our primary points of contact at any given organization).  On one side, we’re providing worthwhile information, but on the other, many don’t know who we are and only care that we keep them up, running, and secure.  In speaking with peers recently, we found that many include their customer base on newsletters, so we figured we’d give it a try.  

 

Anyhow, I’m getting ready to hit the “send” button on this one while sitting in a hotel room in (slightly, and not enough, as far as I’m concerned) snowy Portland, ME, where my niece is getting married tomorrow. No, it’s not a “destination” wedding.  This is where she and her fiance happen to live and work.  It’s also not far from where they grew up, in Boston.  While you scroll down to read about Apple security, Volt Typhoon, and hired bridesmaids, I’ll be headed over to Freeport, ME and the LL Bean store. Enjoy!   

Something about ...

Apple Security

Many people think that Macs are safe from viruses, but as this article explains, that’s not the case.  Do people think they’re safe, just because Apple has led them to believe it?  Or because they’ve never been affected by a virus?  And have they not been affected by virus since Mac users are still a relatively (20%) small user base worldwide, and therefore, not a good target?  



Regardless, if you’re connected to the rest of the world as either an individual or a business, you’re at risk and somebody is probably targeting you.  If you don’t have any security solutions, you should at least consider this free version of Sophos (we’ve been providing our clients with Sophos endpoint protection for almost 10 years now) that you can use at home, on either Windows or Mac devices.

Volt Typhoon

I had a piece about China’s “Volt Typhoon” cyber crime group last week.  And now there’s more from the US government.  According to the release, “The data and information CISA and its U.S. government partners have gathered strongly suggest the PRC is positioning itself to launch destructive cyberattacks that would jeopardize the physical safety of Americans and impede military readiness in the event of a major crisis or conflict with the United States.”  That doesn’t sound very good.  

Hired Help

Since we’re on the topic of weddings, I was intrigued by this article that came through the inbox about bridesmaids for hire. The woman profiled claims to be bringing in $100K a year, acting as a hired gun for brides in need.  

Ice Fishing

As much as I love fishing, if I’m going to be on a frozen pond drinking beer, I’d prefer there be a hockey stick in my hand than a fishing rod.  Last time I went ice fishing was on a sixth grade field trip, and that  was a long day out on Lake Erie.  That said, we weren’t in a shanty like these from the area near our cottage in Northern Ontario.  Some of the fancier versions actually have bunks and propane stoves in them.  I guess it would be kind of nice to be able to fish while in bed

 

Financial Breaches

A couple of big names in the financial services world have recently acknowledged systems/data breaches;  Prudential and Bank of America.  Interesting piece about the Prudential breach and the expediency with which they notified the feds.  Question is, did they do it to save face, defeat the hackers, or please the feds?  As to BofA, this one is just another reminder as to the importance of making sure your vendors are as secure as you are.  Because even if they get hacked, you’re the ones who look bad and have to fix the problem.  

Nation-State AI Usage

While you may be using AI to handle some of your daily needs, you’re probably not using it to the extent that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are.  

 

While this piece states that the countries listed are using Open Al for”pre-compromise malicious behaviors, gathering information about specific technologies, platforms, and vulnerabilities, generating and refining scripts, and generating social engineering texts in translated languages as well as post-compromise, performing advanced commands, achieving deeper system access, and gaining control in systems” isn’t a huge concern (yet), they did go so far as to cancel all of the users accounts. 

Adventure

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.  

If you’re familiar with LL Bean and their outdoor products, you might also know that their flagship store is famous for being open 24/7/365.  Unless I show up.  We were here in the fall of 2015 and I figured I’d take my son to see the place.  We rolled up on Sunday morning and it was a scene straight out of Vacation.  But the moose didn’t tell us

 

Turned out that the store was closed for the first time since JFK was assassinated in 1963.  They’d been open every hour for over 18,000 straight days, and I picked the day they were closed.  As it was explained to me, the Chairman (LL Bean’s grandson) had passed away a month or two earlier and the store was closed on this specific morning for his memorial service.  We wandered around Freeport for 90 minutes and finally got to see the store.   Hopefully we won’t have similar issues today!

 

Have a great weekend.

Abbey

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