The Internet is forever

Modern Proverb

This is the only bit of advice that I have given in all caps but it is about as critical as it gets.

In life there are always frustrations and in the days before the internet people vented in a bar, or to a friend or, as I like to do, take my frustrations out on a pinball machine (nothing better when you need to relax). It can be very healthy to vent one’s frustrations.

However it is not healthy to do so on social media.

Social media is good for many things but venting at a moment in anger isn’t one of them. When angry one is liable to say things that we instantly regret, picture saying or writing said thing on a permanent platform where the world can see it and comment on it, and where it never disappears (don’t think for one moment it won’t get screen caped).

We’ve all made the mistake of saying things in anger to a spouse, don’t compound said error by doing it so on facebook, twitter, snapchat or anywhere else where there will it has the potential of doing permanent damage to a relationship.

Incidentally it goes without saying that this advice is worthwhile for things far beyond marriage.

The 30 Tips to Say Married 30 years so far

Tip 1:  Choose Wisely
Tip 2: A long Engagement
Tip 3: Get Married in Church
Tip 4: Don’t write your own vows.
Tip 5: Set limits early
Tip 6: Live Modestly
Tip 7: Embrace Your Mother-In-Law
Tip 8: If possible take advantage of your parent’s advice.
Tip 9: Don’t Diss your spouse to your friends
Tip 10: Remember Birthday’s and Anniversaries


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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

modified from wiki commons

Just as I was finishing my post last week on the fake DCU phishing scheme and how to recognize it. I noticed a 2nd such email in my box, it was similar but had one variation that I thought was worth pointing out

Of the 5 clues I mentioned in my first post three are still there. We see the misspelling of “alert” (clue 2) remains which should stop someone paying attention.   We note a time limit on a response (clue 3) which suggest trying to push you into acting rash and we also see the lack of links in the bottom section plus a different country code in the login link (clue 5) this time gq indicating equatorial Guinea not all that far from the central african republic where the last email was based from.

Still there are two variations worth noting here that should be pointed out. take a look at the link again particularly the end of it in bold compared to the front in red: akjdfg.gq/redieresartgdfsdcu

A person not paying attention might notice the DCU at the end of the link and the redir (as in redirect) and mistakenly think this was an actual DCU email, This suggest a slightly smarter Phisherman than the last time however it’s still a dodge.    Remember the domain is always in the front before the hash.  If that section doesn’t say dcu.org or whatever your bank or financial institution has in the front, or has a different country code, you know it’s phony.

There is one other clue in this email that didn’t arise in the last one that I want to point out:

Clue 6:  The bank can’t take my money, can it?

Unlike the last email which suggested a false transaction for you to stop this email comes with a specific threat.  If you don’t click their link and put in your password and account numbers you will lose the money in your account.   This is simply a scare tactic.  Not only does a bank not have the right to seize your funds in such a way but if you leave an account inactive or forget about it there are laws compelling either the banks or various states to hold it for you to claim later.

Again this is a tactic used to fool folks who do not know how these things work.  Make sure you do so you won’t fall for these schemes.

modified from wiki commons

He (Joe Morgan) said once you picked up one thing you’d start looking for the others, and you’d see them too. I used to play cards with a guy like that. He’d read your eyes and know what you had. Drive you crazy

Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract pp349 1985 on Joe Morgan & pitchouts

One of the disadvantages of having a very pubic face and email is I receive phishing scam emails regularly.
As a person who used to be a tech support rep (why do you think I’m called “datechguy”?) I recognize these attempts to scam me pretty quick, but it’s very likely that there are plenty of people who don’t know the obvious clues to tip a person off.  This prompts the old Hiwired tech support rep inside to rise up to shout at my fellow citizens who are the targets of these scams:

DON”T FALL FOR THIS!

So in this spirit I want to show you a Phishing email I recently received and point out the clues that will tell you it’s s scam

Here is the email I received with all the scam clues highlighted,

Phishing email top

All of these clues scream “scam” and if you spot one you will learn to spot the others, let’s go through them all.

Clue 1: A single notification

Before you even get to the email itself, it shows up in your email program.  Below is the line from mine.  This subject line from the email should jump out at you in terms of suspicion: Bill payment sent

While a company like comcast or Unitel might send an email confirmation of a payment a bank in general doesn’t send out notifications on transactions (if they did their servers would be doing nothing else all day). Even if your bank was the exception and offered the option of notification or confirmation emails they would only come if you turned them on.

So even without opening up that email that subject line alone should scream “Not Legit!”

Clue 2: Points off for spelling

A lot of phishing email originate from places where English isn’t the first language, because of this you will often find mistakes like this spelling error.

Now it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a bank might have a spelling error in an email but it IS out of the realm of possibility that the spelling error would be in the name of the email account sending it.

If the subject line didn’t scream “scam” this clue should.

Clue 3: That’s not my email address!
Unless you have your own domain you likely aren’t seeing this issue but I’ve seen it more and more in blast spams from China and elsewhere. The idea is to send blasts to all kinds of email combinations under a particular domain in the hopes of either finding a legit email address or getting someone to answer.

But you can be sure that if you have given your email address to your bank they will have your actual address when they email you unlike this uy.

Clue 4: Bait and switch subject with a time limit

Now we get to the meat of the email itself and there are two big clues to tell you this is wrong.

NOte the difference between the subject line: Payment sent and the email Payment scheduled. In terms of a bank it makes no sense, why declare a payment sent in the subject line if it is only scheduled? Why not “Payment scheduled?” For the spammer the answer is obvious. While “payment scheduled” might be a more clever subject line there is less of a chance a person might open such an email but the Payment sent is meant to make you say: What Payment? While the notification inside is meant to tell you that you still have three days to act before this bogus hacked payment takes place.

That’s not how banks work, if you made a payment they would say: Payment made, if it was scheduled the would say Payment scheduled and there would not be a deadline in big letters for you to stop it.

This is all about making you panic, don’t.

Clue 5: Hmm I didn’t know DCU was based in the Central African Republic.

Of all the various clues in this email this one is the single most decisive but also the easiest to miss. It’s in link on the Login

There are actually several clues here and I will take them in reverse order.

The first is the lack of links in that bottom section.  This suggests the Phishers were sloppy and simply decided to use a screen shot copied and pasted in a program like Paint.  The lack of links there is a big giveaway that something is wrong.  Of course if they left the links in that would have been a problem for them as well as there is always the chance that the user clicks on an authentic link and gets to the real DCU site.

The second is the “forward to a friend” choice.  Even though it is inactive the idea that you would forward a copy of such an email to a friend is so ridiculous that it should raise an alarm bell or two.

But the real giveaway is the actual link in the “Login Now” area.  You will note that the address doesn’t go to a DCU domain.

Of all the various clues we have noted this is the most important.  Even if the Phisher had excellent spelling, and had used the right email address , had said “scheduled” vs sent or even put in the right links on all the choices above, in the end to steal your password or to take you to an auto launch site to install spyware to use to grab all your data they will have to send you to a domain that is different than the one belonging to your bank.

That is the big giveaway.

And even if they were using a similar domain name (say dcuu for example) rather than the gibberish above you will note that the suffix is not .com or .net or .usa but is  .cf which stands for the Central African Republic

Now while I’m sure that white Digital Credit Union takes pride in having a large reach, it’s pretty safe to say that they don’t have a lot of branches in the Central African Republic, let alone host or register their servers there.

And keep this in mind, some people believe they are not rich or not important enough to be worth targeting by a Phisher, but remember the Annual per capita income in the Central African Republic in 2017 was $700

A few suckers taken for a few grand can make someone a pretty big man over there.  Don’t be one of them.


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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

The Boss is at CPAC, along with Stacy McCain, so be sure to scroll around the homepage here for exciting posts and videos, and of course you will also find some great posts from the other fabulous writers here too!

It is good to be back here at Da Tech Guy Blog and it is even better that Peter got his blog back online after GoDaddy shut him down (BTW, Peter could use some help moving this site to a better server so please hit his tip jar if you can).

There has been a whole lot of shutting down of right leaning people online lately, from the Twitter shadow bans and purges to the even longer running shenanigans from Facebook, to the creepy Google antics , and now Medium’s joining the ban the right bandwagon (banned wagon?), and again this year CPAC shut out Pamela Geller at the last minute because her panel on Free Speech was to include Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit. To add insult to injury, CPAC then stole Pamela’s work, claimed it for their own, and ran their version of a “Free Speech” panel, after banning some of the biggest advocates for the freedom of speech that we have.

Image from The Geller Report

Robert Spencer has a lot to say about this disgusting turn of events (and the years of hostility from CPAC to people who tell the truth about islamic supremacism and the jihad threat):

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has never been much interested in hosting honest discussion of the jihad terror threat. I was on a panel there in 2003, and in 2007 debated both Dinesh d’Souza and “moderator” Suhail Khan on Islam and the jihad threat (partial video here). I was on various AFDI panels while we were still able to have them there, but I haven’t been back since Suhail Khan flew into a hysterical rage at CPAC 2012 when I challenged him to debate, except for an appearance on Breitbart’s “Uninvited” panel in 2013.

Not only has CPAC consistently dissembled about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, but it has also shown a disturbing tendency to dance to the tune of the Left. Saul Alinsky’s 13th Rule for Radicals is “‘Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.” The Left consistently does this; in the case of counter-jihadis (including me), it presents our statements, however correct and demonstrable, as egregious and individual to us — that’s freezing and personalizing the target. Then Leftists move to “cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy,” demanding that others on the Right disavow and condemn, or at very least shun, the target. And establishment conservatives have always willingly played along, allowing their associations and allies to be dictated by their enemies.

I’ve been the recipient of both the Alinsky treatment and the shunning from caitiffs on the Right, including CPAC, for years, but I’ve never seen a more nauseating example of CPAC’s cravenness, cowardliness and dishonesty than what has played out with my colleague Pamela Geller over the last ten days. Since last September, Geller has been trying to get a room at CPAC for an AFDI event, even offering to pay sponsorship fees, which are pricey, since sponsoring organizations are given a room in which they can hold an event. CPAC stonewalled and ran out the clock. Finally on February 14, she submitted a proposal for a panel discussion entitled “Suppression of Conservative Views on Social Media: A First Amendment Issue.” She added a list of proposed speakers, including James Damore, Google whistleblower; Harmeet K. Dhillon, renowned free speech attorney; Dan Gainor, Vice President for Business and Culture, Media Research Center; Jim Hoft, Editor-in-Chief, Gateway Pundit; James O’Keefe, Project Veritas; and Marlene Jaeckel, Tech Entrepreneur. I know this because I consulted with Pamela Geller at the time about the focus of this panel and who the speakers should be, before she submitted this proposal to CPAC.

CPAC’s Dan Schneider and Matt Schlapp approved this panel, but would not let it be an AFDI event. Schneider and Schlapp insisted that the panel be sponsored by the American Principles Project (APP), which neither Geller nor I had ever heard of. Otherwise, however, they made no changes — until shortly thereafter, when Hoft enraged the Leftist establishment by noting what has been likewise observed by many people — that the pro-gun control students speaking out in the wake of the Florida school shooting appeared coached. As condemnations rained down on Hoft from the likes of Chelsea Clinton and Paul Krugman, CPAC again rushed to do the Left’s bidding. APP top dog Terry Schilling, a board member of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts CPAC, demanded that Hoft be dropped from the panel. Geller refused to play lapdog for the Left, and so Schilling and CPAC canceled the panel.

And then they stole it.

Today at CPAC there is a panel entitled “Suppression of Conservative Views on Social Media: A First Amendment Issue” and featuring Damore, Dhillon, Gainor, O’Keefe, and Jaeckel. Hmmm, where did they get the idea for such an event? CPAC claims that it was all their idea. CPAC officials issued CPAC staffers talking points on various issues, so that they would march in lockstep in the media (very conservative, that). One of these talking points stated: “CPAC sponsor APP is hosting a panel discussion on conservative voices being silenced on the internet. APP invited Pamela Geller to participate on the panel. She initially accepted but she then made her participation contingent on APP including another person who was obviously a poor choice. Pamela is actively promoting a version of events that are intentionally inaccurate designed to mislead and mischaracterize the construction of this presentation. She is no longer a participant, her claims that the panel is cancelled are false and the panel will move forward as intended.”

This is, to put it politely, a pack of lies. APP did not originate this panel. It did not invite Geller to participate. She did not make her participation contingent on anyone else being included. She is not promoting a false version of event; they are. In reality, Geller originated the panel. APP was added on by CPAC. Hoft was on the panel from the beginning, with CPAC’s agreement. When CPAC insisted that Hoft be dropped because the Left was angry with him, Geller refused, whereupon CPAC canceled the panel. I know all this because I have been involved with this imbroglio at every step of the way.  (MORE)

CPAC may still be a big opportunity for conservatives to meet with like minded people and to hear speeches from important leaders on the right, and for bloggers to snag great interviews, but it is becoming increasingly tainted by its hostility to the counterjihad movement, to Trump supporters, and its habitual folding to the whims of leftism and leftism’s enablers who claim to be on the right. Remember, even our current (and fantastic) President refused to play their game just two years ago.

It might not seem like a big deal to some people, the way Pamela Geller and others who fight for free speech and freedom from islamic totalitarianism tyranny get jerked around by CPAC, but as more organizations are shutting down access for right minded people to get their messages out to the public, we need to realize that an attack on one of us is an attack on us all. Whoever the left unjustifiably howls about next is likely to be the next to be shut out by the establishment right. It is getting harder to hear voices of those who need to be heard the most. The voices we need to hear the most are always the ones that will be silenced first, so that you will never hear the warnings they tried to give you until it is too late.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

Way back in the 1990’s my friend at work Brian introduced me to a game called Colonization still one of the best games ever to come out from the magnificent mind of Sid Meier (and a game that still holds up will 20 years later although an updated version with 3D graphics and multiplayer mode is available as well) but in those old DOS windows 95 games to an old Avalon Hill gamer like me Colonization was tops.

We were both hooked and would often talk about our various games at work.  During one of those days he mentioned causally that he would leave his PC on overnight connected to the net.  Now I was years removed from my previous and my next tech job but I told him I didn’t like the idea of an open line that others would have to my PC data without me noticing, but my suggestion that anyone could get in via that internet connection to his PC was scoffed at in those innocent early days of AOL.

Over the years I have repeated various versions of those warnings to people like

Just because a machine is made by Apple it doesn’t mean you can’t get a virus or a hacked
If you’re cellphone acts as a PC it can be hacked like a PC
If you can remotely access your appliances and doors then so can someone else
If Alexa or your TV is listening to you when you’re talking to it that means it’s listening when you’re not.

All of these propositions have invariably been greeted with reactions as if I was some kind of conspiracy theorist but of all the warnings I have given over the years the one I have repeated the most and is the most evergreen of them all is this:

Never write anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your wife or mother to see.

This is a lesson that John Podesta learned to his regret during the last election cycle and that James O’Keefe and Project Veritas has reinforced by his sting of Twitter.

Pranay Singh, a Direct Messaging Engineer for Twitter corroborated Haynes claims in a meeting with a Project Veritas journalist on January 5, 2018:

“Everything you send is stored on my server… So all your sex messages and you, like, d*ck pics are on my server now…”

“All your illegitimate wives and, like, all the girls you’ve been f*cking around with, they’re are on my server now… I’m going to send it to your wife, she’s going use it in your divorce.”

“So, what happens is like, you like, write something or post pictures on line, they never go away… Because even after you send them, people are like analyzing them, to see what you are interested in, to see what you are talking about. And they sell that data.”

Remember Twitter, Facebook snapchat are not public utilities nor are they charitable organizations. Somebody is paying for all those people and all that infrastructure and if it’s not you it’s someone else, and the product they are selling is YOU

According to Twitter software expert Mihai Florea, “To actually charge the advertisers the money we have to prove it was you, and that’s why using email address, or like a cookie or something that can track you.” Florea continues, saying, “You’re paying for the right to use our website with your data basically.”

Now these are such basic common sense facts that the idea that tens of millions of people don’t realize this is astounding to me. Moreover given what we’ve seen from the social justice warriors at Twitter and/or Facebook the very idea that a conservative would trust them to handle their data fairly is about as laughable as it gets.

And as Jazz Shaw reminds us, it’s in your car too:

What sort of data can the manufacturer assemble from your GPS? They can hone in on your driving habits, how often you exceed the speed limit, where you like to shop or go out to eat… and all of that information is tied to your real name, financial data and contact information. This might have remained one of those stories which only suggests possible bad behavior were it not for the fact that the WaPo is quoting somebody from a data firm which is already selling this information to advertisers and splitting the profits with the automakers.

and asks the ultimate question

So your phone and your car are both spying on everything you do and ratting you out. At this point I can’t blame you if you’re wondering… what next? No need to wait, citizens. The answer is already here. Thanks to the Internet of Things, your refrigerator is already tracking what you’re doing and will be preemptively preparing shopping lists and menus for you. What’s the harm, right? I mean, it’s just going to help you avoid drinking spoiled milk. But if it knows what you’re buying and how often, don’t you think there would be a buyer for that data as well?

So let me close with with one final fact that every should remember at all times

All of your data, from the stuff on your phone, game system, computer, cloud and even from your car and appliances are only as secure as the least careful person with access to your passwords and the least ethical person with access to it via any company that you have either stored it with or given access to via an end user agreement.

Should you get batshit paranoid about it, no, but should you be aware of it and act accordingly, YES!

Closing note. You can still buy the original Colonization and the new version Civilization IV Colonization on Steam (subject to the user agreement of course). I highly recommend and endorse both games.


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Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Get your Tickets today!

You can still buy tickets for our President Trump a Year in Review and Looking Ahead event Jan 20th 2018 at the Tang Dynasty Restaurant in Leominster Ma. Click on the image to the left to get tickets via eventbrite.The event co-sponsored by the Worcester Tea Party comes with an All you can eat Chinese buffet served till 2:30 (drinks are on you) and will include an all star panel (moderated by DaTechGuy) including

Chip Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxiation
Dianna Ploss from the Boston Chapter of Act for America
Christopher Maider from the Meat and Potatoes Radio show
Mike LaChance from the Legal Insurrection blog

Tickets are available at the door or you can get them here.  Come on down and join us for a great meal and a great discussion.