Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Internet Psychology

I often marvel at the thought processes I see displayed, and marvel further at the fact that such things as shown below actually produce the desired results.

Contact my lawyer in Cambodia ...

Contact my lawyer in Cambodia …

What are people thinking? How does the human mind work? Why would someone send these emails? (Why did they use all caps?)

The answers lie in the fact that such frauds steal $105 BILLION USD’s annually (that’s what’s been reported.. but I suspect that’s just the tip of the iceberg). And it’s hard for me to remain positive, upbeat and optimistic about Man’s future when I know that people actually are going to contact Isar Aqilah’s ‘lawyer’ …

Have you heard the term “social engineering”? If not, click here and learn an important thing to know in our modern world. (If you do know, forward this on to friends/family who you suspect are clueless, please.) Because it seems everyone is doing it.
And this is a bigger threat to “national security” than anyone’s willing to face. (So let’s pretend it’s not there. Maybe it will go away.)

Today’s quote:Every good act is charity. A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows.” ~ Moliere

Fun video: It’s been a while since I put up one of these..

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

December 28, 2013 Posted by | advice, Internet, security | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Find important emails faster

Working with a client the other day reminded of this simple tip for “organizing” your email, and helping make those important ones easy and quick to go back to again.

emailReady?

Change the Subject line.

Yes, that’s right. When viewing your emails in Outlook, or the other email clients (Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird, etc.), simply (use the cursor to) “highlight” (turn blue) the unhelpful text the author put there, and type something helpful in its place — something that more relates to what you want to respond to, or something (aka “keywords”) to help the Search feature return the particular email you’re trying to find again.

For example, you might get an email on a Tuesday regarding a mandatory meeting scheduled for Friday, and the author had put, oh, say, “Tuesday’s reminders” as the Subject. What’s that got to do with Friday’s meeting?

Simply changing “Tuesday’s reminders” to “Friday’s meeting” might make it a bit easier to remember/see, and go back to quickly when you need to remind yourself of the meeting’s time.
Better, why not change the Subject to “Friday’s 10 am meeting“?

This is a real good habit to get into, IMHO.

Today’s quote: That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Um….
Yeah.
Okay…

Today’s fun video (because it’s summer):

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

August 13, 2013 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to | , , | 2 Comments

Life in the slow lane

It is a summer Friday, and I’m putt-putt-ing along in ssllooww-motion. It is terribly nice to take a vacation once in a while. I hope you all have had some time off, to enjoy the longer days and warmer weather, too.

* I have had several clients call me recently after suddenly being no longer able to log in to their email accounts, or had received emails from friends saying, “Hey! Quit spamming me!“. In each case, a spammer had “hijacked” their email accounts. Affected were Yahoo! Mail, AOL, and Earthlink. (Yes, I have clients still using AOL..) All of those clients use AT&T as their ISP..
And AT&T uses Yahoo! Mail (and owns Earthlink)..
And Yahoo! has had several major “hacks” of the user database(s).

IT_trafficIn the cases where they just suddenly could no longer log in, the service provider had shut down the account to stop the spamming, they (my clients) had to contact the service provider’s tech support, prove they were really themselves, and have their passwords reset. In the other cases, they had to log in and change their passwords to lock the spammer out.

Hacker spammers. A few bad apples really do spoil the whole barrel. It’s past time we put some teeth into CAN-SPAM, and made it international. Dontcha think? Day before yesterday, a woman told me she’s reverted to snail mail and the telephone. Doesn’t trust email anymore. Wonder how many others…?

* Changes are in the wind:

Do you remember Rehteah Parsons? Seems they changed a law.. Arrests made in Nova Scotia assault, cyberbullying leading to suicide

Two were arrested Thursday in the case of Rehteah Parsons, 17, a Nova Scotia girl who took her own life after a sexual assault and cyberbullying, police said.”  Read more..

Snowden’s privacy-oriented email provider shuts down under U.S. government pressure

An American company that specialized in highly encrypted email suspended operations today. The abrupt shutdown of Lavabit, a small Texas-based company, is suspected to be related to a court order related to its best-known customer, NSA leaker Edward Snowden.Read more..

White House Proposes Cybersecurity Insurance, Other Incentives For Executive Order

Goal is to provide financial and other perks for participation in voluntary cybersecurity framework.Read more..

How ’bout some Friday Fun Video action.. a little “slower” than my usual..

Today’s quote:I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I’ve really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why….
~ Roger Murrah and Randy VanWarmer

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

August 9, 2013 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Priceless Secret

No telling how much this trick’d be worth…

And I thought my Tech How To's were valuable...

And I thought my Tech How To’s were valuable…

Outlook.com doesn’t show the excla’s (!) in red.. but they’re still red flags.

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

June 15, 2013 Posted by | advice, spam and junk mail | , , , , | 2 Comments

Parlez-vous français?

I noticed something odd on my computer today..

spam5_5_13

The spammers all seem to think I speak French and Chinese. All of a sudden.

Except for one. They’re just hoping I’m a golddigger and an idjit. (Sadly.. odds are probably rather high when phishing for that combo.)

Ayez un jour magnifique, tout le monde!

Today’s quote:If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” ~ Doug Larson

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 5, 2013 Posted by | spam and junk mail | , , , , | 4 Comments

Analyzing A YouTube Emergency (and some Friday Fun too)

YouTube notified me by email this morning that I had an emergency situation (shown below).

Fortunately for me, there were several clues that quickly allowed me to calm my panic, and get back to breathing normally again.

1) The first clue was that “YouTube Service” had also sent me two other – much happier – messages. (Imagine how proud and joyous I was to learn I was in the Top 10!!!! People pay big money to get their videos up that high, and it’s an elite club to belong to.)

2) The second clue was the fact that I simply am one of those few, extremely rare people who have never, ever, “uploaded” home movies to YouTube for the whole world to see. (Because I am a dinosaur.)

So let’s put on our thinking caps, and dissect what is going on here, and why these three emails are addressed to me. Please humor me and play along. It’s kind of important, and I’ll try not to speak Geek.

How did this happen and what’s going on?

* The first step in the chain of events is some skuzbucket used a program to cull the Internet for email addresses, and generated a “mailing list”. Which he/she uses as targets for their email scams, and which he/she sold to other skuzbuckets on the underground skuzball blackmarket for a quick dollar or two (more like 5¢).

* Next, this skuzbucket sat down and thought long and hard about composing a “letter” to send to all the people on his/her list — and here is where their knowledge of human psychology comes into play. The first thing one does when composing a scam letter to be sent to strangers is try to think of some way to get the recipient to even open the letter — and for this you need a COMPELLING subject line! (aka “the bait“)

History teaches that: “You Have Won Huge Money!” (aka “greed”) works well, as does “There Is A Problem” (curiosity, fear), and “I Saw Your Photo” (sex) type things often work too.

* Now all the skuzbucket has to do is email their compelling scam letter to the thousands and thousands and thousands of email addresses on their list, and hope that one or two-dozen recipients will be stupid and naive enough to REACT to the psychologically compelling Subject line, and open the email, AND hope that of those two-dozen or so stupid and naive people, one or two will be SO stupid and naive that they will respond to the scam.
Are there one or two people THAT stupid and naive?
Um.. let me answer this way: how many scam emails have you seen?

* Fortunately for the skuzbucket, mass-mailing millions of emails is not a problem or a challenge. See, there are other skuzbuckets whose full time job is to write viruses, and set up special websites to distribute these viruses, which creates a vast network of infected machines that they can control without the real owners’ knowledge, and do what they want with them — like mail out a million scam emails. (These skuzballs are called “bot masters” or “bot herders” by us Über Geeks.)
So the “spammer” skuzbucket contracts a “mailing” from the “bot master” skuzball. For, like, 5¢ per million emails.

Conclusions:

1) The reason we are seeing those psychologically compelling scam emails is the result of a Skuzbucket Conspiracy.

2) That conspiracy is carefully constructed and crafted to leverage basic human characteristics into finding the stupid and naive.

3) This conspiracy is effective and PROFITABLE. Why else would scam emails make up 90% of all Internet “traffic” and do so for decades.

4) The name of this money game is “phishing”.

(For two reasons: one, it’s really Geeky to spell “f” sounds with a “ph”; and, two, the skuzball(s) is “casting a net”, hoping to “catch” (aka “hook”) a sucker/rube/victim (aka “stupid and naive person”). Just like fishing, but for sucker fish.)

The best defense: Why, it’s simple! And odds are you have heard it before! Never Open Email From Strangers. (And don’t really trust those saying they came from someone you know/are related to either. The skuzballs know how to make email look like it came from people you know, too [called “address spoofing“].)

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Friday Fun. I gotta run. TGIF! (If you’re looking for a video, see the Comment section [below]).

Today’s quote:Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” ~ William Shakespeare

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

October 5, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, Internet, Internet scam, Phishing, security | , , , , | 11 Comments

Hillary Sent Me An Email…

Folks, today, Hillary Rodham sent me an email. And I think you should see it.

RE: Your fund in ATM card

It seems Mrs. Clinton wants to let me know something important regarding my ATM card..

And the FDIC sent me a poor-grammar email as well.. Of all people.

You’d have to be Too Dumb To Live to open those. Right? I mean.. the planet is ruled by Darwin’s Law. (The slow and the stupid are food.)

Today’s Pop Quiz: What could that paperclip (attachment) be?

They were nice enough to send it.. maybe I should take a look.

Today’s free sleeping pill: Folks, you don’t need a sleep aid. Just read this: The 7 Coolest Features Of The Apple iPhone 5

As always, Apple’s new iPhone is truly boss. Here’s a look at seven of its most impressive features.Read more..

“Truly boss”? What measure was he using? Please! The iPhone may have been first, and changed the game, but, seriously, not your best choice. (Unless, maybe, all your other devices are Apple too.) Wonder why those 7 things less than thrill me..?

(Maybe because what’s “new” to Apple is at least 2 years old to everybody else? Or maybe it’s the “cool features” that force you to buy all new peripherals/add ons? “Actually Works On AT&T + Verizon” — um.. wasn’t it supposed to from version 1? Whoever coined “Apple’s reality distortion field” is/was right.)

So.. today’s the big day!!!

Do you have your iPhone 5 yet?

Today’s news:

* End User Security Awareness Gap Remains Wide, Experts Say
Enterprise-driven security education programs continue to fall short of the mark.

* Old Operating Systems Die Harder
Aging OSes like XP still getting hit big-time with old exploits, new data shows.

Um.. maybe I should have labeled that “today’s headlines stating the obvious”..

Today’s Geekspeak Translation: “End User” = you and me (aka “the people sitting at their PC’s”)

Breaking news: It must really, really, be important to some folks how many “likes” they have..

CNET is giving away a big prize: Win the ultimate home theater

Click on image to see how to enter.. (Facebook)

Facebook & Twitter..
Yippee yahoo.

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

September 13, 2012 Posted by | advice, Internet, Internet scam, iPhone, security, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments