Archive for the ‘Hackers’ Category

Service of Cybercriminals Navigating From Phone Calls to Texts & Emails

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

My phones are blessedly relieved from evil calls about car insurance for a vehicle I don’t own, money owed the IRS and so forth. Enough people are on to robocallers and don’t answer anymore.

In their place I’ve received increasing numbers of really sophisticated texts and emails in the last few months. Some are quite alarming and easy to fall for if you’re not vigilant. Use of corporate logos is rampant.

Cybercriminals dressed as Wellsfargo send all sorts of hack emails.

Did you notice anything suspicious already? That bank spells its name in two words: Wells Fargo. And by the way: I don’t have an account there.

Each email with different subject lines provided multiple opportunities to link to a nefarious place.

Here are some of the subject lines: Wellsfargo Bank Guard which alleged someone suspicious has logged into my account. Wellsfargo Billing hit me twice, the first time with claims my account is restricted. The second warned that there was fraudulent entry to my account.

In addition there was Wellsfargo Bank Business, Wellsfargo Bank Agent Security and Wellsfargo Security.

Other favorite faux texts and emails are from a wolf in Microsoft’s clothing or DHL Express. The latter asks for an address correction for an imaginary package they aren’t able to deliver. In another nasty twist I was told in a text that on Tuesday $198.17 was placed on my debit card and to click on a link to stop it.

One crook was lazy or new at the job. She didn’t kill herself in prepping for the outreach. The subject line was Support. This thief didn’t waste time. They were going to suspend my account, [to what they didn’t say], unless I updated my billing information. Sure.

You get the point. Have you noticed a change away from suspicious telephone calls to electronic communication in attempts to steal your money?

Service of Mi Casa es Tu Casa–Come on In!

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Daily we hear of hacking that’s happened either to a friend, big corporation or organization. It’s a form of break-in. I think it may have inured the public to the normalcy of loss of privacy that gorges on volunteer personal intrusions. Think such smart speakers like Alexa and Amazon Echo.

Maybe that’s why Walmart and Amazon have or are about to introduce a new wrinkle to their delivery services. In select markets, both will or do arrange for access to a customer’s home to put food in the fridges of the former and leave packages in a home, garage or car trunk in the latter.

Citizens of Kansas City, Mo., Pittsburgh and Vero Beach will be the first to officially invite Walmart delivery staff to put perishables in their refrigerators through a program slated for a fall launch called Walmart InHome. [The system was tested in New Jersey.]

In “Walmart Wants to Put Groceries Into Your Fridge,” Sarah Nassauer wrote “The workers will wear a body cameras [sic] clipped to their chests, allowing customers to watch live streams of deliveries being made while they aren’t home.” She reported in her Wall Street Journal article that they’ll have access to homes via a smart lock that connects to the Internet allowing a door to unlock remotely. Wallmart sells the device.

Delivery staff for the service must have worked for the company for at minimum a year. “Not everyone embraces the concept at first, but just as people have gradually accepted renting out rooms in their homes through services like Airbnb Inc, ‘people are very quickly comfortable with it,’ said Marc Lore, head of Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce business.”

The Amazon service, Key by Amazon, wrote Nassauer, is for Prime members in 50 cities. Fresh groceries aren’t involved. In another program Via Prime Now customers get orders from Amazon’s Whole Foods division on doorsteps.

Not every delivery business received the mega company’s stamp of approval. Sebastian Herrera reported last week in the Journal that Amazon is deep sixing its restaurant delivery service.

Would you be comfortable inviting strangers into your kitchen or your home, garage or car trunk when you’re not home? Do you think comfort level for this kind of trust may be higher in some parts of the country than others? Have privacy-breaking services like Alexa and Amazon Echo paved the way? What if you’re in a meeting or otherwise inaccessible when you need to unlock your front door remotely with no time to watch while the delivery person with body camera drops off your perishables? Do you think that this person—or the staffer who packs the order–will be trained to leave foods like tomatoes and bananas out of the refrigerator and on the counter?

Service of a Dreaded Duty that Surprises & Turns Out Well

Monday, September 24th, 2018

There are so many things we must do that we dread based on a past lousy experience, from a health test to follow up with a corporation about a billing glitch to simple administrative procedures. I recently felt indescribable relief when I discovered a company that changed a process that had once memorably fought and frustrated me.

For years I’ve maintained my domain name, jmbyington.com. through GoDaddy.com. I renew every five years. The last time I approached the website I had a heck of a time to determine the right spot to click to get what I wanted done–and it took ages.

So when I received a renewal notice my heart sank. I anticipated another nightmare of false starts, wasted time with no result, and anxiety.

On top of it, the brilliant IT man, Andrew Morgan, who nurtures our computers and keeps them healthy advised me not to click to the site through the link in the GoDaddy reminder email but to go to the website. [More about this sage advice I suggest you follow in a second.] My earlier experience found a website so complicated I could never find the right place to go.

My password didn’t respond when I tried to sign in so I called a phone number that was easy to find [unlike some websites where they are hidden or nonexistent]. I waited a bunch of time for my turn but once I reached Ronnie Parker in customer service all my troubles were over and soon I relaxed. Parker was helpful, knowledgeable, he put me at ease, did all the work and voila! I’m set until 2023.

He agreed with Andrew. He said that hackers have duplicated their emails expertly so that even Godaddy staff has trouble determining the fake from the real. He reiterated that it is always wise to bypass the email link and instead go to a company’s website.

Have you been happily surprised when a dreaded chore or test is made seamless or painless by a smart company that has successfully improved the way it does business or through technological advances? Have you lucked into a superb customer service staffer like Ronnie Parker? Don’t you feel you’ve won a lottery when you do?

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