Hard Drive Safety Delete Will Start in Five Minutes

Executive Summary: There is no “hard drive safety delete.” Your machine is not infected. You have been redirected to a malicious web page. Calling “support” will connect you to someone in India who wants to install malware on your computer. Don’t do it.

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Just posting this with a sample screen so that anyone who searches for the Zeus virus infection might see it.

A full description of this scam can be found at a previous entry.

Do NOT call 844-813-1552 to ask for support. Be very careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Even on Amazon.

In today’s electronic age, where a scammer in Nigeria can take advantage of a little old lady in Broken Clavicle, Wyoming, it’s important to be very careful checking out your sources before you send money to anyone for an online purchase.

I’m in the market for a riding mower, and I was checking out what Amazon had to offer.

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I found this one that looked interesting, and noticed that there was a used one for sale at a ridiculously low price: $499.00, with free shipping.

Before I did anything, I checked around to see if it’s possible for scammers to set themselves up as sellers on Amazon… Most of the Articles indicated that Amazon has a rather strict vetting process and money back protection.

Edit: After doing some more research, it turns out that Amazon shuts down fake or scam accounts, but only after being notified – and that this is a huge problem, with phony sellers popping up by the hundreds each day.

I did notice that the seller’s storefront indicated that it had just been created, which is always a red flag, but I thought it would be worth at least sending an email to the seller to ask a question. The listing said, “Contact me before you buy!” and provided a contact email, JHONSONY86@gmail.com, so I sent off this inquiry:

How can you sell this item for so little with free shipping? What condition is it in? I know it says “like new” but still…

Here is the response I received:

Hello there,
The product is BRAND NEW, never used, ( US model, not grey market or refurbished).
The product is Sealed in its original box and comes with full Warranty, receipt, all manufacturer supplied accessories.
The total price is $499.00 including all shipping taxes, if you are in US, and for international shipping you have to pay extra 29,99 $ (outside US) .
If you want to buy, send me your phone number, full name, shipping address and I will contact Amazon asap to process your order. Dispatch is by normal UPS Services, which takes 1-3 days depending on where in the US you are.
My return policy is full money back in 30 days.
For more information don’t hesitate to contact me!
Best Regards,
Anthony Johnson

Well, there are so many red flags here that I can’t count them. The way the name was misspelled in the email address, the fact that the email address was in all caps, the bad grammar, and the absolutely ridiculous information in the response – selling a brand new riding mower for 1/4 of the list price, offering free shipping by UPS for a large item like a riding mower, indicating that international shipping would only cost $30 more, all combine to scream “run away fast, this is a scam!”

I wrote the seller back and included a few choice Nigerian insults for him; it was interesting to note today that the offer had been removed from Amazon.

Be ever so careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

A letter to International Women’s Day

I am here sharing an English translation of a Hebrew article written by Or Maroni-Cohen, who would love her writing to be read by non-Hebrew-speakers. The translation is by Sharon Neeman. She has given permission to share it liberally.

FYI: strong words, strong feelings, and some strong language.


International Women’s Day

To me, it feels a bit like the stew doled out to indigents in a soup kitchen.

We women are supposed to be celebrating. But the person in charge of the United States is a dangerous man, who is already taking measures to steal human rights. In Russia, Putin has erased human rights. In Israel, there are still rights, but only for white Jews – especially male ones. What exactly are we supposed to be celebrating?

The crazier the worldwide situation gets, the less I talk about it – perhaps because I feel that the world’s psychosis is closing in on me. Perhaps because I have never felt so infinitesimal in this universe.

Once I fought for change, and I really did some significant things in my life, for the community and the State. Now I’m looking after my own home, simply because I feel powerless.

When we moved to Shlomi, a small green town in the Western Galilee, I was already feeling choked by the political situation. More than anything else, I needed a bubble that would enfold me and waft me gently away from the filth that was taking over.

Today, deep inside the bubble, I find that the remoteness is accompanied by a sense of helplessness, which increases as the fascism grows stronger. One more restrictive law is passed, and another and another; and if we protested against the first law, we drooped a bit with the second law – and the third one is already taken for granted. After all, we’re living in a fascist country. So why should anyone be surprised?

Women’s Day. Don’t make me laugh.

What this day is really about, more than anything else, is the oppression of women. Let’s give women one day a year when they can feel like queens. Let’s envelop their lives in flowers, presents and sex – so we can gloss over their unequal salaries, their unequal representation, their unequal life.

Fuck Women’s Day. Fuck this fascist state. Fuck this damn world that marches to the drumbeat of oppression.

Guys: don’t celebrate my womanhood and don’t do me any favors. Instead, pull up your own stinking socks. Change your heads and your discriminatory laws.

It doesn’t matter if we’re Jewish, Muslim, Christian or atheists – women are the ones who mourn their (and your!) dead, the ones who care for the wounded, the ones who pay the price of arrogance.

Take your roses – thorns and all – and shove them up your ass.

– Or Maroni-Cohen


I commented elsewhere, I am reminded of Morgan Freeman’s thoughts on Black History Month and racism:

It does seem pretty patronizing to give Women a single day of recognition when fully half (if not more) of the accomplishments of humanity are theirs, and when sexism is still so ingrained in various societies that most people don’t even recognize it. Even ones who think about it.

So essays like this are important, and need to be kept in the light and not in the dark.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Some thoughts on hearing loss from reddit

In a recent post at /r/lifeprotips, user /u/briskyfresh posted a Life Pro Tip entitled, “LPT: Your hearing is not invincible. Please lower your volume when listening to music. Bring earplugs to concerts. Do not make the same mistake I made.”

User /u/goodhumansbad posted the following comment, which I found relevant as I have loved ones with hearing loss.

Something a lot of people, especially younger people, don’t realize about hearing loss is how much MORE there is to it than just “needing to listen to things louder when you’re old” or “some ringing” to varying degrees. My father has hearing loss which he incurred on the job – he was a radio DJ in the 60s/70s and between the sound levels at work and the sound levels at concerts he went to for reviewing purposes, he did permanent damage to his hearing. Tinnitus is one element, hearing loss of certain frequencies is another.

But the most toxic thing about his hearing loss is how it’s affected his relationships. He is increasingly isolated as time goes by; he tunes out of conversations because he can’t understand people in a crowd, so at every party we go to I look over and see him sitting there either playing on his phone or looking glazed or smiling & nodding… but he’s always the first one to want to leave somewhere, dragging my mother with him because he’s bored. So socializing has just become a chore.

It’s also affected his relationships at home; he never hears us the first time we ask a question, but he’s convinced it’s because we’re mumbling (we aren’t). So he gets really irritated, even angry, and is frankly always ready to be in a bad mood.

Imagine if every single casual question your roommate/wife/husband/sibling/child asked you filled you with annoyance-to-rage. “What would you like for dinner, Dad? Dad? Can you hear me?” “What?” (said with a cold glare). “What would you like for dinner?” “WELL I DON’T KNOW WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS.” (said with total irritation, like we’re being a huge pain in the ass). All of this rudeness, all of this anger, comes from being deaf as a post.

It would be tempting to think my dad’s just an asshole with no manners, but he isn’t – when he has functioning hearing aids and this problem is greatly reduced, his entire demeanor is different. He’s easy-going, appreciative, participates, listens. But when his hearing aids aren’t working, as they aren’t now, he’s rude, ornery, dismissive, and critically doesn’t listen anymore because he know’s it’s just too much work and he won’t hear it all anyway.

I’ve known several people who’ve lost their hearing later in life, and they’ve all experienced this anger. It pushes people away, it isolates you, and leaves you feeling miserable. My great grandfather was stone deaf by his 90s and apparently used to occasionally pick up his walking stick at the dinner table, when people were talking amongst themselves (big family) and if he couldn’t hear them he’d just straight up clear the table with the stick. Imagine how angry you’d have to be to do that? This was a man who adored his family, and was never in any way abusive or difficult before his deafness really set in.

I thought this was worth sharing for those who either experience this or have friends or family in the same situation. Naturally, no one’s situation is the same, and YMMV.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Marketing by terror

I’ve mentioned Android webjacking before, but here’s another example. Things like this are not usually “viruses” on your handheld device, but rather malicious code embedded in a legitimate website by unscrupulous advertisers.

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First, this exploit makes your phone buzz like a hornet that’s just been pinched in a vise, and locks your browser. No going back. Second, vulgar sites? No, actually this popped up when I was trying to leave a comment at retailcomic.com. I trust the site not to hide exploits like this on purpose.

 

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The claims on these “warnings,” along with being written in questionable English, are absolute lies: “If the problem can not be resolved immediately , the viruses will spy your phone, and destroy your SIM card, delete all your contacts.”

Now I’m just following the trail to see who’s behind this.

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Looks like someone is hawking an app (surprise, surprise):

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A comment at the app’s site complained, and the developer responded; notice the salutation “Dear,” usually seen on Nigerian scam emails but certainly a red flag that the app developer is not a native English speaker.

 

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Despite the apology and denial of malicious intent, I would be very suspicious of apps that are advertised in this way.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Income by deception: they’re not even trying any more.

Have a look at a few screenshots from my Android a couple of days ago:

 

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Hilarious joke collection. OK, I’m always up for a new laugh or two. But beware: popup ads like this are rarely honest or ethical, and often sleazy and deceptive. Let’s see:

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Starting to smell a rat, but let’s just go down to the next level:

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Well, the joke’s on me – and anyone who clicks these links. This transcends the concept of clickbait, which usually offers some kind of content in order to get people to the pages where ads are displayed. Now they’re eliminating the middleman altogether.

And people wonder why fake news gets such traction.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Business Loan Scam

I apologize to my readers if this blog sounds like a broken record at times, but the dangers from scammers and fraudsters is real – and the more information available, the more likely that someone doing a web search will come across it and save their money or their information.

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I’ve talked often about robocalls; here’s a good article from Consumer Affairs.

“[Scammers] have raked in millions of dollars with schemes like the business loan pitch. The recorded greeting says something like “congratulations, your business has been approved for a $250,000 loan.” If you stay on the phone long enough to talk to a live person, that person will try to get information from you that can be used to steal your identity.”

Got one of these just now. I pressed “1” to find out how the scam worked, and got someone who was virtually incomprehensible; he sounded like a Dane with his mouth full of Knödel.¹ His first question, in rapid-fire Mongolian, was “What is the annual revenue of your company?” When I asked him who was offering me this loan, he hung up.

Be careful out there. If it’s a robocall, it’s almost certainly a scam.


¹ A Dane sounds like a Norwegian with his mouth full of Knödel (which is a very heavy, thick dumpling). So this gives you an idea of what I was hearing.