Geekly Update - 23 February 2022

Category: Tech-News

How good are you at detecting the latest sophisticated phishing scams? Does the IRS require facial recognition to login? Which live TV streaming service will provide all the TV channels you watch? And is lack of relevant TV programming stressing out your dog? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

DOGTV is on a mission to improve the lives of dogs everywhere. This unique streaming service is for dogs who need some stress and anxiety relief when their owners are away from home. But pet parents can watch too, they offer programs for humans like The Dog Chef, Road Dogs, and Things We Woof About.

According to researchers from the University of Bonn and the University of Tübingen, your brain might be more than a wet blob that soaks up cat videos. It could actually be a quantum computer that hallucinates math.

Are you overconfident in your ability to detect phishing scams? Hackers are using more sophisticated tactics to trick people into clicking malicious email links. Check out these 10 signs to look for when determining whether an email is legitimate or a scam.

Carriers are accelerating the transition to 4G LTE and 5G, which means closing down the older 3G networks. Some mobile phones will go dark as a result. AT&T shut down its 3G service on February 22nd, and T-Mobile will do so March 31st. Verizon's 3G drop-dead date is December 31. But the issue isn't limited to phones -- car navigation systems, alarm systems, older ebook readers and connected gadgets that run on 3G networks are also on the chopping block.

Geekly Update 02-23-2022

Amazon is suing AppSally and Rebatest, two "fake review brokers" that Amazon has determined are misleading consumers by posting false reviews online in exchange for money or free products. The two accused firms have an army of almost a million members writing fake reviews at Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Etsy.

Will cutting the cable cord get you all the TV channels you want? CNet has compared the top 100 channels to see which live TV streaming services offer them. Their live-TV streaming guide compares the offerings from six major services available today: AT&T DirecTV Stream, YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV, FuboTV and Philo.

The IRS announced in January that facial recognition scans would be required to login to the IRS.gov website. Then came the predictable blowback and backtrack. The IRS now says you can sign up for IRS online accounts without using biometrics or facial recognition. But the alternative is even more terrifying: verifying your identity with a live, virtual interview with human agents.

For the tech adventurous, there are ways to bypass hardware restrictions and install Windows 11. But the boys in Redmond are wise to that naughtiness. In beta test versions of Win11, Microsoft is adding a watermark on the desktop wallpaper, and a warning the settings app, if incompatible hardware is detected.

Bionic eye technology out of the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales aims to help blind people see. Researchers there have tested bionic eye implants in sheep, and are hoping to begin human trials soon. The Phoenix 99 device is able to bypass faulty retina cells, and trigger those that are still able to work.

New research underscores the importance of healthy sleep habits in preventing Alzheimer's disease. According to research published recently in PLOS Genetics, the brain relies on the circadian cycle to clear Amyloid-Beta 42, a protein closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The research also has potential for new Alzheimer’s therapies.

And finally, here is this week's Just Here For the Headline: Simple Daily Activities Like Washing Dishes Reduce Heart Disease Risk in Senior Women.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 23 February 2022"

Posted by:

Ron
23 Feb 2022

Somehow, I don't think my wife would appreciate it if I tried to use that reason to get out of my share of doing dishes! ...but I suppose it couldn't hurt too much to try it...


Posted by:

Charley
23 Feb 2022

Regarding DOGTV, it reminds me of the "Puppy Channel". In 1999 as part of my job I was at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association meeting. It is a show for the cable industry, including equipment, demonstrations, etc. And especially all the cable channels trying to get cable companies to carry them. At the time I remember the booth for the "Puppy Channel" -- puppies playing 24 hours a day for your enjoyment.


Posted by:

Eli Marcus
23 Feb 2022

I have suddenly been receiving dozens of phishing emails pretending to be from my LinkedIn account. The typical message subject is: "You appeared in 5 searches this week" or similar sentences meant to trick you into clicking a link to go see who is looking for you... The simplest tell tale sign is the totally unrelated sender address which obviously is not from LinkedIn.
Another simple tell tale for me is that I have my LinkedIn preferences set to almost no notifications, so suddenly getting a swarm of them is immediately suspicious.
You can forward almost any phishing or scam email to a company's abuse email, almost all corporations have an "[email protected]" email. At linkedIn, they have a specific [email protected] address that you can forward suspicious message to.
Be alert, the world needs more lerts :-)


Posted by:

Kirill
23 Feb 2022

I've never had linkedIn account and was surprised when years ago I suddenly began to get notifications from linkedIn. It wasn't a scam, just some of my friends mentioned my email there. I included linkedIn into my black list (pretty handy tool in Yahoo mail) and never heard anything from them since. Surprisingly, even any modern day scams claimed from linkedIn appeared. Coincident? I don't think so!


Posted by:

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.
23 Feb 2022

I received what I believe is a phishing email today (2/23/2022). The name in the Microsoft Mail message list is "Thank You Walmart". The purported sender's email address is (I have removed the '@' symbol to make it non-clickable, just to be safe).

I have not entered any contest at Walmart, I have never received (or seen) a similar email originating from Walmart or any of their business partners that I recall, I know of no Walmart campaign to reward regular customers, so my only safe response is to assume that this is a phishing email and delete it.

When dealing with any link, I employ what I call "Cognitive Security" which is essentially the adoption of a Zero Trust (extreme skeptic) attitude regarding anything originating from the Internet (in particular, email and websites).

Before I click ANY link, I hover my mouse over it to see where it is taking me. In Windows 10/11 (Windows/Microsoft Mail or Microsoft Edge), when I hover my mouse over a link, it's associated URI (Internet Address) is displayed in a pop-up win-tip dialog or on the status bar at the bottom of the window. The first part of the URI (before the first forward slash ('/') should correspond to the link's label, if not, this is a very large RED FLAG. As an example, if I see a link with a label that purports to take me to bestbuy.com, but the URI does not start with "https://bestbuy.com/", the link is fraudulent and should NOT be clicked. I have seen fraudulent BestBuy links with URI that start with "https://best-buy.com/" When I search for Best Buy in any web browser, I never see this last address in the search results ("best-buy.com" is NOT the same as "bestbuy.com"), so if the address exists, I probably will not like what happens if I go there.

My concept of Cognitive Security is described by its name.

"Cognitive" - cognition defined: the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses (Source: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/cognition).

"Security" defined: The state of being free from danger or threat (Source: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/security).

At its essence, Cognitive Security is remaining free from danger or threat through the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses, or put much more concisely, Cognitive Security is remaining safe by looking before you leap.

When you were little, did your mom tell you "Don't talk to strangers!"? Did you take that to also mean "Don't trust strangers!"? When I was little, that was named "Stranger Danger!". That was very good advice then, and it still is today, especially regarding the Internet. After all, everyone on the Internet is a stranger until you can confirm that they are someone you know in real life. Everything on the Internet is developed/produced by people you don't know, so you cannot really trust anything there, until you can confirm its legitimacy/integrity.

The first time I bought something from Amazon, I was taking a chance because I had no prior experience with it even though I had heard about it being a legitimate Internet retailer from many sources. I knew I could trust bestbuy.com because I have been in their local stores, and I have seen their web address displayed there. There are many websites I know it is safe to go to on the Internet because before going there for the first time, I checked the legitimacy of the site with my web browser's search engine, then I searched for reviews of the site using " sucks" and " reviews" (where is the site I am seeking reviews about) to get a handle on the site's reputation.

The bottom line here is that you should not trust anything, or anyone, including me, that originates from the Internet until you evaluate its/their legitimacy/integrity for yourself. Before going to a new website, search for information about it using your web browser to evaluate it. Before you click ANY Internet link (on the web or in email), confirm that the URI corresponds with its label, if not (if the label is ABC, but the URI address has nothing to do with ABC, or it consists of a string of gobbledygook that looks more like some encrypted code than a web address), DO NOT CLICK! If you want to go to the website the link's label purports to point to, search for it in your web browser and use that link (I'll bet it'll be different). You do NOT have to be afraid on the Internet, but you should constantly remain very vigilant.

Be safe,

Ernie


Posted by:

Bob K
24 Feb 2022

One of the best things you can do is get your own domain name, and one that lets you make up email usernames as you go. Then, with each company you do business with, give them a unique email address. (Mine costs me $14 a year!)

Quite a few years ago I received an email from Skype with a link to update my Skype software. Only problem, that email came to an email address I had given only to one of my banks.

The link, when I investigated, pointed to a location in the Philippines, and had originated in Korea. At that time Skype was based in Luxembourg.


Posted by:

RichF
24 Feb 2022

Just wondering if Bob K stopped using that bank that gave up his info.


Posted by:

mat
24 Feb 2022

My email address does NOT include my correct name....so any messageI ever get which calls me by my email name is known to be spam/phishing....seems to solve a lot of doubt and/or problems......


Posted by:

eduard
25 Feb 2022

I've been saying this for years. Senior women should start a "Hire a dishwasher" agency. "It's gold, Jerry, it's gold!"


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