28 June 2022

Santander warns about celebrity endorsed crypto scams


Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Risk Management, Santander UK said: “We’re seeing a worrying rise in ‘celebrity-endorsed’ cryptocurrency scams, where familiar faces are being misused on social media in order to con people out of often life-changing sums of money. Rather than revelling in the promised high returns, people are losing significant sums after being duped by these highly sophisticated criminals. Always do your homework and thoroughly research any investment opportunity before moving any money - irrespective of who is endorsing it. “

How the scam often works:

1.    The customer sees a celebrity advertising a cryptocurrency on social media, Google, or even reputable media sites, or is introduced by another social media user to a crypto investment opportunity. The celebrity appears to be endorsing the opportunity.

2.    The customer clicks on a link and shares their contact details in order to find out more.

3.    They are then contacted by phone, email or social media, and offered high returns on the crypto investment with little or no risk. The fraudster will often employ high pressured sales tactics. 

4.    They are told to download specialist software to support them opening cryptocurrency accounts. The software is remote access software, giving the fraudster full access to the customer’s computer. 

5.    The customer opens (often multiple) crypto currency accounts and deposits money in them.

6.    The fraudster freezes access, and takes over the customer’s account, leaving the customer unable to access their money. 

What to do: If you think you’ve been the victim of a crypto scam, report it to your bank straight away. If you have downloaded software to supposedly help with the investment, turn off and unplug your computer and do not use it until you have removed the software and had it checked by a computer technicianIf you think you’ve already been the victim of this type of scam, report it to your bank straight away. 


24 June 2022

Stormzy says: ‘I bear fruit and I share fruit; that’s just what we’re meant to do.’

Earlier this week, Stormzy was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Exeter. In his acceptance speech, the rapper, who set up the #Merky foundation in 2020 and has pledged millions to tackling racial inequality, encouraged students to use their God-given talents to benefit  those around them. Here’s the full transcript.

In part of his speech, Stormzy said, "I’ve been so richly blessed by God, and I don’t just mean financially, I mean with love and life and family and joy and peace and with purpose. So to put it simply: I bear fruit, and I share fruit. And without sounding too fantastical, that’s just what we’re meant to do in whatever way we can".


Microsoft to send out "Windows 8.1 end of support" pop-ups

Microsoft is preparing to send reminders to Windows 8.1 users that support will end on January 10th 2023. The software giant will start sending notifications to existing Windows 8.1 devices next month, as a first reminder leading up to the January 2023 support cutoff.

The notifications will be similar to ones Microsoft has used in the past to remind Windows 7 users about end of support dates. Microsoft originally sunset Windows 8 support in 2016, but the Windows 8.1 update will cease support fully in January 2023. Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1, so businesses won’t be able to pay for additional security patches and will have to upgrade or accept the risk of running software without security updates.


20 June 2022

Where do techies store their crypto tokens? Spoiler: we don't use Crypto!


Slashdot is a very popular website for techies.

In this poll, we were asked where we store our crypto tokens.

Over 3/4 of the respondents gave cryptocurrencies & NFTs a wide berth. 

I strongly recommend that you do likewise!

Cryptocurrencies & NFTs are not only a waste of money (very likely to loose some or all of your "investment"), but a huge drain on the Earth's precious resources.

Like I keep saying on this topic: DONT GO THERE!

Bill Gates says crypto and NFTs are a sham

Don't count Bill Gates among the fans of cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Those digital asset trends are "100% based on greater fool theory," the Microsoft co-founder said Tuesday at a TechCrunch conference, referencing the notion that investors can make money on worthless or overvalued assets as long as people are willing to bid them higher.

Gates added that he's "not long or short" crypto. And he mocked Bored Apes NFTs, joking that "expensive digital images of monkeys" will "improve the world immensely." (Meanwhile in other news: Bored Apes creator sues conceptual artist for copying its NFTs - honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up!)

Instead, Gates said he prefers old fashioned investing. "I'm used to asset classes, like a farm where they have output, or like a company where they make products," he said.

His comments come as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are crashing. Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021. Since then, the world's most valuable cryptocurrency has lost two-thirds of its value, tumbling below $23,000 on Tuesday. It has lost about 25% of its value since Friday.


13 June 2022

Reading for today: Creation declares the glory of the Lord!

the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
Day after day they pour forth speech; 
night after night they reveal knowledge.

I say: look, see & & give praise to our God!

Read all of Psalm 19 at Bible Gateway

08 June 2022

Non-Geographic Phone Numbers - careful it's the "Wild West" out there!

Non-geographic calls are those made to 03, 05, 070/076, 080, 0845, 0870, 083/4, 0871, 09, 116 and 118 numbers. People use these numbers to call businesses and Government agencies, to get information, make payments for services and vote on TV shows.

How does Ofcom regulate them at the moment? Ofcom decides how these numbers can be used. For most numbers, there is a limit on how much BT can charge for calls. Other providers are not restricted as to how much they can charge, but in many cases the landline providers set their call charges around BT's prices. From mobiles, charges are typically much higher.

In 2009, consumers paid around £1.9 billion for calls to these numbers. They accounted for around 12% of the total call traffic volume, and generated 10% of the total revenue.

The current system does not work for consumers. Consumers face problems when making calls to these numbers including:

Confusion about the price: People are confused about what these numbers mean and how much calls cost. As a result, they lack confidence and trust in these services. Consequently, consumers make fewer calls and sometimes go to great lengths to contact organisations in other ways, possibly at higher cost or inconvenience. The lack of scrutiny by consumers means that phone companies can set prices with less concern about the impact on consumers.

Impact on low-income households: The cost of calling these numbers is generally significantly more from mobiles. The impact of the higher cost on mobiles is particularly pronounced for people on lower incomes who are more likely to live in mobile-only households, and use their mobile to call essential services on these numbers; such as some benefit offices, councils, utility services and doctor surgeries.

Call charges are not clearly advertised: Under the current system, those providing services via a non-geographic number can not easily advertise the price of calls to their service (since the price varies between phone companies). This leaves consumers unsure, and prevents competition between providers from working as well as it might.


Humans are still the weakest link in cybersecurity

According to Proofpoint’s 2022 Human Factor report, 55% of U.S. workers admitted to taking a risky action in 2021. Twenty-six percent clicked an email link that led to a suspicious website, 17% accidentally compromised their credentials and only half were able to correctly identify the term phishing.

“The other part to this equation is that threat actors have gotten a lot better at employing social engineering in their attacks,” said Ryan Kalember, Proofpoint’s executive vice president of cybersecurity strategy. “We see threat actors leverage real life events to solicit an immediate, emotional response, such as with the Ukraine conflict. We also see threat actors employ a combination of email, call centers and live interactions to sell the idea that the communication is legitimate.”

Key to the successful execution of these email-based phishing attacks is trust, the report said. More than ever, hackers today are using stolen credentials to not only gain access to networks and systems but also execute business email compromise and privilege escalation attacks.


07 June 2022

EU agrees to make common charger mandatory for Apple iPhones and other devices

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is going to force smartphone manufacturers like Apple and other electronics makers to equip their devices with a standard USB-C charging port.

EU lawmakers on Tuesday agreed to a single mobile charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras. It means equipment makers will have to comply with the new terms by 2024.

“We have a deal on the #CommonCharger!” EU commissioner Thierry Breton said via Twitter.

The legislation is designed to cut waste and make life easier for consumers who would theoretically be able to use one charger for multiple devices.

It could have a huge impact on Apple, as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. The company has recently equipped iPads and MacBooks with USB-C ports.

Apple did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment. However, a spokesperson for the company said last September that the firm stands for “innovation and deeply cares about the customer experience.”

In other news: macOS will soon block unknown USB-C accessories by default.


Massacre in Nigerian Catholic church leaves 50 dead

Gunmen attacked a Catholic church in southwest Nigeria during mass on Sunday 5th June, killing at least 50 people including women and children, according to a hospital doctor and media reports.

The gunmen shot at people outside and inside the church building, killing and injuries worshippers, said Funmilayo Ibukun Odunlami, police spokesperson for Ondo state.

She did not say how many people were killed or injured at St Francis Catholic Church in the town of Owo but added police were investigating the cause of the attack.

Ondo state Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who visited the scene of the attack and injured persons in hospital, described Sunday's incident as "a great massacre" that should not be allowed to happen again.


06 June 2022

Let there be light: fantastic fireflies!

In a world filled with living wonders, fireflies rank among the most fascinating and unique. 

These insects are bioluminescent - they produce their own illumination through a complex chemical process that takes place inside of their abdomens. Their bright flashes are patterned to create distinctive codes that attract mates of their own species. 

A firefly’s spectacular light shows not only demonstrate vivid evidence for intelligent design, they can also kindle a deep sense of reverence and awe for the creative power of God.

It's a spectacular light show that you can watch right now!


02 June 2022

To celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, I give you: Her Majesty on a motorcycle!


Before becoming Queen Elizabeth II, the eldest daughter of King George VI is also known for an (albeit brief) flurry with motorbikes.

In the latter days of WW2, the then 19-year-old princess did ‘her bit’ by joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in February 1945. There, although sleeping at home and not in the barracks with her fellow recruits, she trained as a driver and mechanic, reached the rank of Junior Commander and part of the course involved her learning to ride a military motorbike, as pictured, which we believe is either a BSA or Royal Enfield 250. 

God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.