My Little Dispatch (2/1/17)

This periodic dispatch will cover a random subsection of what I'm seeing at the crossroads of technology and politics.

My notes from two recent Tech 2025 workshops:

Two articles that I think shed a lot of light politically, and a third on journalism:

Trump wanting to restrict access to the internet for certain groups. On the one hand we don’t think this is possible or easy to do, given the peer-to-peer nature and redundancies built in. He would need cooperation.

There are groups able to go to disaster areas and bootstrap communications up from nothing. You might want to get to know Cisco TACOPs.

The movie Zero Days about the stuxnet virus is quite illuminating.

Online hacking / attacks to beware of:

1. An uptick in emails warning that our Chase / Bank of America / Amazon / etc. account was disabled due to multiple password attempts, and to please log in here and fix this. P-h-i-s-h-i-n-g… I’ve been forwarding a lot of these to, etc. If there is any doubt, go to the website itself and log in there. If you click on the Sender's address you'll likely see a bogus email address.

I got a useful automated response from one company:

Things to remember:
•   Do not reply to this or any email with personal information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers.
•   Learn more about [XX] Account Security tips and guidance at [website]. 
•   Communications from [company] will always have a Security Zone stamp, look for your name and last 4 of your member number to confirm the communication came from [company].

Thank you again for bringing the suspicious communication to our attention and partnering with us to keep your accounts safe.  Your reporting of a phishing email helps [company] shut down hundreds of phishing websites every month.  In fact, [company] shut down 14,260 fraudulent websites in 2015!

2. A friend in California and some of her friends are being hit with scam phone calls. A SF news station ran the story as well. 

When you answer, the caller says, "Hello", then quickly asks something to the effect, "Our connection seems weak. Can you hear me?" If you answer "yes", your response is recorded. Later the scammer accuses you of reneging on a contract, with your recorded "yes" inserted in a phone sales purchase. If you don't agree to pay, blackmail follows. 

If you get such a call, say nothing. Just hang up.

From my friend: We got a call from the local police department, at least that was the Caller ID display. Scam Call.

3. Initially after the election, I donated online to several political organizations, then a fraud charge showed up on my credit card. So for political donations I prefer PayPal since that way I don’t have to give my credit card number. I won’t donate to those who do not offer a PayPal link.

4. Everyone should learn about two factor authentication and how to set it up for their various accounts (banking, Facebook, etc.)

Take care everyone.