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ICYMI: Five Things Scammers Hope You "Google"

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

Your email address may actually be hurting your chances for landing that new job, according to an article on Lifehacker. Believe it or not (or like it or not), email addresses are generally viewed as "neutral." Addresses from or may elicit concerns about your age. And email addresses like "" or "" or "" may be torpedoing your job chances before you ever get out of port, so to speak.

The U.S., Europe and Ukraine are reportedly targets in this malware threat involving Cisco routers, according to an article on TechRepublic. State--sponsored Russian threat actor APT28 targets certain Cisco routers with an old vulnerability. I'll wait patiently to see a show of hands of everyone who has ever/never applied patches to their router. [chirp-chirp] [chirp-chirp] [chirp-chirp] sing the crickets. Yeah ... me neither. Routers (and other hardware) can be "borked" or "bricked" too easily while applying patches, and cost too much to replace (if they do end up borked/bricked). Thus, the vast majority of users never do apply patches to hardware, despite the presence of a valid and verified threat vector. Fortunately (unfortunately?) these particular Cisco routers (they never say in the article exactly which routers are affected) appear to be "commercial" routers. But then again, you can never know for sure which consumer-level Cisco routers use a command or SNMP protocol (the attack vector) that has been (or may have been) "inherited" from the commercial side of their business.

Researchers have found that Google's 2FA app update lacks end-to-end encryption, according to an article from TechRepublic. Data synced between devices with the new Google Authenticator app update could be viewed by third parties. Google says the app works as planned, but added that they plan to offer E2EE as an option in the future. Yeah. It'll probably be like that Linux version of Picasa that Google never released, or the Linux version of Google Drive that they never released. In other words, don't hold your breath.

According to an article on Lifehacker, there are at least FIVE things scammers are hoping you Google or otherwise search for. Searching for one of the phrases listed in the article can draw you into a trap.

You've seen their advertisements ... well ... EVERYWHERE. And, I include this here simply because of the vast number of MLUs (Mature Linux Users) in the PCLinuxOS family. You may know them as the "We Buy Ugly Houses" people. HomeVestors of America, the self-proclaimed "largest homebuyer in the U.S.," trains its nearly 1,150 franchisees to zero in on homeowners' desperation, according to an exposé on the ProPublica website. They tend to zero in on older homeowners in the twilight years of life. Knowledge is power, and this article should help "arm yourself" to fend off their predatory business practices.

The results are in! Google, which USED to use the old motto "do no evil," seems to have changed their motto to "use it or lose it." According to an article on Lifehacker, Google has updated their "inactivity policy" for all Google accounts. If an account has not been used or logged into for at least two years, Google may delete the accounts and its data. That includes Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar) and Google Photos content. Google's reasoning for the decision is security-based. According to the company, an account that hasn't been accessed in more than two years is likely compromised, because those accounts often use leaked passwords, lack 2FA, or have less security settings. While that idea may have some merit (Google says abandoned accounts are ten times less likely to have 2FA set up), it still seems extreme. Welcome to the World according to Google! It sounds to me as if they are trying to make excuses for their horrible track record when it comes to security.

Japan will try to beam solar power from space by 2025, according to an article from Engadget. The country made a breakthrough in space-based solar energy back in 2015.

Image: NASA artist concept.

NASA is seeking industry proposals for a next-generation LTV (Lunar Terrain Vehicle) that will allow astronauts to go farther and conduct more science than ever before as they explore the south polar region of the Moon during Artemis missions, according to an article on SciTechDaily.

Google has begun rolling out a generative AI function to its standard Google search program for selected users in the United States, according to an article on InterestingEngineering, and widely reported on in multiple media outlets.

For Computex 2023, Intel announced new details about its new AI-focused VPU silicon that will debut in the company's new Meteor Lake chips, according to an article on Tom's Hardware. The company also outlined its efforts to enable the AI ecosystem for its upcoming Meteor Lake chips. Intel plans to release the Meteor Lake processors, its first to use a blended chiplet-based design that leverages both Intel and TSMC tech in one package, by the end of the year. The chips will land in laptops first, focusing on power efficiency and performance in local AI workloads, but different versions of the design will also come to desktop PCs.

According to scientists from the University of Washington, there are certain colors that repel mosquitoes and others that attract them, says an article from Tom's Guide. Their study, published in Nature Communications, revealed that the mosquito's sense of smell (olfaction), influences how it responds to visual cues/colors. However, this color preference only occurs in the presence of carbon dioxide (CO2), which we exhale when we breathe. And while mosquitoes respond to our breath, sweat, and body temperature -- eliminating the colors that attract them in the first place could help keep them at bay. So, if you want to banish these pesky pests, you could try one of these colors to repel mosquitoes in your home or yard.

Adding to the security nightmare they have already have unleashed, a recent move by Google to populate the Internet with eight new top-level domains is prompting concerns that two of the additions -- .zip and .mov -- could be a boon to online scammers who trick people into clicking on malicious links, according to an article on Ars Technica.

When your internet isn't performing up to standard, your first thought probably won't be to blame your internet provider. After all, there are many reasons why your internet could be moving slowly, according to an article on CNet. But, then again, your internet service provider may be throttling your internet speeds.

Data storage on hard drives may soon become a thing of the past, according to an expert Shawn Rosemarin, who also owns a company selling solid-storage solutions, says an article on Interesting Engineering. According to Rosemarin, we could see the last hard drive being sold in just about five years from now, PC Gamer reported.

Always breaking the mold on what's deemed impossible, scientists have discovered a way to create electricity out of thin air, according to an article from Giant Freakin Robot. While many regions are preparing themselves for the arrival of the unpleasantness of humidity that will run rampant over the summer, it's in that nasty, watery air that the electricity can be pulled from. But, don't be too quick to literally "cut the wire" that brings electricity into your home.

After a three-year hiatus, scientists in the U.S. have just turned on detectors capable of measuring gravitational waves -- tiny ripples in space itself that travel through the universe, according to an article on Inverse. Unlike light waves, gravitational waves are nearly unimpeded by the galaxies, stars, gas, and dust that fill the universe. This means that by measuring gravitational waves, astrophysicists can peek directly into the heart of some of these most spectacular phenomena in the universe.

The legendary Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki made a dazzling discovery recently, capturing observations of a visible supernova so close to Earth that astronomers have been able to spot it with amateur telescope setups, according to an article on BGR. The supernova was found in the galaxy M101 and has been designated SN 2023ixf. This particular supernova is so intriguing because it is so close to Earth, allowing an assortment of astronomers and skywatchers to get a possible view of it without needing expensive equipment to pull it off.

Microsoft has uncovered stealthy and targeted malicious activity focused on post-compromise credential access and network system discovery aimed at critical infrastructure organizations in the United States, according to a Microsoft security blog post. The attack is carried out by Volt Typhoon, a state-sponsored actor based in China that typically focuses on espionage and information gathering. Microsoft assesses with moderate confidence that this Volt Typhoon campaign is pursuing development of capabilities that could disrupt critical communications infrastructure between the United States and Asia region during future crises.

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