Anatomy of a phishing attempt (or how not to get conned into giving away your login/financial information)

Lately, some clowns have been trying to get me to divulge my Apple ID and my credit card information.

Let’s look at the email.

medium_phishing-attempt

How to tell if an email is a phishing attempt? There are several tell-tale signs.

  1. The sender’s email address. This will not be from the domain that it should be from. The one in the example above – not so smart. Some phishing emails try to come up with a very similar email address which involves the company name which they are purportedly from. There are several ways of doing this.
    1. Misspell the name. e.g. store@appl.com
    2. Use a sub-domain. e.g. store@apple.somedomain.com (the domain is just before .com)
  2. There will be a dubious link. The whole idea is to get you to give away your login details and/or your credit card information. So, there will be a link. Look at the example above. It all looks quite legitimate. In fact, there are valid links such as the support link for iTunes (bottom left).

    The one link that matters – the one that attempts to get your information – will not be from the company it claims to be from. In the email above, the initial link is a shortened link. This should set off alarm bells. I clicked just to see the actual URL. In this case it was not even a proper domain, just an IP address.

    One more thing – the URL that is displayed may not be the URL that it leads to. Always mouseover the link to show the actual destination.

There are other signs, but these tend to be specific to the company. If you have legitimate receipts or authentic automated emails of a similar nature, you can use these to compare.

What to do if you have received a phishing attempt?

  1. Do not divulge your information! Obvious, but must be stated.
  2. Report the phishing attempt. Don’t let others fall into this trap. You can report the email to your email service provider. Most email service providers give you a method to report phishing attempts. In this case, I also reported it to Google’s Report Phishing page*. This is because the phisher used a Google shortlink. Google should know about it so that they can sever the redirection.

Stay safe on the Internet!

* Hmm… the link for reporting phishing looks phishy! But the advice above should help you to decide if it is a phishing attempt or otherwise.

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Printing articles from the web

Printing articles from websites can be tricky. In some cases, the formatting goes awry. Other times, pictures or text get cut off at page breaks. Here are the few things that I usually try when I come across articles that won’t play nice.

Note: I usually print to PDF on my Mac, so these instructions are skewed towards that.

General Tips

  • Firefox doesn’t deal well with printing at all. Try Chrome or Safari for better printing results.
  • Printing to PDF in Mac: ⌘P > PDF > Save as PDF.

Option 1

If an article has a print view, use that, then save as PDF.

Option 2

If there is no specific print view, highlight the desired text, then print the selection only, save as PDF.

Option 3
If neither of those work, use the Evernote Clearly bookmarklet. When you click the bookmarklet while on a web page, it
turns the page into a reader-friendly view. (Another alternative is Readability. Instapaper might have this function too.) There will be a print button which you can use to print.
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Samsung Series 9 Windows 8.1 Touchpad Scrolling

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I had to return to Windows because of work. Otherwise, I’d be living a blissful Windows-free life.

So, I purchased a Samsung laptop last year.

Windows 8.1 came along, and I “upgraded”. One of the effects was that the touchpad defaulted to “natural” scrolling i.e. the way you scroll on a tablet with your finger. Crucially, the option to change this setting was removed!

I’m not sure whether to blame Samsung, Microsoft or Elan (the touchpad’s manufacturer/driver publisher) for this.

As I’ll be using the Samsung more intensely soon, I needed a solution for this. After some googling, I found the answer.

For the first time in years, I found myself editing the Windows Registry.

Kory Nunn explains how to do this. So simple.

The only thing you have to do after following his instructions is to reboot the computer.

Voila! Normal scrolling!

Closing deadpoetscave.com

I’ve decided to shut down deadpoetscave.com.

I’m paying for web hosting and the domain, which is a little pointless since:

  1. I hardly blog any more, and
  2. I have no inclination to meddle around with WordPress.

The content isn’t going to disappear. My old posts are available (for as long as WordPress.com exists) at acroamatic.wordpress.com.

For easy reference by Googlers, the top three posts on deadpoetscave.com can be found here:

Digitised and searchable Straits Times archives (1845-1982)

I have used the National Library’s microfilm collection a few times. They have issues going back to to the beginning of the Straits Times.

If you are searching for an article with microfilm, you have to know roughly when the article was published. The microfilms have a number of issues on each reel. You load it onto a special projector, then start scrolling through the film to find what you are looking for.

It’s manual and tedious – though strangely enjoyable, like a treasure hunt – but if you have absolutely no idea when an certain article was published, then you’re stuck. At very least, you need to know the month and the year.

So, I want to thank the National Library Board for coming up with http://newspapers.nl.sg/. (Thanks, Ai Lin, for pointing this out!)

NLB has scanned its Straits Times microfilms, so now the text is searchable. No more wading through rolls of microfilm. And you can discover other articles related to your search which you might not have been aware of.

If you search from home, you get article titles and short abstracts. The microfilm reel number is listed too.

You can only access full text and get prints if you’re at the library using one of their multimedia terminals. Or, since you now know the microfilm number, you can zoom in to the article faster. At least you know which reel it’s on! You still have to scroll through the film to get to a particular article. No shortcuts there.

It’s an amazing resource!

Will have to try “Malay Regiment” and “Battle of Pasir Panjang”. Already saw some interesting abstracts…

Microball by Serenity Nichols Ibsen
reproduced under a CC-BY-NC 2.0 license

Digitised and searchable Straits Times archives (1845-1982)

I have used the National Library’s microfilm collection a few times. They have issues going back to to the beginning of the Straits Times.

If you are searching for an article with microfilm, you have to know roughly when the article was published. The microfilms have a number of issues on each reel. You load it onto a special projector, then start scrolling through the film to find what you are looking for.

It’s manual and tedious – though strangely enjoyable, like a treasure hunt – but if you have absolutely no idea when an certain article was published, then you’re stuck. At very least, you need to know the month and the year.

So, I want to thank the National Library Board for coming up with http://newspapers.nl.sg/. (Thanks, Ai Lin, for pointing this out!)

NLB has scanned its Straits Times microfilms, so now the text is searchable. No more wading through rolls of microfilm. And you can discover other articles related to your search which you might not have been aware of.

If you search from home, you get article titles and short abstracts. The microfilm reel number is listed too.

You can only access full text and get prints if you’re at the library using one of their multimedia terminals. Or, since you now know the microfilm number, you can zoom in to the article faster. At least you know which reel it’s on! You still have to scroll through the film to get to a particular article. No shortcuts there.

It’s an amazing resource!

Will have to try “Malay Regiment” and “Battle of Pasir Panjang”. Already saw some interesting abstracts…

Microball by Serenity Nichols Ibsen
reproduced under a CC-BY-NC 2.0 license