The NBC Store may have just had their email server compromised

One of the benefits to having my own domain is the ability to create as many custom email addresses as I want. When I sign up on a new website, I create a custom email just for that website and redirect it to my “main” email account.

Today, I received a junk email for the email address I set up only for the NBC Store. It is a “amazon delivery” notice with a “confirmation link” that redirects to a website in Spain.

NBC Store scam email
Since I have never used the email address for the NBC Store anywhere else, and since it was sent directly to that alias account I created, I think it is safe to say the NBC Store’s customer email server has been compromised.

If you have an email account with the NBC Store, get ready for a flood of junk mail and malware.

You don’t have to own your own domain to set up a “ghost” email address. Google lets you create something similar with any gmail address!

On the next website that wants you to sign up with your email address, type a + sign after your gmail name and before the @ to make a “ghost” email address that will forward to your main address.

For example, if wanted to sign up at the NBCSTORE and wanted to use a “ghost” email address, he could just type in at NBC Store’s website. NBC Store would send their emails to and Bill would see it in his regular inbox as coming from

While this takes longer than just putting in a standard email address, I find “ghost” email addresses are invaluable in finding out who sells email addresses (LinkedIn), who keeps them reserved (Apple, Microsoft), and on occasion, who has been hacked.

Kidde recalls over 37 million of their plastic-handle fire extinguishers made from January 1973 to August 2017

In the “yeah, that’s bad” department, Kidde announced a massive recall of their plastic handle fire extinguishers that were manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017 due to failure “to activate during a fire emergency due to clogs”.

On the Occupational Health and Safety website, they say that anywhere from 37 to 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers “may not function properly in an emergency. The recall applies to 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973, and August 15, 2017, including models that had been previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015.”

“The recall involves both plastic handle and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers. The extinguishers can fail to activate during a fire emergency due to clogs or requiring excessive force to discharge. The nozzle also can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard. There have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment, including a 2014 death in which emergency responders could not get the recalled Kidde fire extinguishers to work in a car fire following a crash.”

There’s a long list of all extinguishers affected by the recall on Kidde’s website and even a grim admission that “there have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment, including [a] fatality, approximately 16 injuries, including smoke inhalation and minor burns, and approximately 91 reports of property damage” with those affected models.

Most people I know have a Kidde fire extinguisher since they’re sold nationwide at just about every store there is, but Kidde stated on their website these defective fire extinguishers were also bundled “with commercial trucks, recreational vehicles, personal watercraft and boats.”

If you find that you have one of their fire extinguishers, check out the recall list or call Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and/or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday to get yours replaced ASAP.

CDMaST Phase 2 is going to change naval warfare

I’m constantly amazed at the level of tech we are achieving in a relatively short period of time. The “future” is coming fast, and sometimes in ways that even the best of science fiction didn’t anticipate.

Case in point – the CDMaST Phase 2 project from DARPA. Long story short, the idea behind this project “revolves around real-time secure networks of manned and unmanned aircraft, surface ships, and submarines able to attack and defend vast areas of the world’s oceans to hold enemy ships and submarines at risk over wide contested areas.”

The CDMaST project wouldn’t be the only line of defense. The project “would augment aircraft carrier battle groups and manned submarines with networked manned and unmanned systems of systems (SoS) that work collaboratively to control the seas.”

Imagine hundreds or thousands of drone-based ships in the ocean, playing basic defense and surveillance “over ocean areas as large as a million square kilometers”. This 24/7 armada would “hold the line” so to speak, and keep the Navy’s “12 aircraft carriers, 52 attack submarines, and 18 ballistic- and cruise-missile submarines” on a more focused and as-needed basis.

It’s brilliant.

Of course CDMaST is going to be target #A1 for hacking, and CDMaST is probably going to be the focus of some terrible movies when the mainstream media gets wind of this, but the idea that technology has reached the point of 24/7 global defense is astounding.

The article is on the Military and Aerospace website here.

Oxford study shows prolonged standing at work leads to greater risk of heart disease

So much for all that “stand at work” idea. A new study by the American Journal of Epidemiology finds that “workers who stand on the job most of the time are at greater risk of heart disease than workers who predominantly sit.”

The article on EHS Today shows the Oxford study was very thorough, taking into account age and existing health conditions.

“Even after adjusting for a wide range of factors – personal (e.g. age, gender, education levels, ethnicity, immigrant status, marital status); health conditions (e.g. diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, mood and anxiety disorders); health behavior (e.g. smoking, drinking, body mass index, exercise); and work (e.g. physical demands, shift schedule) – the risk of heart disease still was twice as high among people who primarily stood on the job compared to those who primarily sat. In fact, the unadjusted risk of heart disease among people who stood on the job even was slightly higher than among daily smokers (5.8 percent).”

That’s really scary. Prolonged standing at work is more dangerous than smoking.

The summary article is here on EHS Today, and the Oxford / American Journal of Epidemiology core study, methodology, and results are here.

Federal contractors begin early shutdown preparations

This one kicked my spider-sense into overdrive. An article on Government Executive (and mirrored on Federal Soup) says “The president of the Professional Services Council (PSC), which represents 400 services and information technology organizations that provide services to federal agencies, said contractors should now begin planning for a government shutdown.”

Um… what?

There have been six government shutdowns in the past 36 years. 1981 (one day), 1984 (one afternoon), 1986 (one afternoon), 1990 (two days over the Columbus day weekend), 1995-1996 (twenty seven days) and in 2013 (fifteen days). The majority of them were based on “concerns” between a divided executive and legislative branch (Republicans and Democrats on alternate sides of the coin) that were eventually resolved.

So why the early red flag over a government that currently has a majority party in control of the House, Senate and Executive office?

David Berteau, “who served for 14 years at the Defense Department before becoming president of the Professional Services Council… speculated Congress would likely pass some sort of spending bill to avoid a shutdown in October, but did not guess as to whether President Trump would sign it.”

Ah hah. In other words, all bets are off.

The PSC is already putting plans in motion for an October 2nd shutdown and urging that contractors “should also begin to think through questions such as how they will notify their employees of a stop work order, their ability to pay employees while not receiving government reimbursements, whether they will be able to enter a federal facility even if their work is slated to continue and what tasks will not continue once federal employees are furloughed.”

October second would be the day the doors close if the shutdown takes place this year. If you know someone that would be affected by another government shutdown, you might want to tell them the PSC is already sounding the alarm.

A 70 year old video is more important than ever

A tweet by @OmanReagan lead me to an amazing video from 1947. The movie is only 17 minutes long, but this 70 year old video needs to be re-broadcast right now.

Take a moment and watch. Jump ahead to the 2 minute 2 second mark to get the main story.


Sound familiar?

White supremacy is evil. Racism is evil. Nazis are evil. End of discussion.


“Moscow Mules” from a copper cup are probably poisoning you

In the grand tradition of Russia, the trendy "Moscow Mule" drink that's served in a copper cup has a pretty good chance of poisoning you.

In a recent article on both The Washington Post and The Hill, a "Moscow Mule" is actually a fairly acidic drink, with a pH "well below 6.0". The "better call 911" part is that "copper should not come into contact with acidic foods with a pH below 6" because copper will leech into the drink (or food) it comes in contact with.

That mule kick? Copper poisoning! Hee-haw!

"Symptoms of copper poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and jaundice. Severe poisoning can cause liver failure and death.”

The solution is pretty simple – drink "Moscow Mules" from "copper mugs lined on the inside with another metal, like nickel or stainless steel."

Better yet, have a Guinness.

Ask Mondelez how much a successful cyber attack costs

I’m that IT guy. No you can’t have Facebook at your work PC. No you can’t access the company Wi-Fi network with your personal device. No you can’t remote access the work servers from any PC you want to. No you can’t skip this month’s security training.

Know why I’m such a pain? Because one slip up on my part will bring the company crashing down.

Ask Mondelez, the snack maker that owns Oreos and Cadbury, what the cost of a successful cyber attack is. According to an article on Food Business News, it was an immediate $7.1 million loss, another $150 million in lost sales, and an ongoing “to be determined” repair cost.

Back in June, Mondelez got hit with the ransomware strain “Petya”. The effects were immediate and brutal. Production came to a complete stop, and the company scrambled for weeks trying to remove the ransomware infection from their company servers.

According to Food Business News, “The malware affected a significant portion of the company’s global Windows-based applications and its sales, distribution and financial networks across the company.”

“Although the company believes it has now largely contained the disruption and restored a majority of its affected systems, the company anticipates additional work during the second half of 2017 as the company continues to recover and further enhance the security of its systems. For the second quarter, the company estimates that the malware incident had a negative impact of 2.3% on its net revenue growth and 2.4% on its organic revenue growth. The company also incurred incremental expenses of $7.1 million as a result of the incident.”

The worst part? “In an Aug. 2 conference call with investment analysts, Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive officer, said Mondelez was not yet “back to normal.”

June. July. August. And an untold number of months to go.

Yes, IT guys like me are a royal pain. It’s not because we want to be. It’s because we know what will happen if a cyber attack is actually successful.

Stem cells in the brain’s hypothalamus control how fast aging occurs

In a very interesting news article on Technology Networks, scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine “have found that stem cells in the brain’s hypothalamus govern how fast aging occurs in the body.”

The article is a straightforward read on a potentially world-changing research project.

“Einstein researchers made the surprising finding that the hypothalamus also regulates aging throughout the body. Now, the scientists have pinpointed the cells in the hypothalamus that control aging: a tiny population of adult neural stem cells, which were known to be responsible for forming new brain neurons.”

“Researchers injected hypothalamic stem cells into the brains of middle-aged mice whose stem cells had been destroyed as well as into the brains of normal old mice. In both groups of animals, the treatment slowed or reversed various measures of aging.”

There’s still a very long way to go before this even becomes feasible for human trials, but the idea that we now know where the aging process is taking place in the brain and how to slightly reverse it is absolutely amazing.

The article and links to the Albert Einstein findings are here.

California has banned all state-funded travel to Texas

California has banned all state-funded travel to Texas over discriminatory laws in regards to LGBT rights.

Other states included in the ban are Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.

In an article on Government Technology, there is a growing concern on how this ban will affect the partnerships California has with these states in addition to how (and if) the ban will affect sporting events and what possible retaliatory actions  will come from the states currently under the ban.

In the GT article, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was quoted as saying “Our country has made great strides in dismantling prejudicial laws that have deprived too many of our fellow Americans of their precious rights. Sadly, that is not the case in all parts of our nation, even in the 21st century.”

“According to the press release: “AB 1887 prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states with laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or against same-sex couples or their families… This restriction applies to state agencies, departments, boards, authorities and commissions, including an agency, department, board, authority or commission of the University of California, the Board of Regents of the University of California and the California State University.””

While California is no stranger to asserting its’ beliefs through the application of trade law, things will become complex very quickly if the banned states petition to the current federal administration. Unless this is handled with tact and measured diplomacy, this could be the spark that ignites a nationwide inter-state trade war.