Nov 27 2011

Windows Protection from Djibouti

Category: Security,SoftwareTeknovis @ 08:40

I recently got multiple phone calls on my landline from a support agent working for a “Microsoft Support Company” in Djibouti. The exact phone number used each time was +253 820 308, and the support agent knew my family name (it is available in the telephone directory). The support agent told me that she could see from her system that my computer was infected, and she was going to help me! Great!

Of course this is a scam, and I have heard of it many times. Unfortunately, not everybody knows this, and I know somebody who was conned in this way.

I had never received such a call before, so the mischievous streak in me decided to play along with the support agent :) I must stress that I knew what I was doing, and in general I would not recommend this! I was also curious to know exactly how the scam worked.

I made myself look like the ideal target for the support agent, because I claimed not to know much about how computers work, and I was very eager to pay for the support agent to fix my problem. I was not doing anything that required too much concentration at the time, so I was willing to waste the support agent’s time. In the end our conversations spanned three phone calls, and lasted for about an hour and twenty minutes in total.

The way the scam works is that the support agent firstly tries to get the victim’s confidence. So I was told about the dangers of computer viruses, and how easy it is to become infected. I agreed with this, and we spent several minutes discussing this. I then confirmed that I had been feeling tired and run-down recently, so I suspected that I had indeed got a virus from my computer. This caused another lengthy explanation :D

Next the support agent gets the victim to download some software that allows the support agent to remotely control the victim’s computer. This took more than half an hour to achieve for a variety of reasons. I was given many instructions for trying to start my Internet browser (such as Ctrl + R, Start + All Programs), but none of them appeared to work. The support agent was becoming frustrated at this stage, so I innocently asked her when I should turn on my computer :D

Over the next half hour the support agent got me to download remote access software from the following web sites:

I do not know if these are legitimate sites or not. Regardless, in each I was asked to download an executable file, and then run it. Much to the support agent’s frustration, the files kept producing errors when I tried running them. I offered several times to pay her there and then by credit card (using a test number of course) for her to fix the problem, but she told me that I needed to run the software first. I helpfully suggested that it was probably due to the virus, but the support agent dismissed this idea :o In hindsight, it was probably because I was using Ubuntu :D

At this stage the customer support agent had to consult with a colleague (for the second time). By the time that she phoned me back I was bored of her, so I told her than I had bought a new computer since the last call. The dismay in voice was noticeable!

The moral of the story – if you get one of these calls you are probably best to tell the support agent that you do not have a computer!

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Nov 25 2011

Global Debt

Category: MoneyTeknovis @ 17:22

A nice interactive graphic from the BBC showing who owes what to whom: Eurozone debt web: Who owes what to whom?

It feels a bit depressing for a Friday afternoon :(

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Nov 22 2011

Android Eats Apple

Category: HumourTeknovis @ 17:40

I received this from a friend recently:

Android Eats Apple

Android Eats Apple

Enjoy :)

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Nov 19 2011

Chuck Norris Google Bomb

Category: Humour,InternetTeknovis @ 10:24

I came across the Chuck Norris Google Bomb today:

Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you.

The URL is


Nov 17 2011

Apple’s Location Patent

Category: Location Based Services,PatentsTeknovis @ 22:34

Somebody brought this article to my attention today: Apple gets killer location services patent.

I bet Apple is really excited about this, and Google is probably the most worried!

In fairness, I am not sure if this patent would remain valid if challenged :o

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Nov 16 2011

Pulse on Kindle Fire

Category: AndroidTeknovis @ 17:34

I read the Pulse will be included pre-installed on the Kindle Fire! See Pulse Scores Key Spot On Kindle’s Home Shelf; Co-founder Says It May Pass 10M Users This Year and Kindle Fire, Welcome to the Pulse Family!.

That is a great achievement, but then again, Pulse is a great application!

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Nov 13 2011

Euro Crisis

Category: MoneyTeknovis @ 20:09

A friend recently sent me this graphic showing the interdependencies of the Euro crisis (click image to see larger version):

Euro Crisis (Copyright The New York Times)

Euro Crisis (Copyright The New York Times)

It is very interesting, but almost scary!

Nov 10 2011

Dublin Beta

Category: Entrepreneurship,EventsTeknovis @ 16:35

Dublin Beta is on next Monday evening. It seems like a great idea, although I think that tickets are over-priced!

Nov 08 2011

STD Cards

Category: Hardware,HumourTeknovis @ 17:46

A family friend recently asked me where was the best place to buy a STD Card! It was obvious from the conversation that she really meant a SD Card, but it was still hilarious!

In fairness, it is actually an appropriate name when you consider how many devices these cards are now inserted into!

Nov 05 2011

Standards Humour

Category: Humour,StandardsTeknovis @ 21:48

I received this during the week:

Standards Meetings (Copyright Scott Adams)

Standards Meetings (Copyright Scott Adams)

Enjoy :)

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