Why I don’t like Nextdoor, part 4,671

A friend of mine recently posted this observation about NextDoor:

Not sure why I still use Nextdoor. Someone asked about the round reflective stickers you sometimes see on mailboxes. From the paper deliver, etc. A response:

I’ve been hearing about something like that happening in other areas where homes that have dogs are targeted to be stolen, the. re-sold for sparing with fighting dogs & for medical research.


If you’re only seeing the world through the lens of paranoid neighborhood Nextdoor posts you’re liable to freak out at everything. The Internet and television’s greatest blessing – bringing news from far away – is also its curse. The obscure crime that happened once and thousands of miles away is brought to your doorstep. The folks across the street could be terrorists. Dead people really can come back to life as zombies and eat your brain.

Well, something has clearly eaten these people’s brains. I keep hoping people will take a deep breath and realize, as a great president once proclaimed, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

That time I got a Florida driver’s license without knowing it

One day a few weeks ago I was poking around my Facebook message inbox, looking for those messages that get stuck there when they are sent from someone who isn’t a Facebook Friend. Several messages were weeks or months old but one of them had been sent three days prior in an urgent attempt to contact me.

Reading further, the sender owned a store in western North Carolina and said she wanted to warn me of someone’s possible attempt to steal my identity. She didn’t want to discuss it online, she said, but left me her number so I could call.

Identity theft? Urgent matter? Wouldn’t discuss it online? I was quite skeptical of the whole thing; not only quite sure that my identity hadn’t been stolen, but also how and why was this woman contacting me through Facebook? Deciding I had nothing to lose, I picked up the phone the next day.
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You can fly but you can’t hide: Drones to get electronic IDs much like vehicle license plates | Local News | pilotonline.com

Can you count the FAA violations here?

You know that cool footage of the drone flying at night over downtown Raleigh’s Metropolitan Apartments fire last month? Yeah, the guy who filmed it broke all kinds of FAA rules. Kyle Snyder of N.C. State’s NextGen center tells The Virginia Pilot why.

Examples of rogue drone flying are many. A man flew one over a large fire in downtown Raleigh last month, breaking several rules including flying at night and beyond his line of sight, Snyder said. The pilot posted the footage online along with his identity.No citations are known to have been issued to drone pilots in North Carolina so far, Snyder said.

While we’re at it, footage apparently sold to another “viral media” company of the flooding on Wake Forest Road late last month also could be in violation of FAA rules if the pilot shot it and sold it without being a licensed commercial drone pilot with a Remote Pilot Certificate.

Source: You can fly but you can’t hide: Drones to get electronic IDs much like vehicle license plates | Local News | pilotonline.com

Google’s “Someone has your password” emails still ripe for abuse

Fraud or not? Always be on guard!

I got another “Someone has your password” emails today from Google’s security team. These appear to be sent due to a flaw in the way Google geolocates the IP addresses used by our T-Mobile phones and are thus false alarms. That doesn’t keep me from freaking out every time I get one, however.

What’s more, it is exactly these emails that compromised John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the campaign. I consider myself fairly savvy at detecting phishing emails but I have to admit that the fake email the Russians sent was good enough to have had a chance of catching me.

I emailed a friend at Google to make sure the company knew their geolocation stuff was in need of serious work. My friend replied that Google is aware that their algorithm needs work and were working on a way to receive feedback from the message recipients. It appears Google’s “New sign in from … ” emails have a feedback link at the bottom but the “Someone has your password” emails still do not.

I appreciate getting alerts when unauthorized activity is detected but I could certainly do without the false alarms.

Chinese spammers abuse Jetpack plugin

All day long, Chinese spammers have taken advantage of an apparent flaw in Automattic’s (the makers of WordPress) Jetpack plugin. This morning, I noticed a slew of email bounces in my inbox, all with Chinese letters in them and a link to one of my blog posts. It turns out that the spammer has been clicking on the post’s “Share This” link and somehow entering their spam as the resulting email’s “From” address. Each email goes to a “qq.com” address, which is a Chinese mail provider.

The only way I could stop these emails was to turn off Sharing under Jetpack’s settings. Upgrading to the latest Jetpack (4.6) didn’t seem to help.

Apparently this has been an issue since 2014. I have no idea why this is the first time my site has become a victim nor why Automattic hasn’t figured out a suitable countermeasure yet.

How Sony, Microsoft, and Other Gadget Makers Violate Federal Warranty Law | Motherboard

There are big “no trespassing” signs affixed to most of our electronics.

If you own a gaming console, laptop, or computer, it’s likely you’ve seen one of these warnings in the form of a sticker placed over a screw or a seam: “Warranty void if removed.

”In addition, big manufacturers such as Sony, Microsoft, and Apple explicitly note or imply in their official agreements that their year-long manufacturer warranties—which entitle you to a replacement or repair if your device is defective—are void if consumers attempt to repair their gadgets or take them to a third party repair professional.

What almost no one knows is that these stickers and clauses are illegal under a federal law passed in 1975 called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

Source: How Sony, Microsoft, and Other Gadget Makers Violate Federal Warranty Law | Motherboard

Scratch ANOTHER credit card. Sigh

Kelly was checking her email this morning, expecting to find more birthday greetings. Instead, she turned to me and asked me if I had purchased pizza at Domino’s. Buying pizza at 7 AM is a little … unconventional, so I walked over to see why she would pose such a silly question. Turns out she was reading a “fraud alert” email from our credit card company, showing a purchase at Domino’s sometime today.

Cue the internal cursing and rolling eyes.

A phone call to the credit card company confirmed our fears. Someone had purchased $40 worth of Domino’s pizza in Missouri and used our credit card to do it. Our card was promptly canceled and new ones put in the mail.

It had been less than two weeks that we had those particular cards. Two. Fricking. Weeks (in truth, these new cards had the same number as our old cards but with a different CVV).

Turns out, last night I bought something online just a few hours prior. Rather than buy yet another product from Amazon, I bought it from a mom-and-pop shop. I don’t know for sure but I’m assuming their e-commerce website has been hacked.
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