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Exclusive: Holiday scam email season is here. Don’t fall for it. –



Holiday scam email season is here. Don’t fall for it.

#Holiday #scam #email #season #Dont #fall

Someone claiming to be Kohl’s really wants to give me a beautiful orange Le Creuset dutch oven.

The email always says this is the chain department store’s second attempt to reach me, although I reckon it’s more like the 50th because I’ve gotten this email many, many times over the last few months. You probably have, too. Maybe it’s not from Kohl’s. Maybe it’s from Dick’s Sporting Goods or Costco. Whoever it claims to be from, the result is the same: You click on a link, fill out some kind of survey, and are asked to enter your credit card info to cover the cost of shipping your free Yeti cooler, Samsung Smart TV, or that Le Creuset dutch oven.

An example of a phishing email claiming to be from Kohl’s. It features a set of Le Creuset cookware and says, “Answer & win a brand new Le Creuset. Get started now. Congratulations!”

Spoiler alert: There is no “fantastic prize” waiting for you on the other side of this scam email.

Those items will never come, of course. These emails are all phishing scams, or emails that pretend to be from a person or brand you know and trust in order to get information from you. In this case, it’s your credit card number. This latest campaign is particularly good at evading spam filters. That’s why you may have noticed so many of these emails in your inbox over the last several months. The fact that they got to your inbox in the first place as well as the realistic presentation of the emails and the websites they link to make them more convincing than the typical scam email. These attacks also usually ramp up during the holiday season. So here’s what you should watch out for.

“Grinch is getting security companies coal and blocked IPs for Christmas, and it’s resulting in more spam with domain hop architecture getting into your inboxes,” Zach Edwards, a security researcher, told Recode. Domain hop architecture is the series of redirects that route user traffic across multiple domains to help scammers hide their tracks and detect and block potential security measures.


Akamai Security Research identified the scam campaign in a recent report. The basic idea behind the scam itself — pretending to be a well-known brand and offering a prize in return for some personal information — isn’t new. Akamai has been following these kinds of grifts for a while. But this year’s version is new and improved.

“This is a reflection of the adversary’s understanding of how security products work and how to use them for their own advantage,” Or Katz, Akamai’s principal lead security researcher, said.

An example of a scam email pretending to be from Costco. It features a woman in a yoga pose in front of a large-screen TV and it reads, “Pure cinematic 8K viewing. Get it now. Costco wholesale Samsung OLED 8K UHD HDR Smart TV. Congratulations! You have been chosen to participate in our loyalty program for free! Answer survey.”

Sorry, but you’ll have to buy a Samsung TV from Costco just like everyone else. This survey is just trying to steal your credit card information.

Basically, these scammers are deploying lots of technical tricks to evade scanners and get through spam filters behind the scenes. Those include (but aren’t limited to) routing traffic through a mix of legitimate services, like Amazon Web Services, which is the URL several of the scam emails I’ve received appear to link out to. And, Edwards said, bad actors can identify and block the IP addresses of known scam and spam detection tools, which also helps them bypass those tools.

Akamai said this year’s campaign also included a novel use of fragment identifiers. You’ll see those as a series of letters and numbers after a hash mark in a URL. They’re typically used to send readers to a specific section of a website, but scammers were using them to instead send victims to completely different websites entirely. And some scam detection services don’t or can’t scan fragment identifiers, which helps them evade detection, according to Katz. That said, Google told Recode that this particular method alone was not enough to bypass its spam filters.

“What we see in this recently released research is new and sophisticated techniques being used, indicating the evolution of the scam, reflecting on the adversary’s intention to make their attacks hard to be detected and classified as malicious,” Katz said. “And, as we can see, it is working!”

But you don’t see any of that. You just see the emails. At best, they’re annoying, and at worst, they could trick you into giving your credit card details to people who will presumably use that information to buy a lot of things on your tab. The fact that they’re in your inbox in the first place adds a veneer of legitimacy, and both those emails and the websites they send victims to look better and therefore might be more convincing than some typical phishing attempts. They also seem to change according to the season or time of year. Akamai’s examples, which it collected weeks ago, have a Halloween theme. More recent phishing emails send users to a website boasting of a “Black Friday Special.”


“The literal holiday banners are unique, so that’s a cool newish addition,” Edwards said.

An example of a scam website claiming to offer a prize from Dick’s Sporting Goods. It has a picture of a Yeti cooler and reads, “Dick’s Sporting Goods, November 21, 2022. Congratulations! You’ve been chosen to receive a brand new Yeti M20 Cooler! To claim, simply answer a few quick questions regarding your experience with us. Attention, this survey offer expires today, November 21, 2022. Start survey.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods isn’t giving away a Yeti Cooler, even if you fill out a survey.

And it’s all being deployed on an apparently massive scale, which is why most people reading this have probably gotten not just one of these emails, but an onslaught of them, extended over a period of months.

Or, as one of my co-workers said to me when she forwarded me an example of just one of the many scam emails she’s received in her Gmail inbox: “help.”

A spokesperson for Google told Recode that the company is aware of the “particularly aggressive” campaign and is taking measures to stop it.

“Our security teams have identified that spammers are using another platform’s infrastructure to make a path for these abusive messages,” they said. “However, even as spammers’ tactics evolve, Gmail is actively blocking the vast majority of this activity. We are in contact with the other platform provider to resolve these vulnerabilities and are working hard, as always, to stay ahead of the attacks.”

Google also recently put out a blog post warning users about common holiday season scams, and the fake giveaway was at the top of the list.


“Received an offer that looks too good to be true? Think twice before clicking any links,” Nelson Bradley, manager of Google Workspace Trust and Safety, wrote.

Google also noted that it blocks 15 billion spam emails every day, which it believes to be 99.9 percent of the spam, phishing, and malware emails its users are being sent. In the last two weeks, Bradley wrote, there’s been a 10 percent increase in malicious emails. To be fair, I think there are more fake Kohl’s giveaway emails sitting in my spam filter than in my inbox.

The spokesperson added that Gmail users can use its “report spam” tool, which helps Google better identify and prevent future spam attacks. Beyond that, the typical how to avoid getting phished tips still apply. Check the sender’s email address and the URL it’s linking out to. Don’t give out your personal information, especially not your account passwords or credit card numbers. Take a few seconds to think about why Kohl’s would just randomly decide to give you Le Creuset bakeware or Dick’s would give you a Yeti cooler worth hundreds of dollars just for answering a few basic survey questions. The answer is that they wouldn’t.

You could also just spend your Black Friday shopping for real items in real stores (or on their real websites) and giving your credit card details to real employees. Good luck out there; the Google spokesperson said the company expects that the scam campaign will “continue at a high rate throughout the holiday season.” So it’ll almost certainly continue even after Black Friday ends.


Exclusive: Disney Plus is Taking Longer and Longer to Stream New Marvel Movies – CNET –




Disney Plus is Taking Longer and Longer to Stream New Marvel Movies     - CNET

#Disney #Longer #Longer #Stream #Marvel #Movies #CNET

After the depths of social distancing pushed a wave of big-budget movies straight to streaming, theatrical exclusives are the norm again. But for a while, it seemed like Disney and other big Hollywood movie studios might be falling into a new post-COVID rhythm for how long they kept flicks in theaters before streaming them, one that was much faster in shuttling films to a streaming service than before.

But now streaming release dates are all over the map. And for the biggest films, like Marvel’s, the waits seem to be stretching out longer and longer.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will take longer to start streaming on Disney Plus than any other Marvel movie in the pandemic era — and that may not bode well for how long you’ll have to wait to stream the Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy sequels hitting theaters soon.

When will Black Panther: Wakanda Forever start streaming? 

Disney Plus will start streaming the Black Panther sequel early Wednesday, starting at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET. Its streaming-release date is more than three months after it hit theaters. 

How long will it take to stream Marvel’s next big movies?

It’s anybody’s guess, but it probably won’t be quick. 

Last year, Marvel released three films in theaters: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in May, Thor: Love and Thunder in July and Wakanda Forever in mid-November. Doctor Strange took 47 days to reach Disney Plus. Thor hit Disney Plus 62 days after its theatrical release.

Now Wakanda Forever will take 82 days to start streaming. 

That’s the longest that a Marvel movie has spent in theaters before streaming on Disney Plus since the company resumed theatrical exclusives in 2021. That year, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was in theaters for 70 days and Eternals for 68 days. 


(Coincidence or not, the Marvel film that Disney gave the shortest theatrical window among them also had the best overall box office performance. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness grossed more than $955 million worldwide. Wakanda Forever has generated $840 million.)

However, Wakanda Forever may have been held off Disney Plus so long because of a consideration that doesn’t apply to those other Marvel films this year: The movie, with a Black director and predominantly Black cast, is debuting on Disney Plus on the first day of Black History Month. Disney hasn’t stated any connection in the timing, but it’s possible the film’s wait to start streaming may have been drawn out to coincide.  

Still, big Hollywood companies like Disney aren’t prioritizing streaming-subscriber growth nearly as much as they did, depressing the incentive to bring big movies to a service quickly. 

Paramount, for example, kept Top Gun: Maverick off its streaming service for 209 days, nearly seven months. The strategy paid dividends at the box office, with the Top Gun sequel grossing nearly $1.5 billion.

Disney has been much more aggressive than Paramount at putting its movies onto its streaming service quickly, but Disney is starting to show that it may be holding back its big-budget films longer in theaters as well. With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania set to hit theaters next month, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 following in May and The Marvels arriving in July, you could be waiting more than three months to stream each of them if they stick to Wakanda Forever’s pace. 

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Exclusive: OnePlus 11R and OnePlus Pad set to be launched alongside OnePlus 11 on Feb 7 Cloud Event –




OnePlus 11R and OnePlus Pad set to be launched alongside OnePlus 11 on Feb 7 Cloud Event

#OnePlus #11R #OnePlus #Pad #set #launched #OnePlus #Feb #Cloud #Event

Although OnePlus has already launched its flagship device for the year, OnePlus 11 in China, they are yet to launch the device in India and the rest of the world. OnePlus has confirmed that the global launch of the OnePlus 11 will take place in India on February 7. However, it seems that OnePlus may be launching a bunch of other devices as well.

OnePlus 11R and OnePlus Pad set to be launched alongside OnePlus 11 on Feb 7 Cloud Event

OnePlus has a bunch of products lined up for its upcoming Cloud Event, including the OnePlus 11, OnePlus 11R, OnePlus Buds Pro 2, the OnePlus Keyboard, a new OnePlus TV and the OnePlus Pad.

OnePlus will also launch the OnePlus 11R along with the OnePlus 11. The OnePlus 11R hasn’t been launched anywhere else and was actually expected to be launched sometime in March or April. 

Amazon India pushed a notification prompt via its app yesterday, which said that the OnePlus 11R 5G will also launch on February 7th, 7:30 PM in India. OnePlus though is yet to make any such announcement.

OnePlus has a bunch of products to offer during its upcoming February 7th Cloud Event, including the OnePlus 11 5G, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, its first-ever Keyboard, and the new OnePlus TV 65 Q2 Pro. It only makes sense that OnePlus, instead of just launching one of their premium smartphone devices at the event, may choose to launch the entire series on the same day.

A rumour has also surfaced which says that OnePlus may launch the OnePlus Pad as well at the event. Rumours of the OnePlus Pad have been going around since 2021 with more recent speculation suggesting a launch in 2023.

There isn’t much information out there about the OnePlus Pad. However, given the close ties that OnePlus has with Oppo, the OnePlus Pad may be a rebadged Oppo Pad or Oppo Pad Air.


Coming back the smartphones, the global version of the top tier OnePlus 11 is expected to with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen2 SoC, a 6.7-inch E4 QHD+ OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, 50MP primary camera sensor with two additional cameras, 48MP and a 32MP unit, all of which have been tuned by Hasselblad, up to 512GB storage, and a large 5,000mAh battery which supports 100W fast charging. The OnePlus 11 is expected to be priced around the Rs 50,000 mark for the base variant.

The OnePlus 11R, on the other hand, is expected to come with a 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and powered by a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which will likely be paired with up to 16GB RAM and up to 512GB storage. As for the cameras, the OnePlus 11R 5G is tipped to come with a 50MP + 12MP + 2MP triple rear camera setup and a 16MP selfie snapper. Lastly, the device will reportedly feature a 5,000mAh battery with 100W fast charging support.

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Exclusive: Tesla Cybertruck mass production won’t start until 2024 –




Tesla Cybertruck mass production won’t start until 2024

#TeslaCybertruck #mass #production #wont #start

Tesla’s long-anticipated Cybertruck won’t be seeing full volume production until 2024, Elon Musk said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call today.

During the call, Musk was asked whether the forthcoming vehicle would meet a mid-2023 production target that was set in Q2 last year. Musk cagily confirmed that Cybertruck manufacturing would start “sometime this summer,” but concluded that mass production of the polarizing pickup won’t start until next year. “I always try to downplay the start of production,” Musk said. “It increases exponentially, but it is very slow at first.”

Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019 to widespread interest, but has seen its production delayed several times. Pre-production was originally supposed to start in late 2021, but was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then slated for sometime in 2023, a projection made a year ago. Additionally, last year Musk told investors Cybertruck’s specs and price “will be different,” (read: will be more expensive).

As a consolation prize, Tesla revealed on Wednesday that it has started installing the production equipment needed for the Cybertruck’s assembly, including the castings that will produce the electric pickup’s body. The Cybertruck is expected to be largely manufactured at the company’s Gigafactory in Austin, Texas.

Industry experts warned that the timeline needed to be sped up in order for the Cybertruck to have its desired impact. “Cybertruck will be hitting an increasingly crowded sector of the EV market amid the F-150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T, and likely the Chevy Silverado EV and RAM 1500 EV following closely behind,” said Edmunds executive director of insights Jessica Cawell in an email to The Verge. “The downside for Tesla is that the Cybertruck almost seems like old news.”

There’s still a lot of attention on the Cybertruck after its over-the-top unveiling that introduced its aggressive, post apocalyptic design. Maybe if Tesla throws more metal balls around it can get production rolling.

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