Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Locky Ransomware is king of SPAM emails

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Image by Yuri Samoilov used under creative commons license

Image by Yuri Samoilov used under creative commons license

We had lower than normal SPAM numbers for the last couple of quarters but the evil scourge of the internet is back with a vengeance. Company CISOs and personal users probably noticed a rise recently of emails containing variants of the locky ransomware (encrypting) malware.

The number of SPAM emails containing malware reached an all time high, according to Proofpoints Q3 2016 report

Proofpoint Q3 email badware statistics

Proofpoint Q3 email badware statistics

Proofpoint said Locky was found in 96.8% of all malicious SPAM attachments. The vast majority contained a ZIP file containing a JavaScript file. We also saw Office documents containing malicious scripts, HTA files and WSF files.


  • HTA : HTML Application
  • WSF: Windows Scripting File

Other "fun" things found in these malware bundles included:

  • Pony Infostealer
  • Vawtrack banking Trojan
  • Tordal malware dropper
  • Panda Banker banking Trojan
  • CryptFile2
  • MarsJoke
  • Cerber

It's not all bad.... exploit kit activity is down 93% compares to the start of 2016. 

Samsung offering in-airport smartphone exchange

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Image by Sergio Quntana via Twitter

Image by Sergio Quntana via Twitter

The US FAA has officially barred all Note 7s from flying on any US airline and Samsung has started an airport exchange program. CNET is reporting that:

"After setting up exchange booths in South Korea's Incheon airport , Samsung is now spreading the initiative across the world, announcing trade-in booths in airports across Australia. The customer service booths will allow passengers to switch out their recalled Galaxy Note 7 (along with the data on it) to another Samsung device.

The booths will be open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time at "high-traffic" terminals:

  • Sydney Airport (Kingsford Smith)
  • Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine)
  • Brisbane Airport
  • Adelaide Airport
  • Perth Airport
  • Gold Coast Airport
  • Canberra Airport (open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.)"

ABC 7 News is reporting that exchange booths have been seen in San Francisco airport.  This airport exchange is a good idea as some of their customers may not be aware of the FAA prohibition.

Photo by Sergio Quintana

Australian carrier ships Google Pixel a week early

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

While everyone is waiting for the new Google branded Pixel to finally launch, a reddit user in Australia claims to have received his Pixel from Telstra early. 

And this doesn't seem to be an isolated case. There are a handful of Reddit threads talking about users receiving their units and backing up the claims with pictures.  Going through the information, we gleam the following :

Google Assistant welcomes you when you open the box 

Google's free unlimited full resolution storage option is automatic and available as soon as you sign in to the device. The app/service detects all Pixel images and videos. I am wondering if we will be able to game the system by playing with EXIF information.

Also and Duo are pre-loaded and the default apps. 

29.75GB of storage is available (out of the 32GB shown in this model).

The LED notification light is near the earpiece.

On a funnier note, people claiming to be Telstra employees commented on some posts and one said he bought his Pixel from Google because it offered a better warranty.

Samsung may unveil a Chromebook Pro

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Image courtesy of ChromebookUnboxed

Image courtesy of ChromebookUnboxed

Chromebooks are a divisive discussion. Some people love them while others consider them wasteful spending. I see more and more people embracing them and the truth is Chromebooks are a fantastic solution for the general public. They offer zero-maintenance use and no worries about malware or virus'.

Samsung, the electronic giant known for its fire creating Note7 line, is about to release a new Chromebook pro. So say the writers at ChromeUnboxed . No one is expecting this device so it's interesting how they kept it so secret.

The Samsung Chromebook Pro (codenamed Kevin) is impressive. At $499, it will be a mid priced device equipped with a 12.3" touchscreen display supported by a 360 degree hinge. It will be powered by a hexacore processor at 2GB and come with 32GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. So far so good. 

Looks like this Chromebook Pro will come in a beautiful aluminium body and include a stylus. Yes folks a stylus. A stylus doesn't make sense for a traditional chromebook but when you consider that Google is bringing the Android Google Play store to the Chromebook, you start the to see uses.

Adorama lists this unannounced unit.

B&H had it listed but no more. The expectation is that it will launch sometime in October, in time for black Friday sales. 

Review of The Grayl Ultralight water filter & purifier

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

Over the last 25 years, I have logged close to 1 million air miles and I have traveled to all four corners of the world. Much of my time has been spent in locations where water quality is questionable and improper handling can make you very very very very very sick. 

My traditional solution has been to use a particulate filtering system (like the Sawyer Mini water filter) and then sterilizing the product using a Steripen UV Sterilizer. In locations were I wanted to be doubly sure or my Steripen ran out of batteries, I also used Aquamira water purification tablets. 

Welcome The Grayl water purifier

July 2016, I discovered and tested my stainless steel The Grayl water purifier & filter. I wrote a review about it here.  Since discovering it, it has been part of my Everyday Carry Kit (EDC kit) and is always with me (normally with the tap water filter). 

It met every single one of my requirements. It is self contained, easy to use and doesn't require batteries. I asked a university researcher friend to test 2 water samples (one from a pond and pond water filtered through the Grayl Water Purifier with the travel filter) and his conclusion was that the purified water coming from The grayl was clean and drinkable without any concerns. 

He then compared it to the pond water filtered through the Sawyer mini then sanitized with the Steripen and found them of equivalent quality and safety (giving a slight edge to The Grayl).

So for all intents and purposes, this one simple to carry item did everything I needed it to do. But it had one negative, it was heavy. It was smaller (in volume) to the Steripen+Sawyer mini but weighed more. Weight is critically important when travelling.

Discover The Grayl Ultralight lightweight water purifier & filter

The Grayl reached out to me after my last review and asked if I wanted to test their Ultralight. I already loved my stainless steel Legend and didn't know why they would move to plastic. Isn't plastic bad? 

Plastic is more porous thus has more surface area that can eventually get mouldy. It has more surface area that can capture smells. The Grayl has a nice trick up its sleeve. Unlike other water containers, when you completely disassemble any The Grayl water filter, you have a center tube (the clean water container) open on both sides therefore cleaning it is super simple.

I tried The Grayl Ultralight and I became a believer. I went from 588 grams to 309 grams. It may not sound like a major difference but is important when you are carefully planning every gram (whether for travel, hiking or as part of a survival kit).

The Legend also has a sealable mouth hole that sometimes restricts water flow too much, whereas the Ultralight has a large twist off top. 

Beyond the pond

Everyone I show this too ends up buying one. 2 friends recently went on a 1 month Asian business trip, touching countries such as India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China and a couple more.

They used the travel filter and didn't get sick once. They didn't have to drink from disposable water bottles and they didn't have to pay for exorbitant hotel water (between $US5-12 a bottle).

There are certain unscrupulous vendors that will replace the clean water in a single-use water bottle with dirty tap water (keeping the clean water for themselves). They do this by making a small hole in the bottom of the bottle (the injection moulding point) and then once they refill it with tap water. They seal the bottom hole with glue the bottom. When you buy this tainted product, you crack open the cap and assume it is clean, fresh, safe water when it isn't. Filtering your own water means you aren't dependent on anyone else. 


Whether you are a traveler, a camping enthusiast or a prepper (preparing for a disaster), this is something that you need in your kit. The Grayl Ultralight is now part of my Everyday Carry Kit. I don't leave home without it and I actually bought a couple as gifts.

This has become one of my most recommended items (travel and EDC). 

In Canada, you can buy :

  • Ultralight for $64.99 at Altitude Sport comes with the travel filter here
  • hybrid (stainless steel cup and plastic outer shell) from MEC for $58 here, comes with the tap filter

In the USA, you should buy it directly from The Grayl $59 here