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Out west visiting grandkids. Russia is ramping up its hacking. Tips on protecting yourself.

This is one of two out west. He’s called Peter. He plays chess and tennis. He’s got energy big time. What could be better?

I’m in Portland, Oregon visiting the grandkids for the first time in a year. It feels good.

Russia is ramping up its hacking

In short, you will be hacked. They will demand ransom from your company. They will take money from your bank. It’s not “if,” it’s when.

You have to be prepared. Watch emails. Watch for spearphishing. Watch your phone for nonsense offers, like this one I just received.

Don’t automatically install software “upgrades.” Wait.

Keep outside “air gapped” backups. They’re flash drives,  hard drives and computers not attached to the Internet. Gapped by air.

You need to have a different password for your every financial account. And you need to change them every six months. If you can get two-factor authentication, get it. Ask your bank.

Being hacked can be a pain and be very expensive.

Here’s the latest news:

Russia Appears to Carry Out Hack Through System Used by U.S. Aid Agency
Microsoft reported that it had detected the intrusion and that the same hackers behind the earlier SolarWinds attack were responsible. 

You can read the article here.

Crypto hype remains red hot

Every day Business Insider puts out a “Ten Things Before The Opening Bell.” Yesterday’s included these four things:

2. Carl Icahn says he may pour more than $1 billion into cryptocurrencies. But the former bitcoin skeptic predicts many digital assets won’t survive.

3. Apple hints at an interest in crypto. The iPhone maker is looking to hire a crypto-savvy business development manager, according to a new job ad.

4. Ripple is likely to go public once its SEC lawsuit is resolved. The regulator alleges that Ripple participated in an unregistered securities offering.

5. PayPal allows users to withdraw cryptocurrencies to third-party wallets. The new feature also applies to Venmo, PayPal’s payments service.

9. Meet the 11 crypto masterminds at Wall Street firms like JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley. We interviewed each of them about how they’re helping clients understand the mania — and successfully invest in it.

Today’s included:
2. Cathie Wood says Elon Musk will eventually prove positive for bitcoin. She predicted central banks will begin adding crypto to their balance sheets.

3. Bitcoin’s use in crime is a bizarre regulatory concern, Nic Carter says. Data shows the dollar is used far more often for illegal purposes than bitcoin, the crypto fund co-founder said.

4. Fidelity and Skybridge Capital’s bitcoin ETFs are under SEC review. A decision on asset manager VanEck’s application is expected in June.

8. A ‘dogecoin millionaire’ explains why the recent drop does not shake his bullishness in the meme coin. Glauber Contessoto also shares his advice for new buyers.

9. A crypto expert discusses how to avoid getting caught up in Reddit-fueled hype that can cost you millions of dollars. Scott Morgan also shares his top tips for picking worthwhile NFTs in a landscape littered with scams.

10. NYC real-estate heir Kent Swig is planning a $6 billion cryptocurrency offering. But the venture is But the venture is tied to a mining company that has been accused of wrongdoing.

I bought some GBTC. It fell. I sold it.

My first flight in a  year was Alaska Airlines on Wednesday night


+ Airports are awful. Noisy and amazingly crowded.

+ There are Covid Rules on the plane. And the stew endlessly repeats them over the PA. Volume is up so high even I had to cover my ears.

+ We had a “medical emergency” on the plane. It may have been resolved. But they never told us. It made me uncomfortable. Am I about to develop rabies? Is my nose about to fall off? Who knows?

+ GoGoInFlight WiFi is erratic and way overpriced. I resisted the temptation to waste my money.

+ Free Airport WiFi is also unreliable. Far better to use the Hotspot Connection on your cell phone. It works more reliably and is more difficult to hack than open airport WiFi. There are people sitting in airports searching the traffic for ways to get into your bank account.

+ Jet lag is an issue when you get older. Standards fixes are sleeping, exercise and sun. I eschew pills.

The shortages must be easing

My new laptop was scheduled for November 9. Now it’s coming mid-June. Tennis balls are in plentiful supply. Lumber prices are easing.

It’s a long weekend

Time to enjoy the grandkids and smell the roses. It’s the Rose City. I found this one outside Peter’s Portland house yesterday.

Our stocks are doing well. Today’s biggest gainers (for me) include (in descending order) NVDA, AMZN, CRM, HUBS, ADBE, PYPL, ZTS, and TSM.

Take time out this weekend to back your files up — to several flash drives, hard discs, etc. — anything that’s nowhere near the Internet.

Don’t get caught up in bitcoin. Watch it as phenomenon. Not something you want to have your life savings in. God Forbid. Bitcoin is down today.

See you next week — Harry Newton