Thursday, January 21, 2010

A spin on the old email phishing/scam?

Earlier this week, I received a SMS on my mobile phone telling me:

Thank your star! Your mobile number have won 1Million USD in FIFA 2010 GAME OF LIFE PROMO; for claims e-mail or call +447-024-036-835

The originating number showed up as: +2347056318188

This had me intrigued. I have been lucky enough to win many many wonderful prizes over the years where the very considerate organisers/promoters have been kind enough to contact me (in some cases persistently hound me) and advise me of my win. I have won trips to Florida, several million dollars (and counting) from various things, mobile phones, a villa by the sea, a Mercedes-Benz, and the list goes on and on.

I also had a rather rich Uncle (who I never knew about but he has the same surname as me) who passed away in the UK not too long ago, and he left me a small fortune as well. His very able lawyers engaged a very efficient agent to hunt me down so that I could claim my inheritance. How wonderful of them. I also had a colleague from my former regiment who died in an unfortunate accident who also left me a large part of his final will and testament. I cannot quite recall this colleague in question, and the unit he belonged to does not exist, but never mind all that. Then I have all those nice Bankers/Oil Company employees and Widows/Children of famous leaders from Africa paying me a handsome percentage to transfer funds for them. My Bank could not be any happier, what with all the money they are making from comissions and fees on the foreign exchange. is good when you are in such demand, but I digress.....I wonder if I sound a tad sarcastic in this paragraph? :)

Anyway, so I thought I would investigate the SMS a bit more. First I called +447-024-036-835. The number would not connect - +447 is not a valid country code. But if I re-arrange the numbers as +44-702-403-6835 then this is in the UK. I looked up the number on UK Phone Information and that indicates this is a "personal number" that is likely to be in service. This general range of UK numbers 702-xxx-xxxx are often set up as a UK number that forwards to just about anywhere in the world.

Then I called +2347056318188 and that connected. +234 is Nigeria but what I found interesting is that the call was answered by someone with an obvious East Asian accent. I am not entirely convinced the call was actually answered in Nigeria, but rather perhaps via VoIP it terminated elsewhere, after landing in Nigeria. Need to investigate more perhaps.

Then I had a look at the email address. Our friends at Robtex gave me the following information about "":

Summary is delegated to six nameservers, however all six delegated nameservers are missing in the zone and six other nameservers are listed instead. There are six duplicated IP numbers. Some of them are on the same IP network. Incoming mail for is handled by one mailserver having a total of two IP numbers. They are on the same IP network. has one IP number.,,,, and at least 16 other hosts point to the same IP.,,,, and at least 14 other hosts share nameservers with this domain.,,,, and at least 32 other hosts are subdomains to this hostname. is ranked #367332 world wide and is hosted on a server in China.

You can view the above summary and more at this link on Robtex

So, are we seeing a more organised and sophisticated level of phishing and scamming now?

From what I received and the little research I did, there appears to be a Nigerian link and a Chinese link. Add to this that I did not receive an email, but rather a SMS to my mobile phone - which is more "personal" and perhaps could be more "trusted" by a lot of people. People do expect email scams these days, but I am not sure SMS scams of this nature are that well-known (at the moment).

Educating people about such risks is very necessary, but there will still be people who will get duped. An acquaintance of mine from the Australian Federal Police told me not long ago that there are still people in Australia who are falling for the old Nigerian email scam, even though that scam has been highlighted often in various forums and media. He also indicated Australian citizens were not alone in this and other countries also had the same. I suppose greed often comes in the way of rationale thinking...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Global Innovation Commons

This is an interesting development:

If this takes hold and works in the way it should, the possibilities and opportunities are (nearly) limitless...

From the site:

What would happen if you were given over $2 trillion? That's right, if someone walked up to you and gave you $2 trillion. That could never happen, right?

In fact, that is exactly what has just happened.

While the patent system has been around since the 17th century when it was developed by nobles in Italy and England, it may surprise you that the system was designed to benefit you. Patents were supposed to be a public disclosure to advance science and useful knowledge. If someone shared sufficient information to teach the public about a novel development or useful technology, they would have a limited time (about 20 years) to decide who could use that idea.

There's some bad news and some good news. First, the bad news: For the past 30 years, patents have been abused. Rather than serving the public's expansion of knowledge, they've been used as business and legal weapons. Over 50,000,000 patents covering everything you do have served to keep you from benefiting in many aspects of your life. Many life-saving treatments have been kept from the market because they threaten established business interests. The world's ecosystem has been severely damaged because efficiencies have been kept from entereing the market.

In the face of all this, however, there is the good news: The thirty year "cold war" of innovation is over. Today, you now have access to it all. In the Global Innovation Commons, we have assembled hundreds of thousands of innovations - most in the form of patents - which are either expired, no-longer maintained (meaning that the fees to keep the patents in force have lapsed), disallowed, or unprotected in most, if not all, relevant markets. This means that, as of right now, you can take a step into a world full of possibilities, not roadblocks. You want clean water for China or Sudan - it's in here. You want carbon-free energy - it's in here. You want food production for Asia or South America - it's in here.

But here's the catch. We're sharing this under a license. The license is really simple. If you use this information, you must share what you're doing with everyone else. If you improve upon it, you must share your improvements with everyone else. And finally, if you use any of this information, you must reference the "Global Innovation Commons." That's it. When you take the next step, turn the possibilities into realities.