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Be a BroadSword Girl!

First Comics News - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 14:56

Calling all Female Readers of Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose!

You’ve seen the BroadSword Girl Page… Now BE that Girl!

Grab a Sword-Take a pic wearing whatever you wish ( except for other company’s characters- don’t wanna poke any bears :P) and send a nice big jpg (cause it may be printed in the comic and low rez just looks poopy in print) and send it to us! As a BroadSword Girl, you will receive 6 comped issues that you appear in and an exclusive BroadSword Girl tank top! WooHoo!

I make them up just for you Gals!

Behold the Beautiful BroadSword Girls from Past issues! JOIN THEM!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Gravelbeard’s Quest

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 11:18


By Lyndsey Stern
Loremasters
5e
Levels 1-3

Take your adventurers on a daunting quest through a dangerous, uncharted cave system to discover the mystery behind the missing city guards. Will they emerge victorious or become yet another group swallowed by the depths of the tunnels?

This fifteen page “adventure” contains one encounter. Perhaps a new low in Page count to encounter ratio?

A page and a half of read-aloud to get in to the adventure. The usual nonsense hook of THIS IS IMPORTANT BUT I DONT HAVE TIME.

I wish I could truly relate the map to you. It’s a battlemap of a 50 foot secret room with two orcs in it a two pits (containing oozes) in a hallway outside. Encounter the pit and then the orcs come out.

This is what passes for an adventure in 2018.

There’s an inn at the beginning with Mr I Cant Be Bothered in it. There are rumors to be had. All in fact based text for the DM. Why is it called the Troll Stew Inn? Not because “A bit of elf a bit of dwarf, a bit of human … just like a tasty troll stew.” No. “Troll Stew Tavern and Inn was humorously named for the fact that it caters to a large variety of different races all mixed together; much like a troll might make its stew.” In character adds flavor. It sets a tone. Sure, it can go too far and there’s a place for DM text, but in rumors? That should be dripping with Voice, not facts.

The text engages in explaining; justifying itself in a game in which elfs shoot fireballs. The pit is covered with a major illusion, etc. In fact, let’s examinejust one of the six paragraphs that take up three quarters of a page to describe the pit:

“Physical interaction with the major image spell effect reveals it to be an Illusion because things can pass through it. A PC that uses its action to examine the image can determine that it is an Illusion with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against a DC of 14. If a creature discerns the Illusion for what it is, the creature can see through the image, and its other sensory qualities become faint to the creature.”

It’s a pit covered by an illusion (DC14.)

Describe the pit paragraph. Inspect the floor paragraph. Viewing the pit paragraph. Fall paragraph. Ooze tactics paragraph. Escaping the pit paragraph.

There is no joy.

On the plus side the read-aloud is offset in a color box, making it easy to find and read, and the orcs try to drag unconscious bodies to the pits to toss them in … a nice orcish touch.

I was hoping for more with this. I’m always hoping for more. I’m hoping this is a new writer that just has no experience and has never seen any adventure other than the Adventurer League dreck.

This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is three pages. The third page is the only one that shows you anything, and that’s just some inn text. It’s joyless.
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/241634/Gravelbeards-Quest

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

BOOM! Studios Announces THE GREAT WIZ AND THE RUCKUS Original Graphic Novel

First Comics News - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 06:55

Discover The Epic Team Up of Wizards to Battle Evil in February 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 1, 2018) – BOOM! Studios is proud to announce THE GREAT WIZ AND THE RUCKUS, an all-new original graphic novel by cartoonist Joey McCormick (Adventure Time), with colors by Whitney Cogar (Steven Universe) and arriving in stores February 2019.

Red, a blind Wiz is tasked with finding the Wiz’s of the realm so that they can destroy the Ruckus, a darkness that is threatening to take over the world once again! On this journey, he brings together some of the strongest Wiz’s around, Bog Wiz, Sad Dad, and Feather Duster but soon they realize that their fate will fall on the shoulders of a young Wiz named Bean who is too strong, too hot-headed, and completely untested to be any real help.

But even if Bean isn’t quite ready to be the hero the world needs, Red must bring the young Wiz and an odd group of heroes together to save the day or the Ruckus will plunge the world into darkness! Now if only these heroes can find a way to get along…

“The Tower on the Edge is lit, the Ruckus has returned, and no one knows why. THE GREAT WIZ AND THE RUCKUS is a story about good versus evil as well as becoming part of something more than yourself,” said Joey McCormick. “Games like the Final Fantasy series, Earthbound, and Kingdom Hearts were huge inspirations. I always loved the epic tales that could be cut with comedy, personal stories and the relationships that drive us. Taking the time to get to know the full cast so you can feel the weight of their journey. With THE GREAT WIZ AND THE RUCKUS I hope to capture a small sense of that feeling. Even if you’re just a little Bean, through your friends you can do great things.”

THE GREAT WIZ AND THE RUCKUS is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ award-winning  KaBOOM! imprint, home to comics for middle grade and younger readers including licensed series such as Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Rugrats, Peanuts, and Garfield, along with original series like Mega Princess by Kelly Thompson and  Brianne Drouhard, Bodie Troll by Jay Fosgitt, and The Deep by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer.

THE GREAT WIZ AND THE RUCKUS is a refreshing tale on good versus evil, about working together to achieve your goals, and about the sacrifices you might have to make on the way,” said Whitney Leopard, Editor, BOOM! Studios.” This story is fantastic and it’s something any reader, young and old, will enjoy. Joey has created a cast of heroes that will find their way into your hearts, terrifying villains that seem too strong to handle, and an unexpected adventure that brings all these amazing characters together in an action-packed story that will have you hooked.”

Print copies of THE GREAT WIZ AND THE RUCKUS will be available for sale in February 2019 at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one), bookstores or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

PORTAL BOUND #3 preview

First Comics News - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 06:53

PORTAL BOUND #3

Mark Roslan; Gabe Carrasco – Story  / Alex Arizmendi – Art / Wes Hartman – Colors

Their Future Depends on Each Other as Aspen’s newest hit series continues!

 

As Emperor Atilus’ plan begins to unfold, Eli, Sybil, Brett, and Riley realize that neither Havos nor Earth are safe from his grasp. Meanwhile, Riley brings new information to light about the strange connection of both worlds that may destroy this already fragile group… if Sybil’s short temper doesn’t doom them first!

 

Aspen’s brand new action-adventure saga continues from writers Mark Roslan (BubbleGun, Broken Pieces) and newcomer Gabe Carrasco, with artist Alex Arizmendi (Edge of Venomverse: War StoriesSecret Empire: Brave New World) as they bring us a tale of two earths in need of two heroes!

PORTAL BOUND #3 is in stores June 6th, 2018!

FC                               32 pages                                  $3.99+

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

CHARISMAGIC VOL 3 #5 preview

First Comics News - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 06:50

CHARISMAGIC VOL 3 #5
Vince Hernandez – Story  / Joey Vazquez – Art / Jesse Heagy, Federico Blee – Colors

The forces of magic have returned—and this time no magical being is safe!

The Magic Harvester watches as his goliaths set out across the globe to destroy whole cities. Meanwhile, Hank utilizes the Druid Kelroy’s abilities to reunite with Sudana, as the group decides to make one final push to rescue the world from the clutches of magic’s most deadly being ever!

CHARISMAGIC VOL 3 #5 is in stores June 6th, 2018!

FC                               32 pages                                  $3.99

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Of Space Princess Machinations & Alpha Blue Gas - Venger Satanis's Latest Kickstarter & OSR Space Opera Commentary

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 06:28
I've had a serious problem for a long time now, my group of players is OSR & its difficult for them to get into some of the play styles of table top games that have been out now. Enter Venger Satanis's latest Kickstarter Alpha Blue supplement Alpha Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass... No One Warps For Free! Here's the problem no one in my groups of players play Alpha Blue & have zero Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Uncle

Yarn Harlot - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 00:29

I am never going to finish that sweater – I see that now. I brought it with me on the Bike Rally Road trip, the thing where we’re in the car for 3 days and stop every 45 minutes, trying to figure out every single logistical detail,  and while we were driving I thought “Oh yes, sweater, you’re a done deal.”   Then I realized that I’d left the ball of yarn  I needed to finish on the chesterfield, and knit socks instead.  Sometimes you have to give up, and I did. On the upside, those socks are almost done.

In the meantime, I’ve turned my attention to the fleece that’s been on my desk for a few weeks.  It’s a tiny little Jacob fleece, a weakness of mine (see previous obsessive phase with this sort of wee thing) and I somehow wheedled it out of Judith MacKenzie at a retreat, and through some sort of magic, somehow convinced her to wash it too. ( I swear I did not even mention that part, though should the stars ever align in a way that a spinning ninja like Judith might wash your fleece for you, I suggest you sit quietly in awe. It’s perfect.)  Tonight I’m going to start messing with it a bit, and break out the hand cards.

I love me a sheepie adventure. What should I make?

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

PRESALE: Irradiated Cthulhu Cryptkins Vinyl Figure (San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive)

Cryptozoic - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 19:48

He’s all charged up! Here’s your chance to own the Irradiated Cthulhu CryptkinsTM  vinyl figure created exclusively for San Diego Comic-Con 2018! You can avoid missing out on this extremely limited figure by purchasing it now and then picking it up at Cryptozoic’s Booth #115 during Comic-Con.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

NPC: The Non-Updating Elephant in the Room

Looking For Group - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 19:39

It’s clear by now that my dream of re-starting NPC keeps getting pushed back and delayed, as other projects, better paying projects unfortunately keep taking precedence. That said, I adore NPC. Writing it, trying new story techniques and styles helped […]

The post NPC: The Non-Updating Elephant in the Room appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

Twelve Quick Rules for Using Old School Appendix N or Pulp Novel Resources For Adventure Design

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 18:29
Long ago in the mists of time there were very few published worlds & dungeon masters were forces to rely on their imaginations. The works of classic authors were often the target from H.G.Wells, JulesVerne, & the long plethora of Pulp era writers. These  fields are still fertile& even more so because players don't read the works they claim to. Often when mining a book or novella for ideas Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

PRESALE: Ravishing Red Wonder Woman DC Lil Bombshells Vinyl Figure (San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive)

Cryptozoic - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 18:11

Red really is her color! Here’s your chance to own the Ravishing Red Wonder Woman DC Lil Bombshells vinyl figure created exclusively for San Diego Comic-Con 2018! You can avoid missing out on this extremely limited figure by purchasing it now and then picking it up at Cryptozoic’s Booth #115 during Comic-Con.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The OSR is what you want it to be!

Bat in the Attic - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 18:02
Just keep in mind when you read about what the OSR ought to be or ought to be doing that the widespread use of open content under the OGL means that the OSR is always what YOU think it is. Not what me or anybody else thinks.

 That the tools are there for you to show how the rest of us are doing it wrong (in a good way). Coupled with the low barriers enabled by digital technology, you can share as little or as much as you want in the matter you think best. Whether it is a comment, a text file, a full color hardback or god help you a boxed set.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Blocks for Flash and others coming to Office 365

Malwarebytes - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 15:00

If you’re a user of Microsoft Office products such as Word and Excel, you’re probably aware that they’ve been used as inroads for malware for a long, long time. But what about malware attacks without Macros? Sure. Macro malware for Macs? That, too. Malicious documents and spying tools? Danger, Will Robinson.

We have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that monthly subscribers of Office 365 are getting some new protection in the fight against bogus attachments and malicious files; the bad news is the changes don’t currently apply to standalone versions of Office.

What’s being changed?

Silverlight, Flash, and Shockwave are all getting the chop. If you used to run a malware campaign based around use of these controls, that won’t be the case for much longer. A combination of seeing these features used in rogue campaigns, generally low legitimate use by product users (when was the last time you embedded Shockwave?), and a rapidly approaching end of the line for both Flash and Silverlight means it made a lot of sense for Microsoft to bring the hammer down.

As the Microsoft blog notes, this alteration makes no difference in situations where the control is activated outside of Office—for example, placing a Flash video into some content using the insert online video feature. Still, this is better than what’s gone before. Hopefully, Microsoft will add more protection for people not using the specified version.

Speaking of which…

Help, I’m not using the correct version!

Microsoft has you covered even if you’re not a monthly subscriber of Office 365, though you’ll have to do a bit of the shovel work yourself to shore up your defences. Roll up your sleeves, set aside a bit of spare time, and delve into this help article, which provides step-by-step instructions to lock things down. Some caveats here:

  1. You’ll have to do a spot of registry editing.
  2. Editing the registry and getting it wrong can cause all sorts of problems. Ensure you’ve made a backup before touching it. Better safe than sorry!
What kind of danger are we talking?

Things like rogue embedded Flash aren’t just theoretical. It’s something we see a lot of. For example, here’s an exploit making use of rogue Excel documents targeting South Koreans via Flash.

Here’s the booby-trapped Excel sheet in action, complete with hidden ActiveX object highlighted in white:

Click to enlarge

From here, it pings one of several websites with a unique identifier, the Flash version on board, and the Operating System version. If the stars align, then it’s exploit time with a side slice of Remote Administration Tool to boot.

This is a pretty sophisticated attack, but there’s plenty more out there that are as basic as they come. Either way, they get the results they need to infect an organisation.

Sounds nasty. When does the block go live?

Microsoft has said that the block rolls into place for Office 365 monthly users next month, with people using the Semi-Annual Targeted Channel and the Semi-Annual Channel receiving theirs in September 2018 and January 2019, respectively.

Of course, you can roll the blocks back yourself if you really want to (is that going to be a thing?) by following these instructions. Warning: once again, this involves some registry editing, so please make sure you’re comfortable before altering anything. Of course, if you have a monthly 365 package, it’s quite possible you’ll have an IT team performing said edits for your organisation anyway.

What else can we do to lock down Office files?

Quite a few things, actually. In more general attacks, scammers will try and convince potential victims to give Windows Admin permissions to rogue files; when that happens, it’s infection time. By the same token, they’ll try everything to convince someone to click through a bunch of “Enable Macro” prompts in an Office file. If you don’t need Macros, you should consider disabling them as soon as possible.

You can also apply a little elbow grease, and think long and hard before opening up an attachment sent your way. If you want to play it safe, always check with the sender before opening up a Word or Excel document. Don’t just stop at email confirmation; if the account has been compromised, then of course you’re going to receive a reply that says, “The attachment is definitely safe, honest.” Pick up the phone if need be. A little caution never hurt anyone, right?

For now, familiarise yourself with the upcoming changes, and have a think about whether or not you still need some of the controls penciled in for blocking. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the response to the changes, as demand for applying similar controls for other versions of Office is likely to be high. Fingers crossed, Microsoft will take heed and widen the rollout.

The post Blocks for Flash and others coming to Office 365 appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Slavery & Savagery In the Darkness Actual Pulp Era Campaign Event Ten !!

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 14:56
Slaves are taken, double crosses come to light, special guest stars arrive, & the PC's get way in over their heads in last night's game session! Some place along the line my independence gene kicked in when it came to the OSR & the table top hobby in general. Last night's game proved this once again, the PC's flew over to the New Jersey facility of Turck Research Dynamics. This game picked upNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Super Easy Non-Slip Pom Pom Rug

Moogly - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 14:48

Red Heart Pomp-a-doodle is just too fun – and it makes a super easy DIY pom-pom rug! But crocheted (and knitted) rugs can be so slippery on hard surface floors. The Super Easy Non-Slip Pom Pom Rug has the perfect DIY crochet rug trick to solve this problem! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. Materials [...]

The post Super Easy Non-Slip Pom Pom Rug appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

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Categories: Crochet Life

Flip Through: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

Gamer Goggles - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 13:26

In this Flip Through join Matt as he becomes one of Bigby’s students as we study Mordenkainen’s view on different rivalries over the years and the monsters involved in those campaigns.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

This book is pretty much over the top!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On the week of June 1st in classic gaming

Hack & Slash - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 12:00
It's been a rough day, and I'm doing this late, so I apologize for paucity. I've also gotten some feedback about layout and discussion of products. A lot of this is balanced by the huge number of products that come out each week. It leaves me to ask, what's better? An overview of lots of different things, or a more in-depth highlight of just a handful (3-5) products? My initial thought was the former, but if preferences is for the latter, let me know.

Without further ado:

Highlights

Underground comics is finally out!
Down twisting passages, you’ll find dungeoneering dogs, slumbering giants, eldritch sacrifices, bottomless pits, brownie poets, and more!
I'm excited about this, just because of the artists involved. New work from James V. West, Karl Stjernberg, Jason Sholtis, Luka Rejec, Stefan Poag, Trey Causey and Jeff Call. Lots of exciting names in that list. I haven't gotten my copy yet, so I'm unsure as to the official format and frequency. It's 36 pages for 2.99$.
I think it's phenomenal for a group of artists in the classic gaming scene to put something like this together, but can't imagine the economics of it. That's so many full pages of art from so many talented artists. I hope we see more of it from the future.

Luka Rejec, one of the artists above produces beautiful work in the vein of Moebius. Really. It's actually why I hired him to do the cover of the third issue of Megadungeon. He's recently begun working on his setting, the Ultraviolet Grasslands. There's a free  78 page setting book he's put up. It's available here at DriveThruRPG. Here's what he has to say about the setting:
The Ultraviolet Grasslands (UVG) is a rules-light rpg pointcrawl module inspired by psychedelic heavy metal, the Dying Earth genre, and Oregon Trail games. It takes a group of ‘heroes’ into the depths of a vast and mythic steppe filled with the detritus of time and space and fuzzy riffs.The UVG is for referees, game masters, judges, players, and fans of role-playing games who want to run a months’ long science fantasy Marco Polo-style voyage across a weird, old world.The UVG is for any gamer who wants to mine it for inspiration, adventuring locations, odd characters, maps, items, and random encounters.The UVG is also an artbook knitting together my art and maps and writing. Yes, every nut and fault, from layout to lamarckian monstrosity, is my own work.It is also still a work in progress. The responsibility for every typo, every error, and every missing stat block, is entirely mine.Now, enter the silver machine.I'm excited by this. Alex Hakobian of Bloody Eye Games released Broadsword this week. It's got a bunch of art from people like Gennifer Bone, Eric Quigley, Devin Night, Gary Chalk, and Jenna Fowler. And it's about the intersection between board gaming and traditional role-playing games. 
Broadsword is an epic fantasy adventure game that seamlessly brings together elements from classic board games with elements from tabletop roleplaying games to result in something truly extraordinary — not quite a full RPG, but much more than a simple board game.Complete Rulebook - Everything you need to play the game. Just grab some friends and either a gridded game mat or a virtual tabletop and get ready to start your adventure!
Finally, James Shields is having a Kickstarter for some of his stock art, and it's pretty incredible. The art is designed using layers, so you can customize the presentation. It's a great way to give stock art purchasers the opportunity to get something individualized. But that's not the only thing: It's also a way to pick up a lot of related .pdfs on the cheap. At the 15 dollar level, you get 15 books, from role-playing games to modules to setting books. There's even more at higher levels.
James is a great artist, so I'm always glad to see more of his work.

So, yeah. I'm going to be checking that out this week.

John Carlson and his blog dwarven automata, handed out links to his wilderness hexcrawl tracker to go along with his dungeon time tracker.

Also, this isn't a new release really, but some of the things +Jonathan Newell is doing is just really incredible. I mean, look at it.
I love all the cool drawings.

Did you know there is a Glorantha comic book? I didn't. Prince of Sartar has been running since 2014. Color me amazed.


New Releases

Chance, a young classic gamer got some great art from Michael R and Evlyn M. and put together a new zine: Extinguish the Sun #01. Here's what he has to say about it:

Extinguish the Sun is a zine for fans of the Old School Renaissance (OSR) and associated games. This issue contains a systemless description of the City in Chains, a metropolis bound by the walls its long-dead yet still ruling monarch built around it, and rules for running a post-apocalyptic Mad Max/Tank Girl-inspired campaign in B/X.

It's 3.00$ Just for Evlyn's beautiful art alone, that's a steal. The fact that Chance is a creative force in classic gaming is just a great bonus. It's also available on rpgnow here.

Probably why Prince of Satar showed up in my feed, there's a full color release of the Glorantha classic role playing game.

Palladium Fantasy has a release of PFRPG 12: Library of Bletherad. Palladium products are a blast to read, usually. Also The Rifter #76.

James Spahn AKA barrel Rider Games released a 91 page art-free Swords & Wizardry streamlined adaptation called Untold Adventures.

From Raging Swan Press, we've got a Sun & Sand Compilation as a campaign starter. It's got 3 villages, a place of power, their desert setting book, along with 20 events/locations in the sunscorched desert. It's nice, along with a discount on the package deal. I mean, the individual releases have been combined into a single print volume resource for desert campaigns, which is both useful and convenient.

There's a book from Dancing Lights Press, Arcane Theory by Berin Kinsman, a 79 page book containing some ideas for story generation and story effects of different magical ideas.

Castles & Crusades has two modules and a setting available for sale. The Burning Firmament is an adventure for levels 4-6. Caverns of Ambuscadia is an adventure for levels 5-6. Both are written by Davis Chenault. Also, there's a bundle of the Inzae setting, a brutal land created by a dying dragon. There's some setting books and an adventure in the bundle.

Steve Jackson Releases

Grups Classic: Warriors
Car Wars: Truck Stop
Gurps Basic Set, Third Edition, Revised
Autoduel Quarterly #8/4
The AADA Vehicle Guide Volume 2 Counters
Gurps Classic: Undead
The AADA Vehicle Guide Volume 2


Wizards of the Coast Releases

FMA1 Fires of Zatal
B1-9 In Search of Adventure
Poor Wizard's Almanac II


Rumors

Is Yoon-Suin getting a second edition? Over in the official Yoon-Suin G+ community, David McGrogan asks what people would like to see in a hypothetical edition of Yoon-Suin.

The creator of the HMS Apollyon megadungeon is stepping away from classic gaming because it isn't fun for him anymore and he's maintaining his site as an archive.

He said "the 'OSR' scene this blog is devoted to has become a rather disgusting place where crass commercialization is strangling a formlerly creative amateur community" and I have to ask, do you agree? I can't say that I do. Not only do I make my living making these things, I'm glad I live in a world where I can get so many awesome things.

Would any of these great zines and things, these comics, these wonderful dreamlike works of art be made for free?  Is 3$ for a book full of Chance's writing and Evelyn's art "crass commercialization"? Perhaps its a question of value. Maybe people are less likely to create because there's more commercialization? It it strangling them? What do you think?

We will see you next week!

Was that an awesome list? It'd be great if you support me or tip me!
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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 11:00

www.knittedbliss.com

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week 5 tricks to remember important things. 9 commonly held beliefs that will always trips us up. Reading books can help you crave less sugar. Science! Stress, trauma, and abuse echo down through our DNA at least three generations, researchers have found. Well, that’s not depressing at all. So

The post Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week appeared first on %%www.knittedbliss.com%%.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

A conversation with America Geeks

Malwarebytes - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 16:00

Thanks to NeeP for contributing significant research. You can check out NeeP’s YouTube channel here.

Malwarebytes has written quite a bit about tech support scammers, typically focusing on new scam techniques as they arise with new threat actor groups. But sometimes our research discovers scammers who persist with the same techniques, the same pitches, and the same IP abuse, no matter how many times we catch them.

We first published on America Geeks (then known as Geeks Technical Support) in 2015, noting their attempts to use Malwarebytes’ intellectual property to pose as us and defraud their customers. After a series of takedowns and abuse complaints, we revisited America Geeks in 2016—still using Malwarebytes image assets, still scamming.

And lastly, in March, Malwarebytes Labs researchers found them again using Malwarebytes to sell their scam, this time targeting French users. We were content to continue publishing on America Geeks indefinitely, but then they decided to open a ticket with the Malwarebytes help desk.

In further social media comments that have since been deleted, this person identified as being associated with America Geeks, and was quite concerned about our 2016 post on the company. We did not follow up.

On May 1, our customer support team got a phone call from “Kevin Nash” at the “Better Business Bureau” who informed us that America Geeks was no more, and our 2016 blog post was causing problems for someone who had bought their infrastructure. (At the time, their website was still up and not at all defunct.)

Why the Better Business Bureau would serve as an intermediary between a defunct business’ CEO in one country and a tech company in another was left unexplained. Why “Kevin Nash” had an Indian cell phone number and a heavy Indian accent was left unexplained. We did not follow up.

He provided contact details that we have redacted.

“Kevin Nash” then contacted us as the personal attorney of the former America Geeks CEO. He alleged that Kunal Bansal of America Geeks was at risk of physical harm from our 2016 blog post, and needed us to take it down. Further, America Geeks was shut down, and therefore no longer a threat to anyone. Given the seriousness of the claims, we followed up. Here’s the transcript for three calls conducted with Kevin Nash:

Call one

America Geeks (AG): Hey, this is Kevin. How you doing buddy?

Malwarebytes (MWB): Oh, is this Kevin…Kevin Nash?

AG: Kevin Nash.

MWB: Okay, I’m sorry. Are you calling—are you from the Better Business bureau? Cause I think thats what the message I had gotten said.

AG: Uh…no…no no. I’m not from Better Business Bureau, I’m with the legal team with the company that the review is about.

MWB: You’re with the legal team? What company is it? Geek? Geeks? Is it…

AG: Yeah. Okay, so the thing is, that Geeks company is closed. Alright?

MWB: Okay.

AG: That geek company is closed. That business doesn’t exist anymore, and no business associated with that article that is, uh, open. Like we have closed that business. My…self called BBB because my friend works there. It could be that he called because I interested him to. And that probably…

MWB: Okay. Who am I speaking with? Is this Kevin Nash?

AG: Yeah, that’s right. My client owns this company, and uh…that company doesn’t exist anymore. So, uh…his personal information is there on that post. And uh, he got critically attacked by someone as well, due to the, you know, the information there on the post. People got to know about him, knows his business, everything related to that business, now he is, uh, concerned regarding his privacy, you know?

MWB: And What is your client’s name?

AG: Kunal Bansal.

MWB: Okay, um, I’m a little confused. If the company is closed, then what—were you planning on reopening the company? Is that why you want to get rid of the post?

AG: No. The problems of getting that post removed is that his personal details are mentioned on that post. Even the photo is there on the post.

MWB: Okay, I’ll tell you what. If you can send me, send me all the information in the email, and what it is you want us to do, I’ll see what I can do for you. Do you have a phone that doesn’t go to voicemail? You’re a lawyer? And in what state are you practicing?

AG: I’m in California. Marina Del Ray?

MWB: Can you send me the information of your law firm? And um, all the information of the client, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I get that information.

AG: Thank you so much.

MWB: Thank you.

Call two

AG: [Inaudible] This is Kevin Nash.

MWB: Hey yeah, I can hear you. You’re the lawyer for Mr. Bansal?

AG: Kunal Bansal. Yeah, that’s right.

MWB: Okay, what’s the name of your law firm again?

AG: USA Legal Services

MWB: US?

AG: It’s USA Legal Services

MWB: Okay and you’re out of, uh, California?

AG: Yep.

MWB: Do you have an address there in California?

AG: That would be [REDACTED]

MWB: Do you have an office number?

AG: Yes, I have office number, and this is my office number.

MWB: Your office number is the 323?

AG: Yeah thats my personal, direct line in office.

MWB: Has [Kunal Bansal] made any restitution? On the people that he scammed?

[America Geeks hangs up.]

Call three

AG: Yeah, I’m so sorry, I don’t, the line got blank.

MWB: Well, that’s okay. Okay, so was there any restitution made on behalf of your client?

AG: Well, uh, I’ll need to check once with the department there, and I’ll get back to you, certainly. And I’ll have something emailed to you, within minutes. Alright? [NOTE: Mr. Nash never provided any evidence of institution, or explanation of who he was checking with if the company was shut down.]

MWB: Okay. Uh, one other question. Okay, so the address you gave me, [REDACTED]. I can’t find a USA Legal Services at that address. Is that the correct address?AG: That should be [REDACTED SECOND ADDRESS]

MWB: Oh now it’s [REDACTED]?

AG: Talking to me like I’m some criminal or something…

MWB: Listen—I deal with complaints and I’m trying to clarify who you are. I mean, I get a phone call. First of all, the phone call stated that you are Kevin Nash from Better Business Bureau. Now when I call you back you’re Kevin Nash. . .and you’re the lawyer, and then you’re giving me the address for a law firm that doesn’t exist.

AG: [Silence.]

MWB: So yes, I have some reservations that I’m not dealing with a legitimate person. Your emails are coming from a different person altogether. They’re not coming from a law office. They’re coming from “Naresh Kumar.”

AG: I got you, I got you. I have a, let me, let me send you an email.

MWB: Can you explain to me why that I’m getting emails from Naresh Kumar, and you’re saying you’re Kevin Nash?  And you’re a lawyer?

AG: [pause] That’s right. He’s the person who’s dealing with me through Mr. Kunal Bansal. And the reason why you’re not getting any email from my address is because I was having him do that. Now I do have access to my email and if you’ll give me like two minutes, then…restitution is what you’re asking for? I’ll send it to you through my official email wherein I will have my company phone number, as well as my number, as well as company [inaudible]

MWB: What’s your company phone number?

AG: That will be 844-676-LOAN. L-O-A-N. [NOTE: Searches on this number returned hits for mortgage loans and student debt consolidation. We did not redact the number because we believe it to be associated with multiple fraudulent businesses. All websites with this number are now down.]

[Crosstalk]

AG: There’s an alternate too, it’s [REDACTED.]  Law.

MWB: Okay, well, if you can send me the information, Mr. Nash?

AG: I’ll send it to you from a [inaudible] email address this time, alright?

MWB: Okay. Alright, I’ll be waiting for your email address.

Digging into America Geeks ops

After speaking with Mr. Nash, we decided to take a look at how extensive America Geeks operations really were. First and foremost, he provided an Indian cell phone number that popped in Google Cache as a corporate contact on the site https://shopping4kart[.]com.

Passive DNS for that site revealed extensive likely tech support scams.

A survey of historical victim reports using overlapping phone numbers revealed the following business names:

  • America Geeks
  • Geeks Technical Support
  • Mark Software Private Limited, USA
  • Technology LLC
  • Blue Alpha
  • IT Pvt Ltd
  • USA Legal Services LLC

Independent researchers provided us with the following list of phone numbers used by the threat actor group:

  • 18776589988
  • 18776941838
  • 18882466988
  • 18883502808
  • 18884273330
  • 18884898307
  • 18885882055
  • 18886100490
  • 18886608571
  • 18887590763
  • 18887789143
  • 18887799348
  • 18889127011
  • 18889597430
  • 18776941838
  • 18558870097
  • 18446709167
  • 18886100490
  • 18445714235
  • 18887549063
  • 18889597430
  • 18887789193
  • 18552174635
  • 18882955166
  • 18882954668

[NOTE: Numbers are provided for historical purposes only. Scammers change numbers frequently.]

The America Geeks website was in fact down at the time of Mr. Nash’s phone call. But scammers frequently maintain extensive domain holdings to better shift operations when one domain receives too much attention. America Geeks make frequent use of browser lock screens, but also have a fair number of fake corporate sites to attract natural traffic. The domains used over their lifespan include, but are not limited to:

  • https://www.usatechnologyllc.com
  • http://www.usalegalservices.com
  • https://www.marksoftwaresystems.com
  • https://www.geekstechnicalsolutions.com
  • www.geekshelp123.me
  • www.geekshelp1.me
  • www.itechwyre.com
  • http://www.geeksupport123.me
  • http://geeksworld.co/geeks-support-for-epson.php
  • www.americageeks.com
  • www.geekamericas.com
  • www.americageekpayment.com
  • www.americageekssurvey.com
  • www.geekshelp.me
  • https://engenius-tech-support.com
  • www.geeksoftwareexperts.com
  • www.usatechsupportltd.com
  • www.rarebitlogistics.com
  • https://geeksfrance.com
  • https://officeactivation.net
  • www.itechhelpsupport.com
  • https://printer-tech-support-help.com
  • https://kaspersky-customer-care.com
  • https://comodo-support-help.com
    https://lexmark-support-help-247.com
  • https://best-buy-phone-number.com

[NOTE: A number of these domains are historical, and may be down or transferred to a legitimate owner since publication.]

Concluding a review of their historical infrastructure, we found tech support scam complaints relating to Kunal Bansal–related properties dating back to 2012. Although America Geeks’ website is down at the time of writing, we find it unlikely that their scamming has ceased entirely. Instead, it has most likely shifted to a new company name. Given that they had resources sufficient to target users in multiple countries, in their own language, America Geeks appears to have been extremely profitable, and we advise users to be wary of any new company name used by the America Geeks proprietors.

For more on tech support scams and how to stay safe, see the following blog, or check out our forums to report new scam sites and numbers.

The post A conversation with America Geeks appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Instagram story spam claims free Apple Watch

Malwarebytes - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 15:00

I have to admit, I’m not 100 percent sure who Elton Castee is. “Who’s that?” you ask? Digging around revealed that he’s big on YouTube, has done some films, and raises money for dogs, which is very cool. He’s also popular on Instagram, with 400k+ followers. With that in mind, we’ve seen a few reports of his account being compromised (and by “few”, I mean “absolutely loads”), and decided to check it out.

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A phony phone giveaway

Visiting on the web while not logged in reveals the most recent post looks a little different from the other selfies:

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A single white text on black background, which reads as follows:

Wassup guys! I am giving away 100 free iPhone X’s and Apple watches on my IG Story! Claim them before it’s too late. Love you guys (emoji heart thing)

Visiting the Instagram app while logged in immediately takes you to an Instagram Story. If you’re not familiar with an Instagram story, it’s a rotating set of images/video that you swipe through one after the other.

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Swiping up on any of the images redirects you to the below Apple Watch giveaway website, located at:

107128(dot)claimapplewatch(dot)com

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Please choose which Apple watch you would like to receive 

Once you’ve selected your preferred watch (in this case, some sort of neon yellow thing with a sport band), you’re asked to click “Confirm” and move to the next stage.

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We’re now faced with a series of text boxes so the personal information data input games can begin.

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Full name, email, street, city, zip code, and country are all requested on this page. Take note of the very specific wording:

Thank you for completing the offer. We now require your address in order for us to send you the item.

There’s nothing ambiguous there, right? Give address, receive item. And yet…

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Wait, “locating?” I thought you already had my watch? Why are we trying to locate one? I already gave you all that juicy personal information! What happens if there’s no stock?

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Oh, phew, it’s available. But…now I have to confirm I’m a human and not a bot, so they can “prevent spam,” because apparently bots have a thing for filling in their personal information and having neon sports watches delivered to their home addresses. If I know my Internet antics, this is surely going to end with a pile of surveys to choose from:

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Hooray, a pile of surveys to choose from!

In practical terms, what this means is you’ve already handed over a bunch of personal information to goodness knows who, and now you’re being asked to do the exact same thing for a third-party entity of your choice. Quizzical eyebrows were raised at the text, which states:

This page will unlock and ask for your shipping address

Because I’m almost certain we already did that a few pages back.

I suppose you could pick the iPhone X competition and complement the watch, which is surely going to arrive at some point, but from experience, we’d advise you to steer well clear of too-good-to-be-true freebie offers such as these.

Instagram lockdown

There are, of course, things you can do to help keep your Instagram account safe from harm. It’s possible there are additional security measures in place for a verified account, and we don’t know what’s happened in this case to allow spam to be posted, but some general tips for protecting your Instagram are always a good thing.

A strong, unique password, a password manager (if that’s your thing), a locked down email account tied to your Instagram, logging out if at a public terminal (or your own device, if you want to be super sure), and enabling two factor authentication are all great things to set in motion.

Any social media account doing big numbers is always a prime draw for scammers—from Myspace to Facebook and Tumblr to Twitter, swiping just one big name can result in spam, clicks, and even possibly malware galore for the fanbase. Hopefully Elton will regain access to his account shortly, but for now, try to avoid winding up in a similar situation to Elton, Alicia Keys, or anyone else struck down by a bout of spammy antics. Your followers will thank you for it.

The post Instagram story spam claims free Apple Watch appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

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