2020 Newsletter: 2/89 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meetings This Week:

Programming - Tuesday Jan 14th - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

Hi Team,

Progsig Meeting Report December 2019 is now up.


Go directly to Alex Wong's fabulous (and LOUD) Nerf-gun video showing the great electronic mods and sound-effects you can make to a Nerf gun.

Alex says:

“New blaster sounds with laser effects and Star Trek theme song. Arduino Pro Mini sends sound requests via nRF2401+ radio to a remote player with sound files on an SD card.

Meeting is Tuesday 14th January 2020, 6pm, SMSA.

I am away and Bob will have a key and open up.

See you in February.


Steve OBrien

Web Design - Saturday Jan 18th - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

Hi Everyone,

Our first meeting of the year is Saturday the 18th January.

Over the holidays I found a marvellous photo gallery. I have been busy converting most of my galleries. It is fully responsive and looks great on any format from a small phone to the TV. You can upload it as a script to your site or simply use the CSS and JavaScript files to create individual html files. The site is Nanogallery2. We can have a look at some of the software on Saturday. It would also be great to find out what everyone else has been doing.

Last year we had some discussions on what to look at this year and one idea was to look at code hosting sites like Github and BitBucket from Atlassian. Both run on Git which allows users to develop their software and keep each version while noting each change made. We can have a look at some videos that show how Bitbucket and Github work.

Steve South
Web Design Co-Coordinator

Meetings Next Week:

Tuesday Forum - Tuesday Jan 21st - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon
Digital Photography - Friday Jan 24th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

1 2020/01/04 - 14:00-17:00 - 04 Jan, Saturday - Penrith Group
2 2020/01/10 - 09:30-12:30 - 10 Jan, Friday - Friday Forum
3 2020/01/10 - 12:30-15:30 - 10 Jan, Friday - Communications
4 2020/01/14 - 17:30-20:30 - 14 Jan, Tuesday - Programming
5 2020/01/18 - 13:30-16:30 - 18 Jan, Saturday - Web Design
6 2020/01/21 - 09:30-12:30 - 21 Jan, Tuesday - Tuesday Forum
7 2020/01/24 - 09:30-12:30 - 24 Jan, Friday - Digital Photography
8 2020/01/28 - 17:30-20:30 - 28 Jan, Tuesday - Main Meeting


Tech News:

“Scammed by Easy / Net PC Expert? Here's What to Do”:

See the Infopacket article by Dennis Faas on January, 6 2020 at 03:01PM EST.

Infopackets Reader Jerald B. writes:

"Dear Dennis,

I was using my computer the other day, then all of a sudden the screen turned red and started flashing, telling me my computer was at risk and I must call 1-855-551-6777 to find out the problem. I was on the phone for about an hour and a half, and the people that I spoke to had a very thick Indian accent. They told me that my IP address was open to anyone who wanted to use it and I must encrypt my IP address for the price of $399.00, otherwise hackers would get into my machine. I reluctantly paid the fee and felt uneasy about it. That's when I did some research and came across your post about PC Network Experts. Now I feel like I was scammed. According to the text document (receipt) on my desktop, the company that billed me is Net PC Expert, though my credit card statement says that it's Nexway. I want to report this transaction to my credit card company, but I'm scared to death that Net PC Expert will delete all my files or lock me out of the machine (as you mentioned in your other article) when they find out I've reported them. Can you PLEASE help?"

My response:

According to the whois record for netpcexpert.com, the domain (website name) was created on January 3, 2020 — only 3 days ago at the time of writing. The domain is registered in New Delhi, India.

Make no doubt about it — you were scammed. This scam follows the exact same pattern and is most likely being perpetrated by the same idiots as Easy Net Experts, PC Network Experts, Smart PC Experts, Expert4Help, Live PC Experts, Informatico Experts, etc.

Net PC Expert / Easy Net Experts = Fake Tech Support

Net PC Expert (netpcexpert.com) and also Easy Net Experts (easynetexperts.com) are run by a very large criminal organization in India. These people are pure evil and will do everything they can to take your money — whether it's selling fake technical support, or by stealing your financial data and/or wiring your money overseas.

Based on my experience in dealing with this scam over the past 5 years, it goes WAY deeper than losing $399 for fake technical support.

Here's what really happens:

  • Once the scammers connect to your machine, they will tie you up on the phone for about an hour or an hour and a half, claiming that they are "examining the problem".
  • During this time, the scammers are actually searching your machine for financial information and downloading it to their servers, including bank statements, tax statements, passwords, and the like. They will use this information to scam you, use it against you (to frighten you), or steal your money by wire transfer.
  • At the same time, the scammers install multiple remote access backdoors so they can get back into your PC whenever they want.

The remote access backdoors serve multiple purposes, including:

a) being able to connect to the machine at a later date in order to steal more financial information, monitor your activity, record keystrokes, including passwords to financial institutions.

b) being able to propagate more scams by remote. For example, they will upload malware to the machine at a later date (without you knowing it) then call and say your computer has been hacked. This time, it will cost more money than the initial scam — usually hundreds of dollars more.

c) the remote access will guarantee your payment to them. If you don't pay, they will punish you remotely by deleting your files or lock you out of the machine. This has already happened to many of my clients.

  • All of the above will repeat indefinitely until the bank accounts are drained and/or the victim wises up.

Scammed by Net PC Expert / Easy Net Experts? Here's What to Do

When I connected with Jerald I found 3 remote access backdoors still active on his machine. In fact, one remote access backdoor I found had an activity log: they were in his machine all day long. Jerald also admitted to me he was using his online banking that same day.

If you let the scammers in your machine, here's what you need to do:

  • Power down the machine and do not use it until it can be properly cleaned. If it's powered off, they cannot connect to it.

In terms of having the machine cleaned: you are free to take it where you like, but please be advised that most computer places / tech savvy people have absolutely no clue where to look to undo the damage caused by the scammers. In one case, a client of mine took his machine to Best Buy and asked specifically for them to remove any remote access backdoors and malware. I warned him against this and he agreed to have me look at it. When he got it back, I examined the machine and found that Best Buy had missed 5 remote access backdoors and a keylogger, which would have recorded his keystrokes (passwords) and sent them to the scammers. In short: he was no better off than before he gave them the machine, plus he's out $150 — the price for bad tech support. You have been warned!

On the other hand, I am a senior systems administrator (view my resume here) and have been dealing with this scam for over 5 years and know exactly where to look and undo the damage — contact me here. To date I have found close to 20 remote access backdoors and variants used by the scammers.

  • Once the machine is cleaned and remote access backdoors have been removed, I will outline a plan to retrieve your funds.

Timing on this is critical, especially if you paid by credit card. I have a very high success rate in getting my clients' money back, but it also depends on the circumstances. For example, if you paid by check then you are going to be in a lot of hot water because now the scammers have the full name and address of your financial institution, your bank account number, address, your name, etc. That said, I know how to effectively deal with this to keep your money safe. Note that if you paid by gift card, the money will not be recoverable.

  • Don't answer the phone when the scammers call you back — and believe me, they will.

The scammers like to do fake follow up calls to make sure you're happy with their fake technical support services. This is all part of the illusion to make you feel like you've been in contact with a legitimate tech support firm. Here's the kicker: if you're not happy with their services, they will try to convince you to let them back in the machine. DO NOT DO THIS. In this case they will likely try to do a reverse refund scam. This happened to one of my clients and she lost an eye-watering $20,000 dollars!

Read more »

Fun Facts:

“Can you make a 44-digit prime from these numbers?”:

Last week's puzzler:

Here's an interesting little number puzzle:

Take the numbers from the 11 years of the last decade (2010, 2011, ... , 2020). Can you re-arrange them to make a 44-digit prime number?

The only arrangements of these 11 numbers to produce a prime would be if the last group of four digits were to be 2011, 2013, 2017 or 2019.

All other combinations would either be even or end in five — either way they would not be prime.

We can calculate the number of possible primes being: 4 choices for the last group x 10 choices for the first group x 9 choices for the second group etc.

That is a total of 4 x 10! ( that's 4 × 10 factorial ) or 14,515,200 possibilities.

Let's use the shorthand notation "10-11-12... etc. " to mean the number "201020112012... etc.".

Any prime candidates must now be of the form: "nn-nn-...-11", "nn-nn-...-13", "nn-nn-...-17" or "nn-nn-...-19".

We'll make four typical numbers (by just moving the -11, -13, -17 and -19 into the last place).

Checking their factors:

10-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-11 = 11 × 13 × 353 × 863 etc.

10-11-12-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-13 = 7 × 112 × 17 × 43 × 53 etc.

10-11-12-13-14-15-16-18-19-20-17 = 7 × 112 × 1,849,097 etc.

10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-20-19 = 11 × 1,609 etc.

That's interesting — they all seem to have factors of 11. Now, if we can prove that, we won't actually have to test the other 14,515,196 numbers. Whew!


Everyone knows the "add the digits of a number and see if it's divisible by 3" test for divisibility by 3.

Well, there's a similar test for 11.

Just a little more complicated. You add the even position digits and subtract the odd position digits. If that is divisible by 11, then the original number is divisible by 11.

Try it on the number 513,150. Summing 5 + 3 + 5 = 13, and subtracting 1 + 1 + 0 = 2 gives 11. So 513,150 is divisible by 11 ( 2 × 3 × 52 × 11 × 311 ).

The interesting thing with our 44-digit numbers is that this odd and even summation works wherever the blocks of four-digits happen to be in the number. I.e. if the 2010 is at the start, it contributes 2 + 1 - 0 - 0 to the odd/even sum, just as it would in the middle. The digits 2, 0, 1 and 0 will still be in the same odd/even positions.

So, all we have to do now is show that ONE number in the whole collection is divisible by 11 and we've proved that ALL are divisible by 11. [ That's because the divisibility by 11 doesn't change as you move the 4-digit pieces around. ] And we've already shown FOUR such numbers, above.

Therefore there are no primes made from rearranging the numbers 2010, 2011, ... , 2020 into a single 44-digit number (unfortunately).


“An Odd/Even PARADOX”:

Consider the set of all positive integers: { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, … }.

It is an infinite set of both odd and even numbers. Every odd number is followed by an even number. That's evens: 1 to 2.

What if we show the set as { 1, 3, 2, 5, 7, 4, 9, 11, 6, … }, that is, two odd numbers followed by an even number?

All the numbers eventually appear in the list, so we're not losing any from the set.

But look what happens to the proportion of evens to all the numbers: Two odds for every even. The proportion is now evens: 1 to 3.

Twice as many odds as evens? Can this be true?

And what if we show three odds before an even: { 1, 3, 5, 2, 7, 9, 11, 4, … }? Does that mean evens: 1 to 4?

What do you think?

For an interesting presentation, see the YouTube video describing this phenomenon on the Blackpenredpen Channel.


Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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