MSC Newswire has taken up with Spark how a counterfeit email seemingly from Spark itself and with the subject line title "Dear Xtra Spark Email User” had been able in fact to make the transit of Spark’s own security-enhanced messaging service.
The issue was taken up with Spark in the morning of Monday May 8. No response had been received by the close of the business day on Thursday May 11.
Astonishingly while MSC Newswire was talking to the Spark official and referring online on their mailbox to this counterfeit email unwanted pop-ups appeared (see screen grab top of this story.)
Here is the email. Note the subject line:--
Dear Xtra Spark Email User
This message is to all Xtra Spark Email Service Users. This is a notice and update to our valuable customer’s that a malware was recently detected in your account system so we have implement Anti-Malware software removes and virus free. As a result of that our Internet Tech Support is currently re-upgrading and verifying your email system networking center to identify and delete all email accounts registered unduly. This will enable us increase storage capacities for existing users and create more space for registration of new webmail future users.
To finish and fix your email account system service problem as it’s always up to date, and stops viruses before they reach your email account reply with the following details to upgrade and secure your email account for best internet service supply.
Warning! Failure to reply with the above information will rendered your webmail account temporarily suspended by technical service admin.
The pop up on the user's online Xtra mailbox was peddling a variety of services.We contacted via a given pop-up phone number the service advertised. It was from an organisation calling itself Financial Services Complaints Ltd.
The person answering the phone said that they were called Jan and confirmed that they were in the business of pay-day loans. Jan said the firm was based in Takapuna.
This state of affairs follows Spark’s bringing “home” its Xtra email service which was previously run in association with Yahoo. The association soured when Yahoo was the target of international and well publicised email hacks.
Spark’s core security work was undertaken by a third party specialist security company in New Zealand.
Spark has been hunkered down since its Xtra changeover which has been characterised by individual Xtra users having trouble migrating themselves onto the new all-New Zealand service.
Meanwhile MSC Newswire has questioned one of the spyware scammers making a pest of themselves with New Zealand internet users.
The scam spyware presentation said that it was in a position to rid the internet-user's computer of a variety of incriminating material that was now deposited on the user’s computer.
The telephone number 09 8010 177 was identified and was rung back.
The individual at the other end of the line identified themselves as “Tony” and said that they were based in California, and claimed to be legitimate.
In the latest in our Five Questions For.....series we interrogate the West’s most seasoned operational intelligence officer on Russia......
Major General Peter Williams (pictured) is often considered the most experienced military specialist on Russia and its intentions. He was a member of the allied Cross Mission to the old USSR and this saw him for many years operationally involved in intelligence gathering within the Iron Curtain. At the conclusion of the Cold War he led the NATO mission to the new Russian Federation. Five questions now follow for General Williams:-
What will be the nature of the US-Russia rapprochement under Donald Trump? We are going to have to wait and see just how much free rein Trump finds himself to have. Clearly his personal outlook on the world, including on Russia, is coloured by his own lengthy career as a businessman. He is not a career politician or a Washington insider, but he and his new yet-to-be-confirmed by Congress Secretary of State will find themselves the recipients of advice from the departments of the US government, members of Congress and the US media, much of which will run counter to Trump's instincts and initial aspirations. It will all be about Trump getting better informed about the details of the many challenges to US interests posed by Russia and then coming up with a new, personal synthesis of the existing situation. In a nutshell, it's too early to say how Trump as President will react to the challenges and opportunities presented by the Kremlin, but he will stamp his own character on whatever redefined approach --possibly rapprochement, but not necessarily so-- emerges as 2017 progresses. And then there is the reality of 'events, events, events' - the unforeseeable developments that British prime minister Harold Macmillan once identified as the biggest challenge that would face any politician.
Will the trade embargo quickly dissolve? Almost certainly not. Congress seems much less likely to be in a forgiving and conciliatory mood where Russia is concerned than Trump may currently appear to be. Dismantling trade embargoes is not a simple procedure, not least where they are coordinated on a multinational basis.
Your opinion of the Russian espionage/hacking operations within the US? We will never get a clear explanation about what may have been the precise scale and details of the alleged Russian espionage/hacking operations in the US, but there is no reason, given the track record over many decades of Soviet and Russian disinformation and disruption operations, not to believe that the Kremlin has been seeking to take advantage of the perceived weaknesses of the Obama presidency, particularly during its dying months.
Others such as China, North Korea, and certain other allies will have been doing the same at the same time. The US, along with the West in general including far-off New Zealand, is a pretty soft target for disinformation and disruption operations. Whether any Russian hacking actually managed to affect the outcome of the US Presidential and Congressional election process we'll almost certainly never know for sure.
Where and why did Western-Russian relations go wrong during the Obama years? It is perhaps more accurate to describe what failed to happen, rather than what actually went wrong. Obama and Hillary Clinton sought to re-set the US-Russia relationship, but in truth the rupture went back to 2007 when Putin re-evaluated the relationship and decided that it had not been in Russia's national interests to allow the West to get too close to Russia. By 2007 NATO enlargement had brought the Alliance right up to the borders of the Russian Federation and now the threat of Ukrainian and Georgian membership of NATO was identified as a step too far into the cordon sanitaire that the Kremlin felt must separate the West physically from Russia. The EU had also been expanding to the east in a similar manner, taking into its fold nations that Russia had long viewed as Russian client states.
The 2008 Georgian war put paid to NATO's expansion - even if Russia's military campaign had been tactically and operationally less than flawless, the strategic result was clear: Russia had stopped NATO enlargement in its tracks. The final straw was the EU's active encouragement of the Euromaidan overthrow of the democratically elected albeit utterly corrupt Ukrainian president. The seizure and annexation of Crimea and the Kremlin-supported insurrection in Eastern Ukraine put paid to any chance of rapprochement between Russia and the West in all its forms, not least NATO and the EU.
Taking a world view, where do you see Western-Russian relations in five years? Whatever the situation will be in 2022, it is sure to be different from the situation today where Western-Russian relations are concerned. It is much too early to be able to predict whether Trump will actually launch a process that might deliver a substantive rapprochement with Russia. If he does so, such a rapprochement will not be without its risks, one of which must be a danger of fracturing the current common hard line that the West has been holding against Russia.
In the last year or so, sensing a vacuum in Western leadership, Russian strategy in Syria has wrong-footed the West. Russian military power has enjoyed a significant victory, which will both strengthen the position of the hawks in the Kremlin and will give a boost to Russia's state-controlled armaments sector, which can expect increased export sales as a result of the technology demonstration that the Syrian intervention has provided.
Finally, although I am by nature one of life's cautious optimists and I believe that rapprochement with Russia could be portrayed as a sensible act of realpolitik, it is hard to see just how Trump can deliver the re-set of the US-Russia relationship without which any wider Western-Russian rapprochement seems doomed to fail. If The Donald can pull off this deal, he will have confounded his sceptical enemies and will have earned the adulation of his new-found supporters.
| From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk | Friday 6 January 2017 |
| Napier - MSCNewsWire - Tuesday 22 Nov, 2016 | Just over a half century ago Henry Ford proposed to New Zealand prime minister Keith Holyoake a deal that would have forever changed the face of the economy. The deal was this...
If the New Zealand government would allow Ford to bring its cars into New Zealand fully built-up and ready for the road, then the Ford Motor Company, said Mr Ford (pictured at the time) would make New Zealand one of its key centres globally for the supply of castings and forgings.
At this time New Zealand was the acknowledged leader in castings and forgings in Oceania.
The problem the industry had was short-run production. There was not the scale for the long runs required to embed the industry so that it did not have to be protected, which it was, and heavily.
This was the height of the protectionist era. The Ford cars were shipped into New Zealand as kitsets, known as CKDs – completely knocked down. In effect, disassembled vehicles. These were reassembled again in the Hutt Valley providing immense employment and thus contributing to the reverse unemployment of that era. Too many jobs. Not enough people to do them.
The Ford Motor Co had seen all this. Now was the time to put forward the offset in the form of designating New Zealand as what would now be known as a centre of “ excellence” for castings and forgings components.
In the event premier Keith Holyoake whose operating principle was “steady as she goes” turned down the scheme and the CKDs poured into New Zealand for another 20 years.
Bank officials proclaim themselves “stoked” by disappearance of depositor protection.
In a remarkable display of modern financial marketing presentation techniques the cancellation of Kiwbank’s deposit guarantee is being portrayed as an advantage for........Kiwibank’s depositors.
The 14 year old deposit insurance scheme will disappear on February 28 next year.
The deposit guarantee was always an important selling proposition for Kiwibank. The reason is that other New Zealand bank deposits are not guaranteed by anyone and certainly not the government.
Kiwibank marketeers are slickly presenting the pending disappearance of the bank deposit guarantee as an example of the bank maturing and generally coming of age. “This reflects how far Kiwibank has come.......We are now a successful and profitable bank...so a guarantee to give customers confidence in a brand new bank is no longer needed.”
The grounds for seeking to convert what is in customer terms is a negative into giving the appearance of a full-fledged advantage attribute is based on the investment in the bank by the New Zealand Super Fund and Accident Compensation Corporation.
“It means the profits Kiwibank delivers will continue to stay in New Zealand directly benefitting all Kiwis.”
Exulting in this somewhat nebulous benefit the letter to depositors (pictured) devolves into street-language in order to express the full measure of its own enthusiasm for the disappearance of the deposit guarantee scheme. “....So we are absolutely stoked,” declares in his letter to depositors Mark Wilkshire the Kiwibank marketing head.
In the event the investment in the publicly-owned bank has merely diversified. The underpinning is now spread around additional public bodies in the form of the Super Fund and Accident Compensation.
It is not immediately apparent how this public risk-spread will reinforce the retention of profits within New Zealand.
The deftly presented transformation of a marketing drawback, the withdrawal of the guarantee, into a customer benefit underlines though the continuing and misplaced belief that all bank deposits in New Zealand are somehow guaranteed. This continues in spite of assertions, notably from the Reserve Bank, that no guarantee exists.
However the government-sponsored and multi-faceted and attenuated bailing out of the BNZ after the 1987 bust greatly contributed to reinforcing this misapprehension to the effect that all banks, notably the trading banks are covered by a guarantee.
In the event, the publicly-owned Kiwibank was the exception in that its deposits were, and until February 28 will continue to be, underwritten by the state.
From the MSCNewsWire reporters desk - Monday 7 November 2016