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Last night, at SuperHappyDevHouse at Hacker Dojo, I received an email through my contact page (hey, you, too, should contact me, send me a note):

Now, I've been backing a number of Kickstarter projects, yes. I have even received a number of emails sent directly to me from Kickstarter projects, asking me to consider their projects. The first time this happened, I thought, wow, that was smart, I'll reward that smart by backing his project. The second time it happened, I realized what was happening and thought, uh oh, crap, this is like the non-profits that spam the crap out of the people who donate to them, begging for more money.

I didn't support the second project which contacted me. I probably won't support any subsequent ones, either, unless I would have normally supported it.

So, last night's message wasn't surprising to me. While Domino is an odd name to be from Sweden, I could believe that. I have backed over 40 projects, so yeah, he knew to check Kickstarter, and had the numbers correct, so there was a person behind the email. There is something odd about people who back multiple projects, and curiosity was getting the better of me about why other people back more than one project (though, really, I'd love to see the distribution of backers to projects and how it changes over time, if you can see that "oooooooo! this is fun!" moment when Kickstarter becomes addictive to some (read: me)), and thought, hey, I could ask Domino as many questions as he asks me, but after his interview.

This could be cool.

Yet, there's always a hesitation, as there will be for anyone who knows just how fragile systems can be. When he asked me to contact him via Skype, alarms started going off in my head.

Why?

From PCMag http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385044,00.asp:

The Skype client for Apple Mac computers has a zero-day vulnerability that allows an attacker to gain remote control of a victim's Mac, according to a security researcher.

Skype was alerted to the vulnerability about a month ago but has yet to issue a fix, Gordon Maddern reported Friday on the Pure Hacking blog.

...

After accidently [sic] discovering the vulnerability in a Skype chat with a colleague, Maddern said he successfully tested the "extremely wormable and dangerous" exploit on more Macs but found that Skype's Windows and Linux clients were not affected.

The security researcher then used penetration testing tools and was able to remotely take over a Mac through the Skype vulnerability, he said.

...

Skype Limited, the developer of the VoIP software, is based in Luxembourg. The company was founded in 2003 and released the first public beta version of Skype that same year. Skype accounted for 13 percent of all international call minutes in 2010, according to TeleGeography Research.

Riiiiiiiight.

And this?

The email address did not match one normally found in Sweden, but, yeah, you know, people move, right?

Yeah.

No.

The odd catch is that the contact form was submitted using an IP address from Sweden. Lends some credibility, though.

Domino, if you really are who you say you are, contact me via Kickstarter or send me a valid email address.

The Skype thing? Not going to happen.

Comments

So Domino is either a really patient and tactical phisherman or this is legit. A lot of students from China attend graduate school in the US, and it seems like some may end up in Sweden. The e-mail is written in a non-native voice that seems consistent with someone from China, and his approach seems like such a surgical way to take over your machine when usually the idea for this sort of thing is to send out something far more generic to thousands of people and hope enough bite to get what you need.