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  1. January is my birth month and 2019 is when I had to renew my Panamanian drivers license. Visited a lab here in Boquete for blood test. Then two days later, with blood result information in hand, went to doctor office for a physical exam and memory test. (At my age this exam has to be done by an internalist or gerontologist). Dra Díaz issued the “results” letter which I took to the licensing office the following day. (Glucose and blood pressure reading seem to be the primary criteria for consideration for license.) Also remembered to take copy of my cedula — instead of paying 10 cents for a copy at licensing office).

    The staff at the ATTT (Transito Y Transporte) office which is located in Chiriqui Mall (near PriceSmart) was polite and efficient. All instructions were in Spanish. I had to ask one female employee to repeat her information because I couldn’t be sure I had understood her very rapid Spanish!

    Passed all hearing and visual tests. Process was completed and license issued in less than 20 minutes from time we entered the building. With my jubilado discount, the cost was $16.00. 

    A happy experience.

  2. Great vacation. The best part was visiting three countries in one day. The last snow I was in was 1978. Baga, Northern Spain is a medieval time pueblo, Ax-Les-Thermes (Ax-les-Thermes is a commune in the Ariège department in the Occitanie region of south-western France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Axéens or Axéennes), Andorra, (Andorra is a tiny, independent principality situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. It’s known for its ski resorts and a tax-haven status that encourages duty-free shopping.)

    Monserrate Monestary (The history of Montserrat is fascinating and started in 880 when a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains.)

    Sagrada Familia Basilica (Guadi Architect)---The Basílica Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a large unfinished Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. La Sagrada Família will take longer to complete than the Egyptian pyramids, which only took 20 years.

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  3. Tomorrow is the
    Get involved and show you care, each and every one of us can make a difference for animals ??
    Here you can check our wish list for DogCamp and thanks to Jardines y Mascotas Pet Store, you can get a 5% of discount for the supplies that you buy for DogCamp!!!
    Make a difference and buy supplies for the animals!!!! Tomorrow is the day!!!!!
    paypal.me/DogCamp

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  4. Twin Wolf Technology Group
    Latest Entry

    Today, September 28th,  news sources are reporting that Facebook was hacked affecting 50 million accounts or more.   It is highly recommended that you log into Facebook and change your password at this time.   More information on the hack are available here:

    https://mashable.com/article/facebook-50-million-accounts-hacked

     

  5. Keith Woolford
    Latest Entry

    This is a recent performance of Leonard Cohen's beautiful composition Hallelujah by friends Yella and Tom Werder, Yella's niece Samantha, and her boyfriend Seth Green

     

     

  6.  

     

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    Hola Boquetenos:

     

    Nutre Hogar Chiriqui is a non-profit organization that treats 40 severely malnourished children who are transferred from the malnutrition ward at Hospital Materno Infantil Josè Domingo de Obaldia.

    Malnutrition is a severe problem that affects the poorest sectors of our province.  In Chiriquì 40% of the population lives in extreme poverty with the districts of San Lorenzo, San Felix, Remedios, and Tole being the ones with the highest incidence of malnutrition.   These facts place Chiriquì as the province with the highest poverty and malnutrition levels in Panama.

     

    Our organization operates nationwide, but every Chapter is responsible for funding the operation costs of its Recovery Center.

     

    Actually, the Recovery Center that we direct boards and feeds over 40 children daily, supplying ever child’s needs of medicines, dietary supplements and education…and MUCH  LOVE.

     

    The main objective of Nutre Hogar is to save pre-school children (newborns up to 6  years of age) from severe malnutrition and the irreversible physical and intellectual damages that it causes in children.  A child`s stay at Nutre Hogar depends on the degree of malnutrition, but it usually ranges from 3 to 8 month

    The treatment of children suffering from malnutrition requires a specialized diet, adapted to the specific needs of each child.   At Nutre Hogar a medical team periodically supervises the children`s development, providing vitamins, medicines and other treatments until recovery is completed.

    Once the child is healthy and returns  home, we provide an educational program with the family.  This program helps in the prevention of other malnutrition cases and serves as a community awakening to other parents.

    To give you an understanding of the scope of our Mission…we need $25,000.00 a month to keep our center in operation.

     

    Every year we have a campaign in which we ask for cash donations and for products needed at our Nutre Hogar –Chiriqui Center.

     

    A.) September 10 to September 15 (Monday to Saturday) = from 10AM to 9PM…..we will be at “City Mall” (next to Costco)…….Cash registers by the parking lot.

     

    B.) September 10 to September 15 (Monday to Saturday) we will also have  persons at Farmacia Arrocha..the one at Terronal Mall

     

     

    We have hand picked products that are very  much needed at our center…so this makes it much easier for you. 

     

    This year`s campaign ends Saturday, September 15. That day we will be collecting cash in the main streets in David.

     

    ALL DONATIONS SHOULD BE GIVEN TO NUTRE HOGAR VOLUNTEERS THAT ARE DULLY IDENTIFIED.

     

    ONLY THROUGH THE TRUST AND SUPPORT OF ALL THE PEOPLE AND COMPANIES THAT BELIEVE IN OUR MISSION, CAN WE CONTINUE TO CARRY ON THIS LOVING WORK. 

    THIS IS WHY WE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR KIND DONATIONS.  HOPEFULLY NUTRE HOGAR CHIRIQUI WILL COUNT EVERY DAY WITH MORE HELPING HANDS. 

    PLEASE HELP US GIVE A “HOPE OF LIFE” TO ALL THE CHILDREN IN PANAMA THAT SUFFER FROM MALNUTRITION. 

    IN CASE YOU NEED ANY FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CALL JUDY TOVAR AT 6617-4122 or YIRA DE ALVARADO AT 6676-0541.

     

     

     

    IN THE NAME OF THE CHILDREN OF “NUTRE  HOGAR-CHIRIQUI”…WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP AND YOUR LOVE! 

     

     

    Tons of Blessings to you and your families

     

     

    Nutre Hogar Chiriqui

     

     

    Yira de Alvarado

     

    President

     

    judithtovar@hotmail.com

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Oktoberfest kickoff party, Thursday, September 13, 2018 at The Brewery in Boquete.  Starts at 5:00PM until ????.  Co-sponsors members from ACCBoquete and Club Rotary of Boquete will be there to sell advanced tickets for the BIG Oktoberfest event held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 1pm-midnight.  Come to the kick-off party at the Brewery for a pre-event party.  Music, beer and food. 

                                                         For more information email  Linda Hart @ lhart249@hotmail.com or Ralph Day @ twodays2012@aol.com.

  7. Let`s have an overnight “Fiesta” surrounded by magical nature in beautiful  “Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort”.

     

    September 20 (Thursday) to September 21, 2018 (Friday) = Celebrate Mexico`s Independence

     

    Only 26 spaces available (we need a minimum of 20 persons) = Rooms are “Double” occupancy. (first come/first serve).

     

     

     

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    Mexicans celebrate their country’s Independence Day with, parties (fiestas), food, dance and music. = The Mexican Independence war begun on September 16, 1810 and ended on September 27, 1821.                                                                                 

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    ITINERARY:

              1.)   September 20 the Tree Trek Bus will leave Boquete at 3PM. Bus leaves from where Banco General/Kotowa is. We should arrive at “Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort” around 3:30PM.

     

              2.)  A delicious Mexican dinner will be provided at 6PM. With dinner you will have a choice of a Mexican cocktail OR a Sangria.

     

              3.)  You will be entertained for 3 hours by a couple who sing Mariachi songs and some songs in English.  We can sing and dance along with them and have a real “Fiesta”!!

     

                 4.)  September 21 you can have breakfast from 8AM to 10:30AM.   This is a Continental Breakfast…with extra “huevos rancheros”.

     

                 5.)  September 21 you can do whatever tour interests you.  Tours start at 8:30AM…and finish around 10:30AM. You will get a 15% discount on any tours you want to book. (you book your own tours when we get there on September 20)

     

                 6.)  September 21 bus leaves “Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort” at 11:30AM. We should be back in Boquete around 12 noon      

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    This package includes: September 20 Overnight stay at Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort with breakfast included the following morning,  round bus trip to “Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort” to and from Boquete, Mexican dinner the day we arrive, 1 drink with dinner, live music for 3 hours, 15% discount on tours they offer.Extra drinks are on your own.

     

    Total package: $125.00 per person…double occupancy

    Please contact:

    Judith Tovar - easytravel@cwpanama.net   OR   Linda Hart – lhart249@hotmail.com   

     

     

  8. https://youtu.be/saMnGcMRVec

     

    Look how creatively using what is already there to combat dirty air and produce more clean air in Mexico City.

  9. COME AND ENJOY A TASTY MEXICAN NIGHT SPECIAL FILLED WITH EXPLOSIVE FLAVORS!!!!  THIS COMING FRIDAY MAY 25TH. 

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  10. Subject: EASY TRAVEL PANAMA - PERSONALIZED GROUND TRANSPORTATION AND SIGHTSEEING

    Easy Travel Panama - Personalized Ground Transportation and Sightseeing

     

    Your personal English speaking guide in Panama”

     

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    Jack Hanna from "Into The Wild" with bilingual tour guide Judy Tovar, owner of Easy Travel Panama.

     

    Easy Travel  Panama has developed a specialized "niche" in personalized tour and travel guide services. We offer packages that are specifically designed and tuned to your individual desires and requirements. Our drivers and tour guides are highly trained to provide first class service. We provide personalized ground transportation and sight-seeing service. From the minute you touch Panamanian soil our knowledgeable drivers and guides will receive and assist you in flawless English. We offer transportation and tours throughout Panama City and other nearby popular destinations. Our drivers/guides are knowledgeable about all aspects of Panama and its diverse cultures. We can customize Sight-seeing, Cultural, Historical, Panama Canal, Nature, Embera Indian Village, Train ride to Colon to see the New Locks and tour around that area, or Handicraft shopping excursions based on your individual needs and particular interests. Our drivers/guides, although very professional, are a lot of fun and very experienced working with international guests.  We have hundreds of totally satisfied clients and we are confident you will feel the same. Please check out our website so that you can see which tours you and your family would like to take with us.

    e-mail:  easytravel@cwpanama.net

    website:   www.easytravelpanama.net

  11. Historic 2Bed/2Bath Home in Bajo Boquete - Close to Everything, Incredible Views, Sleeps 6 Available for 3 Day Minimum Stay, Weekly, Monthly or Short Term 3-6 months

     

    Are you looking for a beautiful home right in town, yet very private and away from the hustle and bustle? This unique, one of a kind move-in ready home rests just three hundred meters above and overlooking Bajo Boquete within a brief walking distance to town and with an unbelievable vista.

     

    Our airy and light filled furnished 3800 sq. ft under-air home offers:

     

    · Two large bedrooms with optional 3rd bedroom, each equipped with three top of the line king size mattresses.

     

    · Fifteen foot vaulted ceilings, terracotta tile throughout, many custom ceiling fans and large screened windows with expansive views.

     

    ·  All rooms within the house are large, including the living area.  The master bedroom features an en suite bathroom with rain shower and dressing area with his and hers closets and built in dresser;  The second bedroom is the same size as the master with a separate spacious bathroom, also with rain shower.   Both bathrooms have great lighting, large mirrors, granite counters. The home is well-lit throughout.

     

    · Massive, fully equipped gourmet kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and butcher block prep station, standard sized double door refrigerator, coffee maker, toaster oven and includes knives, silverware and cookware.

     

    ·. The living room has a comfortable sectional sofa and 62 inch flat screen television with a picture window looking out to the gardens, mountain and town below;  there is also a work desk and an over-stuffed reclining leather chair.

     

    · Enclosed laundry room with a new full size washer and dryer.

     

    · There is a very large covered terrace facing east toward the Jaramillo mountains and Bajo Boquete with a six top dining table, party size BBQ, rocking chairs and chiminea   Enjoy beautiful sunrises with your morning coffee and gorgeous afternoons and evenings with your favorite beverage.

     

    · Beautiful gardens with old growth fruit bearing trees in season: banana, plantain, orange, tangerine, lemon, mango, guanoabana and fresh herbs:  rosemary, oregano, thyme, fennel, lemongrass and basil.

     

    · This large private property is surrounded by towering bamboo stands, a mature pine and eucalyptus forest, lots of pretty trees, plants, flowers and an adjacent fast flowing stream.

     

    · There is an unlimited supply of spring water - tested, fresh and safe.  Never run out of fresh water.

     

    · The property is fenced with a gated entrance and covered two car parking.

     

    · The home has gorgeous, completely unobstructed views of Bajo Boquete and the Jaramillo Mountains.

     

    This very comfortable, fully furnished and artistic home includes all utilities, cable TV package and efficient, high speed wifi.

     

    For 3 day, weekly, monthly or short term prices, please contact Nicole and Daniel @ Lavendergirl8088@icloud.com or WhatsApp: +507.6775.9485; we are available to answer any and all questions you may have regarding our beautiful property.  ?

     

    For photos, visit:   www.Facebook.com/CasaCieloBoquete

     

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    Dru's Bench

    We have a seat and it's kinda neat,

    it sits in the yard with a view.

    We sit out there in the cool mountain air

    and think of our times spent with Dru.

     

    There's such a breeze, and pollen...we sneeze

    and a moment of sadness wafts by.

    We miss you Dru.  We think of you,

    and those thoughts cause us to cry.

     

    But in our seat that's oh no neat, we can see such a beautiful view.

    The sky up high, and birds flyin' by, and happiness in thoughts of you.

    A hummingbird drinks from a flower nearby; a hawk squawks chased by a bird.

    The sounds we hear make us feel you're near.  The sweetest sounds we've heard.

     

    So cheers to you Dru !  YOU are the view:

    the flowers, the wind and the sky.

    We sit in this seat...oh so neat;

    You're near...so why should we cry ?

     

    We love and miss you Dru!

    Alison and Bill Brundage

  12. Dra. Chely is amazing.

    This was the day for Anouk’s check-up which included worming pills and rabies shot. Dra. Chely inspected Anouk’s ears and did a thorough exam of our dog’s teeth and mouth condition. All good news now, but Dra. Chely pointed to enamel lost because of bad diet fed by Anouk’s earlier owners. (Remember Anouk is a rescue dog.)

    Fur condition outstanding — shines. Dra. Chely asked what dog food we are feeding Anouk and gave immediate approval of our selection. Should mention she said “no treats” because Anouk is overweight and cautioned this is bad for her heart. Longer walks needed!

    Except for a weight problem (my fault because I am the “food lady”), Anouk’s heart, lungs, feet, etc., are in excellent condition. 

    Dra. Chely kissed our dog, gave her a hug and said to me “Anouk has a good home now”.

    Everyone happy and home we go.

  13. 3000 PSI, 2.8 GPM. 196 cc Used less then 10 times.  All attachments.  $800.00 obo

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  14. Well it's been a busy month in Boquete with Panama's Patriotic Holidays. More is to come. Our mayor announced the last two weeks of the month including this weekend will be filled with many cultural events. Beginning this Friday or Saturday at 5 P.M. in the main park, we gringos have named Central Park located across from the Restaurante Baru. There will be of Tipico Folkloric Dancing groups from all over the country and from other Latin American countries with the women in their Polleras (traje tipico). This is not to be missed!

    Another event taking place this weekend on Sunday Boquete's own Cabalgata (horse parade) riding down main street and to top it off hundreds of bands marching in Boquete town probably happening on the 29th. which is Independence Day from Spain. Wow! How exciting is this. 

    Remember to do all your shopping in the morning before 10 A.M. as there will be much traffic going into Bajo Boquete and in town, as well driving out of Bajo Boquete early evening and later. 

    Enjoy Panama and it's culture.  

       

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    The best body and paint shop in Boquete, and the only shop with a fully enclosed paint booth. We can make your car look like new again. From damaged bumpers, dents, faded headlights, to complete re-finish. Located across from Plaza San Fransisco (one block east and one block north). Fast turnaround, great prices, and guaranteed results. Contact Phil Hagen at 6464-0271

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  15. I am looking for an inversion table.  If anyone in the Boquete or David area has one they would like to sell, please contact me at mic1951co@gmail.com or WhatsApp 6623 4860.

    Thanks!

  16. Daniel and I are announcing the closure of Art Café. We thank all of our patrons who have supported us over the years, many of whom have become close friends. For us, it has been an act of love to provide a beautiful environment for the enjoyment of great food, art and music over these many years. It is time for us to move on from the restaurant life and, to that end, we're excited to introduce you to the new owner of our previous location on calle principal, restaurateur Gis...elle Young. She is the proud owner of Tre Scalini, an exquisite fine dining restaurant in Panama City. In the near future, Boquete will be fortunate to have the pleasure of hosting her new opening of Tre Scalini Bistro, which will offer a fresh international fusion cuisine for all of us to enjoy! She is in the process of renovating and remodeling so stay posted for the big changes underway. Here is a link to her restaurant website: http://trescalinipanama.com/?lang=en. We believe that we all will be very pleased to have this fine establishment right in our neighborhood!

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  17. So we are busy preparing for our show next Saturday May 6, and I was thinking about the types of music one can find at an assortment of great venues here. So, I just wanted to get some feedback from you all about the types of music you prefer: when dining at a restaurant?

    When attending a concert?

    When driving down the road or At home relaxing?

    When having a drink?

    When at a party with friends?

    So far I've noticed the music scene here near Boquete seems to be composed of mainly 3 areas:

    1. Jazz & Blues

    2.  Rock: 60's, 70's & 80's and Oldies/Pop-rock

    3. Latin or Hispanic Music: Salsa/Meringue/Cumbia/Samba, Cubano, Panamanian,Tejano, Mariachi, etc.

    Have I forgotten any?

    What kind of music do you prefer to listen to? What genre of concerts or shows would you like to hear more often, or attend more of in Boquete? Who is your favorite Band or Artist? What Band or Artist would make you drive to David for a concert? What type(s) of music do you prefer to listen to at Christmas time? Traditional, jazzy, new music, latin music or Spanish, hymns/carols? Easy Listening, country, singer songwriter or folk type music? World music?

    Thanks for your time in answering. I think this could be very eye opening for the residents and the musicians in our area!

    Until next time,

    All the best MUSIC to you! DeDe & Larry :)

    (The photo is of Larry and I doing a 60's and 70's show at the ROCK in the fall of 2016, it was so fun and there were a lot of us locals singing along and dancing in the crowd...!)

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  18.                                                                                  "Off the Beaten Path Trekking" 
     

    Explore, Dream, Discover, on foot with the best pioneer nature trekking group in Boquete. We have explored over 40 trails in this vast and beautiful area throughout the years

    Join us every Wed. & Fri. 

    This Week - 8:30 A.M.
    WED. NATURE HIKING 3+hrs. for Intermediate to advanced hiker, nature lover, photographer. We love breathing fresh air and love being outside! 
    FRI. EZ NATURE WALK 1-1/2 HOUR for Beginners, nature lover, photographer. We enjoy nature!
     
    We walk at a steady comfortable pace since, our primary interest is exploring, looking, admiring nature and discovering the unusual whenever the opportunity arises, which it has many times. Each of Boquete's seasons has something new to discover and to teach us about nature.   
     
    What to pack: during the rainy season (this year until December) need raingear., also pack binocs if you have them, water, sun block, camera, wear hiking shoes or gym shoes with good outer sole treads and hiking sticks, I have some to loan out. 
    Requirements: As always to be in good health and able to keep up with group, though as mentioned, we do not hike at a rapid pace stopping often to take in the scenery or discover something NEW. 
     
    For more info email jere chica @ gmail .com (no spaces)
     
    Slowing down and going on a nature walks/hikes makes one more aware of their surroundings such as the different spice aromas flowing through the air or capturing a butterfly through your camera lens or looking at moss through a loupe lens in the rain forest. Nature walks are an interesting learning experience.
     
    For more information and to be placed on the Boquete EZ Nature Walks master list email Jere McCormick. 

    See you on the trails - Jere McCormick

    Photos from the nature trails around the boquete District. .

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    Sandeep Lal
    Latest Entry

    Chef Craig Jacobs has been an integral part of our team at Seasons Restaurant and his leadership and spirit of culinary innovation has been supported by the Lucero team. Craig’s efforts in the kitchen have helped Seasons achieve success.

    Craig Jacobs has advised us that he will be moving to Panama city to create a new Thai Restaurant. 

    Chef Jacobs states that he "sincerely appreciates the opportunities and friendships" developed during his time at Lucero, adding that he wishes everyone at the restaurant "the best of luck in continuing as strong as ever.

    With any such departure comes the rewarding task of promoting a worthy replacement to the coveted position of Chef & General manager. Nadine Wilson has worked side by side with chef Jacobs and our team to understand and execute the culinary concepts and dishes at Seasons that Chef Jacobs has created over the past year. 

    Nadine, born in South Africa is a Chef and manager with several years of both restaurant ownership and kitchen experience. Nadine is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu school of Culinary Arts. We look to Nadine to continue the culinary experience that Chef Jacobs has created and to bring her own style and flair to our patrons.

    Sandeep

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    Dixie Swim Club at the BCP
    "The set is looking great, the cast is well-rehearsed, sound effects are standing by – everything in service to the amazing script by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.

    The Jones Hope Wooten team specialize in writing laugh-out-loud comedies and have been dubbed "America's Playwrights" largely due to their continued support of regional theatre. When Dixie Swim Club was proposed for the BCP, it was immediately recognized as a perfect fit for the fun-loving Boquete audience.

    This story of five women who reunite their college swim team every August – in a favorite cottage in the Outer Banks of North Carolina – offers a funny and poignant look at friendship through the decades. Tickets on sale now at Tuesday market and MBE for this not-to-be-missed romp."  Gabrielle Reynolds

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  19.             

    Sleepwellpanama.com

     

     

    The Tide of Cybercrime is Rising Fast

     

    While physical crime against expats here in Panama is diminishing, cybercrime is rising world wide. Losses from cybercrime may already be greater than physical robbery. It is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world.

     

    Cybercriminals are targeting Seniors

     

    Anyone over 60 did not grow up with computers or the Internet from day one. Many of us openly admit to computer illiteracy. Cybercriminals are specifically targeting this group, especially relatively rich North Americans and Europeans. The criminals include enterprising ten year olds cracking your passwords and selling you out to sophisticated multi-national mafia-like businesses.

     

    How to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime

     

    A good friend of mine in California, Larry Magid, is a top computer journalist who has made his career mission protecting children and now seniors from cybercrime. Download his free Seniors Guide to Online Safety. Yes, it is safe to download :)

     

    In the rest of this article, we will take apart a recent incident and show the dangers of being hacked, which hopefully will inspire you to take steps to protect yourself.

     

    The Anatomy of a Hacking

     

    In the last week many of us became aware that a member of our community was hacked and as a result all of the people in his address book were exposed to Internet scams themselves. 

     

    We’ll Call Him Bob

     

    Many of you reading this already know the identity of the person who was hacked and that’s fine. He is not shy about what happened. If you don’t know already, it isn’t important to our story. 

     

    It all started with an upgrade of several computers to Windows 10. 

     

    While the upgrade want fine, a short time later Microsoft pushed an Outlook update to all his computers. While most of them were protected by a commercial anti-virus program, one was only protected by the Microsoft-provided Defender program and this computer became infected. Although we will never know for sure, apparently the attackers were ready for this Outlook update and may even have previously installed malware in his computer waiting for it to happen.

     

    Lesson #1 - Some computers are safer than others

     

    People have personal preferences for Windows PCs vs. Apple Macs and that is fine. However it is a simple fact of life that 99.99% of computer viruses and malware infect PCs, not Macs. There are technical reasons why this is true having to do with the fundamental design of the Apple OS X operating system, which like Linux and others, is based on the fundamentally secure UNIX operating system, the oldest and most widely used for secure computing platforms. 

     

    The awful moment of realization

     

    After the update, Bob turned on his computer and noticed very strange behavior as his file folders first showed up as empty and then slowly came back to “normal.” When Bob went to his email he made the startling discovery that his entire email contact list, dating back to the early 90s, was simply gone. It was also gone on all his other computers, which had “synchronized” with the master list kept online, which had been deleted by the hackers.

     

    Attempts to recover his contact list from computers backed up with previous versions of Windows failed. 

     

     

    Lesson #2 - Bob’s was using a “free” email account. Free email accounts are not secure or private

     

    You may wonder why Google, AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. are so magnanimous as to offer you free email accounts. It is because you are their product. Every email you send is read for salable information, every person in your contact list is sold to the highest bidder for advertising or whatever (IRS, NSA, front businesses for hackers, etc.). They own your contact list and as Bob found out, once deleted, it is gone forever. If you use a free email account, make sure you have a backup of your computer and an exported version of your contact list at all times.

     

    There are excellent, secure and private email services available from Godaddy and others, but they are not free. They never store your contact list, which lives on your own computer. In my view, they are well worth the extra money. 

     

    Bob is now manually recreating his contact list by going through every email since 1995 and recovering the email addresses. Of course, phone numbers and physical addresses are just lost. 

     

    This is what happened to Bob

     

    Once they owned his email account and armed with all of his emails, they learned about his bank accounts, which boards he sat on and much more. 

     

    The hackers emailed his personal banker in the US and asked to set up a wire transfer for something in excess of $17,000. Bob’s personal banker (at the bank he used to work for and who knew him personally) replied that Bob would need to confirm the transfer by phone. Promptly she received a phone call (from Indonesia as it happened) that Bob couldn’t come to the phone because he was in a board meeting, naming the organization precisely. Fortunately the banker knew Bob and insisted that the “real” Bob call personally. When “real” Bob called with a foreign accent, she hung up and immediately called the real Bob and the scam was stopped. But is was very close. 

     

    Meanwhile the scammers undertook to send scam emails to everyone in Bob’s contact list. Some claimed to be Bob who was stranded in an foreign city and needed money. Others, which many of us saw personally, were legitimate looking Dropbox documents with a secure PDF file that needed to be “signed for” with your email address and PASSWORD

     

    Since the scammers owned Bob’s email account, when people replied asking if this was for real, the scammers pretended to be Bob and assured them that it was a legitimate email. If you fell for it, they then owned your email account and you would likely meet the same fate as Bob. Very quickly, Bob deactivated his email account, but it was too late.

     

    How not to become Bob

     

        1.    If you are on the Windows platform you have to be super-vigilant about virus and malware protection, since Windows is the primary target of hackers. 

        2.    Internet and email scams affect every computer user whether Windows or Mac or Linux. Phishing, the practice of conning you into providing passwords to fake web sites, is very common. For example, if you get an email from Paypal asking you to verify your password, take a look at the actual email address of the sender - you will find it has nothing to do with Paypal.  The same goes for websites - take a look at the URL at the top of your browser - If it is not something like http://Paypal.com, you are being phished. 

        3.    Email addresses and passwords are regularly stolen from companies large and small. The only real protection is to eliminate the risk by using long, uncrackable passwords that are unique for every website you log into. Let’s face it, no one can remember all those passwords, so you need a commercial password manager to help out. This topic will be the subject of a detailed article to follow shortly. 

        4.    If you think your computer has been hacked IMMEDIATELY if not sooner, disconnect it from the Internet - pull the plug if you have to. As you are sitting there gawking, the hackers may be downloading all your email or other files, preparing to wipe your computer completely or hold it hostage for a ransom. 

        5.    MAKE SURE YOUR COMPUTER IS BACKED UP - ALWAYS. Make sure the backup system actually works.

     

    Next Up - Learning to Love Passwords

     

    Having an easy and effective password strategy is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself online. In the next article, I will talk about how to do that without pain and show an entirely new approach to generating and remembering passwords. 

     

    About the Author

     

    Dr. Sleepwell, AKA Mark Heyer, has been involved in the computer industry since the 1960s. He has designed and built computer systems, written hundreds of programs, owned a computer support company for professionals working at home in the Silicon Valley and served as executive director of customer service and tech support for a national Internet provider. 

     

     

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