Phishermen’s Friend: AI

The publication of the private data of celebrities should be a good reminder to us of the intentions we all had at the turn of the year. But not that motivated me to write this article, but some phishing mails I probably got from you. Also you are prominent!

Me, prominent? Nobody wants anything from me.

I’m afraid that’s thought too briefly. In almost everything that goes through your mailboxes or Facebook messages, there is also information about others – and if it is only the email address. Many of you readers also look after customers – the protection of this data is not only a matter of decency, but is also vital for business.

Well, then the bad guy just learns the email addresses of the others. What can he do with it?

Well, he can write her up! The email contained names, was it about orders, was an invoice included? All wonderful points of contact for phishing.

Phishing?

Damit ist -sehr verkürzt- das Ausnehmen von Dummen gemeint.

Uh, me? What does he want when he has phished me off?

Always money in the end. And the phisher needs access to the computer or mobile phone. This of course means access via the network (you don’t need a screen).

Sure, to get to my banking app!

That would be an idea – but it’s rather elaborate and leaves too many traces. It is easier to encrypt the hard disk to extort ransom. But it doesn’t have to be this immediate super disaster – it is obvious to spy out the computer for more email addresses and thus new potential victims. You can install a program that writes passwords of keyboard entries. Hijacked computers can also be rented – for money.

Who rents something like this?

If you want to send a lot of new phishing emails (say a few 10000), and want to do so in a way that the traces are not traceable, you need a lot of computers. It’s better not to attack large institutions with your own computer. Or to get bitcoins calculated…Is your computer sometimes so strangely busy when you’re not doing anything?

Hm, I don’t know. What do I have to do in order not to belong to the stupid ones?

Rule 1: Keep all your software up to date! On all computers or mobile phones! Even computers that are supposedly never connected to the Internet, if there is a network cable or a USB port. If the software doesn’t do this update control itself (like modern browsers or MS-Office) – check it daily.

Rule 2: Never click on email attachments unless you know exactly what will happen. It’s best to only open attachments like pictures or PDF’s.

But I’m already doing that!

Very good. Now rule 3: Don’t trust emails from friends per se! Are there any new attachments? Is there a strange link in it? Ask possibly back. And take the questions of your computer seriously (“Should scripts be executed in this Word document?”)!

Isn’t that an exaggeration?

Maybe, but it can save a lot of trouble. In addition, we will see much more really good fake mails in the future.

So fake emails? Who writes them all?

A computer program, probably even on an already hijacked computer. And it will use the latest trick of the programmers: Artificial intelligence.

Boah!

Well, that sounds a little dramatic. Mostly we mean “machine learning” and that is again just well done statistics and mathematics. To do phishing mails is, so to speak, what you can do especially well with AI: You design 10 variants with the help of the additional information and send them to 10000 victims. The variants that work particularly well are then (automatically) further developed (this is the learning effect)…

..and at some point the result is so perfect that they have me.

That’s it. But if your mail program is well maintained and up to date, it will certainly warn you – the good side hopefully knows the tricks too.

Well, then, three rules, that sounds manageable. Now I am sure.

Rule 4: Stay vigilant and disciplined, be honest about your own mistakes. Computers are better reinstalled when something dubious has happened. This works best with a backup, mainly of the data. On a medium that is not always connected.

Oops, you got me 🙁

Rule 5: Don’t get paranoid, we have to continue doing business, and our customers want to use their computers as well. That’s why it helps to invest 15 minutes every month to find out what’s new in data protection and computer security. And make sure that employees have not forgotten these rules again. And to think about the case of the cases…but that requires the GDPR anyway.

There are not only these 5 rules, of course, but they are some of the most important. Sorry if this all comes across as a bit masterly. But we are all require the Internet to work – and its really not so complicated. – Bob

Meet the team: Rakel

Hi, my name is Rakel, I’m 39 years old and I’ve been part of the PCG team for the last year. After graduating in Tourism I spent more than a decade travelling and working across Europe (Barcelona, Italy, France, Scotland, Finland). When I returned to Spain I met an association of organic farmers. In 2016 we set up a cooperative with online sale of organic boxes in which I managed the invoicing, the warehouse, I organized packing and delivery and I took care of the customer service, using PCG and Ökobox online for a year and a half.

After translating the software into French, I give telephone assistance to French and Hispanic companies that use it.

I live with my children, my cat and my terrapin in Granada, a beautiful city in the south of Spain. In my leisure time I like running, hiking, play with my kids and recently I started skateboarding!

PCG Webinars

Are new employees in the company starting to become familiar with the program? Or perhaps experienced users want to take more advantage of certain modules?

Here are the recordings of our recent webinars (in German). At www.pcgaertner.de you will find a list under “Webinars Aufzeichnungen” and the easiest way to purchase paying videos.

The webinars are arranged by topic:

  • Basic level of EcoBasket 1 to 5
  • Advanced level of EcoBasket 1 to 5
  • Accounting and order management 1 and 2
  • Article Manager 1 to 5

Access rights for PCG employees

There are different access rights for program users, which determine which module can be opened by which employee.

This functionality has been extended by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and at the request of the users. In addition to the previous roles and rights of use, two more have been added that allow/deny certain editing options at certain parts of the program.

The new functions were initially applied in:

  • the editing of sales locations in the Article Manager
  • the delivery routes in the Organic Box Master Module
  • the modification of the Evaluations of the Organic Box Module and
  • in the proposal types in the Purchasing Goods Module.

In both the wiki and the forum (both in German at this time) there are tables with access rights according to the role and the authorized permissions.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

We would like to encourage our users to take more responsibility in their activities if they use local servers.

We noticed that several companies had data errors after a power outage because the server did not have an uninterruptible power supply (the so-called “UPS”).

If the company has at least one UPS for the server, the problem is significantly less and the integrity of the database is normally maintained. The premise is always the use of an ADS server.

It must also be decided if the other workstations need a UPS, although the most important one is the server.

We also wanted to specify that this task, which can last several hours, is not covered by the Service Contract.

News on Languages and Translations

Polish has recently been added as the eighth language! If you add a new language to the system, the initial translation of up to 3500 word snippets is often not enough. That’s why at least one native speaker among our users always helps with the exact adaptation and long-term maintenance – after all, new functions are being constantly added.

For example, we made the internal translation statistics now visible in the admin area of the shop – this makes it easier for the language support staff to make corrections and focus on the texts that are displayed the most.

It is not only about the labeling of the buttons and texts of the shop – a large part of the information on the screen comes from the product data. Here the PCG system offers the possibility of maintaining product data also in different languages. Finally, the online shop can be operated in parallel in different languages and for different countries. Using different price lists and menu structures, this is even possible although there are different prices and VAT rates.

Tools for automatic, rule-controlled translations of article information or individual characters also help.

Meet the Team: Ralf

“I am Ralf, I am 47 years old and have been part of the PC Gärtner GmbH team since the beginning of 2017.
Before joining PC Gärtner, I worked for many years in an office equipment company in customer service. In addition, I worked as a robot programmer in the automotive industry for two years.
The first contacts with PCG were during my free time in a regional organic boxes business, as a part-time driver. Since then I have been responsible for IT and telecommunications in this business.

My work for PC Garden focuses mainly on:

  • Hardware and IT Infrastructure consulting
  • Support for the connection of devices for the PCG module Shop on the farm, the packing module and the PLU scale
  • Collaboration with the telephone assistance service

I live with my family in Glauchau (Saxony). In my spare time I like to go on excursions with my two children (14 and 16 years old) and my wife. We do hiking, climbing and cycling. In the family there are also about 30 rabbits, 7 chickens, 15 goldfish and 2 gerbils”

Last version of the delivery app

We are pleased to announce version 1.5.1 of the delivery application to end the paperwork in the delivery van.

For example, if an additional box has to be added to an order at the last minute, it will appear directly marked in the application.

Fahrerklemmbrett

The delivery app creates a note about a specific customer, it will appear on the top, highlighted in blue, so we hope that no item remains undelivered!

We continue to develop this tool, hoping that it will be a useful aid for the delivery man in his daily work. Therefore, we would be grateful if you could send us your suggestions for further improvement. The concept was designed together with Höhenberger Biokiste and we are especially grateful to the delivery men Ben and Tom for their involvement in the development.

This post was written by Leon Kleffmann and Sebastian Egli from bridgesoft.de as guests.

Customer Advisory Board

By the time of the PCG user meeting in 2017, we decided to establish a customer advisory board. This should improve the transparency of our decisions regarding development steps, establishing priorities and of course we also look forward to a better understanding of the challenges our users face every day.

We have currently nine users who represent a good spectrum of our customers, although not optimally (company size, PCG modules used or shops).  Interested? Further members are welcome!

This group has been meeting for about a year now, usually once a month in a telephone conference. Even users who are not on the advisory board can get in touch with them. Although the PCG team organises the advisory board meetings, this is a customer committee which can of course also organise itself to implement its wishes.

In addition to the topics that are obvious, such as the program functionalities, there are also many internal topics, from quality questions to prioritisation or personnel matters.

Current topics are the presentation of the support structure in the PCG team, the revision of the packing station and problems and implementation with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

You can find further information of the Advisory Board in the Documentation System (in German).

Meet the Team: Wolfgang

Hello, I’m Wolfgang, many of you already know me from the meetings in Germany as a PCG user in the company Reichenauer Gemüsekiste, which is jointly managed by the Wurz and Huber families. We have been working with organic boxes subscriptions for 10 years and since 2010 using PC Garden.

Since 2017 I also assist the PCG support team with telephone assistance and remote maintenance.

Blick aus dem Büro

 

Together with my family (my wife and our three children), I live and work where others go on holiday: on the island of Reichenau, on Lake Constance. In my spare time I like running, cycling, going to the music club, water sports – and as the mountains are not far away, skiing too.