fix/tip : how to handle spam iCloud Calendar event invitations ?

Question :

Lately, I received some spam event invitations in Calendar and in my notifications, both on my iPhone/iPad and on my Mac. What can I do to get rid of them ?

 

Answer :

This is a very new and very annoying kind of spam that especially targets iCloud. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t have a proper solution for this problem yet.

While we are waiting for Apple to come up with a solution (let’s hope it will be an “only contacts can send Calendar event invitations” option or a White List or Black List option), there are some things you can do to minimise the annoyance :

BEWARE : do NOT react to the invitation by clicking either “Maybe”, “Decline” nor “Accept” as each of those will send a notification to the sender ! doing so acknowledges to the sender that your iCloud account is active and will therefore trigger more and more spam Calendar invitations for you ! 

Apart from disabling iCloud Calendar event invitations altogether (which you can do on the iCloud.com website), the best option for now is this :

  • in Calendar-app on your Mac, go to File –> New Calendar
  • there you can create a new calendar ; you’ll see it appear in your list of calendars and name it something like “Spam” (or “Trash” or something alike)
  • then look up the spam Calendar entry in your Calendar and right-click on it
  • in the popup-list that appears, select Calendar –> Spam
  • now it will be in your Spam calendar
  • in the list of calendars (on the left) you can now uncheck the Spam calendar to hide this spam event from view
  • now, right-click on the “Spam” name in the list of calendars (on the left)
  • in the popup-list that appears, click on “Get Info”
  • in the pulldown-window that appears, put a checkmark at “Ignore alerts” and click “OK”
  • note : even though it’s annoying, learn to live (for now) with the fact that the spam event invitation will still be listed in your list of Calendar event invitations… if you accidentally clicked on it, click outside the popup-window to close it, do NOT click “Maybe”, “Decline” or “Accept” ! …and yes, the number-badge on your event inbox is annoying and confusing…
  • then, if you see a notification popup floating above your Desktop top right, click on “Close”, to make it go away… do NOT click “Accept” !
  • then, on your iPhone (and/or iPad), open the Calendar-app and click on “Calendars” (bottom middle, between “Today” and “Inbox”)
  • in the Calendars screen that opens, under ICLOUD, find your spam calendar (listed as “Spam” or whatever you named it)
  • first, uncheck the checkmark in front of it (to make the spam calendar invisible)
  • then click on the “i” (info) icon behind it
  • in the Edit Calendar screen that opens, scroll down, and make sure that at NOTIFICATIONS, the switch at “Event Alerts” is OFF
  • then click “Done” to save and exit and click “Done” again to also exit the next screen

Now if you get new spam event invitations, put them in your spam calendar to make them invisible also :

  • either [1] on your iPhone (or iPad) : look up the spam event in your calendar (not in your Inbox), it will be a greyed-out event, click on it and in the next screen (“Event Details”) at “Calendar” set it to “Spam” (or whatever you named your spam calendar)
  • or [2] on your Mac : look up the spam event in your calendar (not in your Event Inbox, nor in your Notifications), it will be a greyed-out event, right-click on it, then set Calendar to “Spam” (or whatever you named your spam calendar)

If you really want to get rid of all spam events, spam event badges and spam event notifications you can also completely delete your spam calendar, by doing this :

  • either [1] on your iPhone (or iPad) : in Calendar-app, click on “Calendars” (bottom middle) and in the next screen (“Calendars”) at “Spam” click on the “i” (info) icon ; then in the next screen (“Edit Calendar”), scroll down and click on “Delete Calendar”
  • or [2] on your Mac : in Calendar-app click on “Calendars” until the list of your calendars appears at the left, then go to “Spam”, right-click on it and select “Delete” from the popup-list

That’s it…

However : if you only get very few spam event invitations, you can delete the “Spam” calendar each time, but if you frequently get spam event invitations that will cost you too much time, don’t bother doing it each and every time…

Good Luck !

Let’s hope Apple comes up with a proper solution soon 😉

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BEWARE : these dangerous USB chargers are prohibited by Dutch authorities immediately

BEWARE !

This spring (2016), Dutch authorities have tested 230V USB chargers for electronic devices like iPhones and iPads. And the results are alarming : of the 41 chargers tested, 10 have tested ‘high risk of fire, explosion and injury’ (most of these were cheap unbranded USB-chargers) and another 14 have tested ‘dangerous because of missing safety documentation’ (these even included USB-chargers by Sony, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia). All these 24 USB-chargers have been banned from the Dutch market immediately, and selling these is now prohibited.

PLEASE BEWARE !

As you may already have purchased one of these dangerous USB-chargers, be sure to check the list below and compare with the USB-chargers within your household. If you find one, stop using it immediately !

The full list [with pictures] of USB-chargers tested can be found here (Google-translated into English) :

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.inspectieresultaten.nvwa.nl%2Fproductonderzoek%2Fusb-laders%3Fsort_bef_combine%3Dweight%2BDESC

GREEN label = tested okay (no safety risk)

YELLOW label = dangerous because of missing documentation (safety risk)

RED label = hazardous (high safety risk)

 

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BEWARE : phone scam unknown caller call back

!! BEWARE !!

today I got an extremely short call from an unknown caller, it was hung up before I was even able to answer it…

as the phone no. displayed was in an unknown format, I was immediately hesitant to pick up or call back…

when I looked in the list of recent calls, there was a number displayed starting with “+228” and the label my iPhone automatically put on it was “Togo”… as in the country… I don’t know anyone living there…

this obviously is the sort of phone scam that has been all over the news lately : you get a phone call from an unknown phone no. which is hung up before you can answer… if you let it go, you will keep getting calls from this same number, it keeps stalking you… if you call back, you will hear a phone ringing sound as if your waiting for them to pick up, but you’re listening to a recording… and your call has already been picked up by a computer connecting you to an extremely expensive service line… by the time you decide to hang up, you will already have spend enough time on that for them to charge you an exorbitantly high phone bill… !!!!

don’t call back !!

instead, Block This Caller on your iPhone immediately, as outlined in my other post here :

https://macmanus.nl/2016/04/24/fixed-how-to-block-caller-on-iphone/

so BEWARE ! and don’t let yourself be fooled or mislead by this eMail scam !

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Beware : “Damaged message was restored” phishing scam eMail

! BEWARE !

today I got an eMail from Google Administration, stating “Damaged message was restored and re-sent to you”,

on my Mac this was immediately recognizable as a Junk-message (or rather : a Phishing Scam-message), as you can see in the picture below.

DamagedMessage-fakemail

so BEWARE ! and don’t let yourself be fooled or mislead by this eMail scam !

Beware : Home Video Library phishing scam eMail

! BEWARE !

today I got an eMail from Home Video Library, stating “Your video is successfully published”,

on my Mac this was immediately recognizable as a Junk-message (or rather : a Phishing Scam-message), as you can see in the picture below, but on my iPhone that wasn’t so easy to figure out… it was mainly the fact that I haven’t used Picasa in ages that made all alert bells ring in this case… and the fact that I’ve never heard of a company or service called Home Video Library raised more suspiciousness…homevideolibrary_scam…so BEWARE !

Note : this scam eMail comes in various versions, there are similar ones pretending to be from Picasa Library. More info on that can be found here.

tip : make sure your TimeMachine-update is useable

Question :

While doing a regular check on my Mac with Disk Utility, it just informed me that I have a potential hardware failure, should save a many data as I can and reinstall.

So I was planning on doing a TimeMachine-backup and disk-reformat, followed by a clean install of OSX and copy-back from TimeMachine.

But… I recently found reports on a bug in TimeMachine, that might prevent TimeMachine from recognizing the latest backup…

Is there a way to make sure that my latest TimeMachine-backup is useable ?

 

Answer :

This bug seems to occur with unfinished TimeMachine-backups, either due to disconnection, unplugging or switching from WiFi to Ethernet or vice-versa…

As with all things in life, nothing is 100% sure or secure…

But if you want near-100% assurance that your latest TimeMachine-backup will work after a ‘clean install’, do this :

– make sure your Mac is connected to your TimeMachine-backup-disk in only one way, so if it’s an external harddisk disconnect the Ethernet-network cable and set AirPort/Wifi to OFF, to have the connection ‘only via USB’ or ‘only via FireWire’ and if your TimeMachine-backup-disk is a NAS or TimeCapsule, disconnect from AirPort/WiFi (and preferably connect the Ethernet-cable from the NAS or TimeCapsule straight into your Mac, and if possible, stop all other network-connections over Ethernet, by disconnecting all cables, and shutting down AirPort/WiFi) to have the connection ‘only via Ethernet’

– do a new “Back Up Now” in TimeMachine, and make sure it finishes completely before you do anything else (preferably, shut down all other apps before backing up also)

– then startup the Migration Assistant-app (from the Utilities folder in the Applications folder), and type your Mac’s administrator-password when asked

– in the first window, select “From a Mac, Time Machine Backup or startup disk”, and click “Continue”

– in the next window, select the disk that your TimeMachine-backups are on (if you’re on a Time Capsule, you will need to type your TimeCapsule-password when asked), and click “Continue”

– in the next window, a list of all backups (a.k.a. sparsebundles) available on the disk will be displayed ; now you will have to wait a little for each sparsebundle to display what the date is of the backup-version that can be retrieved… if that date matches today’s date, you have a perfect backup available, and you can exit the Migration Assistant-app by repeatedly clicking the “Back”-button

…but if the date is different, or the “No Volumes Found in backup”-error is displayed, your backup is useless for easy recovery ; you will have to exit the Migration Assistant-app, and start over the entire backup-routine explained above, and then check again in the Migration Assistant-app …you have to keep repeating this entire routine until you get today’s date displayed below the backup’s name

If you do not do as described above, you are in serious, enormously time-consuming trouble…  (even though this doesn’t always mean that your personal data is lost… everything might be lost, but… it could also mean you will have to repair the sparsebundle-files and/or it could also mean that you will have to copy everything back ; folder-by-folder or even file-by-file… either in the Time Machine-app or in the Finder ; and all applications will have to be manually reinstalled again…)

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Beware : Picasa Library phishing scam eMail

! BEWARE !

 

 

 

 

 

today I got an eMail from PicasaLibrary, stating “Your photo is successfully uploaded”,

on my Mac this was immediately recognizable as a Junk-message (or rather : a Phishing Scam-message), as you can see in the picture below, but on my iPhone that wasn’t so easy to figure out… it was mainly the fact that I haven’t used Picasa in ages that made all alert bells ring in this case… and the fact that I’ve never heard of PicasaLibrary (and would expect it to be written Picasa Library) raised more suspiciousness…picasa_scam…so BEWARE !

Note : this scam eMail comes in various versions, a similar one pretending to be from Picasa Library also states “Damaged photos found”. More info on that one can be found here.