Personal computing discussed

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CScottG
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Phishing and Old Folks..

Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:37 pm

..damn,

Just stopped my mother on a call with "microsoft" (from India), who was setting up a network "remote control" access to her computer, to help her "remove" the Zeus virus.

-she just couldn't understand that she was being scammed, nor the unbelievable security "hole" she was trying to open up, nor the disastrous consequences that could have occurred had I not been there (..her entire financial life and accessibility is essentially recorded on that machine) - a Saturday-night meal perhaps saved her finances (..just unbelievable). Hell, she didn't even want to hang-up the phone on these scammers. :roll:


The worst part is that I've tried to tell her about these sorts of problems before, many times!


IF you have parent's over (what, fifty-five?), not only is a "talk" in order - it's probably time to help them set up their system and their connections and passwords in a manner that protects them BEFORE the worst can happen. Exactly what that is I don't know (..though no doubt something that will likely involve some hole-sucking amount of your life.) :oops:


Also, I think it's time for this forum to have a SECURITY section. :wink:


-venting done. :P
 
whm1974
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:57 pm

Good thing you brought this up. I'll have a talk with my dad in the morning about this. Good thing I have my dad on Linux...
 
DrCR
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:11 pm

You may wish to lock down their user account...
 
KingLear
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:14 pm

This warning also extends to the telephone. If they (the old folks) get an unsolicited call from somebody they don't know, they should simply say "I'm not interested" and then hang up. This also applies to door to door salespeople selling aluminum siding.
 
localhostrulez
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:44 pm

Yep, had a little incident with my grandmother a few years back. The Windows tech support people called her - she let them remote in, but was a bit suspicious. I think they installed some stuff, and then they disconnected for whatever reason (she didn't give them any financial information, thank god). She then asked me about it, I told her it's a scam, and came over a few days later to reinstall XP.

I kinda wish I got these calls myself - I'd love to waste time and f**k with them. :lol:
 
CScottG
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:55 pm

Yes, definitely the telephone as well.


In this case is was:

a. open a web page from a trusted friend (..email). The webpage itself was otherwise as reputed, but it auto-spawned another webpage that had one of those "screw with your view of the cursor" things going on and a page saying "you've been infected, contact microsoft at this number".

b. she contacts the number.

c. she start's installing a remote control application while the "tech" goes through the problem she is currently having.


All she really needed to do was Ctrl/Alt/Delete and shut-down Chrome, and while she knows that now - I wasn't sure how long that will last. Soooo.. to emphasize the point I had her refresh the system (..which of course removes not only the remote control she'd just installed, but also everything else that she will need to re-install herself.) Yeah, :evil: on my part: but my hope is that the torment of getting her system back to where it was (or better and more organized) will help her remember this incident. Of course I also had her change some critical passwords as well that might have been compromised while she was learning all that the "advisor" from India had "helped" her with (..though I don't think they got that far in the process).



-but yeah, Linux is a good starting point.

I think ideally all her financials should be segregated according to security-risk on various linux VM's (with copies). Basically one VM browser for banking (and its own email), one for shopping (its own email), etc.. Of course convincing her to do something like this is going to take some "doing" - and maybe the system refresh (with all its hassles) will hit that home? I can only hope. :oops:
 
biffzinker
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:01 am

Isn't the Linux route the way to go for the older folks that have no dependence on Windows? Would there be less risk if they were running a Linux distro? Chrome OS is another option.
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CScottG
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:13 am

Yeah, if they aren't already "hooked" on the Windows gravy-train, then Linux is that starting point. Again though, Linux is just *a* measure to fend off various attacks, and Chrome with its sandboxing is as well.

Still, something far more comprehensive is really required - it's not going to be just: use this OS and browser; the scammers are going to get more crafty about their "trade". :oops:
 
Captain Ned
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:37 am

Thank Bob that my dad (76) is just as much of a geek as I am. I get e-mails from him asking for help in running down obscure BSOD causes.
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excession
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:42 am

This happened to my grandma-in-law (80)

She always talks about these sort of events and gives the impression she's aware of the risks and would recognise a scam.

Didn't stop scammers managing to withdraw £2,000 from her account though. It would have been more but the automated systems at the bank noticed and stopped any further payments.

She uses Windows 7 as a regular user, and Chrome with extension install disabled. The initial vector was through a cold call - not from the computer! :(
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puppetworx
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:35 am

Suddenly old people keeping their cash under their mattresses doesn't seem like such a bad idea anymore.
 
blahsaysblah
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:59 am

The Containers Feature in Firefox Nightly enables users to login to multiple accounts on the same site simultaneously and gives users the ability to segregate site data for improved privacy and security. -- june 16 2016

Ive setup multiple Firefox profiles with desktop shortcuts named "BAD", Bank, Yahoo for them. This way there are different add-ons for each task and it truly is isolated sessions.
 
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:01 am

Yeah, my dad (86) knows just enough to be dangerous. He still wants to try and fix things by himself because "Oh, I didn't want to bother you". We've had "the talk" several times, and fortunately the worst he's actually fallen for (AFAIK) is installing some worthless "PC Optimizer" tools that he paid like $50 a pop for a few years ago. He's received the "Windows Support" call a couple of times, and fortunately realized something was fishy before they got to the point of installing any remote control tools.
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DrJ
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:49 am

IF you have parent's over (what, fifty-five?), not only is a "talk" in order

You know, these sorts of generalizations always bother me. The true divide is between those who know computers reasonably and those who don't. That may vary somewhat with age, but not as much as you would think.

My wife turns 66 today, and she has a great deal of fun with the Windows scammers. They have latched onto her for some reason; I've only received one such call. My 91-year-old father is very current on computers and software. On the other hand,over the years I have hired a lot of interns -- mainly chemistry and biology students -- and while they knew social media, they knew little else about computers or software. I always had to fix their computers when something went wrong.

The group here is self-selected to emphasize computer/technical interests. Wander out into the general population and you might be surprised at how meager the tech skills are.
 
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:48 am

DrJ wrote:
IF you have parent's over (what, fifty-five?), not only is a "talk" in order

You know, these sorts of generalizations always bother me. The true divide is between those who know computers reasonably and those who don't. That may vary somewhat with age, but not as much as you would think.

My wife turns 66 today, and she has a great deal of fun with the Windows scammers. They have latched onto her for some reason; I've only received one such call. My 91-year-old father is very current on computers and software. On the other hand,over the years I have hired a lot of interns -- mainly chemistry and biology students -- and while they knew social media, they knew little else about computers or software. I always had to fix their computers when something went wrong.

The group here is self-selected to emphasize computer/technical interests. Wander out into the general population and you might be surprised at how meager the tech skills are.

Quite true. Heck, I'm rapidly approaching 55; demographically, I qualify as a tail-end Baby Boomer, but I've been interested in science, technology, and computers since I was in grade school. :lol:

On the flip side, just because someone's under (say) 35 doesn't mean they're tech-savvy.
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bthylafh
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:02 am

For that matter, someone being a programmer doesn't imply they know an iota more about computers than their job absolutely requires. Ask me how I know. :-?
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DrJ
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:16 am

bthylafh wrote:
For that matter, someone being a programmer doesn't imply they know an iota more about computers than their job absolutely requires. Ask me how I know. :-?


Absolutely true. I've also hired quite a number of interns for programming. I was surprised that none knew how to solder, use an oscilloscope, or read a schematic. That's not quite the same as knowing about computers, but it is related. Hardware and software often are different worlds.
 
Kougar
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:42 am

Glad to hear you were able to help her in time CScottG. :)

My father is generally electronics savvy. He knows electronics, can repair circuit boards, old radios and tube TVs. But that doesn't make him savvy about computers. Unfortunately old age has its own effects on the mind, and things that wouldn't have confused him before will confuse him now.

bthylafh wrote:
For that matter, someone being a programmer doesn't imply they know an iota more about computers than their job absolutely requires. Ask me how I know. :-?


Seems like half my friends are programmers.... maybe half of 'em still don't know anything hardware-side about the computers. :lol:
 
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:31 pm

DrJ wrote:
Absolutely true. I've also hired quite a number of interns for programming. I was surprised that none knew how to solder, use an oscilloscope, or read a schematic. That's not quite the same as knowing about computers, but it is related. Hardware and software often are different worlds.

Heck, I worked with someone who had a Masters in EE and didn't know how to use an oscilloscope. I'm not sure how *that* happens, but I've seen it first-hand. Software guy (me) teaching the EE how to use a 'scope, while on-site at a customer location to diagnose a problem, was surreal.
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Acidicheartburn
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:29 pm

Reminds me of a true story my friend told me. He was in class at college when his professor gets one of these calls. What the idiot on the phone didn't realize is that the professor he just called happens to teach (and was indeed teaching at that very moment) computer forensics and cyber security. So the professor lead on the guy on the phone the entire rest of the class period, using it as a teaching example for the whole class, screwing with him the whole time.
 
CScottG
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:49 pm

Yes, my mother has worked with computers all her life - programming for various Co.s such as Compaq/HP, Exon, etc..

At one point in the '80s she bought our house-hold a floppy disk drive 5 1/4" (which was about $400 back then, and a lot more factoring-in inflation for today) - and promptly shoved (hard) a floppy disk in the wrong way and ruined it. This is despite the fact that she was working with various drives for more than 10 years.. it's just that those drives were HUGE in comparison (large hard disks and tape drives).



This I think brings up a significant distinction: it's not necessarily a function of being tech-savvy (in general). Instead I think it's a matter of being scam-savvy AND having a bit more than a general awareness of technical vulnerabilities. Some people, regardless of age, are going to take more of an interest in these developing scams and tech-intrusions (reading about the subjects frequently) - and are far less likely to be duped.

While the older population is very much a generalized group (as I presented above - though questioningly), I do think over-all that there is often (for a large part of this segment) a propensity to "let their guard down" in these situations (more so than younger people overall, though not truly young kids). It's sort of like contact with someone helpful, be it in person, over-the-phone, or even some "app" - somehow makes that contact more legitimate. THEN combine that with an intrusion from "vectors" that aren't really anticipated and it really becomes a recipe for the opportunity of financial ruin.

And yes, I also think a lot of younger people are also a bit more care-free with personal info., but generally less trusting with certain details that might be more financially relevant. (..on the "flip-side" though I think a lot of younger people, particularly those in a younger dating population, are *way* to trusting with their own physical safety.) Also, younger people don't have as much to loose financially - often a "life's savings" isn't a whole lot with many living from one pay-day to the next, AND there is always time to build it up. :oops:
 
localhostrulez
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:10 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Heck, I worked with someone who had a Masters in EE and didn't know how to use an oscilloscope. I'm not sure how *that* happens, but I've seen it first-hand. Software guy (me) teaching the EE how to use a 'scope, while on-site at a customer location to diagnose a problem, was surreal.

I've heard of EE's that don't know how to use a soldering iron, and ME's that don't know how to use a torque wrench. At some point, the idea is so dumb that it's actually impressive.
 
anotherengineer
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:48 pm

localhostrulez wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Heck, I worked with someone who had a Masters in EE and didn't know how to use an oscilloscope. I'm not sure how *that* happens, but I've seen it first-hand. Software guy (me) teaching the EE how to use a 'scope, while on-site at a customer location to diagnose a problem, was surreal.

I've heard of EE's that don't know how to use a soldering iron, and ME's that don't know how to use a torque wrench. At some point, the idea is so dumb that it's actually impressive.


Been there, seen that. I think the issue with that here in Canada is College's are typically more hands on, whereas University's here are Bachelor degree's and up. Quite a few that go to University don't typically have trades persons in the family and are there for a degree (but not all, obviously). Also labs are pretty straight forward and lab tech will sometimes do the experiments and students just write up the report, maybe due to safety/legal concerns?

I remember taking manufacturing for an elective 4th yr mech eng and in one of the labs a lot of students were lost trying to figure out nuts and bolts and how to identify them :O Guess I was fortunate to come from a family with trades, a lot of days I think I should have went that route also.

And back on topic, my mom got beat by those clowns once also, she is still old school and does her banking at the bank so not a big deal, just formatted and reinstalled XP (back before support ended)
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DrJ
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:49 pm

I think it's a matter of being scam-savvy AND having a bit more than a general awareness of technical vulnerabilities.

That's fair. I'll add that MrsJ is no tech person -- she's just been around computers for a long time; they are a tool to do her work. But she does have a good b*llsh*t filter.

While the older population is very much a generalized group ..., I do think over-all that there is often ... a propensity to "let their guard down" in these situations

Could be. I read about some of the scams, though I've never known anyone who fell prey to one (thank goodness!). Personally, MrsJ and I both run our own businesses, and you would not believe the amount of solicitations one gets both by telephone and by email (well, that one you probably do). I'd say that 80% of the calls on my business line are spam. When I get a call from "very nice Indian boy name Tom" I just hang up. I don't even wait to hear what he's pitching. Then there's the usual stock brokers that I've never heard of, controlled-distribution magazines (good luck ever getting off one of their lists!), telephone company scams, time-share invitations, FAXes (!) and on and on. It has gotten to the point where I just don't answer the telephone unless I have arranged for a call. It largely is the same for MrsJ.

I don't think we ever will fall for one of these.

Also, younger people don't have as much to loose [sic] financially - often a "life's savings" isn't a whole lot with many living from one pay-day

That's certainly true, and it is one reason elders are targeted for scams.
 
whm1974
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:32 pm

Good grief I call my dad up to tell about this so he can warn his friends and he already gotten a call a few weeks ago. :o
 
The Egg
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:41 pm

DrJ wrote:
CScottG wrote:
IF you have parent's over (what, fifty-five?), not only is a "talk" in order

You know, these sorts of generalizations always bother me. The true divide is between those who know computers reasonably and those who don't. That may vary somewhat with age, but not as much as you would think.

My wife turns 66 today, and she has a great deal of fun with the Windows scammers. They have latched onto her for some reason; I've only received one such call. My 91-year-old father is very current on computers and software. On the other hand,over the years I have hired a lot of interns -- mainly chemistry and biology students -- and while they knew social media, they knew little else about computers or software. I always had to fix their computers when something went wrong.

I could almost see this response before I finished reading the original post. :P

I don't directly disagree with anything you've said, but I think it distracts from the issue. In general, older people ARE more susceptible to scams, and even moreso when ever-changing technology is involved. Of course exceptions can be found to every generalization (just by being here, you're obviously an exception), but pushing the talk towards the exceptions takes away from discussion about what is a very real and serious problem for a large percentage of the older population.

Now, being phished through an email links are bad enough, but in my experience, scammers seem to have a very high (relative) success rate against older people with the "Windows Tech Support" phone calls........at least the first time, and markedly so if the person being scammed hasn't been warned about this method. I'm not sure if it's the personal connection, the fact that they're talking to a real person, the skill of the scammer, or some combination thereof.

In one particular instance, I had a friend's mom almost refuse to believe me that she had been talking to a scammer (who had remoted in and installed malware on an old laptop I had given her a few years prior).
 
DrJ
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:57 pm

In general, older people ARE more susceptible to scams, and even moreso when ever-changing technology is involved. Of course exceptions can be found to every generalization (just by being here, you're obviously an exception), but pushing the talk towards the exceptions takes away from discussion about what is a very real and serious problem for a large percentage of the older population.

I don't believe these are exceptions. My generation grew up with computers, and most are really pretty good with them. Heck even our (recently-passed) 99 year-old neighbor did fine with them, until her eyes gave out. In fact, I would posit that those who fall for scams are the exceptions.

Age discrimination in tech, sciences, engineering and popular culture is real. Statements such as the OP, who claimed that the "old" should be given "the talk" is but one manifestation of it. In some cases, yes. In most? It is incredibly condescending.
 
CScottG
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:48 pm

DrJ wrote:

Age discrimination in tech, sciences, engineering and popular culture is real. Statements such as the OP, who claimed that the "old" should be given "the talk" is but one manifestation of it. In some cases, yes. In most? It is incredibly condescending.



Discrimination as word over the past 60 years has been badly maligned and contorted - to the point where "unjust prejudicial treatment" seems to be the number one definition for it.


Of course I was describing age discrimination - but NOT as unjust or prejudicial, rather that there is in fact a *difference* to be recognized in this case. Hell, maybe the difference is just money - that seniors have larger sources of money just waiting to be drained by scammers. Is noting that difference prejudicial and condescending?

The "talk" in this case could well mean the difference between someone living on a state pension only, having their credit ruined, and likely depending on their children far more than they ever expected or intended to. If talking about it is condescending - then so be it: IT's WORTH IT by any reasonable measure. Just like talking about sex and STD's is worth it with teenagers who already know all about sex (..that risk of HIV is just to great).

From the National Council on Aging:
https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/ ... g-seniors/

6. Internet fraud

While using the Internet is a great skill at any age, the slower speed of adoption among some older people makes them easier targets for automated Internet scams that are ubiquitous on the web and email programs. Pop-up browser windows simulating virus-scanning software will fool victims into either downloading a fake anti-virus program (at a substantial cost) or an actual virus that will open up whatever information is on the user’s computer to scammers.

Their unfamiliarity with the less visible aspects of browsing the web (firewalls and built-in virus protection, for example) make seniors especially susceptible to such traps. One example includes:

Email/phishing scams

A senior receives email messages that appear to be from a legitimate company or institution, asking them to “update” or “verify” their personal information. A senior receives emails that appear to be from the IRS about a tax refund.
 
The Egg
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:54 pm

DrJ wrote:
The Egg wrote:
In general, older people ARE more susceptible to scams, and even moreso when ever-changing technology is involved. Of course exceptions can be found to every generalization (just by being here, you're obviously an exception), but pushing the talk towards the exceptions takes away from discussion about what is a very real and serious problem for a large percentage of the older population.

I don't believe these are exceptions. My generation grew up with computers, and most are really pretty good with them. Heck even our (recently-passed) 99 year-old neighbor did fine with them, until her eyes gave out. In fact, I would posit that those who fall for scams are the exceptions.

Age discrimination in tech, sciences, engineering and popular culture is real. Statements such as the OP, who claimed that the "old" should be given "the talk" is but one manifestation of it. In some cases, yes. In most? It is incredibly condescending.

Nobody here is discriminating against older people; these are our friends and family members whom we're trying to protect. The OP is talking about ways to proactively prevent older folks from harm before it occurs. If there's any discrimination, it's being done by scammers who are known to specifically seek out and target older people.

Making older people aware of new scam techniques can be done respectfully and in a non-condescending way. Regardless of what statistics would say, most of us know our family members/friends and know whether they're at risk. This is a discussion that should be had, because many of us may have to deal with friends/family members being scammed, and the reprocussions of it at some point.

Regardless of age, someone posting on the TR Forums clearly isn't part of the group being discussed. And again, I think this distracts from the discussion and side-tracks it in a way that isn't helpful.
 
CScottG
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Re: Phishing and Old Folks..

Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:59 pm

whm1974 wrote:
..he already gotten a call a few weeks ago. :o


:o

The infamous "call center".


..just as I was having my mother hang-up the phone (which she *really* did not want to do), I could hear the guy on the line say: "oh no, wait.." - which I interpreted as: "oh no, wait - I was so close!". (..F***ER.) :evil:

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