Dark web expert gets last laugh on me

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 21 Nov 2018

Hong Kong technology expert Michael Gazeley phoned a client to tell him that he needed to improve his cybersecurity.

"Yeah, yeah," the man replied dismissively - thinking Michael was just trying to sell him some sort of upgrade.

"No, really," Michael insisted. "I just saw your password on the dark web. It's platypus52, right?"

Down the phone line, the tech specialist heard the screeeeeeech of brakes.

The client was stopping his car and pulling over to the kerb.

"I'll call you back," the man barked.

Later, he phoned to tell Michael, who runs a company called Network Box, that he had hundreds of millions of dollars in accounts using that password, so he had to change them all instantly.

Michael shared this anecdote with your columnist over drinks at a bar in Soho recently.

True story? Or sales pitch? Hard to tell.

Until an hour later, when I reached home.

On my phone was a message from Michael. "By the way, your password is very you," he said, quoting it.

He got it right, too. Aiyeeaah!

The good news is I only had a dollar-fifty in that account, but it proves a point.

Anyone with no plan to move to a desert island with no electricity is a fool.

* * *

Broken password! You know what this means? I have to rename my dog again.

* * *

Zookeepers will tour public parks and set up educational shows such as "Meet the Bats of Hong Kong," the government announced yesterday. Good. When I mentioned this flying mammal to some children at Halloween, they were like "Bats are real!?" They thought bats were fictional scary beings invented for Halloween, like ghosts, witches, Falun Gong members, etc.

* * *

You have to think for a moment to get the joke in this car number plate spotted by David N of Pok Fu Lam. It's pronounced "I ate too much."

* * *

Global researchers who found Hong Kong is the most expensive city on Earth were puzzled by one thing.

Housing prices were through the roof and motorists pay more for gas than anywhere else on the planet, said researchers at Mercer, a consultancy.

But burgers in Hong Kong are the cheapest on Earth. Why? I don't know.

But this is why smart people live at McDonald's.

* * *

Government lawyers are creating a "vacancy tax" to penalize developers who are leaving hundreds of flats empty. Some luxury homes have been unoccupied for 10 years.

"Instead, why not introduce a UK-style 'squatter' law so that people can use unused flats and get tenants' rights," suggested reader Eric YT Hon.

The threat would make hoarders like Sun Hung Kai Properties cut prices and clear stashes. "But I hope they don't move too fast," Eric added. "I wouldn't mind six months in a house with a pool on The Peak."

* * *

Reader Simon Clennell spotted this ad in a Hong Kong newspaper (not this one) this week. "I know a few people who are wholly qualified," he quipped.

* * *

Hong Kong is getting very arty. Yesterday a poet wrote to ask: "Would you like to join my haiku contest?"

My answer:

No no no no no

No no no no no no no

No no no no no.

Talk to me: send ideas and comments to the Facebook pages of this author or The Standard.

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