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Questionable e-mail

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Questionable e-mail
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9/12/14 2:33 PM
I recently received an e-mail claiming I had a message in my message box at Interactive Dharma from someone named Otto. A link was provided. The link to me to The Dharma Overground site. there was no message from Otto in my box on this site. I'm wondering if anyone else has received suspicious e-mails like thsi?

Gary Buck

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/12/14 2:48 PM as a reply to Gary L Buck.
I also received an e-mail linking me to Dharma Overground from someone named Otto but no message.

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/12/14 4:18 PM as a reply to Gary L Buck.
Same thing here, just came in recently although the email time stamp is Thursday, September 11, 2014 8:43 PM.  And also for me, there is no message in my inbox. 

Edited to add oh yeah and it came from "Interactive Buddha" <admin@interactivebuddha.com>  as the source, if that gives any clues.
-Eva

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/12/14 10:08 PM as a reply to Gary L Buck.
Just received this:

Hi, I'm not sure if you remember me, but I'm the guy that was going to add CSS to the DhO Forum, but didn't do it because no designer stepped up to give a target design.

Today a considerable number of users (me included) received an email notification from the DhO Forum saying they received a message from an user called "otto", but no message appeared in the inbox. 
Examples:
* Missing Inbox - http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5580294
* Notification about private message received, none found when logged in? - http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5580178
* Questionable e-mail - http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5581317

In case you didn't receive this email, it was just a standard message notification, no malicious link was there.

I tried to contact the user asking if he knew something, and he answered:

sorry. am new to DhO and sent it by mistake.            
                
                -- Original Message --
                From: John P
                To: otto
                Sent: 09/12/2014 12:22
                Subject: Messaging
                                    
                Hi, it may sound like an odd question, but did you just send me a message?
I received an email notification that you sent me a message, but I don't see any new message in my inbox when visiting this site.

Cheers,
John

It's okay if he did it by mistake, but I found it odd that he was able to make the system send an email notification without actually sending a message, so I set out to investigate (turns out that I still have admin rights from back then).

I saw in his profile that his email was 
The site above is from an IT professional which seems to be specialized in security, so I'm inclined to believe he was testing vulnerabilities in the DhO website (but have no actual evidence).

So I decided to ban him for some days and contact other admins to investigate.
Turns out that I don't know the site so well, so I accidentally excluded his profile...
It's a bit embarassing to admit this because I'm a computer science student, but that's the truth. :-)

I realized things could get confusing because the user doesn't seem to exist anymore, so I decided to contact you and explain the situation.
Sorry for any trouble.

I think I am going to contact the guy and tell him I excluded him by accident and ask if he was testing the website or something like that.

Cheers,
João

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/12/14 10:09 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Speaking of strange things, today I got about 8 requests for passwords to be reset and accounts to be unlocked, which is a very unusual number. Typically I get maybe one per week or less. Something else going on? It is suspicious.

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/13/14 1:49 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Speaking of strange things, today I got about 8 requests for passwords to be reset and accounts to be unlocked, which is a very unusual number. Typically I get maybe one per week or less. Something else going on? It is suspicious.
Could it be that a lot of people that haven't been on the forum for ages and forgot their passwords had gotten a message from Otto and wanted to get on the forum to see what it was?  Actually the main thing that did surprise me is that one apparently unknown guy has the rights to email everyone on the board all at once without moderation.  I don't know of any other lists or boards where the setup allows that.  In the long term, there could potentially be additional problems with that.  
-Eva

RE: Questionable e-mail
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9/13/14 4:57 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Make it 9 - it would be people like me who have an account here but have not been here in ages and Otto pulled us in..

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/13/14 7:36 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Could it be that a lot of people that haven't been on the forum for ages and forgot their passwords had gotten a message from Otto and wanted to get on the forum to see what it was?
Eva, this seems like a good theory.

I don't think this guy emailed anyone directly (most likely no email got disclosed).
The email people got was an automated email from the system telling them they received a message from otto. None of the content in the email was added by this user.
I'm not sure what happened, but all I can guess is that the system saw it was a message to too many people and didn't send it to anyone, but still sent the email notification as if it was sent.

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/13/14 9:06 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Oddly enough I just had a dream about this whole Otto fiasco, the details seem to elude me, I will however, try to recreate it:

The DhO seems to be some sort of city, each profile being a block, the Otto fiasco is an intricate murder plot involving everyone, eventually I am called by Otto himself, who seems to realize that the Otto fiasco is taking place. Filled with religious zeal, he gives me some sort of instruction (which is negative in connotation), he seems to be an adversarial character, upon receiving the instructions I realize that I'm close to the heart of the problem. I am certain that this is the culprit himself! (As it stands I cannot recreate the content of the message he sent me; Otto contacts me via a message in the dream.) Otto is a religious zealot who seems to wish to destroy the DhO as he views it as a "cancer". Eventually I fear guilt by association, and then realize that he may in fact come after me as well. However this fear subsides when I realize it hasn't happened yet.

The dream then segues into something about phones (Nokia or Android, my Windows phone) and martial arts. The martial arts dream involves fighting in a square that is cordoned off by my brother and some other figure.


Interesting huh? Whatever it means, it was certainly one of the more entertaining dreams I've had in a while.

Regards,

James

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/13/14 9:48 AM as a reply to Gary L Buck.
Hi all,

Stefanie D. here. I also received the "Otto" email. Down in the thread, there is a suggestion of some security issue. Also this week I was contacted by several people wanting to rent my London apartment on AirBnB. Well, I don't have an apartment in London (would that it were!) and I don't have an AirBnB profile. The picture the person stole is the same one I had up here for ages (but it's also my faculty profile pic).

Not sure if there is a connection, but it's an interesting set of internet anomalies in a short span of time.

Cheers,
Stefanie

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/13/14 3:39 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I am one of those people (maybe only one) who requested several times to get new pw for my account.  Every time I tried I was told I was locked out and needed to contact an admin. and so tried again.  (Doing same thing over again and expecting different result?)  In any case, re-upped with new email and id to find out who otto is and lo-and-behold I am no one special to otto.  In any case, I am back on.  This is almost fun.

RE: Questionable e-mail
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9/15/14 6:14 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Could it be that a lot of people that haven't been on the forum for ages and forgot their passwords had gotten a message from Otto and wanted to get on the forum to see what it was?

i was another one such.

I suspect someone was playing around hackerly, hope nothing damaging resulted

BTW, anyone notice the name: Otto -> Auto ?!?

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/15/14 4:41 AM as a reply to Gary L Buck.
Hi,

To perhaps alleviate som of the concern here. I've check the logs concerning some of this and haven't found anything terribly suspicious. It does not from a cursory glance seem that anyone is doing anything malicious in this case. Standard disclaimers apply however. emoticon

Simon

RE: Questionable e-mail
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9/15/14 2:29 PM as a reply to Gary L Buck.
I also received the empty e-mail.

RE: Questionable e-mail
Answer
9/21/14 12:36 PM as a reply to Rodrigo C.
I also got the auto-otto non-message...  

RE: Questionable e-mail
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9/21/14 3:35 PM as a reply to Tarver .
I did as well.

RE: Questionable e-mail
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9/22/14 3:33 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
To expand on this - the number of messages sent on that date matches up with the number of DhO site members, so I think it's safe to say that everyone received a copy.

There is nothing harmful in the mail though, so we should all be fine.

Simon