Amanda, Cyber Guy, a Catfish and Mister Fluffy Transcript

Beau Friedlander

Hi listeners. Listen, before we get started you need to know we’re going to be talking about talking today and so if that’s something that you don’t want to listen to this would probably be a good episode to skip. Adam!

Adam Levin:

(singing)

Beau Friedlander

Jesus. Travis.

Travis Taylor:

Yes.

Adam Levin:

Who was that man singing in my name weirdly?

Travis Taylor:

Adam Levin, coast of What the Hack with Adam Levin.

Beau Friedlander

You are such a wuss.

Travis Taylor:

Yeah.

Adam Levin:

I am the cyber soprano.

Beau Friedlander

That was about as soprano as a prune is a raisin. Oh speaking of prunes-

Adam Levin:

On no.

Beau Friedlander

It’s a-

Travis Taylor:

Oh no.

Beau Friedlander

It’s like International Backup or something day soon, like the 31st and you’re going to get backed up. That’s your joke. I’m sorry.

Adam Levin:

That’s my joke. You stepped on my line.

Beau Friedlander

I’m so sorry. But I’m not sorry-

Adam Levin:

I mean, we should all be backing up-

Beau Friedlander

I’m not sorry.

Adam Levin:

… except when we back up and need Imodium or something.

Beau Friedlander

But also can mean like back up, like what? Back up.

Adam Levin:

Oh wait, I take it back. Imodium helps you back up as opposed to opens you up.

Beau Friedlander

It helps you back up to not being backed up.

Adam Levin:

Is that it?

Beau Friedlander

Yeah.

Adam Levin:

I didn’t know. By the way-

Beau Friedlander

Oh no. No, no, you’re right. You’re right-

Adam Levin:

ex-lax opens you-

Beau Friedlander

Again. Again. Again, no-

Adam Levin:

Imodium-

Beau Friedlander

No, Imodium stops you.

Adam Levin:

… closes you.

Beau Friedlander

Right, so you don’t want to take Imodium for International Backup Day, unless you want to be … Travis you can jump in here any time. You want to be-

Travis Taylor:

I’m still just stuck on the prune thing.

Beau Friedlander

This is terrible. It’s gross. Very gross.

Adam Levin:

All right, so what is World Backup Day?

Travis Taylor:

It’s one day out of the year when we encourage people to set up a sound backup strategy for their data.

Beau Friedlander

What’s … Like a sound … I hate when you use that word sound. What do you mean? Good?

Adam Levin:

That means responsible. That means adult.

Beau Friedlander

Like excellent. Fine, good, like sane?

Adam Levin:

That means professional.

Beau Friedlander

Come on Travis.

Travis Taylor:

Spiffy. It’s a spiffy … Have a spiffy way to backup your data.

Beau Friedlander

Spiffy?

Travis Taylor:

Okay?

Beau Friedlander

Spiffy?

Travis Taylor:

Nifty, ginchy, keen, like cool-

Adam Levin:

[crosstalk 00:02:41] How does one … How does one spiffily backup their data?

Beau Friedlander

Do you have like a little glow in the dark USB or what do you have? Do you have like … Does Yeezy make some cool backup stuff?

Travis Taylor:

God I kind of hope not. I would shudder to think of what that would look like. But the rule we’re talking about here is called the 3-2-1 rule of backups and it applies for if you’re a small business, if you’re just an individual, or if you are a massive multinational corporation.

Beau Friedlander

Okay, so what is 3-2-1?

Speaker 4:

(singing)

Travis Taylor:

So 3-2-1 is saying … The three on that is saying to keep three backups of your data. Along the lines of I have all of today’s data backed up but I also have a backup from yesterday and I have a backup from the day before.

Beau Friedlander

And that’s it? Just three days?

Travis Taylor:

At least. You should do it at least-

Beau Friedlander

Okay.

Travis Taylor:

And some places will do it hourly, some places do it weekly or what have you. But the main thing-

Beau Friedlander

Or even by the minute. But yeah.

Travis Taylor:

Exactly. And the main thing about that is backups can fail and so if you only have one backup of your data, and then something goes wrong with that, you need to have another … At least another thing to refer to.

Adam Levin:

I once had a backup which actually wouldn’t open up but it was backed up, I could look at it and go, “Look! It’s backed up.”

Beau Friedlander

What’s the two in this 3-2-1 scenario of which you so spiffily put out there for-

Travis Taylor:

Niftily.

Speaker 4:

(singing)

Travis Taylor:

Number two is having two different types of media. Backup hard drive, USB key, tape, any of those other sorts of things. The main thing about it is in addition to how backups can fail sometimes sometimes the media that you have the backup on fails too.

Beau Friedlander

So you need more than one?

Travis Taylor:

Exactly. So if you have one backup hard drive and you have your three, hopefully more, backups on that and for whatever reason that fails you want to have another type of media on which that it’s backed up. It could just be a cloud backup.

Beau Friedlander

And what’s the one?

Speaker 4:

(singing)

Travis Taylor:

It’s to have at least one copy off site. And this is more the sort of thing that if your office happens to catch fire or something that you have at least another copy that isn’t on the same physical premises.

Adam Levin:

Here’s a good one for you, so years ago the State of Ohio had a policy that one person in this particular office would take home a copy of the backup drive every day. And unfortunately the day that one particular person took it home it got stolen and it pretty much brought down a governor of Ohio a few years ago.

Travis Taylor:

Oh wow!

Beau Friedlander

So it’s like the designated …

Adam Levin:

The designated-

Beau Friedlander

… destroyer.

Adam Levin:

… backup guy.

Beau Friedlander

Yeah. But it didn’t work out. Huh, so that’s what I always wonder is like what if in the service of doing something that’s kind of good and has good cyber hygiene you totally screw yourself over? Like that-

Adam Levin:

[crosstalk 00:05:30] That’s why you made 3-2-1.

Speaker 4:

(singing)

Beau Friedlander

Redundancy.

Adam Levin:

Because if you ain’t got 3-2-1 …

Beau Friedlander

Come on what you got?

Adam Levin:

… you’re having no fun.

Beau Friedlander

Oh come on, you can do better than that-

Adam Levin:

It won’t be fun. Or how about-

Beau Friedlander

Travis?

Adam Levin:

… if you don’t-

Travis Taylor:

You’re all done.

Adam Levin:

Yeah, that’s true. If you don’t have 3-2-1 you’re all done.

Travis Taylor:

Cooked is your bun.

Adam Levin:

Welcome to What the Hack, a show about hackers, scammers, and the people they go after. I’m Adam Levin, cyber Imodium.

Beau Friedlander

I’m Beau Friedlander, cyber … I don’t know even what to say to that.

Travis Taylor:

And I’m Travis, cyber Texas barbecue.

Adam Levin:

And today we crack the case of a jealous online dater and the disappearing Instagram.

Beau Friedlander

Amanda it’s a pleasure to have you here today.

Amanda:

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be on.

Adam Levin:

Hi Amanda.

Amanda:

Hello Adam.

Beau Friedlander

Now for everybody who’s listening the don’t know you, they don’t know where you are right now, where are you?

Amanda:

I am in Arizona.

Travis Taylor:

And what do you do for a living?

Amanda:

Luxury real estate.

Adam Levin:

I know something about Amanda’s luxury real estate business and it’s-

Amanda:

Oh what is it that you know?

Adam Levin:

… booming!

Amanda:

It is booming.

Adam Levin:

Booming.

Amanda:

And it’s quite robust over here in Arizona.

Beau Friedlander

So people are out and about, and buying lots of new stuff?

Amanda:

Well Arizona’s number four for growth in the country right now, so yes there are a lot of incoming people that’s for sure and it’s keeping us quite busy.

Beau Friedlander

Excellent. Now my followup on that is so you’re here today to tell us about a real estate scam, yeah?

Amanda:

No.

Adam Levin:

Is it more like emotional real estate?

Beau Friedlander

Oh man.

Amanda:

[crosstalk 00:07:29] Oh that’s good. That’s good. I guess you could say that.

Adam Levin:

Was someone trying to do a denial of service attempt on your heart?

Beau Friedlander

Oh man.

Amanda:

Yes, maybe so.

Beau Friedlander

Well I happen to know where … I was actually recording this very podcast with Adam, and Travis, when you texted him and said …

Amanda:

“Oh my gosh, my Instagram has been hacked what do I do?”

Beau Friedlander

Well you didn’t say that. You said it’s gone.

Amanda:

It was gone. Yes, it was completely gone.

Beau Friedlander

You went online and your Instagram account was gone. How did you find out?

Amanda:

So I went … I’m on Instagram quite a bit. I utilize it a ton for my business, so I was posting a reel and when I was … When the reel was loading I was coming from an area in Arizona called Paradise Valley, it’s kind of surrounded by mountains. And so I had just left a house, I was trying to post it, and the area that I was in sometimes the service kind of goes in and out. So I was trying to load it and it was not loading. So I kind of waited a couple minutes. It just seemed very glitchy, so I tried to kind of delete the reel and then load another one. And I’m looking at the screen and Instagram’s loading two Reels at the same time, which I’d never actually seen before.

Beau Friedlander

Huh. So hold on. So there was two Reels that were both trying to load and failing?

Amanda:

Yeah, exactly. So you could see kind of the blue line across the bottom of the phone, showing they were both kind of trying to load but it was several minutes. I’d actually never seen that happen before, so I kind of … I shut off the phone, I turned it back on, went back into Instagram and then both of them had failed to download. In the meantime I was now trying to check my feed and my Reels, and they were all … It was glitchy, I couldn’t … It couldn’t pull up all my feed. It kept … Instagram kept saying that the feed could not load. I had tried probably for about 20 minutes to try to get it to load and to try to get my feed to load. I was going, for example, to some of my Stories and trying to see if my Stories would show up on the screen and it just kept saying, “Failure to load. No internet connection.” And so I ended up deleting the app on my phone.

Beau Friedlander

You turned off your phone, you restarted your phone, you got rid of the app, and you reloaded the app.

Amanda:

Yes.

Beau Friedlander

And what happened when you restored the app and tried to use it?

Amanda:

Well when I restored the app and tried to use it I actually ended up getting a call from a girl that helps me with some Instagram marketing. And she said, “Hey, where’s your Instagram account?” She said, “I was just looking for it and I was doing something, and it’s not there.” I said, “Actually funny you should say that.” I said, “I don’t know.” I said, “I’ve been struggling with it for the last 20 minutes.” She said, “Well I can’t even find you at all.” And so when I went back into the app then, as I’m on the phone with her, sure enough my Instagram was completely gone. I couldn’t pull it up. It said that the username did not exist.

Adam Levin:

Like gone? Like gone, entirely-

Amanda:

It was …

Adam Levin:

… gone? Zero?

Amanda:

It was gone entirely. Well before I deleted the app I got a notification from Instagram saying that my account had been compromised and they sent me-

Adam Levin:

Oops.

Amanda:

Yeah. And so they sent me a link on my phone for my phone number to send a verification code to go in and change my passwords. But when I entered my phone number the code wasn’t coming to my phone.

Beau Friedlander

Okay, all right. Okay. Okay. So that’s a big red flag.

Amanda:

So that’s … I’m sorry, that was the big point. And so that’s when I then … I said, “Oh no.” Then I deleted the app and then went to go reinstall it. Now this is not something I would normally do but my phone, for several days, had been having some problems.

Amanda:

So prior to that, starting about four days earlier, I had been communicating with a client about an offer. And we needed to resubmit the offer. And Arizona the market’s extremely robust, so sometimes we send an offer in and then the agent responds a couple days later, and says, “Okay, I have X amount of offers. Resubmit your highest and best.” So we were kind of in the middle of this process. I sent my client two text messages and called him twice over the course of a weekend saying we needed to resubmit, and I had no response from him. And so I thought that was kind of a little bit odd. Then a couple days later he had called me and said, “Hey, what’s the status of our offer?” I said, “Hey, I called you twice and I sent you multiple messages, I didn’t hear back from you.” I said, “It’s okay, you wouldn’t have wanted to go this high anyway.” I know this client very well. And like, “It’s okay, you wouldn’t have wanted to go this high anyway but I reached out to you.” He said, “No you didn’t.”

Adam Levin:

And what’s curious, of course in this market people are desperate to get back quickly because-

Amanda:

Yes.

Adam Levin:

… you can lose an opportunity on a house they’re going so quickly. So you had-

Amanda:

And we actually did lose out on that opportunity.

Adam Levin:

Yeah. So-

Amanda:

We did.

Adam Levin:

… bottom line things were missing on your communications, right?

Amanda:

Yes. Yes. And I had the text messages. I sent them to him and I said, “Hey, these are the messages I sent to you.” He said, “How weird, I didn’t get anything from you.”

Beau Friedlander

Okay, Travis is scowling. I know what you’re thinking.

Travis Taylor:

Was your battery starting to die a lot more quickly?

Amanda:

Yes. So this same thing with the text communication happened with a couple other people. One of them was someone that I kind of dated before that it was sort of kind of re-communicating with. And he had sent me the same message three times in a row, so I said to him, “Hey, did you … You sent me the same message like three times.” And he said, “No I didn’t.”

Adam Levin:

So how did you meet Mister I’m Not Exactly Sure He’s Right?

Amanda:

Well so this is where the story gets a little bit complex because there’s actually kind of three players here. And let me just preface this with I was in a long-term relationship, prior to that I was married, and now I am single. Okay? And I just started exploring dating apps two months ago. Two months ago. And I had been a little warned about some dating apps, being a girl and all but I decided to-

Beau Friedlander

Warned about what though? Warned about what? That they were … For just-

Amanda:

Just …

Beau Friedlander

… for your own safety or for getting catphished? What kind of warnings?

Amanda:

Yeah, all of that sort of thing.

Beau Friedlander

Okay.

Amanda:

Last night I watched Tinder Swindler, so there’s … Right now I think … Well I think it’s always sort of a thing that people are worried about these sorts of things. But I’m kind of a glass half full, everybody means well kind of human, so this is where I don’t want to sound … I mean, I am single and I’m exploring dating because-

Adam Levin:

You’re dating.

Amanda:

… it’s not something I’ve done before. So as you three men-

Adam Levin:

Dating is good.

Amanda:

… listen to this-

Beau Friedlander

Dating more than one man is smart Amanda. That’s smart.

Amanda:

Thank you. That’s what I thought. As a … We view it differently if you’re a female or a male but I’m not … I mean, I’m not sleeping with all of these people. I’m just exploring dating and so a lot of friends have sort of warned me, they say, “Hey, you’re 36 years old. You have not really dated before because you’ve been only in monogamous long-term serious relationships, so you’re going … You’re starting to venture into a world that you are perhaps a little bit na├»ve about and so just be careful. Not everything is rainbows and butterflies. Like you think you’ve had great men in your life and you’re not really aware that there are people out there that you need to be careful of.” So I had been warned. Now I did choose to ignore this.

Adam Levin:

I’m embarrassed to ask this question but-

Amanda:

Oh no.

Adam Levin:

… it just shows-

Amanda:

I’m scared.

Adam Levin:

… how old I am or actually how long I’ve been off the dating … Is it swiping left or right means you want to date somebody?

Amanda:

You swipe right.

Beau Friedlander

Right, if you like them.

Adam Levin:

Swipe right means yes? Swipe left means-

Amanda:

Swipe right, of course! Swipe right.

Travis Taylor:

As a left-handed person I’ve always taken exception to that.

Beau Friedlander

So you had swiped right on a few guys, you were seeing a few guys. You met a few. It sounds to me … I’m just going to say this for you so you don’t have to say it, because then you have deniability anyway. Maybe you kissed one of them, maybe you didn’t, but it got more than just hello with a couple of them. And then your phone started glitching out. That’s what I’m hearing, am I-

Amanda:

Yes.

Beau Friedlander

And your battery starting getting depleted, your phone started glitching, and you’re dating two guys. And I’m like, “Hm,” scratching my chin, “What could that mean?”

Amanda:

Well yes. So what ends up … One of the people that I had met, that I had been out with several times … And the connection between the two of us was quite good. We had amazing chemistry, great dates, got along really, really well. He wanted quite a serious relationship. And, interestingly enough, he owned a cybersecurity company. And-

Adam Levin:

[crosstalk 00:17:06] Wait for our listeners-

Beau Friedlander

Wait was it … Wait, wait, wait, was it Adam?

Adam Levin:

Let me clarify this-

Amanda:

No! No.

Adam Levin:

… and my …

Amanda:

Adam’s married.

Adam Levin:

Heather-

Amanda:

And Heather … And his wife is my friend.

Adam Levin:

Heather will be listening to this. It was not me. Not me!

Amanda:

No. No, he owns a cybersecurity company and our chemistry is really good. We have a lot of serious conversations. Our dates are like six, eight hours long. I mean, really I’m really, really into him. So during this … This lasted about a month. And during this timeframe … And we’re talking every day. And I’m not communicating with anybody else at this time.

Beau Friedlander

You were having … You’re having a month of these marathon dates with this guy?

Amanda:

Yeah. And-

Beau Friedlander

Wow, so that sounds like it’s going great?

Amanda:

It’s going great. I’m telling my friends about this, this is so … I mean, this is … “I met the guy on this dating app.” I’m like, “Everything is going really well. The chemistry is so good. It’s the best first date I’ve ever had. All of our dates have been great. We get along so well. All the chemistry and it’s just it’s really, really great.”

Adam Levin:

This is like balloons floating in the air.

Amanda:

I mean, I was like on cloud nine. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” Well as we start having a lot more serious conversations there’s a lot of things that he wants that I’m not really sure align with what I want. He’s a little bit possessive, a little bit controlling, but from a girls’ perspective we say kind of in a … I mean, in kind of a hot way. Some of the things that he would say or do was very attractive almost the way that he would be slightly possessive, right?

Adam Levin:

As in did he send flowers?

Amanda:

No he didn’t send flowers. That would have been so sweet. No, no flowers. No flowers. No, just good dates and cute little messages, and stuff.

Adam Levin:

Good restaurants?

Amanda:

Good restaurants. Yeah, good restaurants. Good dates.

Adam Levin:

Nice wine?

Amanda:

Yes. Yes, exactly. All the above. All the above. And he’s got all the … I mean, he dresses nice. He’s got the nice car. He’s very attentive, very touchy-feely. All the things that a girl likes this guy has.

Beau Friedlander

Oh wait, now I have to tell you … Wait, I got to break in here.

Amanda:

Yeah, go ahead.

Beau Friedlander

So rule number one of what I suspect we’re about to hear, and I know where Travis is going with this because I can see he’s got his whole index finger laying across his mouth to shut himself up, because he wants to say but he’s waiting, I think there is almost no doubt that this fellow, hi guy, is listening. For sure. So I’ll say the reason for that is it sounds like for all the world somebody got your phone. Did you by any chance with this fellow … After this wonderful honeymoon part did it cool off?

Amanda:

Yes.

Beau Friedlander

When it cooled off did that happen to be about when your phone started glitching?

Amanda:

Yes.

Beau Friedlander

Ah-ha.

Amanda:

Yes, exactly.

Adam Levin:

The worm turns.

Travis Taylor:

If he owned a cybersecurity company did he ever talk about the specific nature of said cybersecurity?

Amanda:

No. A couple dates that we went on was after he came back from business trips and such. And he would kind of tell me that he couldn’t … He would tell me about some of the meetings that he had had but just kind of said, “Obviously I can’t tell you who they were with or what we spoke about but we got a lot accomplished. I feel good about it.” That kind of stuff. Yeah.

Beau Friedlander

Did he have multiple passports and a very fit body, and lots of guns?

Amanda:

No.

Beau Friedlander

And did he punch people for no reason like Jason Bourne?

Adam Levin:

Was it a British accent perhaps that he had or French accent?

Amanda:

No British … No British accent.

Beau Friedlander

All right, so you were dating him and then things cooled off. Was it did you find someone else you were dating or what happened?

Amanda:

So this is where it cools off, we’re on the phone, we’re having kind of a serious conversation just kind of saying we’re not sure if what he wants is what I want. We just might not be in alignment there and so what are we going to do? And so we kind of leave it as, “Let’s talk about what we’re going to do.” And fortunately it ends … And, again, we have really good chemistry so this sort of then ends with a sexual conversation. Then we’re kind of like, “Oh my gosh, well how are we going to end this if this is where it’s going every time?”

Beau Friedlander

Was it like sexting or were you just sort of … Just flirting? What are we talking about?

Amanda:

It was phone sex and sexting. We all do it. We all do it.

Beau Friedlander

And it was sexting with cybersecurity guy, Jason Bourne?

Amanda:

Yes. Yes.

Beau Friedlander

Okay. Okay.

Amanda:

Jason Bourne. Yes. So after this conversation I say to myself, “You know what? Here I am now I’m supposed to be dating. I’m out of a serious relationship. The whole point is for me to date and now I’m hyper focusing on this person,” which I have a tendency to do. This is how I get into serious relationships that last forever. So I said, “And here I am again hyper focusing on this person. I need to go back onto the dating app and just open myself kind of back up to other people that I was kind of communicating with before. Because I do not know where this is going to go and I just have a feeling that it’s not going to go the direction that I was hoping, based on our conversations about where we want our futures to go.”

Amanda:

So that same … Couple nights later I am texting Jason Bourne. I’m texting Jason Bourne about his day and I have over the last couple days sort of brought somebody else back into the mix that I had been dating, that I let kind of fall off because once Jason Bourne came in I let … So I brought him kind of back in. We’ll refer to him as the … We’ll call him the politician because he’s involved in some political stuff, so-

Beau Friedlander

All right, we got to … We have to discern whether or not he’s a threat though, so is he-

Amanda:

He’s not a threat.

Beau Friedlander

You don’t think so?

Amanda:

No, no, no. I’ve met him in person. He lives in the area. We’ve been on multiple dates. We had dated for multiple months kind of on and off.

Beau Friedlander

Okay.

Amanda:

We’re friends.

Beau Friedlander

All right.

Amanda:

No, he is not … He is not a threat. Not at all. At all.

Beau Friedlander

He would not know how to make your phone glitch, unlike Jason Bourne-

Amanda:

No way, no. No way.

Beau Friedlander

Gotcha.

Amanda:

No way. But that same night that I am texting Jason Bourne I am … I haven’t seen the politician in a little while, so he’s getting a little feisty, so I … He was sexting, so I was returning the messages. I was kind of a little bit bored. He kind of came back. I know him. We have already had sex, so it’s … He’s a person that I know well, so I’m … But I’m communicating with-

Beau Friedlander

Super comfortable.

Amanda:

… them at the same time. Yes, comfortable!

Beau Friedlander

Yeah, comfortable.

Amanda:

He’s comfortable. I’ve dated him. We’ve been on probably, gosh, I mean 20 dates. I mean, I don’t … It’s been a while.

Adam Levin:

But who’s counting?

Amanda:

I’ve known him for a bit. Who’s counting? So-

Beau Friedlander

No, but so you have like Mr. Spicy over here and then you have Mr. Cornbread and cornbread is great. We all like cornbread. It’s comfortable.

Amanda:

Cornbread is great. Yeah, it’s comfortable. It’s good.

Adam Levin:

Well it’s kind of like Mr. Spicy and Mr. Pillow, right?

Amanda:

Oh gosh. It sounds so bad when you say it like that-

Beau Friedlander

Adam you just called this guy fat. We don’t know if he’s fat.

Adam Levin:

No, no, no, you can-

Amanda:

He’s definitely not.

Adam Levin:

You can-

Amanda:

He’s fit! He’s fit not fat. He’s fit.

Adam Levin:

It’s an emotional pillow.

Travis Taylor:

Fit but fluffy.

Beau Friedlander

Okay, Mister … But now he’s definitely going to have to be called Mr. Fluffy. So you have-

Amanda:

He’s …

Beau Friedlander

… Jason Bourne and Mr. Fluffy. And Mr. Fluffy-

Amanda:

Oh my god.

Beau Friedlander

Mr. Fluffy … Stick with us here Amanda, don’t lose it.

Amanda:

I can’t, I’m losing it.

Beau Friedlander

Mister-

Adam Levin:

I feel like this is the Howard Stern show.

Beau Friedlander

Mr. Fluffy-

Amanda:

Oh my gosh, he is …

Beau Friedlander

Hey, you know what? I didn’t say the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, so Mr. Puffy … Fluffy. Is-

Adam Levin:

Michelin Man. Michelin Man.

Amanda:

Michelin Man.

Beau Friedlander

Can I get a word out here? I got to ask the question-

Adam Levin:

Okay.

Beau Friedlander

… so Fluffy’s back in town?

Adam Levin:

Yep.

Beau Friedlander

And Jason Bourne is … How’s Jason Bourne doing?

Amanda:

Jason Bourne that same … So I’m … Now also this night I also had gone back on the dating app and I was also communicating with … I call him the Italian. He was kind of involved in crypto. He’s …

Beau Friedlander

Oh.

Adam Levin:

Oh.

Amanda:

Yes, yes, yes. So all three of these people-

Beau Friedlander

He’s a contender. He’s a contender.

Amanda:

He’s a contender.

Beau Friedlander

So he just … You met him? You met him around now?

Amanda:

This is all the same night.

Beau Friedlander

Okay.

Adam Levin:

So we have-

Amanda:

So I’m texting … I’m texting Jason Bourne-

Adam Levin:

Whoa, Crypto, Bourne, and Fluffy.

Amanda:

I’m texting-

Travis Taylor:

I feel like this is a game of Clue but we’re trying to figure out who killed your phone.

Amanda:

I know, I’m sorry.

Beau Friedlander

No, it is but I think it sounds like you were a little bored that night Amanda.

Adam Levin:

Where is Agatha Christie when we need her?

Amanda:

I was bored. I was bored.

Beau Friedlander

You were? I was-

Amanda:

I was bored.

Beau Friedlander

You were bored? Okay.

Amanda:

I was bored, yes. And I actually was also … See girls can do all of this. So here I am just texting Jason Bourne about his day. Yes. I mean, I was also texting the Italian crypto guy and then Fluffy I was sexting. And I was also voice texting my girlfriends about a little event we were going to have over the weekend, so we … I had like four conversations going at like-

Beau Friedlander

Now is there also like a third conversation about … Like with the girlfriends saying like, “Well there’s Fluffy, and there’s Jason Bourne, and then there’s Italian crypto guy”?

Amanda:

Yeah, I was actually … In the voice messages to each other we were talking about guys we were dating because I’ve inspired them all now to go back onto the apps. Because-

Adam Levin:

Look at you. Look at you.

Amanda:

Yes-

Beau Friedlander

[crosstalk 00:26:42] You’re like Wonder Woman in the dating scene.

Adam Levin:

Yeah.

Amanda:

Geez. I mean-

Beau Friedlander

So okay, Wonder Woman. So we’ve got Fluffy-

Adam Levin:

So we’re still looking for Superman here.

Beau Friedlander

We’ve got Fluffy, we’ve got [Liracrypta Man 00:26:53], and we have … Then we have-

Adam Levin:

Now did we meet him on the same app, Crypto Man?

Amanda:

Yes, same app. And he wants to talk on WhatsApp and I say-

Beau Friedlander

Oh no, no, no, no.

Adam Levin:

No, no, no, no, no.

Amanda:

I did. I know. I know. I won’t do it again. I won’t do it again, I promise.

Travis Taylor:

Did he start asking you for any specific details or any information, or anything like that on WhatsApp that he probably would not have on the dating app?

Amanda:

No. No.

Travis Taylor:

Okay.

Amanda:

He just sent me pictures of wine and talked about himself, and that he was a crypto investor. Yeah, he sent photos.

Beau Friedlander

He sent you pictures. He sent you pictures. Now on your-

Amanda:

Of himself.

Beau Friedlander

On your WhatsApp Amanda tell me-

Adam Levin:

Of bottles of wine?

Amanda:

Yes.

Beau Friedlander

It’s quite possible that Italian Crypto Man sent you something that made your phone glitch and that something would be either a keystroke logger or something that allows him to actually just shoulder surf you.

Travis Taylor:

Yeah, there’s something that got spread through Android. I don’t think it ever hit iPhone. But it’s called a wormable app that was targeting WhatsApp users. That if you just get a picture, say a picture of wine, that that could in fact put a type of malware on your computer … Or your device rather.

Beau Friedlander

But I seem to recall you’re on Apple.

Amanda:

Yeah, I’m on an Apple. Yeah.

Beau Friedlander

She’s on an Apple because I know I’ve texted with Amanda and it turns blue, so I know what platform she’s on. Also scary.

Adam Levin:

The Jeff Bezos scandal tape texts. The Saudis sent him a message to his iPhone, correct?

Travis Taylor:

Yeah. That sounds like that was the Pegasus spyware.

Adam Levin:

Okay. Crypto Man, Jason Bourne, Pegasus, who knows? The story gets more intriguing by the minute.

Beau Friedlander

So Crypto he asks you to go to WhatsApp and sent you pictures?

Amanda:

And I said, “I don’t really use WhatsApp.” I said, “But I’ll try.” I said, “Because I just don’t check it very often. There’s so many platforms that I have to check.” I was like, “I … This sounds annoying but okay.” I was like, “Okay, I’ll do it.” So we’re talking on there. We don’t talk that long that particular night that I am texting Jason Bourne and sexting Michelin Man. And it is a little bit odd, I started feeling a little bit weird that night that I was sexting Michelin Man and maybe I was just feeling guilty about it. But I just had kind of a little bit of a weird feeling. Jason Bourne stops texting me back.

Beau Friedlander

Wait, hold on-

Amanda:

Which he had never done before.

Beau Friedlander

So you were having a digital … Boy. Sort of like French farce. People running down the hallway, changing rooms, doors slamming. And one of your partners went quiet. Now in the game of Clue we’re playing that is a major clue.

Adam Levin:

Ta-da!

Amanda:

So he goes quiet and then the next day I’m still talking to … The next day I’m still talking to crypto guy, I’m still talking to Michelin Man, and Jason Bourne has gone … He’s still quiet and he’s never quiet. So that same day is when I kind of realized my phone is kind of being a little bit glitchy. And it had been glitchy a little bit before that and now I kind of realized some messages that haven’t gone through. That same day I … Michelin Man is the one that sent me three messages in a row.

Beau Friedlander

Now the Michelin Man-

Amanda:

That next day.

Beau Friedlander

… just for everyone who’s listening we gave him several names. This is Fluffy man-

Amanda:

Fluffy.

Beau Friedlander

… and this is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and this is now Michelin Man. All the same guy. Gotcha.

Amanda:

Yeah. This is all the same guy.

Beau Friedlander

Now Michelin Man does not go quiet, right? He’s-

Amanda:

No, he does not go quiet. And in-

Beau Friedlander

Gotcha.

Amanda:

I get three messages in a row from him and I’m like, “Hey, did you realize that you just sent me the same message three times?” And he was like, “No I didn’t.” And he screenshots his phone. I’m like, “Gosh this is so weird.” I also actually call my ex-husband and I’m like, “Hey.” I said, “My phone is just having a lot of problems.” I said, “Is it possible that we can just …” My phone is on a business plan with our old business. I said, “Is there time for an upgrade on it? I feel like I need to get a new phone.” And he’s like, “Well it’s going to cost you X. It’s the same camera, I don’t know why you’d want it.” I’m like, “You know what? Maybe it just needs an update.” I said, “I’ll just deal with it, it’s fine.”

Amanda:

So another day or so goes by. I have not heard from Jason Bourne and I am starting to think that it’s a little bit weird. What if he somehow … I mean, he has a cybersecurity company, right? I’m like, “Would it be possible for him to have gotten into my phone and see that I’ve been sexting, and that’s why he’s not responding to me?” I just had the weirdest feeling. And I call my best friend. I’m like, “Do you think that this is possible because I just …” And she knows everything that’s been going on. I said, “Do you think this is possible because I just … I don’t know. I feel sick about it for some reason right now.” She’s like, “I don’t think that you can do that.” She says, “Let me call my cyber friend and I’ll get back to you.”

Amanda:

So she texts me and she’s like … She screenshots the message that she has with her cyber tech friend that says, “Yeah, that can be done. I mean, I don’t know why someone would go through the trouble of doing that but it happens all the time. I mean, if you’re in cybersecurity you know how to do it and so yeah, sure. I mean, he could have probably done it.” And so now I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I wonder if this is why I haven’t heard from him and he sees that I’ve now been sexting somebody when I’ve been telling him that he’s the only person I’m talking to. And now there’s two people in the mix.” And so now I’m kind of paranoid.

Adam Levin:

It sounds like Jason Bourne might have installed spyware on your phone. Now Travis a question to you before Amanda continues and that is can you install spyware remotely or do you actually have to have access to the phone in order … Just for our listeners. Access to the the phone in order to be able to put spyware on it?

Travis Taylor:

Well for something that could take that much control over your phone we have heard things about the Pegasus spyware for instance but that’s really, really high level. That’s the sort of thing that they’ve gotten into journalists and politicians, and the like. I don’t really know how advanced this cybersecurity guy, the Jason Bourne, is here. So we know that there is, in the case of the Pegasus spyware, something that can get onto an iPhone and can pretty much take full control over it, and intercept just about anything. And it’s called a zero-click malware because all you need to do is get a text from it. But, again, that would be a pretty refined, like government level, form of spyware.

Beau Friedlander

Okay, but Travis, Adam …

Adam Levin:

Beau.

Beau Friedlander

You’ve met Amanda Adam. Travis you see Amanda now on the Zoom screen where we’re talking to Amanda.

Travis Taylor:

Sure.

Beau Friedlander

Amanda … I have a partner, this is no flirtation. Is a very refined woman, so-

Amanda:

Oh my gosh.

Beau Friedlander

… it’s quite possible she may have attracted, we’re not wrong, Jason Bourne and that this guy had access to something like Pegasus. And it’s also quite possible that Liracrypta, ICM, the guy from Italy also … We don’t know if he was a high level crypto guy. He may have been one of the original crypto guys. And if he is one of the original crypto guys he’s got chops. And if he’s got that kind of dough, because we’re talking $100 million, Pegasus is a cheap date. And if you’re also a bit of a psycho it’s a fun date because you can spy on everybody. So no offense Jason Bourne. Jason Bourne, listen, I have such a boring life. Leave me alone. But it’s so-

Travis Taylor:

But it is the case of one of those things of saying it would be hard to get a rocket launcher and then saying, “Well the guy is a gun dealer.” Then you’re like, “Well that would make it a little bit easier on that note.”

Adam Levin:

I know you’ve seen Jason Bourne. Have you ever seen … I mean seen, physically, Crypto Man?

Amanda:

No. That was short lived. That was only a few days of messaging and I had asked to have a phone conversation, and he said that his English wasn’t as great on the phone. And I said, “Well you seem to communicate just fine via text.” And he said, “Well because I use Google Translate.” And he said, “But I’ll be in town at the end of the month.” And then he had said that we would get together. And I sort of stopped messaging him.

Adam Levin:

Is it at all entirely possible that Crypto Man was also Jason Bourne? That he was testing you?

Amanda:

This is what my friend thinks. This is what my best friend thinks.

Adam Levin:

Is there anything else it could be, that isn’t Pegasus, that still is serious spyware?

Travis Taylor:

I mean, there is serious spyware for a iPhone. Again, I think the main caveat here is that it’s thought of as being very rare. At the same time this seems like someone who may have had access to it. One way that spyware’s gotten onto phones, or iPhones, in the past is that if you don’t have it in your presence with you … If you don’t have it on you at all times and someone gets access to it they can do what’s called jailbreaking, which is it gets around Apple’s built-in protections. And if you jailbreak something then you can put on any app you want.

Beau Friedlander

You actually were in his physical presence?

Amanda:

Yes.

Beau Friedlander

And probably when you had to go to the ladies’ room you didn’t bring him with you because it wasn’t that intimate yet, so he might have had access to your phone?

Amanda:

Sure. He could have absolutely.

Beau Friedlander

So that doesn’t mean Pegasus. That means that could be anything. All this means to say Amanda that one day your Instagram account went missing.

Amanda:

Yes.

Beau Friedlander

So when your Instagram account went missing it was like the 13th chime on a crazy clock that not only called itself into question but all the 12 chimes that came before.

Amanda:

Exactly. Didn’t put them all together until then, yeah.

Beau Friedlander

Now so when you did put it all together, I have a question, was there anything else … An email, another social account, anything else that wasn’t working properly or that you had lost control of? Did you discover that other things had been compromised?

Amanda:

Just my personal Gmail because I got a notification that someone had … Yes, my personal Gmail, which was the recovery account for my Instagram. And then when I did … So once my Instagram went down I had obviously called … I had called Adam and asked what I could possibly do. And then I also changed … I ordered a new phone at that time because they had … Adam had suggested … Adam connected me with a gentleman named Andre Creole who was able to help me recover my Instagram account but they were really on top of it, immediately called me, scheduled a phone call. I changed all my passwords, especially the important ones first. Anything that had to do with a bank account I changed immediately. I actually didn’t get to my Gmail right away because I don’t … There were so many other things that were important to change that that was something I kind of did last. And so I had a notification of a security breach on there, and then immediately went to my Gmail and changed that. And then I had ordered a new phone at that time too.

Beau Friedlander

And you were able to change it though?

Amanda:

I was able to change it. I was able to change it.

Beau Friedlander

Okay. And you ordered a new phone with the same phone number and you swapped the SIM card or with a new SIM card?

Amanda:

It was a new SIM card. And when I did download all of the data I had … When you transfer everything over to the new phone Apple … I don’t know, they must … I don’t know what the process is for reloading all of your information but it had … There were 17 security breaches on my phone. And a couple of the security breaches were from the dating app, because it lists them on there. It’s weird because I should have paid more attention to it at the time but I … Because all this had happened when I saw those 17 security breaches on there I completely panicked and then had Apple log me out of all of my apps. And they had them all listed on there. I should have screenshotted them but I didn’t because I panicked, because it had my … It had some things listed on there that I wanted to make sure that I changed. So I then changed my emails again. Or my email password again.

Amanda:

And then just to be safe I went in and changed my bank account password again, because now I was just paranoid. I’m like, “How can there be 17 security breaches on my phone?” And meanwhile this whole time I just thought it was Instagram. I only ordered a new phone because Adam and Andre had said, “Hey, it’s best to have the updated phone from a security perspective, so just go ahead and do it.” So that’s why I had done it. I didn’t even think that my phone was compromised.

Adam Levin:

So I have another question for you and that is did you have different passwords on your different accounts or did they share the same password?

Amanda:

Most of those shared the same password, yes. I know. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Beau Friedlander

So this is-

Amanda:

I know you’re disappointed but …

Beau Friedlander

No, but I was just wondering-

Amanda:

… this is what everybody does.

Beau Friedlander

No-

Adam Levin:

That’s human. That’s-

Beau Friedlander

[crosstalk 00:41:07] It’s human. It’s not great but it’s human. Did you ever find yourself in a situation where Jason Bourne was in a position to shoulder surf while you entered your password?

Amanda:

I am sure that would be entirely possible. I mean …

Beau Friedlander

Okay.

Amanda:

Yeah, I was-

Beau Friedlander

All right.

Amanda:

… on my phone many times when I was with him and, I mean, we … Yeah, we were … We were pretty close, so yeah I would say that there would have been opportunities for sure. I mean-

Beau Friedlander

Okay. I am ready to say that it was the cybersecurity guy in the library with the candlestick.

Amanda:

I knew you were going to go there with the Clue game.

Beau Friedlander

In the movie that is this situation it strikes me as very probable that our culprit showed his cards. And I’ll tell you how I think he showed his cards. Are you ready for this?

Amanda:

I’m ready.

Travis Taylor:

[crosstalk 00:42:12] It’s so rare we get to have a parlor room revealed, just let him have it.

Beau Friedlander

Okay. Thank you. I think that your hacker showed his cards and I think he did it like this … Ready? “Hey Amanda, what’s up?”

Amanda:

What’s up?

Beau Friedlander

“Hey. Hi. So anyway”-

Amanda:

Hey.

Beau Friedlander

“So did you ever get your Instagram account back? How’d you get it back?” I think that’s what happened. So if someone asked you that question that’s your guy.

Amanda:

He did!

Beau Friedlander

Who’s he? We got three guys here.

Amanda:

Jason Bourne asked me that.

Beau Friedlander

[crosstalk 00:42:43] I think it’s Jason Bourne then that-

Amanda:

[crosstalk 00:42:43] We didn’t get-

Beau Friedlander

Did he say it like this … Did he say like, “By golly how the heck did you get your Instagram account back? I thought that was gone forever”? Or did he say something a little less ridiculous?

Amanda:

He reached out and said, “Hey, I was trying to look at what you were doing on Instagram and didn’t see it yet. Were you guys able to figure it out?” And I said, “No, not yet. It’s kind of a thing.” I said, “But,” I said, “I have the most amazing friend in the world, Adam, who’s connected me with this great tech guy and he’s … They’re trying to help but it’s just … It’s kind of a bit of a nightmare.” And I did … Again, at this time I didn’t suspect him. I said, “And it’s been a little bit of a nightmare because I’ve had to change all my passwords because I used the same password for everything.” And he was … I mean, he … Yeah, one of the comments he made was like, “Oh that’s such a bad girl, you shouldn’t do that.” I’m like hm.

Beau Friedlander

Ew. Ew. Like Hannibal Lecter. So that’s-

Amanda:

I’m like … I mean, and at the time I didn’t … I didn’t really think anything of it, but what I will say is once the account went back up I haven’t heard from him.

Beau Friedlander

Yeah. I think he might be your guy.

Adam Levin:

But, listen, I’m very glad that Andre was able to help you because we’ve learned with a lot of people if they lose an Instagram account Instagram’s attitude is, “Yeah, well good luck. Nice knowing you. Come back again, set up another account,” which is a problem with a lot of big tech is customer service is not what they’re really big on. Although there are some that are really great at customer service. So we’re glad we could help and we just hope that you don’t have to go through this again because I know it was a jarring experience for you, as it would be for anybody. This doesn’t mean you should burn off your fingerprints, hide-

Beau Friedlander

Oh Jesus.

Adam Levin:

… under a mattress, shut off all the lights or as Beau and I used to … We like to say, “Hiding under a bottle cap at the bottom of Loon Lake is not really going to help you.” You got to live your life and these things will happen, so you just have to be a little bit more careful and pay attention. It’s all about paying attention because that’s when the bad guys get you is when they think you’re not looking or they think you’re distracted, and when you’re distracted you’re vulnerable.

Adam Levin:

So Travis for our listeners who are like members of the human race, as opposed to technology wizards-

Travis Taylor:

Sure.

Adam Levin:

… the question is if somebody gets something on their phone, like spyware or something else, how do they get it off? Or do they just have to say, “New phone time”?

Travis Taylor:

I mean, the nature of mobile devices at this point is that some of them are expensive enough that you can’t really just walk out and get a new phone. Or at least a lot of folks can’t. So that means trying to take the steps to fix it and the first step is just try restarting your phone. Beau’s pointed out in past episodes that some malware just really only lasts as long as your phone is on. Restarting it kind of flushes it out of your computer’s memory and you might be good to go.

Travis Taylor:

Also for just about any device of phone, especially Android and iPhone, there are anti-malware apps you can install on there and that will help get that off of your phone. And when all else fails there’s something called the factory reset where you just start from scratch. So you can just erase everything that’s on your phone. Try to make sure you have some of your information backed up. If you have Apple you can do that on iCloud for instance. And then that should also, in the overwhelming majority of cases, wipe out anything that’s lingering on your phone or lurking on it.

Beau Friedlander

Yeah. And if you’re going to throw out your phone feel free to send it to me because I will just give it to one of my kids. You don’t need to throw out your phone. I mean, you can. It’s probably the safest thing to do-

Adam Levin:

Try to wipe the data out first before Beau’s kids get it but you know …

Beau Friedlander

Yeah. No, or leave it. We like to see what’s there. But the fact is I don’t know why Andre … I’m sure he had a cogent reason to tell her to get a new phone but it seems like it might have just been expedient because really what Travis said is 100% right. Or the factory reset. There’s nothing you can put on a phone that can survive a factory reset. And most of the stuff won’t even survive a reboot. At the end of the day you almost don’t need to know what happened, you just need to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And that’s the defensive posture, it takes precedence. And just sort of do the stuff we know you can do to keep yourself safe.

Adam Levin:

And you have to be very careful, vigilant, and protect yourself because at the end of the day you are your ultimate guardian.

Beau Friedlander

Yeah.

Adam Levin:

Thank you so much for listening. And if you liked the episode share it with a friend, and come back again and spend some time with us next week.

Beau Friedlander

What the Hack with Adam Levin is a production of Loud Tree Media.

Adam Levin:

It’s produced by Andrew Steven, the man with two first names.

Travis Taylor:

You can find us online at LoudTreeMedia.com and on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at Adam K. Levin.

Beau Friedlander

Amanda do you have What the Hack on your phone, and have you rated it with five stars and written a review?

Amanda:

Adam I heard your last episode and I know that you were talking about reviews, and so I promise that I will write a review. It is the least I can do for the help that I received from Adam and Andre, and all of you. So I will rate it, I will write a review, and I will share it. Yeah.

Beau Friedlander

So when you do that I need to give you a tip.

Amanda:

Oh okay.

Beau Friedlander

When you’re reviewing it I need you to say, “The only letter that’s not in any of the United States spellings is the letter Q.”

Amanda:

Yes.

Beau Friedlander

And I need you to then put that in the review because when you do we can force Adam to do, on TikTok, a chicken dance.

Speaker 6:

Loud Tree.