21st December 2020

Here is Mytetra's guide to avoiding Christmas scams and infosec issues. Wishing you a peace, love, wellness and a safe and secure cyber Christmas.



When ordering items online ensure they are legit and secure (https not http) If there are no contact details readily available or if you are asked to make payment over the telephone alarm bells should be ringing - more than likely you are about to hand over money to a fake company ‘selling’ fake products.


Many people book a summer getaway during the Christmas period, particularly with thoughts of the Covid vaccine being available by then. Criminals will prey on this by creating fake websites, ads and packages online that appear to be selling you your dream holiday at a cut price. Beware of pop ups or social media ads that lead to infection or a full on booking scam, Only book or click on holiday deals that are from a reputable company, website URL and source.


Do not  open E-Christmas cards from senders you don’t recognise as they are malware ridden -they can infect your computer with a virus and potentially steal your personal data.


It’s the time of the year to send a silly Crimbo animation or attachment to friends and family - unfortunately you may be sent or have sent a seasonal ditty full of malware. If you click on a malicious Yuletide message an automated bot can send out a reply to all your friends and message them with malware as well.


Cyber criminals take advantage of people's generous Christmas spirit by making seemingly legitimate looking accounts and websites, asking for money in the name of a well-known charity. Always go through a charities official website to make a donation.


Cyber criminal Gift Card scams are to send a user a receipt for a gift card they haven't purchased. When they cancel this gift card purchase, they will be asked to hand over personal details such as credit card information.


A classic email scam at Christmas time is to send shipping updates of products that you don't remember ordering. Many of us will be expecting legitimate shipping updates as we order Christmas gifts online, so there’s a higher chance of these updates being opened and the links being clicked through to. Once opened, these links could infect your machine or similar to the gift card scam, demand bank account details from the user.


Fake surveys are circulated all year round, that promise a cash reward or gift once the user fills out the survey - making an easy buck at Christmas seems like a good idea - but it isn’t. If you find a survey asks for bank and credit details, it’s highly likely it’s fake.



2nd December 2020

In 1503 Leonardo Da Vinci was commissioned to paint a portrait of Florentine gentlewoman, Lisa de Giocondo, by her husband. Needless to say, Signore Giocondo, never received the commission. The painting on a panel of poplar wood (77cm x 55cm) is completed by Da Vinci in 1516, with various versions  ( Compare the Two Mona Lisas - The Mona Lisa Foundation ) and after a  reputed love affair with Lisa.


When Da Vinci dies in France in 1519 the painting is bought by the French king, Henri II and it becomes part of the Royal collection. After the French Revolution the portrait is hung on the wall of Empress Josphine’s boudoir. Now part of the new State collection the Mona Lisa is moved to the Musee de Lourve, Paris in 1789 (inventory number 779.)

In France, the Mona Lisa is known as ‘La Jaconde’ a play on Lisa’s surname and translates as ‘amused woman’ referring to her portraits gently supercilious grin: the world-famous Mona Lisa smile.

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Monday morning 21st August 1911, the then little-known painting was stolen from the Louvre. The simplicity of this heist is what makes it so brilliant. Sunday nights were often a boozy affair in Paris at the time and Monday morning museum staff were possibly not on top form. The heist crew of three Italian nationalists hid in a cupboard all night, stepped out in the morning dressed in ‘museum’ overalls simply unhooked the painting from the gallery wall, hide it under one of their smocks and exited the building.


The Mona Lisa heist story hits the world’s press and causes a xenophobic crisis in France as it is assumed that the painting was stolen by anarchistic, avant-garde, foreign artists as a reaction against bourgeois high culture. Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and the Italian poet Guillaume Apollinaire are accused of the theft and called in for questioning. They were innocent of this crime, but as grey hat anarchists they panicked as they had actually stolen some ancient, Iberian sculptures. These had provided Picasso with the source inspiration for ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ in 1907 a pivotal piece in the birth of cubism and paradigm shift in ‘modern’ art.

The Mona Lisa is recovered in Milan in 1913 by which time the portrait has becomes the most famous painting in the world - a seemingly unerring and eternal status for the enigmatic Lisa G. from Florence.

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Fifty years later plus years later Picasso is quoted as saying ‘Good artists copy; great artist steal.’ This quote is then referenced by Steve Jobs in 1996. Versions of this aphorism have been around for years and predate Picasso’s ‘joke’ including from W. H. Davenport Adams (1892), T.S. Elliot (1920) Lionel Trilling, Igor Stravinsky and William Faulkner in the mid Twentieth century. Thank you to Heist artist Robert Good for sharing the link


2nd December 2020

Notable Mona Lisa homages include L.H.O.O.Q’ by Marcel Duchamp, 1919 and Andy Warhol's pop art screen prints 'Mona Lisa', 1963. The Heist exhibition by Mytetra, November 2020, uses the Mona Lisa image converted into Ascii in marketing collateral, as the image is in the public domain. The availability of the Mona Lisa image has led to much artistic abuse/ adoration. This is discussed in the article The moving of the Mona Lisa | The Independent

‘Such over-exposure has inevitably cheapened the Mona Lisa as a work of art. It has become difficult to look at the painting and separate it from the layers of pastiche and mockery and exploitation. On the other hand, the more Mona Lisa is exploited, mocked or ripped off, the greater her mystique and popularity becomes...

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.Professor  [Donald] Sassoon believes that this is a positive thing: a refreshing proof that popular culture and high culture can overlap. "It demonstrates that something can be both a classic of Western art and pop, hip and cool."