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Be Careful of Message Links 🔗

UK mobile networks are sending a “stay at home” message to everyone in response to the current nationwide lockdown. While the link in that specific message is safe, don’t click on links in text messages. It’s very easy for scammers to fake that message and replace the safe link with their own nasty version. It doesn’t take long to type “gov.uk” into the address bar of your browser and you can follow the appropriate link from that site’s home page.

Don’t click on links in text messages. Get into the habit of not clicking links, even if when it’s safe. There’s been a rise in scams and phishing attempts that prey on people’s fears. Please do take care.

If you’re unsure about whether or not a web address is genuine, type it into the search box of your favourite search engine. If the search box is also an address bar (as is the case for some browsers), you need to make sure it doesn’t get interpreted as a URL, which would take you to the site rather than allow you to investigate it first. For example, if you get a link to “example.com/important-info” then type something like “what is example.com” or “who is example.com” or “who owns example.com” as your search term. That should hopefully ensure that it’s interpreted as a search rather than an address. (You can also use the ICANN lookup to look up the registration data for the domain, but an Internet search may show up warnings and alerts.)

The same advice applies for emails, and with email messages you need to be even more careful as links are more dangerous in HTML content than in plain text messages because they are hidden behind the link text. On a desktop device you may be able to see the URL when you hover the mouse pointer over the link text, but you can’t do this on a mouseless mobile device. You may be able to copy the link (using a context popup menu or a long tap) but you need to take care that you don’t accidentally follow the link by mistake.

Always be very careful about emails that encourage you to click on a link or open an attachment even if they seem to be sent from a legitimate source. Sender addresses are usually sent in the form “Display Name” user@example.com. The “display name” part can be set to anything. For example, “Some Public Health Body” scammer@baddomain.com. So be careful not to trust the display name. Copy the domain part (after @) and paste it into a search engine to investigate it (bearing in mind the earlier advice about a search bar that doubles as an address bar).

The Dickimaw Books site has some functions that will send an automated email that may include a link. For example, if you report a bug and provide your email address for confirmation then you will receive a message informing you when your report is logged with a link to the topic page on the bug tracker. I’ve amended the template used for that message to additionally provide information on how to navigate your way to the topic page without clicking on the link. It’s less convenient but it’s safer.

Stay safe and practice both physical and digital hygiene.

Nicola Talbot 2020-03-24 📂 Security 🔖 News

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image of dickimaw parrot with cookies in cloudsOnce upon a time, a little parrot decided to migrate across the vast ocean to the cloud lands, with nothing more than a handful of cookies. The Dickimaw Books site has migrated to a new web hosting provider and this is the story of its journey.
Nicola Talbot 2019-09-15 📂 Site 🔖 Migration

Previous Post

image of dickimaw parrot with cookies in cloudsOnce upon a time, a little parrot decided to migrate across the vast ocean to the cloud lands, with nothing more than a handful of cookies. The Dickimaw Books site has migrated to a new web hosting provider and this is the story of its journey.
Nicola Talbot 2019-09-15 📂 Site 🔖 Migration

Recent Posts

End of Year Ebook Sale
Book coversThe DRM-free ebook retailer SmashWords has their end of year sale from 15th December 2023 to 1st January 2024. My crime novel “The Private Enemy” and children’s illustrated story “The Foolish Hedgehog” both have a 50% discount and my crime fiction short story “I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing” and cybercrime fiction short story “Unsocial Media” both have a 100% discount (i.e. free!) for the duration of the sale. Did you know that you can gift ebooks on SmashWords?
Ebook Sale July 2023
Book coversThe DRM-free ebook retailer SmashWords has a sale from 1st – 31st July 2023. My crime novel “The Private Enemy” and children’s illustrated story “The Foolish Hedgehog” both have a 50% discount and my crime fiction short story “I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing” and cybercrime fiction short story “Unsocial Media” both have a 100% discount (i.e. free!) for the duration of the sale. Did you know that you can gift ebooks on SmashWords?
Bug Bounty Hunters
Image of magnifying glass over a green bug.I was recently informed that dickimaw-books.com had a medium severity reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the version of cPanel this website was using at the time. I solved the problem by moving to a new web-hosting provider that didn’t have the issue. The security researcher used a non-invasive probe. No data was compromised.
Nicola Talbot 2023-05-22 (updated 2023-06-17) 📂 Security Site 🔖 Migration News Online Store
Unsocial Media: a cybercrime short story
Unsocial Media book cover.Greg has unwisely accepted a friend request from “Natalie”, a stranger who starts to stalk him after failing to hook him in a scam but, unknown to either of them, Greg’s wife (the narrator) is quietly investigating Natalie, following the trail from online into the real world.
Hello E-Hedgehog
The Foolish Hedgehog Cover Image.The Foolish Hedgehog is back in print as an ebook. If you’re looking for a short illustrated story for young children to keep them entertained over the holiday, have a read of the preview on SmashWords and buy it while it’s half-price!
Ongoing Email Issues on Website
For some weeks now, the forms on this site, such as the contact page, have been unable to send an email. It seems to be caused by an SSL issue outside of my control. All support channels to the web hosting company used by this site are down, which means I can’t even report the issue, let alone get it fixed.
Nicola Talbot 2022-08-28 (updated 2022-10-08) 📂 Site 🔖 News
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Books
Children’s Illustrated Fiction
Illustrated fiction for young children: The Foolish Hedgehog and Quack, Quack, Quack. Give My Hat Back!
Creative Writing
The art of writing fiction, inspiration and themes.
Crime Fiction
The crime fiction category covers the crime novels The Private Enemy and The Fourth Protectorate and also the crime short stories I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing and I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing.
Fiction
Fiction books and other stories.
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Natural languages including regional dialects.
(La)TeX
The TeX typesetting system in general or the LaTeX format in particular.
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Norfolk
This category is about the county of Norfolk in East Anglia (the eastern bulgy bit of England). It’s where The Private Enemy is set and is also where the author lives.
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Information about the Dickimaw Books site.
Speculative Fiction
The speculative fiction category includes the novel The Private Enemy (set in the future), the alternative history novel The Fourth Protectorate, and the fantasy novel Muirgealia.

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Alternative History
Sub-genre of speculative fiction, alternative history is “what if?” fiction.
book samples
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Conservation of Detail
A part of the creative writing process, conservation of detail essentially means that only significant information should be added to a work of fiction.
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Information about the site cookies.
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Regional dialects, in particular the Norfolk dialect.
Docker
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The education system.
Fantasy
Sub-genre of speculative fiction involving magical elements.
File formats
Hippochette
A pochette (pocket violin) with a hippo headpiece.
I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing
A crime fiction short story (available as an ebook) set in the late 1920s on the RMS Aquitania. See the story’s main page for further details.
Inspirations
The little things that inspired the author’s stories.
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Posts about the website migration.
Muirgealia
A fantasy novel. See the book’s main page for further details.
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Posts about the Dickimaw Books store.
Quack, Quack, Quack. Give My Hat Back!
Information about the illustrated children’s book. See the book’s main page for further details.
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Posts about sales that are running or are pending at the time of the post.
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The process of creating stories.
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The Foolish Hedgehog
Information about the illustrated children’s book. See the book’s main page for further details.
The Fourth Protectorate
Alternative history novel set in 1980s/90s London. See the book’s main page for further details.
The Private Enemy
A crime/speculative fiction novel set in a future Norfolk run by gangsters. See the book’s main page for further details.
Unsocial Media
A cybercrime fiction short story (available as an ebook). See the story’s main page for further details.
World Book Day
World Book Day (UK and Ireland) is an annual charity event held in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland on the first Thursday in March. It’s a local version of the global UNESCO World Book Day.