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Beth Blackerby
Dear members, you may have received an email advertising all of my content for a cheap price. Someone obviously poached all the videos and is trying to sell them back to my membership. Clearly they hacked the database and have access to your emails. I deeply apologize for this breach. Fortunately, when I launched Violin Lab almost 10 years ago, I made the wise decision to NOT store credit card information, phone numbers, or physical addresses. So the only thing they obtained is your name and email. 

Again, I apologize. I didn't realize I was vulnerable. It is bad enough that they stole my life's work (as well as others' intellectual property), but that doesn't bother me nearly as much as the fact they have illegally gotten your email addresses. I hope you ignore their email and report it to Spam. 

I have contacted authorities who are on the case. I've also spoken with my developer and we're in the process of updating the site which will adopt all the latest encryption technologies. Thank you for your patience and your support. 
Beth Blackerby
38 Responses
Posted: June 8, 2018
Last Comment: June 12, 2018
Replies

Stephen, Los Osos, CA
Posted: June 12, 2018
Beth,

So sorry to hear about this.

You were wise not leaving credit card
information.

Do you think they have our user names and passwords?

It might be a good time to change our passwords.

Best,
Stephen

Dean
Posted: June 12, 2018
I remember a long time ago the developer software model added metadata to files so you could actually buy files that you could download and the files had an expiration date in their metadata. 

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: June 11, 2018
"Provided no credit card information is available, it's of no concern to myself."

Après moi le deluge.





Joe Rogers
Posted: June 11, 2018
Thanks For the Alert!
I appreciate you letting us know about this breach. Provided no credit card information is available, it's of no concern to myself. I've not received any email purporting to be from yourself or ViolinLab, but will be vigilant if I do.

Thank you for alerting us to this!

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: June 11, 2018
What's the meaning of here/now in the web? Place/time have undergone a radical change with internet.

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: June 11, 2018
Beth,
It's possible that someone very near to you has used a basis in Russia.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 11, 2018
Dave, that's good advice. And the owner of the server did some investigating and found that this website is in Russia. 

dave
Posted: June 11, 2018
email hack
Beth,
I got a noreply@musicsoft.store message which I did not open. The subject header mentioned essential violin tutorials and books. My spam filter did not catch this, but I didn't trust it to open it, and it is now sitting in my trash where it is quarantined. I got it on June 7th. 

Sorry you are having to deal with this. I'm not worried about the email, as it's public information. I used to be a bit relaxed about computer security, but on the advice of IT friends, I now use a virtual private network, encrypted email, and multiple malware software programs. My habits changed as well and I don't open emails I don't recognize. I think the one you have referred to as a scam email had a subject line about essential violin tutorials and books. I didn't open it and it's quarantined in my trash.

I for one would be happy to log in to Violinlab.com using two level authentication or some other more secure method than we currently employ. I also hope you are anticipating that some of us may unwittingly send you files that carry viruses, and that you have a method of screening them out so as to protect the site and its users.

The good news is that you have built a beautiful resource that a whole community of people treasure, and Violinlab.com will continue to flourish.  I'm in my eight month of violin study using Violinlab.com, and am nearly ready to submit something to the community for their feedback.

Peace,
Dave

Roy Wainscott
Posted: June 10, 2018
Will let you know if anything comes across emails about your content other than from you. 

Dean
Posted: June 10, 2018
If it took them this long to steal your files than you did alright. There is proprietary software with better security but you need a licence for the software. 

Inge Black
Posted: June 10, 2018
I haven't been on the site lately.  I just got the message today, and wrote you an e-mail. Obviously you already know about it. :(  I'm so sorry this happened.   I was outraged!

Fwiw, I did get into the site, somehow, and they are selling all kinds of things.  "Garritan" for example, is part of the Finale suite that I have, and it costs a pretty penny.  Probably being sold for a song - maybe not real - after theft.

guangjiu wu
Posted: June 10, 2018
I think the limitless value of the violinlab is the community , where people can really share and discuss the road of learning violing and get feedback from beth and others, i got that spam email and delted it, it's really annoying i can imagine how beth felt about it . Hope you can fix the issue as soon as possible to avoid any further loss. 

Raúl Rivas
Posted: June 10, 2018
I'm very sorry Beth.
I wish the hacker stumbles somewhere and breaks all his teeth. It would not solve anything but I'm happy imagining it...

Christiane
Posted: June 9, 2018
Also found in Spam Folder (gmail), where it will stay.

Beth, I don't mind the least that they have my e-mail address.  One gives it out all the time, unsure, if and to whom it will be passed on.  Thanks for an effective setting, Google protects me from most of the nuisance e-mails.  Every morning I delete at least 10 e-mails not worth opening and now and then I 'unsubscribe'.

The other issue, perceived loss of your lifework, is more concerning. 

BUT: I can't see that they get far with the videos alone.  What they absolutely cannot sell is 'Community' and your personal presence on the website.  This is the whole deal that makes it attractive, fosters loyalty and keeps everything together.  Videos alone - there are plenty on youtube teaching you for free, so why buy them from a scammer?  If it's Community you want, though, and personal caring, go to Violinlab. 

Still, incredibly annoying time and energy wasters...and sorry you have the worry and hassle.

David Fremont-Smith
Posted: June 9, 2018
It was in my Spam folder, as well.  I reported it to Gmail as possible phishing. 

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: June 8, 2018
So sorry Beth, as I said in my email. I hope you can find out who did this. My thoughts were that they wouldn’t really be selling anything, just trying to get money from the gullible. The email was in my Spam folder as well.

Sonia

Elizabeth (Oklahoma)
Posted: June 8, 2018

Oh Beth, I am so very sorry that you have to deal with such a mess, in addition to having been violated in such a most miserable way.  My heart certainly goes out to you during the process of sorting things out, in addition to trying to process it all at the same time ~~ it truly just doesn't make any sense!!  Through it all, please know that many will keep you covered in prayer throughout the ordeal! Gratefully, due to your sense of diligence and thoughtfulness, thankfully your online students are all okay! However, we are deeply saddened that such devastation has attacked you, who have done wonders for your VL family worldwide, continually blessing us each individually, and as a whole!

 

Musically yours,  Elizabeth  *8>) 



Ted Adachi
Posted: June 8, 2018
I also found the email in my Spam folder.

There are lots of scary links so as Barbara suggested, I would steer clear of those.

At least they did not get the new Practice Course (or at least, aren't trying to sell it yet)

Spam is where it belongs.

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: June 8, 2018
Nowadays it's too easy to get an electronic address.

The difference in our case is to get a group with a defined interest. But a group of  little potential for consumption.

It was an amateur job.


Barbara Habel
Posted: June 8, 2018
Do NOT click on the links provided.

Do NOT be curious.

You do NOT want to invite a virous if that is a possible option.

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: June 8, 2018
The criminal knew the launching of the course, obviously. Then....
The criminal wasn't surely a true hacker. There was no need to be a hacker to invade an open system.

Elke Meier
Posted: June 8, 2018
To me there were just some things in this mail that did not make sense:
  • The content seemed rather arbitrary. Sure, all violin related. But the list was still rather arbitrary: The number of videos was not correct, neither for the normal video list nor for the note reading course, and right after this huge amount of videos (right, Dianne: who would even want to download and store 400+ videos on their hard drives...??) for a ridiculous amount of money came an offer to buy the Suzuki 3 book. Weird.
  • It seems just kind of a weird marketing concept if they are out to make money by stealing content and selling it cheaply. The violin market is not big. If you offer something for so cheap you need a big market for it to make sense. 
  • BUT: you could sure make big money if you bundled some malware behind an enticing link with such an incredible offer. In that case you wouldn't need the huge numbers. It would be interesting to know whether people even get a single video if the click on the link...   
In my case the mail provider had already marked it as Spam, and unfortunately I cleaned out the Spamfolder before I could even have a look what the links were...


Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: June 8, 2018
If the plan were stealing credit card and other information, the criminals wouldn't have sent any messages to their victims. They woud continue acting in silence.


Barbara Habel
Posted: June 8, 2018
Dear Beth

I was wondering about that mail. It had no recognisable sender address and no company details. So I was very suspicious of it. I marked it spam. But it bothered me, so I deleted it an hour later. And deleted it in the waste paper basket too.

Reading your post explaines why they addressed me in the email with my first name and new I was interested in violin playing.

I am sad to hear that they stole your life´s work.

All I can do is pray for a speedy resolve of the matter. My thoughts are with you Beth.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 8, 2018
Thank you for your kind thoughts. Now I'm wondering if all they are trying to do is sell content. They may have more nefarious goals, like stealing credit card information if someone makes a purchase....  

I hope they're caught. I don't know if my attempts will amount to much. My  content is not the only thing they're selling. They've poached all sort of software as well. Elke even thought they may even have a virus attached to any downloads. 

Dianne
Posted: June 8, 2018
This is so unfortunate. I just estimated the space it would require and it is huge. Who would do this? Files viewed offline are so convenient, and downloads really benefit those with bad throughput. Very unfortunate. I too am sorry this has happened. 

Assumpció Segura
Posted: June 8, 2018
Dear Beth

It seems impossible that there are people capable of doing these things!

I am so sorry

There is nothing sadder than stealing the work of people like you who have devoted so much time, effort and love in your life to create these wonderful videos.


Beth, you certainly have our full support!

Ted Adachi
Posted: June 8, 2018
Hello Beth,
I am so sorry this has happened. If all they got were our names and email addresses, we did not lose much compared to you.

Thank you for informing us about this. You offer your lessons at such a reasonable price so I hope no one will take the hackers up on their offer.

Valerio de Franchis
Posted: June 8, 2018
Not the best way to introduce myself
Hello Beth.
I know I haven't introduced myself to you and to the community yet, but still I feel the need to tell you that I am so so sorry for what has happened to you. even though you don't know me yet. I have so much respect for your work here, I joined Violin Lab almost a year ago, but know that your videos I found by chance on youtube when I was about 16(! Now I'm 26) inspired me to take the beautiful journey of violin playing.
That said, again I feel sorry for what happened but for what it's worth, you're not alone.

p.s. As soon as I feel confident enough I will post some videos of me playing. 

sincerely,
Valerio



Katja
Posted: June 8, 2018
I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you. For a moment when I saw the e-mail I thought that hopefully there is another reason.

Hopefully those who did this will be caught and yes, I will definitely report that e-mail as well and hope others do the same. Your work is much too valuable for others to take advantage of it and I truly hope nobody will be go to the scammers trap!

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: June 8, 2018
Beth,

Unfortunately I have to watch this totally impotent.

But I have some comfort reflexions. The content stolen is very specific. Just a near close circle is supposed to have some interest in it. Violin studying is near a religion, since involves a deep relationship between the teacher and her pupils. A relationship that transcend common business.

So I believe that most of interested people woudn't purchase the course, when conscious of its criminal origin.

I hope not to be too naive.

When you have fixed the problem, I'll be glad to know, to purchase the course regularly.

Well, I have a very sinister hypothesis, that I don't dare to reveal here.

Expressing my deep solidarity, Beth,

I remain. Fabiano

Claudio - São Paulo, Brazil
Posted: June 8, 2018
Good Lord, I am so sorry to hear that. 
I will sure ignore any contact that is not coming from you. Thanks for letting us know it. Everything is going to be all right.

Mary Freeman
Posted: June 8, 2018
I am so sorry
How disheartening 
Hopefully they wont get far

Alan Barnicoat
Posted: June 8, 2018
I'm so sorry to hear that violin lab is a victim of this kind of malicious activity. I've always considered your wonderful creation as a safe haven where people from all over the world converge for the sole purpose of indulging in an artistic endeavor that provides a fragile sense of underlying order amidst all the chaos we witness daily. This unfortunate incident only serves to underscore how precious violin lab is to all of us.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 8, 2018
Maria, your purchase is completely safe. I fixed the note reading problem. Not sure what happened there.

Maria
Posted: June 8, 2018
I just purchased the Practice course Beth, is it  safe ?

Maria
Posted: June 8, 2018


So sad...

I can't access my note reading though...

Ray
Posted: June 8, 2018
Best of Luck Beth,

We know you are on top of it.  Thanks for letting us know right away.  We will get through this together.

Ray