This scam is so old I forgot about it. Goes back to at least 2010.
Basically, the scammer says they run a domain name registrar and noticed someone trying to buy .cn, .net.cn, .org.cn, and other variations of a domain name you already own.
At first, they imply that they want confirmation from you to block the sale of similar domain names. In reality, they want you to block the sale by buying the domains from them yourself.
Don’t fall for it. Very few can afford to by every top level domain variation of their domain name. Learn more about this scam here and here.
This is the version of the scam I received in 2022 July:
From: [email protected]
(It’s very urgent, therefore we kindly ask you to forward this email to your CEO. If you believe this has been sent to you in error, please ignore it. Thanks)
This is a formal email. We are the Domain Registration Service company in Shanghai, China. Here I have something to confirm with you. On July 7, 2022, we received an application from Hongmei Ltd requested “exampledomain” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names (exampledomain.cn, exampledomain.com.cn, exampledomain.net.cn, exampledomain.org.cn). But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor in China?
Robert Liu | Service & Operations Manager
China Registry (Head Office)
6012, Xingdi Building, No. 1698 Yishan Road, Shanghai 201103, China
This email contains privileged and confidential information intended for the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy this email and inform the sender immediately. We appreciate you respecting the confidentiality of this information by not disclosing or using the information in this email.
If you want to setup mail filtering rules to block this particular scammer, here’s some email header information:
domain of chinanethost.org designates 18.104.22.168 as permitted sender
Don’t be deterred. If you are technically savvy and motivated, this article documents how to engineer an ad-free Roku home screen — like this one.
A summary of what needs to be done (overview)
There is more than one way to remove Roku ads. If you are a talented technical engineer, this is what you are trying to accomplish.
Prevent your Roku from reaching a list of domains (see below)
Provide your Roku a fixed/static IP address
Prevent your Roku from using DNS port 53 for LAN to WAN queries
Settings within the Roku (easy)
Most of the steps that you will take to remove ads resides outside of the Roku. If you simply want a little more privacy and fewer customized ads, at least perform these easy steps on your Roku.
Roku Features to Disable:
Roku TV > Settings > Privacy > Advertising > Limit ad tracking (enabled)
Roku TV > Settings > Privacy > Advertising > Reset advertising identifier (do this often)
Roku TV > Settings > Privacy > Smart TV experience > Use info from TV inputs (not selected)
Roku TV > Settings > Privacy > Smart TV experience > Enable auto notification (not selected)
Roku TV > Settings > Home Screen > Featured Free > Hide
Roku TV > Settings > Home Screen > Movie Store and TV Store > Hide
Roku TV > Settings > Home Screen > My Offers > Hide
Block these domains (medium)
Using some network capturing tools, I logged about fifty unique IP addresses the Roku attempts to access within the first two minutes of it powering on. Blocking them all would result in a loss of functionality. Instead, you want to prevent the Roku from accessing just the following domains (LAN to WAN traffic).
Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to use either NextDNS.io or a Raspberry PiPi-Hole as your DNS provider, and subscribe to the Lightswitch05 Ads & Tracking block list. All of the domains above, except for amoeba-plus.web.roku.com and wwwimg.roku.com (in bold) were already included in Lightswitch05’s block list at the time of writing.
I accomplished DNS filtering by installing ASUSwrt-Merlin on my home router. I then configured my router to use NextDNS.io as the router’s DNS-over-TLS / DNS-over-HTTPS source. Using NextDNS.io at the router level will help you block ads for all devices on your home network, not just your Roku.
Here’s how I configured my home router to use NextDNS.io.
And how I configured NextDNS.io to filter out most Roku ads and tracking.
Once you have a DNS filtering solution in place and have configured your home router to use it, all devices on your network should (by default) have their DNS traffic filtered. Except for the Roku, of course, which has hard coded its own public DNS source for some of its queries.
Provide your Roku a static/fixed IP address (medium)
To perform the last step, which involves creating firewall rules, you need to first provide your Roku a static IP address. I accomplish this by letting DHCP provide the Roku a dynamic IP address, and then configure my router to always reserve that IP for the Roku.
DNS queries traditionally use Port 53 via TCP or UDP. You want to force your Roku to always use your router (and thus NextDNS or Pi-Hole) for all of its DNS queries.
In order to prevent your Roku from quering Google’s public DNS servers at 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 directly, you’ll need to configure a network firewall to block LAN to WAN traffic over Port 53 (TCP and UDP).
How to do this differs for each router. Here’s how I did it using ASUSwrt-Merlin.
ASUSwrt-Merlin > Firewall > Network Services Filter Table > add these two entries
Entry 1 > Source IP (the static LAN IP address of your Roku), Destination Port Range 53, Protocol TCP
Entry 2 > Source IP (the static LAN IP address of your Roku), Destination Port Range 53, Protocol UDP
That should do it. Reboot your router to clear your DNS cache then reboot your Roku. Hopefully you will be rewarded with an ad-free Roku.
Removing Roku ads will take some work. And for some of these steps, like installing ASUSwrt-Merlin or a Pi-Hole, take some effort and require specific hardware you might not yet own. There are likely other ways to perform these steps on your own hardware — but I leave that to you. You know what needs to be done, and now just have to figure out how to do so if you want an ad-free Roku.
Please note, while I am an IT professional, I’m not a cryptographer or mathematician. The passwords generated via these Microsoft Excel formulas are semi-random. They represent a good-enough approach to creating passwords users can memorize. Use passed.pw or LastPass’ Password Generator for longer passwords that contain more entropy. As always, use a good password manager and enable multi-factor authentication when available.
TL/DR: Links to the live Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets worksheets
If you just want some semi-randomly generated passphrases based on the EFF Large Wordlist, select either of these read-only publicly-accessible links.
You will find a few more hidden sheets of data (like city names or shorter versions of the EFF dice words) that you may use if you want to customize your own formulas. Please, do make a copy of either worksheet and modify to meet your needs.
My files generate 10- to 16-character passphrases. The 10Good column contains a 10-character passphrase of lowercase, uppercase and numbers. The 10Better column simply adds punctuation. Please look at the examples above to get a good idea.
The result is that the user must only memorize a single punctuation value and number — along with the EFF dice words — to memorize their password.
Again, these passphrases have less entropy than passed.pw randomly-generated passwords like “U7p2uk>R,v)]HTRc”; but they are easier to memorize and should be sufficient when also protected by multi-factor authentication.
Google Sheets formulas
The formulas that Google Sheets’ uses to produce the same results as Microsoft Excel are different, but the concept is the same. Google uses ARRAY_CONSTRAIN and ARRAYFORMULA to wrap the original Excel formulas.