Happy New Year!
With the emergence of online interactions, for better and for worse, our world has become smaller and enabled us more easily to communicate across distances and time zones. Undoubtedly, most of us have grown used to have online instead of physical conversations and it is reasonable to assume that this trend is to outlast the pandemic. It is a relief because most of us are not fans of airport queuing – and massive amounts of time and carbon emission can be saved by these online interactions. But it is also a danger because human interaction is more than a camera and a voice.
For exactly this reason, we have decided to take the best from both worlds and to have our upcoming ECNP Congress held as a hybrid congress, meaning that you as a participant have the choice between joining either physically in Vienna on 15-18 October, or online. Registration has just opened and we hope and expect to have another congress just as vibrant and full of new exciting science as the one we had in Lisbon last year.
Whether we like it or not, we are becoming more and more dependent on a safe and well-functioning IT system. Future conflicts in the world will be enforced not by boots on ground but by electronic warfare and our democracies are threatened by misinformation, political as well as other forms of harassments, and by paralysing attacks on communication infrastructure.
On a smaller scale, just like me, you are through the internet every day exposed to phishing or attempts of fraud. It was far from the first time that many of you within the last weeks received fake emails, apparently originating from the president of ECNP, asking for your help – financial, as it turned out. This happened in spite of my server being secured by both a SPF and a DMARC record. These records validate the sending server for the domain and your email provider should use this for validation of originality of emails sent from the server in question, to ensure that it matches and is not sent from another server. We have been able to track the origin of these fake emails to a server in Massachusetts, and their responsible IT person has been contacted and informed. In the end, we can only request that the server is blacklisted; international IT fraud has notoriously proven difficult to prosecute.
On the bright side, I got so many emails from our concerned members and had the opportunity to thank them for their care and wish them a Happy New Year. And for the rest of you, who avoided the scam emails, I will now take the opportunity to also wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022!
Gitte Moos Knudsen