Updates from February, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 10:37 am on February 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , tech support scam   

    Google ad for Amazon was actually link to scam site 

    Google ad for Amazon was actually link to scam site

    Many tech news sites are reporting that there was a false ad for Amazon this past week when you searched for the retail giant on Google. The ad, that would come first in the search results, did not take you to Amazon, but instead took to you to a site that tried to perpetrate a tech support scam.

    If you went to the site on a Windows computer the site would emulate the infamous blue screen of death and advise you to call a tech support number. If you were in an Apple computer you’d receive a warning that your machine had been infected by ransomware and again be given a number to call. As long as you didn’t call the number your machine would be relatively ok.

    This scam has been around for about as long as the internet has. Fictitious sites would inundate you with pop ups telling you that your computer had been infected with some kind of malware and if you call an ‘official’ tech support number your computer will be fixed. When you call the number usually a ‘technician’ would gain access to your computer remotely with your permission and would use that opportunity to root around your computer for any information worth stealing.

    The problem with this particular scam is that it was perpetrated through Google, possibly the most perceived legitimate site on the internet. Google says that the problem has fixed but still leaves users concerned since this fake ad made it through their screening purpose. In the future users may want to not click on ads on Google’s search page and instead click on the listings instead, at least for now.

     
  • Geebo 10:59 am on February 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: back ups, locked out,   

    What to do when locked out of your phone 

    What to do when locked out of your phone

    Do you have a PIN code or pattern passcode on your smart phone? That’s great. That means you practice good phone security. But what happens if your forget your pin or passcode? Can you get back into your phone? The short answer is no, the long answer is noooooooooooooooooo.

    That doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope. According to Popular Mechanics there are a few things you can do to retrieve some of your data. For example, if you use an SD card on your phone, some of your info may be saved on the card, or if you back up to the cloud regularly you’ll still be ok. However, the bottom line is that more than likely you’ll have to wipe your phone and start over.

    One thing you can’t do is call your carrier to unlock your phone. Due to privacy concerns the only person who has your pin or passcode is you. Your phone carrier does not have a magic button at their offices that they can push to magically unlock your phone, not even if you talk to a manager.

    The best practice to avoid data loss after being locked out of your phone is to make regular backups of your data because once you’re locked out you’ll have to restore your phone to factory settings.

     
  • Geebo 10:59 am on February 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: austin, , texas, vending machine   

    Would you buy a car from a vending machine? 

    Would you buy a car from a vending machine?

    Are you the kind of person who hates to shop for a car? Do you hate having to deal with salespeople who you know are trying to rip you off just to make a big commission? Do you wish you could just press the buttons of E and 5 and have the car of your choice of produced magically in front of you? Well now you can.

    AN online car dealership has opened what they call a car vending machine in Austin, Texas. The structure is a five-story tall glass structure that houses 30 cars. However the term vending machine is a bit of a misnomer. You still have to finance and make your actual selection through the dealership’s website, however when you go to pick up your vehicle they give a giant novelty coin to put in the machine to get your car.

    Thankfully, it’s not like an actual vending machine. Could you imagine having to lug $30,000 or more in quarters only to find out that you’re a few dollars short. Then you take out the crumpled bills in your pocket and try to straighten them out against the change machine only to have your selection of vehicle get stuck in the machine that has a sign that says ‘no refunds’? That would actually be worse than dealing with a sales person.

     
  • Geebo 10:53 am on February 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , contracts, text messaging   

    Are text messages a binding contract? 

    Are text messages a binding contract?

    A story is making the rounds about a man out of Colorado who was selling some car parts online who may be sued by someone he promised the parts to over text messaging. Instead the seller was offered more money for the parts by someone with cash in hand. The buyer who lost out is now threatening to sue the seller. This has caused some in the media to ask legal experts if these text messages are a binding contract.

    One legal expert weighed in saying that an online deal is like any other…

    “…and even though it’s through informal texts, it’s still an enforceable contract. This is really not very different than how business gets done at much higher levels.”

    You also have to remember that lawyers constantly deal in extremes like this, however in real life it’s highly suspect that most judges would rule in favor of the buyer who lost out on the items. So in reality if you’re selling something online and exchanging texts with a potential buyer, you’re not going to have to get your own legal representation to approve each text message.

     
  • Geebo 11:02 am on February 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: credit report, ,   

    Beware of new twist on rental scam 

    Beware of new twist on rental scam

    Previously, if you’ve responded to an ad for a rental property from less than reputable classifieds sites, you may have come across a certain scam. The scam artists posing as the renter would say that you can’t see the property due to dubious reasons but would ask you for a rather large deposit. An unsuspecting victim would pay the deposit only to find out that the property isn’t actually for rent.

    Now, the Federal Trade Commission is reporting that a new twist in this old scam has appeared. Instead of having victims pay for deposits, they now have them pay for credit reports to companies that the scammers owned as part of a non-existent background check. The scammers will try to keep the address of the property hidden due to ‘security reasons’.

    As usual the same caveats remain with any of these scams. If the price seems too good to be true it probably is. If something feels wrong during the transaction, don’t be afraid to walk away. It’s better to be disappointed than out of a ton of money and possibly scrambling for shelter.

     
  • Geebo 10:58 am on February 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , wikipedia   

    Craigslist founder spends half a million to combat harassment, just not at craigslist 

    Craigslist founder spends half a million to combat harassment, just not at craigslist

    Craigslist founder and namesake, Craig Newmark, has recently donated $500,000 of his own money in order to combat the “trolling, harassment and cyber-bullying” of users of a certain website. Of course that website is craigslist right? Um not exactly.

    Newmark recently spent the half million to fight the trolling on the oft-vandlaized Wikipedia.

    Wikimedia says the money will be used to launch a program to help editors “more quickly identify potentially harassing behavior.”

    While Wikipedia is a highly resourceful and valuable website, it can’t possibly contain the amount of trolling, harassment and cyber-bullying that craigslist does. In the past, ads on craigslist have been flagged and pulled because the business posting the ad said that they spoke Spanish. Go to any of the rants and raves sections and it won’t take you long to find some racist hate-filled diatribe. Convicted mass murderer Dylann Roof even placed a craigslist ad looking for a travel buddy that said “No Jews, queers, or (racial slurs)” prior to his killing spree. That’s not even counting the number of revenge or prank ads on craigslist that end up sending potentially dangerous people to the houses of unsuspecting victims.

    When you’re own home is in a state of extreme disrepair, you normally don’t spend money to help fix the nicer house down the street.

     
  • Geebo 10:24 am on February 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: orangutans, tinder   

    ‘Tinder for orangutans’ helps them find a mate 

    'Tinder for orangutans' helps them find a mate

    It’s February, so you know what that means, Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. You may be currently without a date, so you may find yourself looking to dating apps like Tinder to find yourself that special someone to spend the romantic holiday with. Well, you’re not alone.

    A zoo in The Netherlands is developing a program in what has been colloquially called ‘Tinder for orangutans’. The zoo has had difficulties in finding mates for the female primates. Now the zoo is looking to show digital pictures to their 11-year-old female orangutan in search of a better mate. Previous mates that have been sent to the zoo have been unsuccessful.

    If you feel bad for using the same method that a zoo is using cheer up, so far the zoo has been unable to develop a tablet that the orangutan hasn’t destroyed. So at least you’ve got that going for you.

     
  • Geebo 11:02 am on February 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Children of the Night, Dr. Lois Lee,   

    Guest Post: Why does a child advocacy group want Backpage’s trafficking ads to remain? 

    Guest Post:  Why does a child advocacy group want Backpage's trafficking ads to remain?

    (This is a guest post from crime blogger Trench Reynolds)

    Please watch the following video from Fox 23 in Tulsa about Backpage and their so-called self-imposed shuttering of the adult ads section…

    First off, I’m usually not one to tell police how to do their job, but to the unidentified Tulsa Detective, less prostitution means fewer victims of trafficking. That’s a good thing. Just because 99% of your stings are done online doesn’t mean that your job is dependent on Backpage staying in business. You would think that someone whose job it is to protect the public would be happy that there would be less of a crime instead of maintaining the status quo.

    The part of the video I really want to talk about comes at the 1:21 mark where a screenshot from child advocacy group Children of the Night is shown in support of Backpage. They claim that Backpage helps them find trafficking victims in order to rescue them. I would argue that without Backpage there wouldn’t be as near as many people that they would need to rescue, but Children of the Night’s motives may be more financial than altruistic.

    Children of the Night takes money from Backpage. The group’s director, Dr. Lois Lee, has even admitted as such on my website.

    That’s not even mentioning that Dr. Lee appears to be very close with Backpage attorney Liz McDougall, attending conferences together in Lyon, France.

    Talking by phone one November night from Lyon, France, where she and McDougall had just attended an INTERPOL conference on trafficking, Children of the Night’s Lee lauded Backpage’s cooperation with law enforcement, saying it’s better than any other social network.

    Some may call that a conflict of interest, I know I do. It seems that Dr. Lee believes that Backpage can be both the source and solution of 80% of all online prostitution in the US. In the past I’ve referred to that as the Backpage Paradox.

    Even though Backpage’s adult ads still thrive on their website, only in a different section, if the ads were to disappear it would lead to a vast reduction in he number of women and girls being trafficked for sex, and isn’t that the true goal?

     
  • Geebo 10:59 am on January 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    How to vote with your dollar over new immigration policies 

    How to vote with your dollar over new immigration policies

    Are you a politically active consumer? Do you want to either show your support or opposition to the recent immigration executive order issued by President Donald Trump? Well, we’re here to help with what companies you may want to support or avoid depending on your political leaning.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook had the following to say…

    “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do. I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support,”

    After their previous kerfuffle Uber CEO Travis Kalanick added this…

    “This order has far broader implications as it also affects thousands of drivers who use Uber and come from the listed countries … We are working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families”

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had similar concerns…

    “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all,” wrote Hastings. “Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe. A very sad week, and more to come with the lives of over 600,000 Dreamers here in a America under imminent threat. It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity.”

    The CEO of President Trump’s favorite social networking platform, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, added this…

    “The Executive Order’s humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting,” wrote Dorsey, linking to a similar statement from the Internet Association on Twitter. “We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the U.S.”

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos issued the following statement

    We’re a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years. No nation is better at harnessing the energies and talents of immigrants. It’s a distinctive competitive advantage for our country—one we should not weaken.

    Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has stated that not only do they oppose the ban but they will be hiring 10,000 immigrants to help fill their positions.

    “There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.”

    Airbnb head Brian Chesky has offered assistance to those affected by the ban…

    “Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right and we must stand with those who are affected,”

    Also such industry luminaries as Google, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Yelp, and Facebook all oppose the ban.

    This is far from a comprehensive list but will give you enough information to make informed choices on where to spend your money or whose services you want to use or boycott if you so choose. If you do choose to boycott, it seems that you have a long road to hoe. Good luck with that.

     
  • Geebo 1:10 pm on January 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Should you be ashamed for using Uber? 

    Should you be ashamed for using Uber?

    (Disclaimer: This blog post is not an endorsement for Uber or any political policy.)

    Over the weekend a firestorm erupted over taxis and ride sharing services Uber and Lyft. Due to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy deemed the ‘Muslim ban’ a number of people started protesting at major airports across the country. The most major of those airports was JFK in New York City. In support of the protests the NY Taxi Workers Alliance announced that they would not be picking up fares from JFK between 6-7PM this past Saturday. In response Uber announced that they would be picking up riders from JFK and that their surge pricing would be suspended during the taxi strike. This resulted in many people taking to social media not only chastising Uber but stating that they were deleting the Uber app as well.

    Uber came out and apologized for the gaffe stating…

    ‘We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet — it was not meant to break up any strike,” a spokesperson for Uber said. “We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially last night.”

    Uber also said that it would create $3 million defense fund to help cover legal, immigration and translation costs for drivers affected by the immigration ban. This hasn’t stopped the technorati from calling for a complete boycott of Uber.

    Unfortunately what some may not realize is that Uber has been a godsend to low-income users who aren’t necessarily serviced by public transportation. In to many locales Uber is the only choice for people who need to get to doctor appointments and the like. So while the tech elite and politically active can afford to delete Uber, not everyone can. If you use Uber, you should not be shamed into using another service just because some of the more reactionary among us now think it’s the devil’s livery.

    If you can afford to boycott Uber then fine, but not everyone is in your financial position to do so. Keep that in mind before shaming someone for using the service.

     
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