Updates from December, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 12:08 pm on December 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Facebook’s fighting fake news again 

    Facebook's fighting fake news again

    It feels like old home week again when it comes to the news. First we had yet another Yahoo hack and now Facebook is implementing new measures to fight fake news, again. This time they mean it.

    According to reports, Facebook is testing new tools for reporting fake news. It’s basically the same tools they have for reporting spam. When some users click the little down arrow that comes with most news stories on Facebook, they’ll be able to flag the story as false or misleading. This is said to trigger a review process that could end up have the story labeled as misleading or disputed.

    While it sounds great in theory, I’m sure there’s no way that the system could be abused. That was sarcasm by the way. This system could remind someone of the ‘community policing’ touted by a certain less than scrupulous classifieds site. While it was originally intended to report scammers and illegal ads, it’s since deteriorated into a tool for petty squabbles and trolling.

    This doesn’t even take into account that Facebook takes money from just about anyone in order to ‘boost’ their post or news article. It almost seems a conflict of interest for Facebook to rake in all this cash while claiming to fight fake news when anyone can pay to be featured.

    It seems like Facebook is trying to be both the cause of and the solution to fake news but logic dictates it can be only one of them.

  • Geebo 11:27 am on December 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is there even any point to keep using Yahoo? 

    Is there even any point to keep using Yahoo?

    Here we are again, discussing the Rasputin of the internet. No matter how many times someone tries to kill Yahoo, it’s still here. Once again the former king of the internet has announced that it’s discovered a new hack. Along with the 2014 hack that disclosed over 500 million user accounts, there has been an additional hack that took place in 2013, and exposed more than one billion accounts. That’s right, billion with a b.

    So why are we still using the services of a long dying brand? From most reports, the only services that Yahoo still excels at are stock reports and fantasy football. Yet hundreds of millions of people continue to use Yahoo mail even though they’ve been hacked multiple times. Both Google and Microsoft offer superior products in GMail and Outlook.com and neither service has fallen victim to major hacks like this.

    The reality is that while we see many people talk about privacy on the internet, but for the most part we don’t really care about security and privacy. What we really want is ease of use, which is why so many of us have passwords like ‘password’ and ‘123456’. Not only that, but one could imagine that the majority of Yahoo users are legacy users since Yahoo has been such a huge player on the internet even before Google.

    However Yahoo’s problems are really their own fault. They’ve failed to evolve in an ever-changing tech world with new threats emerging everyday. With security not being a priority for Yahoo they continue to be the butt of many jokes in tech circles. However, user complacency and apathy continues to keep this tech Titanic afloat.

  • Geebo 10:57 am on December 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Parents Portal,   

    Is Facebook’s Parents Portal any good? 

    Is Facebook's Parents Portal any good?

    Having children in today’s digital age of social media can be trying. It’s always great to have access to resources to help you navigate the social media minefield for your children. That’s why I’m sure some parents were relieved to hear that it’s been announced that Facebook now has what they call a Parents Portal. The question remains, is it actually helpful? Well, that depends on who you ask.

    The Getting to Know Facebook section basically tells you how to use Facebook, which kind of everybody already knows. One would imagine that the most important section one would be the Parenting Tips section, however it reads like someone from a previous generation trying to explain to their parents how not to make the VCR continually flash 12:00. The tips they provide are very basic common sense tips to the point where they almost seem condescending. The problem is that some people need these common sense tips though as they’re either too trusting of the internet or their own children.

    The highlight of the Parents Portal is that on its Expert Advice page, it provides links to legitimate resources for parents that require more information on how to work with their kids when it comes to their social media behavior.

  • Geebo 10:55 am on December 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hello kitty, ,   

    Why hackers want your kids’ accounts 

    Why hackers want your kids' accounts

    We’re used to hearing about companies being hacked and personal information being stolen. Usually it’s a tech monolith like Yahoo or a retail giant like Target. However, it seems that some hackers are targeting sites and services used by children. Popular Mechanics has reported that children’s sites like V-Tech and Hello Kitty are being hacked for their users information, and their users are children.

    So what would hackers want with the user information of children? A lot of it is what some would call a long con. Hackers could hold on to this information for years until the child turns 18. Then they could use that information to do the usual with stolen personal information. They could open banking accounts, take out loans, apply for credit cards, etc.

    So while you may think that your 10-year-old’s current personal information may currently be useless, that’s not to say that it can’t be eventually be used for bad intents. What you can do is what most adults do. When signing up your kid for some website or service, use false information. How many sites do we adults sigh up for and give the service fake names and addresses. I’ve lost track of how many services I’ve signed up for where I used the address of 123 Fake Street. Also, I think it goes without saying that you should never let your young children sign up for services on their own as they tend to freely give out their personal information. Plus, this would be a great teaching moment to your kids as to why and how their personal information should be protected.

  • Geebo 12:51 pm on December 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , finance, spending   

    How traffic light colors helped people from overspending 

    How traffic light colors helped people from overspending

    An east coast based bank reportedly installed a simple feature on their app to keep their customers from overspending. The bank simply put in different colored notifications that would indicate how your spending compared to the previous month. Using the simple red, yellow and green combinations the app has allowed hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce their overall spending.

    This is something that more banks should probably look into, not just for protection of their customers but for better business as well. The less that customers spend from their bank accounts the more assets banks have to lend with the potential of greater profits.

    Whoever thought that all it would take were three simple colors that we’ve recognized since a young age that mean go, caution and stop?

  • Geebo 10:51 am on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , wine   

    ‘Tis the season to get scammed on Facebook 

    'Tis the season get scammed on Facebook

    With Christmas fast approaching the scam artists have come out in full force, and where better to scam someone then where fake news rules supreme. In case you’re wondering, I mean Facebook.

    Reports are coming in about secret gift exchanges, such as the ‘Secret Wine Bottle Exchange’. In this particular Facebook post the poster asks for 6 to 36 wine lovers to buy a bottle of wine and send it to someone on the gift exchange list. Then your guaranteed to receive 6 to 36 bottles of wine yourself. While not quite on the level of Bernie Madoff, this is nothing more than a pyramid scheme. Once the person at the top of the pyramid receives their 6 to 36 bottles of wine, they have their ill-gotten booty and the rest of the pyramid is left holding the wineskin. For pyramid schemes to work you have to keep recruiting more and more participants. Eventually it becomes increasingly difficult to recruit more people and the lower tiers of the pyramid are left empty-handed while the top levels have already abandoned this set of marks and have moved on to something new.

    It’s not just wine exchanged though. These scams could appear with a myriad of titles, most referring to some type of ‘secret’ gift exchange promising you unreal returns. If you see someone on your Facebook feed sharing these posts you may want to politely let them know that they’re being scammed.

    While Christmas is a time for sharing and giving, it’s also the most wonderful time of the year for scammers and con artists as they love to prey on people’s spirit of generosity during this season.

  • Geebo 1:07 pm on December 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car theft, , grand theft auto, ,   

    New device could make anyone a car thief 

    New device could make anyone a car thief

    Before cars became mostly electronic and computerized it took a skilled thief to steal or break into a locked car. Only a select few had the talent to be able to pick the lock or use a slim jim to gain access to the inside of a car without breaking the window. Then if they wanted to steal the car, in most case they had a tool that would pull off the ignition and they’d be able to start the car with a screwdriver. Now, the more electronic a car becomes the more points of failure it has when it comes to auto theft.

    If you have a car that either opens the car or can be started remotely there’s a pretty big chance that it could be stolen by just about anybody. Investigative reports have determined that there is a device used among thieves that relies heavily on your cars wireless remote features. For example if you lock your car using the wireless key fob that came with it, this new device can clone the wireless frequency your car uses then replicate it to gain access to your car’s doors and ignition.

    So outside of buying a car that predates these electronics what can you do to protect your car from being stolen this way? While many of these cars use sophisticated electronics many of them still use old-fashioned keys. Rely more on the physical keys themselves when locking or unlocking the car and the criminals have a less of a chance of cloning your signal.

    The odds that this device will be used around your car are slim but it’s better to be prepared than to have to deal with an insurance company over stolen car.

  • Geebo 11:04 am on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Broxu, internet explorer, , Stegano   

    New malware attacks millions of Internet Explorer users 

    New malware attacks millions of Internet Explorer users

    A new form of malware has infected millions of users of the Internet Explorer browser. The malware uses flaws in Explorer along with Adobe Flash in order to gain access to the user’s email passwords through keylogging and taking screen shots.

    The malware, called Stegano, infects users through an ad for something called ‘Browser Defense’ of ‘Broxu’. You don’t even have to click on the ad for your computer to become infected if you are using Explorer.

    In case you were wondering this story is actually from 2016 and not 2002. So in this day and age why are people still using Internet Explorer? Microsoft doesn’t even want you to use Explorer anymore as they have replaced it with the Edge browser as of Windows 10. Explorer has been notorious for being insecure for many years.

    Instead of using Explorer, try using one of the many alternate browsers like Firefox and Chrome. Both of these browsers have plugins that can not only block ads, which is where a lot of malware comes from, they can also block Flash, whose security flaws are also well-known.

    And if it’s your parents or grandma who are still using Explorer use this little trick to make them think they’re still using Explorer while keeping them safe.

  • Geebo 10:56 am on December 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Amazon to unveil store without cashiers 

    Amazon to unveil store without cashiers

    Recently, online retail monolith Amazon announced that they were opening a new brick and mortar store that would have no cashiers or check out lines. The store, called Amazon Go, touts itself as a high-tech store that uses several different technologies in order to determine what you’ve purchased and how to charge your Amazon account for it.

    Amazon’s announcement made quite a splash in the recent news cycle, but with all the articles that have been written about it there’s one problem that has yet to be addressed, theft, or as they call it in the retail space, shrinkage. When someone develops a new and innovative system of commerce at anytime there are always going to be people looking to beat the system. Amazon Go sounds like it relies heavily on the honor system but as the saying goes there is no honor among thieves.

    With this new proposed concept by Amazon, cashiers may be seen as the proverbial buggy whip manufacturers, however they do serve a purpose beyond just checking and bagging our groceries. Just by their presence they act as a line of defense to discourage many people from just walking out of the store with a cart full of groceries that they didn’t pay for.

    Maybe Amazon has already addressed this issue internally, but by not discussing it publicly it seems that they are almost daring a battalion of five-finger discount practitioners to make Amazon Go a target.

  • Geebo 10:51 am on December 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: downloads, ,   

    Netflix now allows offline viewing. What this means for you. 

    Netflix now allows offline viewing. What this means for you.

    Content streaming behemoth Netflix recently announced that they were allowing the downloading of videos for offline viewing. This is great for people who have long public transportation commutes or who or about to take a long trip. However, and there’s always a however, this is not an option for all devices.

    So far, Netflix is only allowing downloading on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. When you log into Netflix on these devices you should see an option for downloading select videos to your device. I personally tried this on my mid-range Android phone and it worked like a charm. Apple’s iOS is also supported as well.

    Unfortunately, laptops are not considered a mobile device by Netflix. When I logged in to both the Netflix website and the Windows Store Netflix app there were no download options. While this would be a great feature for users with less than optimal vision, it’s an understandable step to combat online piracy.

    Another minor drawback is that the downloaded video can not be viewed in 4K resolution. While this is negligible for most users there is a hardcore base of fans who want to view all content in 4K.

    Who this feature will be a huge boon too will be parents, especially with the holidays approaching. This will allow parents to load a plethora of content to their mobile device and allow their kids to watch as much content to keep them occupied for the entire trip without having to drain their data connection limits.

    While Amazon Video has had this feature for a while, it’s Netflix that everyone flocks to.

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