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  • Geebo 9:08 am on September 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Family Link, ,   

    Google’s new parental app for Android leaves a lot to be desired 

    Google's new parental app for Android leaves a lot to be desired

    Recently, Google announced the public release of their parenting app for android devices called Family Link. For a family of Android phone and tablet users this is a welcome announcement as Android has had no built-in child safety apps until now. Unfortunately, there are still some major kinks in the system which could make the app pointless.

    In theory, once you install the Family Link app on yours and your children’s Android devices you’ll be able to see what apps they’re using, restrict control to some apps and even set a time when the device is to be shut off at night. You’re able to basically monitor your children’s devices from your own device. However, that comes with several caveats.

    The first hurdle is your children’s devices will need to be running Android Nought (7.0) or higher. That’s fairly recent and many budget Android devices are not currently running Nougat. The second and most glaring problem is that Family Link can only be set up on new Google accounts and not preexisting ones. Depending on the age of your child, this could be a deal breaker considering the email address they’ve been using for a while may be tied into that account.

    Google has valiantly tried to bring parental control to Android with this app, unfortunately it’s fallen short of its goal.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on September 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ann Kirkpatrick, , ,   

    When it comes to Backpage money AZ pols focus on wrong issue 

    When it comes to Backpage money AZ pols focus on wrong issue

    Back in April, we posted about how Backpage donated money to several Arizona politicians in seemingly underhanded ways. According to reports, donations were made not by Backpage as a corporate entity, but by individual employees of Backpage and their spouses. When it was discovered the money had come from Backpage many of the politicians who received the donations denounced the donations and in turn gave the money to charity.

    More recently, U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick came under fire for not getting rid of Backpage money she received until now. As is usually the norm in politics, the opposing party took this as an opportunity to admonish Kirkpatrick for taking the money and waiting so long to donate it. That’s putting it mildly by the way, the opposition basically accused her of willingly taking money from a company tied to a child sex trafficking scandal. Kirkpatrick has said she is donating the money to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

    Unfortunately, the political climate in our country has devolved into little more than personal attacks, name calling and assigning blame. This didn’t just happen recently, as it’s been getting worse for years if not decades. Instead of worrying about where the money is going, Congress should be taking a serious look how it got there in the first place. Backpage allegedly took steps to obfuscate that the money was coming from them in order to try to buy political influence. Considering Backpage has been under intense Congressional scrutiny for the past year or so, that should not come as a coincidence. While Rep. Kirkpatrick may have dragged her heels on donating the money, it’s still going to a worthy cause that helps fight the sex trafficking blight that Backpage has unleashed on this country. I see no better justice than taking the money that Backpage gave to politicians and donating it to worthwhile causes that oppose Backpage’s objectives.

     
  • Geebo 8:48 am on September 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , puppy scam   

    The online puppy scam is back 

    The online puppy scam is back

    Geebo CEO Greg Collier has spoken in the past about why Geebo does not take listings for pets. It’s mostly because of puppy mills that put the needs for profit over the welfare of the animals. In too many cases where people purchase a dog online from one of these puppy mills, the animal often turns out to be grievously ill. There’s also another reason not to purchase pets online and it seems to be making the rounds again.

    It’s known as the Cameroon Puppy Scam because the scam mostly originates from the African country of Cameroon. The scammers will post ads on other online marketplaces advertising popular breeds at cut-rate prices. Of course, the scammers will ask you to wire them the money for the purchase of the pet which you should absolutely never do. Often the scammer is happy to take your money and disappear leaving you with no dog to show for it. However, the more bold scammer will try to milk you for more money claiming things like delivery fees and insurance and if you don’t pay these ‘fees’ the scammers will threaten to send the FBI after you for what they claim is animal abandonment. Remember, this is all over an animal which probably doesn’t even exist.

    Instead of trying to purchase a pet online, think about adopting a pet from your local shelter. This way you not only avoid the puppy mill but you get to interact with your potential future pet before taking them home. Never purchase a pet sight unseen. It can spell bad news for both you and your furry friend while animal abusers and scammers continue to make money.

     
  • Geebo 9:06 am on September 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cryptocurrency,   

    Websites may be using your computer to mine for cryptocurrency 

    Websites may be using your computer to mine for cryptocurrency

    Advertising and the internet have a contentious relationship to say the least. While advertising is where the majority of content creators make their money, there are many drawbacks to taking in advertiser money. Many advertising programs, like Google’s Adsense, seem to have arbitrary policies that see some creators penalized while others do not for providing similar content. Not to mention that one only need to look at YouTube’s recent adverting restrictions that users have referred to the as the ‘Adpocalypse’ to see advertisement money can disappear at a moment’s notice. With those dollars disappearing, a number of content creators have turned to cryptocurrency mining.

    It was discovered recently that a number of websites owned by television network CBS, had code injected into their websites that ‘borrowed’ processing power from viewers’ computers in order to help mine concurrency for someone. In this instance, it was reported to be the cryptocurrency Moreno. It’s viewed as a more private alternative to the more popular Bitcoin. While the injection of code into CBS’ websites may have been perpetrated by a bad actor, that hasn’t stopped some websites from using such code on unsuspecting users. Mining cryptocurrencies requires massive amounts of computing power, so it should come as no surprise that some less than legitimate websites have begun using this tactic.

    Not all hope is lost though. There are ways to protect your computer from having its computing power leeched for the benefit of someone else. Many of the popular browsers have extensions that will block mining code. A number of the most used ad blockers already block the coin code and a search for coin blocker should turn up a few more.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on September 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Walmart not only takes on the last mile, but also the last few feet 

    Walmart not only takes on the last mile, but also the last few feet

    As we’ve mentioned on this blog many times before, in the battle between retail giants Amazon and WalMart, both companies are trying to solve the problem of the ‘last mile’. The last mile of delivery is said to be the most expensive part of home delivery. Now, WalMart has announced an endeavor where they intend to not only conquer the last mile, but the last few feet to the fridge as well.

    WalMart has partnered with a smart home company to allow delivery drivers to be able to drop off packages inside your home and will put perishables away in your refrigerator. The program will first test in certain markets and will be available to people who own August smart home devices. Delivery people will be given a one time code to be able to enter your home and place your packages inside rather than leaving the items on your doorstep.

    In theory, this is a great idea, however, in practice it has its flaws. Deliveries will be done by start-up Deliv. Deliv drivers are part of the gig economy meaning they’re basically Uber drivers for deliveries. With all due respect to both Uber and Deliv drivers, we’ve all read and heard stories about some less than reputable drivers that work for some rideshare start-ups. Even smart homes equipped with security cameras are vulnerable to potential abuses even if someone is let inside for one time only. I just don’t see consumers allowing people into their homes while they’re away just to have their milk put in the fridge by a stranger.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on September 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    New season for the Netflix phishing scam 

    New season for the Netflix phishing scam

    Much like the flu, phishing scams have their own seasons as well. They’ll go away for a while, lay low, then start sending out their legitimate looking emails again. These emails look like they come from legitimate websites and always ask you to update your information. This time around, the phishing emails appear to come from popular video streaming service Netflix.

    According to The Guardian, the emails appear to be coming from the email address of supportnetflix@checkinformation(dot)com. That should be your first tip that this is a scam. If Netflix were to send you an email it would be from a Netlfix.com email address. The email tells you that you need to update your financial information which should be another red flag. If you click on the link it takes you to a legitimate looking website with a form to update your payment information, but if you look at the address in your browser bar, it will not be at Netflix.com. If you ever do need to update any kind of user information on any website, always go to the website directly and never click an email link.

    In researching this story, it seems that this exact phishing scam happened around the country about 8 months ago as well.

    Like previously stated, these scams are cyclical and need to be watched out for at all times.

     
  • Geebo 8:12 am on September 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Desiree Robinson,   

    Mother of young Backpage murder victim testifies before Congress 

    Mother of young Backpage murder victim testifies before Congress

    While companies like Facebook and Google argue that any amendment to the Communications Decency Act could open them up to potential lawsuits, one mother was bringing the realities of Backpage to the heart of our nation’s capital.

    In late 2016, 16-year-old Desiree Robinson was murdered just outside of Chicago. She was a runaway who was being turned out for prostitution on Backpage. When 32-year-old Antonio Rosales couldn’t pay her, he allegedly brutally murdered her instead. After her death, Desiree’s pimp tried to get other women to work for him and allegedly said “Now that she’s gone, I got no money coming in.”

    Desiree’s mother, Yvonne Ambrose, brought Desiree’s tragic story to the floor of the Senate this past Tuesday in testimony over the proposed amendment to the Communications Decency Act which would hold websites like Backpage liable for facilitating sex trafficking.

    “I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy,” Ambrose told the committee, about having to bury her child. “And I pray that Desiree’s life can make a difference so that no one else has to endure this pain.”

    Sadly, Desiree’s story is just one of many where Backpage has had a hand in the murder or sexual assault of the girls and women that are reportedly being trafficked on their pages. They need to be held responsible for the blood that’s on their hands and the only way to do this is to amend the Communications Decency Act of 1996, an archaic law that was almost out of date as soon as the ink was dry.

    If you support the amendment to the act please use the hashtag #AmendTheCDA.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on September 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , baby registry,   

    Amazon congratulates non-expectant women for their baby registries 

    Amazon congratulates non-expectant women for their baby registries

    The other day we wondered if Amazon is becoming rife with scams as much as craigslist is. A story that broke yesterday made us wonder that again, as many Amazon customers started receiving emails congratulating them on someone having purchased them a gift off their Amazon baby registry. The problem was that the majority of the people who received these emails did not have a baby registry with Amazon and were not expecting a child.

    When this story was initially reported, a number of people wondered if these emails were some form of phishing scam. That is a legitimate concern since fake Amazon emails are a large source of many phishing attacks where scammers try to get your Amazon log in information in order to try to purchase Amazon products with the financial information you may have stored in your Amazon account. However, Amazon has since commented on the situation saying that the emails did come from Amazon and were a technical glitch. No products were actually purchased or sent to the individuals who received the emails.

    While this thankfully turned out not to be a scam, one has to wonder what’s going on inside the offices of Amazon. Is there focus on expansion stretching their attention so thin that they’re allowing mistakes like these and the toothbrush kerfuffle to define them as a company, or are they just having a string of bad luck and bad timing?

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Avast, CCleaner, , Piriform   

    What the CCleaner hack means to you 

    What CCleaner hack means to you

    For those of you who may be unfamiliar with CCleaner, it’s an app for Windows computers that removes cookies and other temporary files on your computer to free up hard drive space and provide a performance boost. Recently, CCleaner’s developer, Piriform, announced on their blog that certain versions of the CCleaner software had been infected with malware. This malware is said to have possibly infected over 2 million computers.

    Piriform is claiming that they were able to quickly resolve the issue and that no harm should come to any of its users. However, it is recommended to update to the latest version of CCleaner if you haven’t already. The ironic part to the story is that Piriform is owned by malware protection company Avast. While no computer may have been actually harmed this has to be at least a minor PR kerfuffle for Avast.

    In order to keep your Windows machine more secure, always update to the latest version of whatever software your using. Whenever those pop ups come up asking you to update to the latest version, you should download and install the latest version as it usually means that the software maker has patched some security holes in the software. There are also some great utilities that automatically update your Windows applications for you that you may want to look into.

     
  • Geebo 8:52 am on September 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , intellectual property   

    You can fool Amazon some of the time 

    You can fool Amazon some of the time

    What a lot of consumers might not realize is that Amazon doesn’t sell all of the products on its own website. There are a plethora of third-party vendors who sell their products through Amazon. One could assume that being an Amazon vendor affords you a certain level of protection. Unfortunately, one vendor recently found out that’s not the case.

    Amazon received an email from a law firm claiming that a replacement toothbrush head sold by a third-party vendor was in violation of intellectual property. This was no small vendor either. The item was a big seller on Amazon and the company saw a $200,000 drop in profits after Amazon dropped them after the email. As it turns out, the law firm who sent the email didn’t even exist. The fake law firm had a fake website that had stolen assets from other law firm sites to make it look more legitimate. However, Amazon allegedly did not take the time to investigate the claims of intellectual property violations and just removed the product in question from their listings.

    Reportedly, this is a common practice on Amazon. According to CNBC other businesses that sell on Amazon have gone through these fake take downs as well. This is similar to the failed flagging system on craigslist where users will flag competing ads as being in violation of craigslist’s terms of service. With the amount of money these companies make you would think they’d have an employee or two to verify these false claims. This is very unprofessional on Amazon’s part, implying that they’d rather save the money by pulling a hot item than having someone on their legal team investigate.

     
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