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Yahoo Dyslexia

Yahoo probably has enough on its plate right now, facing possibly the largest data breach ever –  Yahoo says at least 500 million accounts hacked in 2014 – but I just wanted to point out that it doesn’t inspire confidence when their log in screen contains a glaring typo:  (I’m not sure the links below about the ‘account security issue’ are particularly helpful either. Users may not have heard about it, and so don’t know what it’s referring to, and the second link does not enlighten the user in this case about whether they’re ‘potentially affected’ or not.)  But a typo on a login screen? IContinue readingYahoo Dyslexia

The Bangladesh Bank Hack, Part XIV

Lots of attention at the moment on the implications of the Bangladesh Bank hack, now four months old. This is a piece I contributed last week. Quite a bit of water has gone under the bridge since then. We not only don’t know who was behind the hack – North Koreans have been put somewhere in the frame, but that’s by no means a certainty – but we still don’t really understand how all the pieces fit together. Meanwhile, the blame game continues. Cyber firms say Bangladesh hackers have attacked other Asian banks WASHINGTON/SINGAPORE | BY DUSTIN VOLZ AND JEREMY WAGSTAFF Hackers who stole $81Continue readingThe Bangladesh Bank Hack, Part XIV

BBC: Old Scams Made New

This is a column for a BBC World Service piece. It’s not Reuters content.  Of all the scams you’d have thought the old ‘I’m a general’s widow and am sitting on a whole pile of cash I want to share with you” one would have gone away by now. But it hasn’t. The scammers are now recruiting church organists.  Take, for example, LinkedIn, the business networking service. Think Facebook but for suits. People use to flaunt their resume only in the hope of winning contracts, promotions, job offers and to share trade gossip with others. Companies use it to recruit, promote themselves etc. And soContinue readingBBC: Old Scams Made New

Scammers Scam Gmail Scam Filters

This amused me. A scam message got through Gmail’s eagle-eyed scam filters telling me to update my account details. That’s not unusual. But was it because the scammers added their own assurance that they had already done the filtering? It says: ************************************************************************** This footnote confirms that this email message has been scanned by New Google Mail-SeCure for the presence of malicious code, vandals & computer viruses. ************************************************************************** Well that’s alright then.

Phishy Facebook Emails

Facebook phishes are getting better. Compare this one: and this: Notice how the key bit, supposedly defining that it’s a legit email, is successfully and convincingly faked: The only difference that stands out is the domain: facebookembody.com. Although Google classified it as spam they didn’t warn that it would go to a website that contains malware. So be warned. Notification emails aren’t such a good idea anymore, if they ever were.

Social Media Phishing Hazards

As usual, I feel we’re not being smart enough about the way that scammers improve their skills. We demand everything to be easier, and they just reap the winnings. What they’re exploiting is the fact that we use a lot of different services (twitter, email, Facebook), and services within services (those which use those primary services as authorisation—in other words, borrowing the login name and password) to make things easier for us or to offer ancillary services (backing twitter, measuring the number of Facebook friends you have in Angola, etc etc). All of this leaves us vulnerable, because we tend to get overwhelmed by theContinue readingSocial Media Phishing Hazards

Astroturfers Revisited

Good piece (video) by Jon Ronson about astroturfing: Esc and Ctrl: Jon Ronson investigates astroturfing – video In the second part of Jon Ronson’s series about the struggle for control of the internet, he looks at online astroturfing – when unpopular institutions post fake blogs to seem more favourable. He meets the former vice president of corporate communications for US healthcare company Cigna, who confirms his involvement in this kind of activity He talks about the “death panels”: the Cigna whistleblower, Wendell Potter [Wikipedia] tells him that the company created lots of fake blogs and groups, all of which have since disappeared, including from archive.org,Continue readingAstroturfers Revisited

The Battery DDOS: Tip of An Iceberg

An interesting story brewing about the FBI investigating a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on websites selling batteries. But the reporting does not go far enough: In fact, a little research reveals this is part of a much bigger assault on a range of industries. As a starting point, look at Elinor Mills of the excellent Insecurity Complex at CNET: U.S. battery firms reportedly targeted in online attack | InSecurity Complex – CNET News: “The FBI is investigating denial-of-service attacks targeting several U.S. battery retail Web sites last year that were traced to computers at Russian domains in what looks like a corporate-sabotage campaign,Continue readingThe Battery DDOS: Tip of An Iceberg

Getting Paid for Doing Bad Things (12″ version)

This is the extended version of my earlier blog post. The BBC finally ran my commentary so for those of you who want more info, here it is: Think of it as product placement for the Internet. It’s been around a while, but I just figured out how it works, and it made me realise that the early dreams of a blogging utopia on the web are pretty much dead. Here’s how this kind of product placement works. On the Internet Google is like a benevolent dictator: it creates great stuff we love, and with which most of the net wouldn’t work. But it alsoContinue readingGetting Paid for Doing Bad Things (12″ version)

Getting Paid for Doing Bad Things

I have recently received half a dozen offers of placing links in my blogs to reputable companies’ websites. Think of it as product placement for the Internet. It’s been around a while, but I just figured out how it’s done, and it made me realise that the early dreams of a blogging utopia on the web are pretty much dead. Here’s how this kind of product placement works. If I can persuade you to link to my product page in your blog, then my product will appear more popular and rise up Google’s search results accordingly. Simple. An ad wouldn’t work. Google would see itContinue readingGetting Paid for Doing Bad Things

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