A Call for Diminished Reality

(a copy of my weekly syndicated column. Podcast from the BBC here.) By Jeremy Wagstaff I was walking the infant the other day, when I saw a vision of my future.  A mother and father, out with their son and dog.  The mother sat on a park bench, dog sitting obediently at her feet as …

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A Call for Diminished Reality

By Jeremy Wagstaff I was walking the infant the other day, when I saw a vision of my future.  A mother and father, out with their son and dog.  The mother sat on a park bench, dog sitting obediently at her feet as she flicked absent-mindedly at her iPhone. In the playground, the boy wove …

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My War On ATM Spam and Other Annoyances

By Jeremy Wagstaff (This is a copy of my weekly syndicated column) You really don’t need to thank me, but I think you should know that for the past 10 years I’ve been fighting a lonely battle on your behalf. I’ve been taking on mighty corporations to rid the world of spam. Not the spam …

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Power to the Consumer. (Is That All?)

Jan Chipchase, roving Nokia researcher, as ever inspires and provokes with this piece on the psychology of the coffee cup: This Akasaka coffee shop includes a row of accessible power sockets (running a long the edge of the window) primarily to support laptop use – though over the course of an hour a number of …

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Hi, I’m Sheila from Phishers ‘R’ Us

It amuses me that banks talk about security but rarely apply it in a consistent enough way to save people like you and me from getting scammed. Take what just happened to me this morning: My bank rings me up (the number is a private number so doesn’t show up on my screen, but that …

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Goertzel, Rugby and the Sweet-talking Scam

The South China Morning Post reports (I’ve got the hard copy here; everything there is behind a subscription wall, so no full link I’m afraid) of a clever scam where the bad guys steal just enough stuff — cards + identity — from a victim to be able to social engineer their way into trust, …

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Elitism’s Big Security Hole

You would expect that if you choose an elite, premium product or service that it was more secure than its lesser, bog standard one. But after an incident today I’m not so sure. I happen to have a fancy premium account at my bank. I didn’t really want it, and object to such things on …

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Cash With a Human Face

Here’s a useful innovation for foiling scammers stealing money from ATMs with their heads covered to avoid identification: a system which “can distinguish between someone whose face is covered or uncovered, and only grant access to those who bare their faces.” No face, no dosh According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (no story URL available; …

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Shoulder Surfing. The Old New Phishing

Stealing passwords in the old days used to involve shoulder surfing — cruising past the mark while s/he’s tapping in her/his password into the computer/ATM/cookie dispenser. But I had a scare today that made me realise that this is still a pretty easy way to get information. Newly landed in Hong Kong, I breezed over …

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