Category: Fight Back

Child Abuse Protection Online

Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Google and other tech companies agreed to British government demands that they do more to keep young people safe on their online services.

This is a set of voluntary guidelines created by the UK, the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand and it includes measures to stop new and existing child abuse photos and films appearing online.

The guidance also specifies that the companies must prevent streaming of such material and to work with Police to identify offenders and further develop their technology to stay ahead of offender’s behaviour online.

The countries have been clear that if the voluntary guidelines do not work then legislation will follow.

This is a big step forward – shame it has taken the tech companies so long to reach this point.

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DMCA Takedown

www.dmca.com

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a 1998 United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM).

They are the guardians online of copyright material and are best known for being able to take-down websites where people have copied other’s content and not removed it when ordered to.

A “DMCA Takedown” is when content is removed from a website at the request of the owner of the content or the owner of the copyright of the content. It is a well established, accepted, internet standard followed by website owners and internet service providers.

Any owner of content has the right to process a takedown notice against a website owner and/or an Online Service Provider (e.g. ISP, hosting company etc.) if the content owner’s property is found online without their permission.

There is list of takedown conditions:

  • when copyright infringing content is removed or “taken down” from a website, by the website owner, upon receipt of a DMCA Takedown Notice from their ISP / Hosting company. This notice is generated by the, or on behalf of, the illegally published content owner, distributor, publisher etc.
  • when copyright infringing content is removed or “taken down” from a website by the website owner upon receipt of a DMCA Takedown Notice from the, or on behalf of, the content owner,distributor, publisher etc.
  • when copyright infringing content is removed or “taken down” from a website by the by the ISP or Hosting company of the website that is publishing the infringing content. This occurs because the website owner has not voluntarily complied with a DMCA Notice and the ISP or Hosting company must comply with the Takedown notice.
  • when an infringing website is taken down or “offline” by it’s ISP or Hosting company. This occurs because the website owner does not voluntarily comply with a Takedown notice as described above.

These Takedown actions occur upon receipt of a DMCA Takedown Notice which uses stipulations laid out in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (DMCA). This Act directly addresses the take down of (copyright) infringed content from a website which is publishing content in violation of copyright protection act or content being used without permission or not in accordance to the sworn statement of the content owner.

If you have needed to get a DMCA Take-down, do let me know, by email.

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Gmail Customised Emails

There are various online services that let you create disposable email addresses. These are for times when you want to use an email address once then delete it or be able to delete it if spam emails start arriving.

For example:

  • If you want register to download a document or brochure etc. but don’t want to get follow up sales emails
  • To register on a website where you think they are likely to sell your contact details to spammers
  • For someone you don’t really trust
  • To be able to track which services sell your contact details

Google doesn’t offer this disposable email address service but Gmail does have a facility  to create customized emails that you can then automatically delete that you can use to identify senders and filter incoming emails, so it is a little similar to disposable email addresses.

Step 1: When asked to input your email in an online service, you add a tag to your email address e.g. instead of fredbloggs @gmail.com you could use fredbloggs+uselessemail @gmail.com

Whatever is after the + sign will be ignored by Gmail.

Emails sent to that address will appear in your inbox alongside all of the others, but with that specific tag on the end of the address, they are very easy to eliminate or block entirely.

Step 2: You can setup Gmail filters to move such emails to another folder or to delete them if you wish.

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How to Make Your Website Trustworthy

The first steps in having your website trusted are the obvious ones – make sure there is nothing that would concern people e.g. selling items of dubious or inconsistent quality, excessive advertising, advertising of business such as gambling, over promising on products or services then being unable to meet those promises, poor customer service, excessive profit margins, inaccurate advertising, poor quality website etc.

You have to provide good products at the right price and back that up with excellent customer service.

Once you have eliminated anything that could put people off then you’re left with two basic things – building a good reputation and hoping for great online reviews by your customers.

These both need a lot of time and effort to happen. Good reputations don’t happen overnight and people will only add great reviews when your sales process, quality of products and services, customer service etc. are top notch.

Note that Marketing cannot increase the trustworthiness of your web site.

There is another way to increase trust and that is to become accredited by the various relevant bodies for whatever industry you are in and also to be accredited or registered with the various bodies that review websites.

Recent research shows that most customers don’t understand security on the Internet but they do trust various organisations and hence trust their judgements on trustworthy websites.

To the question “Which badge gives you the best sense of trust when paying online” the results show

  • Norton 36%
  • MacAfee 23%
  • TRUSTe
  • BBB

Other badges did also register but these four were the most recognised and trusted by far.

To get Norton accreditation – you simply buy a Symantec SSL certificate and implement that on your website.

The other companies listed above require more than an SSL certificate.

As well as the trusted badges, in assessing a website, consumers report that they look for qualities including

  • up to date information
  • fresh content
  • easy ways to contact the business
  • honesty about any problems
  • negative customer comments as well as positive ones are evidence of honesty
  • where appropriate – pictures of the management.

Make your website trusted for genuine reasons – don’t shortcut.

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Simple Cyber Life

The website at www.simplecyberlife.com is about helping families to be safe online.

They say their mission is to empower parents with the ‘know-how’ to protect their families from online threats through video tutorials, step-by-step instructions, a discussion forum and personal coaching calls.

Jonny Pelter, the founder says “Today’s advice for how parents can protect themselves and their kids online is far too complicated, resulting in poor security for almost all families”. He says he got fed up and created SimpleCyberLife.com to fix that.

This site does charge for the personal assistance. Premium membership is £45 per year and VIP membership is £180 per year. There is a free membership available for people who are more technically savvy and the paid memberships are very much targeted at parents.

The paid memberships offer video help, phone support, access to private forums, coaching etc. even paid home visits are possible.

No way to tell if this is a successful business model yet but they are giving it a good shot.

It’s an interesting site and you may find it useful if you need direct assistance on keeping safe online and in particular keeping your kids safe online.

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How to Report a Bad Website

It can be very simple and quick for people to create websites – good websites and bad websites.

What can you do if you encounter a bad website?  Who can you tell?

Bad in this case doesn’t mean something you don’t like but a website that is a scam or misleading or steals your personal information or is a copy of someone else’s website etc.

You can report the bad website to the search engines, blacklists, review sites and the Authorities.

Search Engines

Google, Bing and the other search engines want to know about bad websites so they can direct traffic away from them and where relevant will report the sites to the Police or other Authority.

Report to Google at https://safebrowsing.google.com/safebrowsing/report_badware

Instructions for Bing at  https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/930167/how-to-report-a-phishing-web-site

For Internet Explorer; If you are running IE and are still on the site in question, then  click on the Safety icon, which is on the toolbar go to “SmartScreen Filter” and select “Report unsafe website”.

Blacklists

Many organisations maintain lists of ‘bad’ websites called blacklists. This is to enable services such as Web of Trust, Trustwave, Brightcloud, numerous anti virus and anti malware companies such as McAfee, Sophos and many others to block access to those sites.

When you navigate to a blacklisted  listed website, your anti-virus or anti malware software will warn you and stop the browser opening that site.  Which such software protection you choose is up to you, but they all try to offer a good service.

PhishTank is a collaborative clearing house for data and information about phishing on the Internet. It maintains a blacklist used by software services.

Review Sites

There are various review websites that allow you to enter information, reviews, comments on websites and businesses – to help others make informed choices.

Which one you pick to report a bad website to depends on the nature of the website

e.g. for travel reviews – use Trip Advisor at www.tripadvisor.co.uk

Some of the largest of these review sites are Consumer Report, Four Square, Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and there are lots more.

The Authorities

You can report websites to Action Fraud if there is evidence of criminal activity.

You can report online scams and rip-offs to Trading Standards via the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on: 03454 04 05 06

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