Category: Uncategorized

Just How Big is Facebook

Worldwide, there are over 2.20 billion monthly active Facebook users and that number is still growing across the world.

There are 1.45 billion mobile users that login on average every day and the corresponding figure for monthly users is 1.74 billion. Both of the numbers are growing steadily.

In Europe, over 307 million people are on Facebook.

People aged 25 to 34 are the biggest group of Facebook users but there is evidence that younger people are moving away from Facebook (considered to be uncool now that so many Grandfathers and Grandmothers inhabit Facebook).

Some oddities:-

  • Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm.
  • a Facebook post at 7pm will result in more clicks on average than posting at 8pm
  • On Thursdays and Fridays, engagement is 18% higher than other days
  • There are estimated to be 83 million fake profiles
  • 300 million photos are uploaded each day
  • Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes.
  • 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up.

Like it or loathe it, Facebook is the 800 pound Gorilla in the social media world and will do everything it can to stay at the top.

Interesting that it is considered to be uncool by a growing number of young people so maybe its peak is near and it could fall from grace as quickly as it rose.

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Delisting on Google

In May 2014, the European Court of Justice established the “right to be forgotten,” i.e. the “right to delist,” allowing Europeans to ask search engines to delist information about themselves from search results.

Google must consider if the information in question is “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive”—and whether there is a public interest in the information remaining available in search results.

Understanding how Google make these types of decisions—and how people are using new rights like those granted by the European Court—is important. Since 2014, Google have provided information about “right to be forgotten” delisting requests plus anonymized examples of some of the requests Google have received

Between 2014 and 2017, there have been 665,612 requests to delist covering 2,470,351 URLs.  Roughly 43% of requests to delist have been enacted and the rest refused as not complying with the guidelines for delisting.

Evaluating Requests

Google assess each request on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, Google may ask the individual for more information. After a request is submitted to Google it undergoes a manual review and once a decision has been reached, the individual will receive an email notifying him or her of the decision and, if Google do not delist the URL, a brief explanation.

Reasons Google Don’t Delist

A few common material factors involved in decisions not to delist pages include:-

  • the existence of alternative solutions
  • technical reasons
  • duplicate URLs

Google may also determine that the page contains information which is strongly in the public interest. Determining whether content is in the public interest is complex and may mean considering many diverse factors, including—but not limited to—whether the content relates to the requester’s professional life, a past crime, political office, position in public life, or whether the content is self-authored content, consists of government documents, or is journalistic in nature.

Google also publish some of the requests in an anonymized manner to allow debate and comment on whether delisting should occur in each example.

Example Request 1: Google received a request from the Austrian Data Protection Authority on behalf of an Austrian businessman and former politician to delist 22 URLs, including reputable news sources and a government record, from Google Search.

Outcome: We did not delist the URLs given his former status as a public figure, his position of prominence in his current profession, and the nature of the URLs in question.

Example Request 2: Google received a request from an individual to delist several URLs from Google Search about his election as leader of a political movement and other political positions he held when he was a minor.

Outcome: Google delisted 13 URLs as he did not appear to be currently engaged in political life and was a minor at the time. Google did not delist 1 URL as the page referred to a different person who had the same name as the requester.

Example Request 3: Google received a court order directed to Google Inc. to delist from Google Search a blog post about a professional who was convicted for threatening people with a weapon on a city street.

Outcome: Google appealed the decision, but lost the appeal. Google delisted the blog post.

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The Pension Wise Service

https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk

In these days of pension fraud, if you’re over 55, it is wise to assess your pension situation using government advice.

The website Pension Wise was set-up by government to provide free advice

They say they can help you if:-

  • you are aged 50 or over
  • have a personal or workplace pension
  • want to make sense of your options

There is plenty of advice on the site from what happens if you live abroad to taxation to the different ways you can take money from your pension pot.

There’s also advice on how to avoid the pension scammers.

If you feel the need to talk to an expert, there are free calls of up to 60 minutes that can be booked.

If you need pension advice – this website is a good start.

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The Virus Checker Website

The website VirusTotal at https://www.virustotal.com was created to help people identify computer viruses. It does this by analysing infected files or URLs supplied to it and it’s a free service.

VirusTotal inspects items by using 70+ antivirus scanners and URL/domain blacklisting services, plus a range of tools to extract signals from the studied content.

How to use the Website

You can select a file on your computer and upload it to VirusTotal in your browser.

There is also the option of desktop uploaders, browser extensions and a programmatic API if this is to become a regular practice.

As with files, URLs can be submitted via several different means including the VirusTotal webpage, browser extensions and the API.

How Does the Virus Checker Work?

A submitted file or URL is scanned and the results shown on screen. The data and results are shared with VirusTotal partners who use the results to improve their own systems. As a result, by submitting files, URLs, domains, etc. to VirusTotal you are contributing to raise the global IT security level.

Scanning reports produced by VirusTotal are shared with the public VirusTotal community. Users can contribute comments and vote on whether particular content is harmful. In this way, users help to deepen the community’s collective understanding of potentially harmful content and identify false positives (i.e. harmless items detected as malicious by one or more scanners).

Commercial Service

The service provides qualified customers and anti-virus partners with tools to perform complex criteria-based searches to identify and access harmful files samples for further study. This helps organizations discover and analyse new threats and fashion new mitigations and defences.

VirusTotal not only tells you whether a given antivirus solution detected a submitted file as malicious, but also displays each engine’s detection label (e.g., I-Worm.Allaple.gen).

This is a valuable resource in the fight against computer viruses.

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Stupidest Scam of the Week – Your Real Life Superpower Revealed

The email is titled “Your Real-Life Superpower Revealed”.

So this is obviously either a stupid quiz or a stupid scam message and this one is a scam.

It begins:-

 

Hey,

Imagine being able to bend the world to your will.

What if you could use your mind to create a reality that you desire in the same way that Neo did in the blockbuster movie The Matrix?

Believe it or not, some of the smartest, most successful and most educated people in the world believe we are living in a Matrix-like virtual world.

Movies like the Matrix are great fun and very creative but they are just movies. How we think obviously influences our lives a great deal, but anyone who thinks that they can create their own world using the power of their mind is either permanently day-dreaming or heading for a major mental problem.

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The Danger of Internet Connected Gadgets in Your Home

Some homes are now filled with dozens of appliances, devices and children’s toys which can be connected to Wi-Fi and some are useful while others are just for fun, but if they are not fully secure the consequences can be unpleasant .

Often set with a default password or no password, these devices can  provide an easy route for cyber attackers to get into your systems and look for confidential information.

The Internet of Things

The “Internet of Things” is a name for the adoption of Internet enabled devices in the home. The idea being that more and more household objects will communicate over the Internet. Common such items now include thermostats controlled by an APP, smoke alarms that phone you, toys that access Internet stories and music, the Alexa and Google Home devices that you can say instructions to and they use WI-FI to control other devices or find information or translate something. This also includes Internet-connected “wearable” devices, such as fitness bands which upload your GPS co-ordinates and telemetry to the Internet so you can access the data on your PC.

Many companies are working on more of these Internet of things devices.

These devices can give out information to interlopers that you may not consider e.g. the recent case of American Special Forces soldier wearing fitness bands and their location being broadcast on Google.  OOPS.

How to Make Your Connected Home More Secure

  • Secure the wireless network. Use the WPA2 protocol if your broadband router allows that option.
  • Give your Wi-Fi network an unusual name that doesn’t identify your address e.g. General Electric.
  • If guest access is enabled on the network – disable it.
  • If your router is capable of creating two separate WI-FI networks then use one for computer devices and a separate one for household gadgets.
  • Always use strong passwords that cannot possibly be guessed by anyone e.g. a string of random words.
  • Login name is often admin or administrator by default – If you are able to change the login name then change it to something that cannot be guessed.
  • Disable any remote access for gadgets. If you ever need it for allowing the supplier to fix a fault then you can re-enable it temporarily.

Some of these gadgets have appropriate Internet security and insist on strong passwords etc.  but others have little or no thought of security, so you must take care to plug any holes in security.

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G Has Problems with Scam Callers


G. received a phone call from someone claiming to be from BT.
The caller told him there is a very important and urgent problem with your Internet router and we need to replace it.
“We will send a new one out to you immediately.”

G. wasn’t impressed and said that he wasn’t interested and goodbye.
The caller tried again – being more insistent this time.
“Your Wi-Fi is sending out dangerous signals and needs to be fixed”.

G. is a courteous person and didn’t want to offend but again said he wasn’t interested. “Goodbye”. He hoped the caller would leave him alone.

But next day the caller was back again. This time claiming there were problems with the Internet line and replacement kit was on the way

 

G. still didn’t want to be rude to the caller so politely asked him to stop calling, said ‘Goodbye’ And hoped that would be the end of it.

But the caller continued to call 2 or 3 times per day.

G. realised something had to be done so he set-up Sky Talk Shield on his phone.

This service stops anyone calling his number directly.

When you phone his number you get a recorded message from Sky telling you the number you’ve called  has Sky Talk Safe and to say your name and press 2 on the keypad.

When you’ve done that, the service calls G. and plays back the name of the caller. He then chooses to accept or refuse the call.

This service does have a cost but it does seem an effective way of blocking all unwanted callers and solved G.s problem with the fake BT caller.

A quicker way of dealing with this type of persistent scammer is to tell them exactly what you think of them, using direct language – have a good shout, it does you good.

If you haven’t worked out how G. knew from the start that it was a scam call – he didn’t have a BT line, only Sky.

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