Internet Attacks

February 28th, 2012

In his article What Wikipedia Won’t Tell You Cary H. Sherman, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America, wrote the following in response to public claims against SOPA and PIPA:

“Since when is it censorship to shut down an operation that an American court, upon a thorough review of evidence, has determined to be illegal? When the police close down a store fencing stolen goods, it isn’t censorship, but when those stolen goods are fenced online, it is?”

Sherman wrote for the less represented voice that ultimately cried about SOPA and PIPA. Arguments against this stated that the legislative terms used were not so clear and went beyond harvesting stolen works. Across the Internet, fears rose on what SOPA and PIPA could mean, and perhaps rightfully so. With the abstruse wording of legislation, lawyers are necessary to both write and then explain what legislation means.

Arguments against SOPA and PIPA claim that the wording isn’t definitive enough. Either way, it makes evident that a vast population lacks knowledge of what SOPA and PIPA could or could not do. When sopapipaaffect.com asked for thoughts about SOPA and PIPA the first response appeared as “I think it’s unfair that they wanna shut down Wikipedia and control the internet. It’s like basically controlling how we communicate. How many are against SOPA & PIPA? How many protested against them?” and the ‘Best answer’ was “I think its wrong and im against it.”

Outrage spread through major participants across the Internet didn’t show the intent of SOPA and PIPA but instead attempted to reveal a possible outcome. But the possible outcomes they portrayed seemed to form how many perceived the actual bill meanings.

Secure Social Networking

February 24th, 2012

Social networking sources are often utilized as strong ways to communicate. But when used irresponsibly, they can also risk your security.

By “checking in” or updating your location, many social network users find a fun way to show their travels and promote their locations. But next time you move to do this, be sure that you’re not sending the message that “no one’s home.” When you consider making a status update on a family vacation for example, maybe include a fake shout-out to your fake home sitter.

When registering for a social networking sites (or really any website) don’t provide your Social Security number. We can’t emphasize this enough, and yet it still happens. Think of what your Social Security number does and why this site would need it before you provide it.

Often a social networking site will ask for your phone number. Typically there is a skip button though you may need to search for it. Sometimes the site will ask for a phone number to confirm your account. If this is the case then you will likely also be able to delete your number from your profile after the confirmation. Removing your number will protect it from reaching strangers. Nevertheless, phone numbers are surprisingly easy to change.

Don’t upload pictures or videos if you’re not ready for the public to have access to these. Even if your security settings have viewer restrictions, there is nothing restricting those viewers from copying and then re-uploading the file.

You should always check your privacy settings and be open to editing them. This can prove to be especially handy for when you grant access to an application and later want to deny it.

Make passwords that cannot be easily guessed (don’t limit yourself to the the names of your children and pets). Strong passwords will utilize lowercase and uppercase letters and will include numbers along with symbols. Though these seem difficult to remember, it’s much easier than being hacked. Strong passwords will also be hard to memorize at first and writing the password on a slip of paper that you keep with you can prove tremendously handy.

Stay safe out there!

Internet Security Sounds Secure

February 23rd, 2012

Security and privacy are concepts with remarkable favoring, when not associated with the Internet. Why does so much resistance to “Internet security” or “Internet privacy” exist?

-          Because of the freedom that the Internet allows for

-          Because of the restrictions that security and privacy can create

For many the notions of securing the Internet, protecting the Internet, and stopping online piracy, means actively censoring . At the same time, others take protecting and securing the Internet to mean that their works will no longer by illegally used or that false facts will no longer be published.

As a result of widespread outrage to concepts on limiting the open Internet, SOPA and PIPA were put on hold or moved for revisions. However, the movements for Internet security are proving to be relentless and look like they will turn into a major decade debate. Today, the Obama administration introduced the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and the controversy has already emerged. Main points of the bill:

  1. INDIVIDUAL CONTROL:  Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.
  2. 2. TRANSPARENCY:  Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.
  3. RESPECT FOR CONTEXT:  Consumers have a right to expect that companies will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
  4. 4. SECURITY:  Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
  5. ACCESS AND ACCURACY:  Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data is inaccurate.
  6. FOCUSED COLLECTION:  Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
  7. ACCOUNTABILITY:  Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

This bill is with stated efforts to “protect individual privacy rights” but will the public reject it with the same passion used against SOPA and PIPA, or will they recognize the bill as a tool for their personal Internet security. The battle for or against seems crucial to the Obama administration as the pressure from both sides must be overwhelming.

One identifying factor for the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” is its aim towards protecting the individual whereas SOPA and PIPA aimed at protecting larger parties.  This may allow for the bill to receive a more welcoming introduction.

Further Reading:

Obama Administration Seeks Online Privacy Rules

What Are SOPA and PAPA And Why All The Fuss?

Microsoft Wipes Privacy Sidestepping on Google, Why Not Facebook Too?

Fear Less, Fraud Fails

February 22nd, 2012

Excessive worrying is frequently time consuming and unhealthy. Fraud possibilities seem endless because they are. Knowing this can easily overwhelm worrywarts (for lack of better words) that will never even be real victims. Yet with technology today some try to reason the necessity for excessive worrying. If you are not one of these reasoners, and you are ready to overcome fears of fraud by means of insight and intelligence then please read on.

First, find comfort with the knowledge that fraudulent businesses fail. How else besides a bailout would they stay in business? Don’t listen to rumors or fabrications on fraud, look at the facts. Part of business success entails utilizing opportunities that the competition overlooks. If these opportunities are spelled out for all to understand then the business innovator reaps no rewards. The creative entrepreneur will find that the less creative entrepreneur will reach their success through copying their methods, and thus the desire to be creative greatly decreases.

More than likely a business reaches success because they provide a quality service at a quality price. This does not mean that a company providing a free service is a scam or involved with fake business. A good example of a legitimate and tremendously successful company with free services for many of its users is Google. The company provides free services to help the public and profits from those looking to market to the public.

When communicating via the Internet always remember your street smarts.

Remember to keep your Social Security number secure. Don’t provide it or other personal information unless you know the need for its actual necessity (rather than just a company claimed necessity). If a stranger approaches you on the road and makes some claims about past due bills or unexpected winnings, would you trust them and provide your personal information? If so, this article may not be able to provide the assistance you need.

Understand the meaning of an investment and what it is that you invest in. Investments do not guarantee returns, and as an investor though you hope for returns you cannot rely on them. Good marketers will sell all of their investments with sounds of brilliance, profit, and enjoyment. Ask yourself if it’s the business person or product that you believe in, and if you don’t answer both then you can count on the investment disappointing you.

Be prepared, be smart, be fraud conscious, but don’t search for fraud unless you want fraud.

Alec Difrawi 1 Man Behind 1 Name and 1 Identity

February 21st, 2012

There is a theory that illustrates Alec Difrawi as a businessman attempting to hide behind a myriad of fake names and corporate entities. This post is in attempts to clarify such accusations.

Alec Difrawi is always listed as a consultant in companies where he is involved. A few individuals have created the theory that Alec Difrawi does this to hide ownership from press, law enforcement, and to shield himself from liability. This is not true and there are two very simple and legitimate explanations for the way Alec Difrawi’s ownership and job titles are structured:

  1. As the nature of Alec Difrawi’s work is with marketing and technical consulting, he works with multiple companies. In the 1980’s Alec Difrawi started his own corporation (Difrawi Consulting) and has maintained employment with that company. When working with a new company, they pay Alec Difrawi through his consulting company.  This is legal, ethical, and recommended by many accountants.
  1. Alec Difrawi’s current business is essentially an incubator for internet businesses.  It consists of technical, legal, accounting, and customer support resources. The executive board invests resources into any idea found viable. Thus, if an outside individual or current employee has an idea they support, a business in that person’s name is created and a set amount of resources is invested into it.  If the business reaches certain success parameters they maintain an option to buy a percentage of it, or let the individual buy out their option.

These two legitimate practices have allowed for the accusation that Alec Difrawi is always trying to hide his involvement in a slew of companies. Countless hours have been spent by a few individuals to link the companies online and create a huge conspiracy illusion. In fact, Alec Difrawi has nobody he needs to hide his identity from, and he is relatively public in his life.

The Pathological Liar & The Internet Infrastructure

February 20th, 2012

Wouldn’t a pathological liar feel more secure in hiding their identity through the internet infrastructure?

While many will find extraordinary freedom in the Internet, for others the Internet may only feed into mental obsessions.

The Internet opens windows for copying identities, creating unique meanings, and then ditching these. It allows for the creations of whatever perception and with the ultimate opportunities for deception. It allows for the distortion of our own images or for the coping of another’s lifetime.

If as a pathological liar you are obsessed with and convinced of your lies, the Internet seems the ideal place to exist. Threats and legal action against such a person will be difficult if not impossible to carryout.

Research attests that easier and better lying occurs over the Internet rather than in person. In person, physical reactions to human lies make the phenomenon more obvious. But deception through the Internet occurs even when we try to avoid it.  Consider the instances where you communicate over the Internet and find the receiver oblivious to your intended tone.

Some signs of a pathological liar include obsession and distance from humane associations. A healthy author may attack even the worst of people through exposing some of the good that could have been (with their creativity or brilliance for example). They often attempt to reason why this individual grew to be so and then they often show pity for the lost soul.

A pathological liar on the other hand, will be disposed to only attack. They will not be able to identify with the human behind their villain. Thus the villain (to them) grows relentlessly more monstrous.

For the pathological liar, the Internet must be an awesome tool. It allows them to control feedback they wish to avoid, it grants them whatever illusion they can draw. The Internet provides endless sources for a mind that knows no limits to lies.

Be safe.

Related Articles:

Online Deception and Lies – The Reasons

Study: Lying comes easier on the Internet

Why People Are Better At Lying Online Than Telling A Lie Face-To-Face

Free Speech vs. Illegal Speech

February 17th, 2012

Freedom of speech is a true phenomenon across the (uncensored) Internet.

In countless ways the Internet allows us to discuss unbound topics and target distant audiences. It enunciates voices that otherwise may remain silent. It shares. It brings perspectives to new points allowing for research, discussions, and visuals as never before.

But through the same awesomeness, the Internet advances piracy and fact fabrication. It brings these issues of fraudulent and stolen work into new extremes. It alters the righteousness associated with free speech. It attests that not until the Internet phenomenon was the freedom of speech contemplated without the accountability of speech.

Should there be punishments for illegally published work on the Internet? Should there be restrictions or limits? Is the real punishment not defining your own judgment? Is the real tragedy misunderstanding?

Creating a Conspiracy

February 16th, 2012

There are many reasons to create a conspiracy. Maybe you’re interested in harming a reputation, maybe you’re bored. You could sincerely become convinced of the conspiracy you created or you could be doing it for personal fulfillment. For whatever the reason, we strongly encourage you to consider other options. Conspiracies can be manipulative, undermining, and unbearably destructive. And the ways to spread them are countless. Outlined is one of these ways:

Utilize the Internet

  • For better or worse, it allows you remain anonymous

Create a fraud exposing website

  • Declare to be a fraud exposer and others will be less likely to accuse you of fraud

Attack appropriate companies and entrepreneurs

  • Companies with growing consumer bases
  • Not widely popular and trusted names
  • Polite enough to resist hiring a hit man

Create compelling fraud theories

  • Remind the reader that the company is in business to make money
  • Make as many connections as possible even when they seem impossible
  • Reopen old scars, no one learns from their own mistakes
  • Explain actual starting steps, confirm to new consumers that the scam has begun

Repeat theories until they become facts

  • Create different online profiles to self-publish these
  • Write complaints on as many consumer sites as possible

Call to action

  • Tell the reader that they’re lucky, they could have been a real victim
  • Remind the reader that it’s their duty to protect others
  • Help the reader, show them the best places to complain (AG offices, TV stations, and the BBB)

Return to the fraud exposing website

  • Post links for more information on the scam
  • Post links for more information on how to protect others
  • More credit to the website means more credibility for the website

Related Articles:

How to create a conspiracy theory: 4 easy steps

Three steps to building your own conspiracy theory

Cyber harassment: A growing issue

November 3rd, 2011

Ever since the internet rose to popularity, cyberstalking has been a sensitive issue. Following numerous reports of harassments or threats via online communication, the first US anti-cyberstalking law went into effect in California in 1999.

Since the late 1990s, computers and mobile devices have come to be a fundamental part of our society, and in the process, have provided cyberstalkers with increasingly more opportunities and methods for harassment.

Cybertstalking refers to the use of the internet, email, mobile devices and other forms of electronic communication to stalk an individual through a pattern of threatening and malicious language and/or behaviors.

This differs from cyber harassment, which does not necessarily involve a direct threat to the victim can include harassing emails, IMs and blog entries or websites devoted to the torment of the targeted individual.

Yet another subcategory – cyberbullying – can include all of the characteristics listed above, yet it is only considered to be bullying when it occurs among minors. Many such cases have resulted in suicide from the mental anguish provoked by the cyberbullying and have been closely covered by the media.

According to a survey by the Electronic Communication Harassment Observatory (ECHO) at Bedford University in England, cyberstalking is now more common than the traditional forms of actual physical harassment. Technology has changed the way in which stalkers carry out their malicious deeds, and it has also changed the dynamics of the situation.

Based on an ECHO study of victims of cyberstalking, only 4 percent of the stalkers were former partners, compared to around 50 percent of face-to-face harassment victims. Online harassers are much more likely to be either complete strangers or casual acquaintances than former love interests.

This may be due to the boosted confidence one feels from the anonymity provided by the internet or it may be a result of the abundance of information that one is able to encounter online about anyone at all – whether it be stranger, acquaintance or close friend. Photos, family information, telephone numbers, addresses; it’s scary just how easily accessible all this information can be with just a little bit of digging around on the web.

According to a recent study by the National Centre for Cyberstalking in Bedfordshire, UK, researchers have found that victims of cyber attacks can suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) comparable to that experienced by individuals exposed to extreme events such as military combat or sexual assault.

No matter whether the cyber victim actually meets their stalker or not, the situation can have devastating psychological effects, including mental anguish, fear, stress, anxiety, paranoia and the overall loss of trust in others.

Social networking sites and mobile devices have served to open up a cyber victim’s world to harassers, allowing them an intimate look at a targeted individual’s life and constant and immediate access to deliver their threats via electronic communication.

In terms of minors, cyberbullying can be even more severe and traumatic than the attacks of traditional schoolyard bullies. After school lets out, bullies go home and the torment stops, but with cyberbullying and the ubiquitous online access, the threats and harassments follow victims home and wherever they go through mobile devices.

Some might argue that the issue of cyberharassment can be blown out of proportion, since in most cases the victims receive no physical harm. But the constant verbal attacks and fear that ensues can push people to the brink, and in many cases bring them to take their own lives.

WORKS CITED:

McVeigh, Karen. “Cyberstalking outstrips face-to-face stalking” Dawn.com http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/10/cyberstalking-outstrips-face-to-face-stalking.html Accessed 10/24/11

Page, Lewis. “Being cyber-stalked is as bad as being raped, or in a war” The Registerhttp://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/12/cyberstalking_is_really_really_bad/ Accessed 10/24/11

“State Cyberstalking, Cyberharassment and Cyberbullying laws” National Conference of State Legislatures http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=13495 Accessed 10/24/11

Online reputation management

October 20th, 2011

Online reputation management

Protecting one’s online reputation – personal or professional – is extremely important in this day and age. The power of the Internet should never be underestimated. Dissatisfied customers, bitter co-workers and disgruntled employees alike have the potential to seriously damage one’s image on the web.

In order to protect one’s reputation, it is crucial to exercise self-control and censorship when posting content to the Internet. Social networks are an easy place to get carried away and share comments or opinions that might later be used against a person.

One should never forget that content published in an online platform such as Facebook, Twitter or blogs can be viewed by anyone: This means potential employers, recruiters and clients. Most networks are directly associated with one’s name and will come up in an online search.

Many forget that content posted online cannot only be found, but it has the potential to stay there permanently.

Personal censorship is an easy thing to control online. If it seems like something that could be potentially embarrassing or damaging to one’s reputation, it is probably best left unsaid. But what other people have to say about a person or business on the Internet is an entirely different and much more difficult situation to manage.

The beauty of the Internet – and its inherent danger – is that anyone has the power to post anything they want. This means that satisfied clients can rave about a business or its products, whereas cynics and disgruntled customers can just as easily blow off some steam in a blog or review.

Businesses should monitor such online conversations to find out what people are saying about them and to discover which issues need to be addressed. After determining which comments could turn into potential problems, the next step is to resolve them.

A common solution in dealing with online criticism is to simply delete the comments. Although this might be an easy short-term answer to the problem, it’s not always the best idea. In doing so, this conveys to the online community that a person or business has something to hide.

The best thing to do in this situation is to respond to the critical commentary in an apologetic and understanding manner. The customer is always right, and unfortunately, this translates to the social sphere as well. Most dissatisfied clients will appreciate the time and attention they received with a response to their issue, which may even lead them to remove the comment and gain a new perspective on the issue.

Another way to respond to negative online comments is through a blog. Creating a blog with one’s name in the URL will create favorable search engine result pages (SERPs) when people look up the name of a person or business. This will help to push some of the negative content down on the list of results and keep the blog at the top.

Blogs also give the receiver of negative commentary a chance to defend him or herself in a respectable and legitimate online platform. Frequently updating the blog will help the positive content to be viewed before the criticisms. Google responds well to fresh content, and by tagging keywords that are relevant to the issues that need to be resolved, the content of the blog will be more visible in search engine results.

Ideally, all potentially reputation-tarnishing issues online could be resolved via direct communication with the person or organization that originally posted the comment. However, there are unfortunately a lot of people out there who are bitter and quick to jump at the opportunity to criticize.

If a problem can be solved through an apology or explanation, this is the best way to handle it. When you’ve exhausted all other avenues, however, the best way to increase your positive presence online is to create new, engaging content.

WORKS CITED:

Berline, Amanda. “How To Protect Your Online Reputation” Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/01/online-reputation-protect-leadership-careers-networking.html Accessed 10/17/11

Carracher, Jamie. “4 Ways to Protect the Reputation of Your Small Business Online” Mashable http://mashable.com/2011/10/15/protect-small-business-reputation-online/ Accessed 10/17/11

Weinberg, Tamar. “Manage Your Online Reputation” lifehacker http://lifehacker.com/357460/manage-your-online-reputation Accessed 10/17/11