Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Before You Invest In Online Advertising…

Okay, so your company has come up with a new doofangle. Nevermind that this doofangle is basically a copy of someone else’s doofangle, you want a slice of that doofangle-sales pie, (as it hasn’t been sliced up enough yet) and so you have a Product Launch coming up.

skeptical-face_thumb.jpgAnd you’re The Marketing Specialist.

And everything you’ve ever heard, or read, says you Have To Have An Online Campaign. And your company has given you the budget. (After all, with the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of tech, you might not have a company next year if the Doofangle 1 doesn’t sell millions of units.)

So you do your research, and conduct focus groups, and decide that having 20-somethings dance around a fountain holding the Doofangle 1 is what you’re going to go with. It’s zesty, hip, and it is F-U-N-!
You’re going to dress the dancers in vibrant colors, as the Doofangle 1 is a boring black plastic .. rectangle.

So you spend MILLIONS on TV ads. (Which nobody looks at, except to maybe laugh.)

And now you’re ready to launch your online banner ads, using still images from the TV spot. And you’re going to spend more MILLIONS, to get lots of eyeballs.

Oops.

You are now the person responsible for *urinating*-away millions on online ads that only robots looked at. As you didn’t know about click fraud, (a term first coined sometime around 1997) or botnets.

Sorry. But don’t worry. Someone is always hiring Marketing Specialists. A different one calls me at suppertime every night.

(Latest) * Chameleon Botnet Steals Millions

Internet advertisers are the latest target of a botnet that could be costing them up to $6 million a month.Read more..

(Last month) * Botnet steals millions from advertisers with fake mouseclicks

The Bamital botnet defrauded the entire online advertising platform, which is what allows the Internet and many online services to be free..Read more..

The entire history of defrauding the online advertisers would – I suspect – fill a book. But, “You Have To Have An Online Campaign”.
Everyone says.
I would think, though, that you’d want actual humans to see/hear your marketing efforts.. right?

It isn’t the ad services that take the hit; it’s you, the Doofangle seller.

Oh, well. Not every click is bogus… right? Some sales will happen.. right? But how will you know? That number might not be real either.

Down the rabbit hole.. and ignore the man behind the curtain.

At least with the airwaves advertising, the worst they can do is run your spots from 1am – 3:30am (or show you charts that say they ran all 1,000 spots but only air 200) … This online stuff seems 100% the shadows of vapor.

Today’s quote:Go on till you come to the end; then stop.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News, phraud | , , , | 4 Comments

Season’s Reminder

Folks, as we approach the Holidays, please be aware, and remind your friends and family, that we are entering the peak scam, ripoff, fraud, and – of course! – phishing season. The vermin are happily and busily creating phony online stores, and filling our Inboxes, Faceboook, and Twitter with bait and lures of all types.

Holiday shoppers can expect cybercriminals to be out in force this season,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “Shoppers should be alert to scams and other attempts to lure them to provide personal and financial information that could lead to data loss or the infection of an Internet connected device. We encourage everyone to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and make sure they have taken security precautions, understand the consequences of actions and behavior and enjoy the benefits of holiday shopping online.

McAfee recently released a list of the most popular scams on the Internet during the holiday season. You can see them here: 12 Scams of Christmas 2012

We should/can take steps to increase our safety, security and confidence online with these simple tips:

  • Keep a Clean Machine: All the devices you use for shopping – including smartphones and tablets – should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems and other key programs and apps.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete it.
  • Think Before you Act: Be wary of communications that offer amazing deals that sound too good to be true, implore you to act immediately – including indicating a problem with an order or payment—or ask you to view the website or an account via a provided link.
  • Protect your Personal Information: Be alert to the kinds and amount of information being collected during transactions. Information requested should only be enough to complete the transaction. Only fill out required fields on checkout forms. Check the website’s privacy policy.
  • Use Safe Payment Options: Credit cards are generally the safest option. They allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. Credit cards may limit the monetary amount you will be responsible if your account is compromised. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service.
  • Make Sure the Site is Legitimate: This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. Check reviews of sites you have never used before.
  • Keep a Paper Trail: Save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of any email exchange with the seller.

Yes.. “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are coming up, and yes, great deals can be found. I am not saying don’t shop online — but I am saying now is the time to double-up on your “paranoid common sense”. Nobody’s protecting you. There’s no “Internet police”. But there are *scumbuckets* intent (focused like a laser beam) on stealing from you. Thousands and thousands of them.

This looks suspicious to me too

Um… But I don’t have an Am Ex Merchant Account…

There’s a whole stack of other depressing news, too. But I’ll spare you. I’ll just say – again – let’s be careful out there.

Today’s quote:When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

November 15, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, Internet, Phishing, phraud, security | | 5 Comments

Im young cute and fun, but im sitting at home alone.

It has been a while, so.. here you go. A snapshot of Crime In Progress.

Do you ever wonder.. what are these *people* thinking? Wonder how their brain works?

And when you think about the fact that something like 90% of Internet use – at any given moment – is *people* sending this *stuff* …

Well. I guess they have to do something with their time…

And now – finally – in mid 2012 – I have run out of any sympathy for any person who responds to one of these.

“GREATNESS CHANCE DEAL” ??????????! (Nice nonsense to SHOUT.)(Love the name, tho – “Aart”.)

Related? Here’s something from Readers Digest (remember them?) Dumb Human Behavior to Avoid

Today’s quote:Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~ William James

Bonus: I have to wonder.. what are the kids smoking?

Zoosk? Seriously? Now there is a word that instills confidence..
Zoosk? C’mon. Time to grow up.

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 23, 2012 Posted by | cyber crime, Internet, phraud, security, spam and junk mail | 6 Comments

Shopping Online? Read This.*

More people are doing their gift-buying online than at the mall.  It’s a fact: there are more reasons to do your shopping online this year than there were before ($3½-per-gallon reasons). And, shopping on the Internet has been around for a while now… it is no longer a new, and frightening development.

But just because e-commerce has matured, and because we have made prior purchases without getting burned, doesn’t mean we need to let down our guard.. or assume that all the bugs are ironed out.. or think that all the frauds and huckster are so amateurish as to be easily recognized (like the guy selling TVs out of the trunk of his car is easily recognized). No! Be not lulled! Be not complacent!
Let’s, Dear Holiday Shopper, be careful out there!

It is likely that you have read, or heard, warnings about safe Internet shopping (and, I have written such advice here in prior articles) before; but, let’s review the basics:
1) Never enter personal information — much less your credit card number — on a webpage that is not showing two things: a gold lock icon in the address bar of your browser, and the “s” in the https:// beginning of the website URL.
To review my article on this topic, click here.

1.jpg

1A) There a sub-advisory here: click on the gold lock icon– if your browser tells you that there is a “problem” with this website’s “certificate”…

badcert.jpg

..such as shown above, it does not necessarily mean this is a fraudulent website BUT do not make a purchase here. Err on the side of caution and move on to a different vendor.

2) Hopefully “phishing” is not an unfamiliar term to you, but have you heard of “pharming“? Frequently, this is a ‘look-alike’ website. The idea is to get you to enter your pertinent information, and clearly you want to avoid these pure-fraud website’s whenever possible. To do so, never click on links to websites you recieve in an email. Enter the URL manually into your browser’s address bar (or Copy>Paste it).
Also, when you’re shopping online, turn on your browser’s phishing filter, or do a “spot check”. In IE, click on the “Tools” button, click on “Phishing Filter”, and then “Check this Website”.

22.jpg

Another very good website checker is McAfee’s Site Advisor. Here you can enter the URL for the website and get a report of the site’s ‘rating’, or you can download a browser “plug in” which will provide an automated Rating indicator.

Basic Safety Tips for Online Shopping

Please review this short checklist, and be a smarter, safer shopper.

  • Download/Install Software Updates — Regularly!
  • Use Complex Passwords (include numerals and symbols — @#$%^&*[])
  • Use ‘Onetime’ Credit Cards.
  • Verify Secure Connections before entering any info.
    See that little padlock symbol at the bottom of your screen, and in the URL address bar?
  • Check Your Credit report – make it a routine.
  • Enter Your Shopping Site’s Web Address Manually, and double-check your typing (embedded links = no!).
  • Shop From Your Own computer (not a public ‘hotspot’).
  • Enable your browser’s phishing filter, or install an add-on. (such as the super-easy WOT toolbar)
  • Do not Send Credit Card Information Over E-mail. Even if you think it’s secure. Don’t send it over IM either. If you feel uncomfortable about sending personal information online, call up the business.

I would like to direct your attention to the first bulletpoint. The programs on your computer need to be fully “patched” with the latest updates, as exploiting weaknesses is the primary method hackers use to infect your machines. (You visit a website that they’ve ‘poisoned’, and if you have an unpatched ‘hole’ [aka “vulnerability”], bingo – you’re infected.)

How do you know if you have the latest updates? For all your installed programs? Do you think you are patched? Don’t guess. Be sure!

Today’s free download: Secunia offers a tool that I highly recommend. The online scanner (which you should bookmark, btw) will scan your machine for roughly 100 programs and tell you if there is a patch/update you need. If you go this route, I suggest you visit once or twice a week.)
Better yet, they offer a download, a Personal Edition, which will scan your system against a database of over 7,000 programs.
Even better yet, it includes direct download links to the missing patches it finds.

Well, I’m out of time for today. Shopping on the Internet can be a great time and money saver. Have a good weekend and, please, be careful out there.

Bonus (for reading down this far): Friday is the BIG day for WinPatrol. This is, basically, a steal for $5.00 US.

 Bits from Bill “…….plans for having a INCREDIBLE sale on upgrades to WinPatrol PLUS. Starting Friday we’ll allow upgrading to WinPatrol PLUS as low as $5 USD. Yes, I wrote $5!This unbelievable price will be available for three full days. The sale starts midnight, Friday morning EST time zone.”

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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December 8, 2011 Posted by | advice, how to, Internet, Phishing, phraud, security | | Leave a comment

Classic Scams

I just had to laugh, it was so ridiculous. By now I hope you have all heard of “phishing” and are properly leery of any unsolicited email asking for your personal information, and that you never click on any emailed links. I hope that you’re aware that there are scammers out there on the Web and that they’re after your money and/or your identity.

If you are a loyal Tech–for Everyone reader, you have seen my advice regarding this type of devilry before, (In case you missed it, read my “rocket scientist” post, click here.) and my reco’s for combating it.
Saturday is the day I check my “suspected spam” and “junk mail” folders to make sure there’s nothing legitimate in there by mistake. I wasn’t startled to see that there was some phishing attempts in there … but I was surprised to see that someone had tried sending me the all-time-classic, original “Nigerian banker” phish! I mean … this thing’s so old it belongs in a museum. See for yourself:

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB).
OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO
WEST AFRICA.
Transfer Of (25.200.000.000).Twenty-Five Million Two Hundred Thousand Dollars.

I AM GILBERT KABORE, THE AUDITOR GENERAL AUDIT AND ACCOUNT INFORMATION IN THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK. DURING THE COURSE OF THIS YEAR AUDITING I DISCOVERED A FUND IN THE ACCOUNT OPENED BY MR JOHN KOROVO AND AFTER GOING THROUGH THE RECORDS IN THE FILES I FIND OUT THAT MR JOHN KOROVO WAS A VICTIM OF (BEIRUT BOUND CHARTER JET PLANE CRASH HAPPENED ON THE 26TH DECEMBER 2003 IN COTONOU( REPUBLIC OF BENIN).HERE IS THE WEB SITE(http://ww.cnn.com/2003/WORabcdefghij/26/benin.crash)[never click links in emails!!!!]

IN MY TOTAL INVESTIGATION OF THIS ISSUE I FIND OUT THAT LATE MR JOHN KOROVO DIED ALONG WITH HIS ENTIRE FAMILY LEFT NOBODY TO CLAIM FOR THE FUND IN THE ACCOUNT. AND THE LAWS OF OUR BANK STIMULATED THAT ANY ACCOUNT DORMANT MUST BE TRANSFERRED INTO THE NATIONAL TREASURE FUND.

BASE ON THIS I AM CONTACTING YOU BECAUSE THE STATISTIC OF THIS TRANSACTION REQUIRED A FOREIGNER BECAUSE LATE MR JOHN KOROVO WAS A FOREIGNER AND THE FUND CAN ONLY APPROVED TO A FOREIGNER WITH VALID INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT OR DRIVING LICENSE AS WELL AS FOREIGN ACCOUNT DETAILS.

I ASSURED YOU THAT I HAVE PERFECTLY ARRANGED THIS TRANSACTION BEFORE I CONTACTED YOU AND WITH MY POSITION IN THE BANK THIS FUND IS GOING TO APPROVED ON YOUR BEHALF AND TRANSFERRED TO YOUR PROVIDED ACCOUNT. THE BANK OFFICIAL WILL PROVE YOU ALL THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION NEEDED FOR THE TRANSFERRED OF THIS FUND INTO YOUR ACCOUNT IMMEDIATELY LEAVING NO TRACE TO ANY PLACE AND BUILD CONFIDENCE .

FURTHER MORE IN THIS CONTACT OF HELPING I NEED YOUR STRONG ASSURANCE THAT YOU WILL NOT CHEAT ME AS SOON AS THIS FUND TRANSFERRED INTO YOUR ACCOUNT IN YOUR COUNTRY BECAUSE I WILL BE COMING OVER THERE AS SOON AS THIS FUND TRANSFERRED FOR THE SHARING OF THE MONEY.

ON THE CONCLUSION OF THIS TRANSACTION YOU ARE ENTITLE TO 30% OF THE TOTAL SUM AND 10% WILL BE SET OUT FOR EXPENSE ARISE DURING THE TRANSFERRED AND TELEPHONE BILL, THEN THE 60% REST WILL BE FOR ME.

SO ON THE SERIOUS NOTE OF YOUR WILLINGNESS TOWARD THIS TRANSACTION I WANT YOU TO INDICATE YOUR SELF BY SENDING :FULL NAME: SEX: COMPANY: FULL CONTACT ADDRESS: PHONE: CELL: FAX: CITY:STATE:ZIP CODE COUNTRY: OCCUPATION ON ACCEPTANCE TO CHAMPION THIS TRANSACTION WITH ME AND ON THE RECEIPT OF THIS INFORMATION NEEDED FROM YOU I WILL FORWARD YOU THE TEXT OF APPLICATION FORM WHICH YOU ARE GOING TO USE TO APPLY IN THE BANK FOR THE RELEASE OF THE FUND INTO YOUR ACCOUNT.
THANKS.

YOURS TRULY
GILBERT KABORE

Please note the spelling, and the information requested in the last paragraph — pretty obvious, eh? I traced this back to Belgrade (Yugoslavia). It has been rumored (wink) that there’s a hacker or two in that Former SSR.
I cannot figure out what they were thinking … I mean, everybody’s seen — and laughed at — this one. Right??? Maybe they’re counting on P.T. Barnum’s axiom?

There was another one that first appeared many years ago, and I had thought it had faded into History long ago…

Dear Beloved,
Due to the sudden death of my husband General Abacha the former head of state of Nigeria in June 1998, I have been thrown into a state of hopelessness by the present administration.I have lostconfidence with anybody within my country. I got your contacts through personal research, and had to reach you through this medium. I will give you more details when you reply.Due to security network placed on my daily affairs I cant visit the embassy so that is why I have contacted you. My husband deposited $12.6million dollars with a security firm abroad whose nameis witheld for now till we communicate. I will be happy if you can receive this funds and keep it safe I assure you 20% of this fund. I will need your telephone/mobile numbers so that we can commence communication.Yours Truely,
Hajia Mariam.

Tip of the day: Please, don’t be *naive*. Nobody is going to make you rich because you answer an email. But there are plenty of people who want to take your money. (If you have any extra money, the good folks here at Tech–for Everyone [me] will happily ease your burden!)

Today’s free link: Learn about, view phishing past-and-present, report, and help prevent phishing fraud. Visit Anti-Phishing.org.

Quote of the day:We are born naked, wet and hungry. Then things get worse.” ~ unknown

Orig post: 8/4/07

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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January 11, 2011 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Step-by-Step Security Tutorial – Internet Explorer

How to Configure Internet Explorer to Stay (More) Secure Online: Step-by-Step

The Internet is an amazing place. It is the world’s largest man-made object. It has changed and enhanced our lives in countless ways. Like most things, it has it’s “good side” and it’s “bad side”. I think you need to know: cyber-criminals are ruining it. And stealing billions of dollars a year in the process (that we know about.. think “tip of the iceberg”).

Instead of simply telling you “be safer”, I have a link to a step-by-step slideshow tutorial: How to configure Internet Explorer for secure surfing

“With assistance from the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), this slideshow will walk you through the steps to configure Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to limit the damage from hacker attacks.”

lockdown_ie

click for slideshow

In this digital age, we are all connected, and each of us plays an important role in securing cyberspace.

It Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

So do your part. Make sure your web browser is “hardened” against online attacks.

Today’s free link: If IE is your main browser, I recommend installing Spyware Blaster as well as the steps above.

SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan for and clean spyware–it prevents it from being installed in the first place. SpywareBlaster prevents the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, browser hijackers, and other potentially unwanted programs. It can also block spyware/tracking cookies in IE, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, and many other browsers, and restrict the actions of spyware/ad/tracking sites. With the built-in Check for Updates feature, you can help ensure your protection is up-to-date. SpywareBlaster also includes a System Snapshot feature, which lets you take a snapshot of your computer in its clean state and later revert, undoing many changes made by spyware and browser hijackers.

Related: Earlier I posted a slideshow tutorial for the web browser Firefox (see, Safer Internet Surfing Cont. – Tutorial: Tweak Firefox for Greater Security)

Folks, to find out more about cyber-security, and connect to more educational resources, click here.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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October 18, 2010 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, how to, IE 7, ie 8, IE 9, Internet, Microsoft, Phishing, phraud, privacy, security, software | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Software License Giveaway Drawing: SPAMFighter Pro

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

SPAMfighter_box_webThe folks at SPAMFighter have generously donated 5 licenses for SPAMFighter Pro to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from folks who “enter” by posting a comment (below). The drawing will close midnight (Pacific) Thursday, Sept. 17th, and the winners announced Friday.

SPAMFighter is a community-based spam filtering tool for Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Thunderbird that automatically and efficiently filters spam and phishing fraud – keeping it out of your Inbox.

When a new e-mail arrives, it is automatically tested by SPAMfighter. If it’s spam, it will be instantly moved to your SPAMfighter folder. If you receive a spam mail that is not detected, click on a single button, and the spam mail is removed from the rest of the 7,258,856 SPAMfighters in 228 countries in seconds.

MG5strsOverall, SPAMfighter is a very simple to use product, especially for the novice. It can be setup and run with little to no user intervention and simply begins working on its own. I currently run this as my spam program and have given it an Editors Pick due to its simplicity, effectiveness and ability to keep a free version.~ Tim Tibbetts, review on MajorGeeks. 5/5 Stars

Blocks most spam. Almost no false positives. Filters any e-mail account in supported clients.~ Neil J. Rubenking, review in PC Magazine.

Benefits:

  • Award winning technology to block spam
  • Protects all the email accounts on your PC
  • Protects against “phishing”, identity theft, and other email frauds
  • Privacy Guaranteed – we don’t see any of your email
  • Blacklist and block domains and emails
  • Spam abuse reporting with one click – Get revenge now!
  • Unique language filtering tool – Stop emails in languages you don’t understand

SPAMfighter requires:
Operating System – Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7 (32 and 64bit)
Email client – Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2010 (32bit). Outlook Express 5.5 (and later).
Windows Mail (Only 32bit) and Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1.

SPAMFighter Standard is free for personal use, but the program adds a SPAMfighter footer to your outgoing e-mails, and also displays small text advertisements in its toolbar. Purchase SPAMfighter Pro (retail $29/yr) and you get rid of the ads and footer. You also gain the ability to blacklist or whitelist unlimited domains and addresses (the free edition is limited to 100). The Pro edition can block messages written in specific foreign languages.

How to enter? Residents of the US and Canada may enter the drawing by simply clicking on “comment”, and entering a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you the key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification.

Again, I thank the folks at SPAMFighter for making this giveaway possible. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win an activation key..) You can get started by downloading the trial, here. (It will revert to the free version after 30 days.)

¹ All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “randomizer”, and the top 5 results will be the winners.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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September 13, 2010 Posted by | computers, e-mail, Internet, Phishing, phraud, security, software, spam and junk mail, tech | , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments