Tech Friday

posted by Brian Thomas - 

  • 90% of all eCommerce login attempts are hackers:
    • Personal information that is leaked or stolen is most often sold the Dark Web
    • 51 breaches were reported last year, compromising 2.3 billion user credentials
    • Hackers buy this information and use it to try access your accounts
    • If they get lucky, they can steal something from your account(s). You use a strong, unique password on each site, right? 
    • Hackers use automated programs to launch "credential stuffing" attacks 
    • A new report from cybersecurity firm Shape Security says eCommerce sites are the most frequent target of these attacks
    • "Criminals harvest usernames and passwords from data breaches and test them on every website and mobile app imaginable" Shape said in its report
    • Upwards of 90% of e-commerce sites' logins come from these attacks
    • Other industries that could lead to a big score for a hacker such as airlines and banking are targeted as well
    • Unfortunately, up to 3% of credential stuff attacks succeed, making big money for the bad guys
    • This leads to massive losses, about $6 billion per year in the eCommerce sector
    • Consumer banking loses about $1.7 billion annually
  • Congressional hearing on anti-conservative bias in tech gets heated:
    • Google, Facebook and Twitter have been accused of liberal bias for some time
    • Undercover videos from Project Veritas appear to show Twitter employees discussing techniques to censor conservative content
    • Facebook has faced many accusations of conservative censorship, most recently were claims by conservative bloggers Diamond and Silk that their videos were being squelched
    • In 2015, Harvard psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein revealed evidence that Google is manipulating search results related to Hillary Clinton. Read more here:
    • Matt Lieberman of Sourcefed published a video claiming Google’s autocomplete suggestions were biased in favor of Clinton. The video went viral and was viewed 25 million times on Facebook. Read more here:
    • Online search marketer found that 50 searches for political terms produced more liberal leaning results than conservative results
    • Google’s ties to top Democrats are well known, starting with Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, an active Clinton backer who ran a Clinton campaign data-analysis contracting firm. Learn more here:
    • The allegations have surfaced again after the death of Roger Ailes. Ian Miles Cheong wrote an article for HeatStreet which pointed out that most of the top results on a search for Ailes were left leaning sites that attack his character. Read it here:
    • There are several Google alternatives:
      • Bing: Microsoft's search engine is the 2nd most popular with roughly a 16% share of searches. Bing also powers Yahoo
      • DuckDuckGo: Known as the search engine that doesn't track you. Gaining in popularity for those who want to avoid the all seeing eye go Google:
      • Ask: Famous for it's Ask Jeeves character:
      • DogPile: Curates content from other search engines and removes all the ads: 
    • The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing this past week to explore anti-conservative bias tech
    • Three Silicon Valley executives were interviewed including Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy, Nick Pickles, Twitter’s senior policy strategist and Juniper Downs, YouTube’s head of policy
    • Rep Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked if major tech companies should now be held to the same standards as media outlets
    • Tech executives stressed that social media platforms are not publishers and shouldn't be held to the same standards claiming they don't edit users' copy or make editorial judgments 
    • Facebook has said "We see Pages on both the left and the right pumping out what they consider opinion or analysis — but others call fake news" and "We believe banning these Pages would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech"
    • Representatives from both parties bickered and disagreed in predictable ways, yet both sides indicated that they planned to keep a sharp eye on tech
    • "Your actions around these issues are essential to making sure that your platforms aren’t misused to the detriment of democracy" said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
  • Spot the social media bot:
    • Twitter has roughly 330 million users, but millions of these accounts are fake
    • A New York Times investigation found that these fake accounts, also known as "bots", are following, tweeting, retweeting and liking tweets to give "influencers" more influence and drive trends
    • In this context, "bot" is short for an automated computer program
    • For example, a Twitter account with 100 followers will have exponentially less influence and reach than an account with 100,000 followers
    • Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University social media professor said "It's kind of like inflating your resume. They were buying status so they can have influence."
    • While Twitter has fueled breaking news and social movements such as #MeToo, it's also provided a place for thousands of anonymous accounts to attack topics or people they dislike, making those items "trend" and get more attention
    • In many cases, "bots" are behind these movements
    • The report in the Times alleged that Devumi sold millions of fake likes, retweets and followers to high-profile Twitter users 
    • Many of the accounts in question appear to be the stolen identities of real people
    • Thus far, Devumi has not responded to questions and Twitter has said it's taking action against the company
    • Attorneys general from New York and Florida plan to investigate Devumi's practices. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has tweeted that "impersonation and deception" are illegal
    • Accusing someone of being a bot has now become an insult
    • Since these revelations, millions of followers have disappeared from some popular accounts
    • University of Southern California professor Emilio Ferrara released a study last year that reported that bots are behind as much as 15% of active Twitter accounts
    • Twitter recently shut down more than two million bots, in this case, the most egregious offenders
    • Look for these flags to determine if you're following a bot:
      • A profile that lacks information
      • Posting language and syntax
      • Highly repetitive behavior
      • Behavior over time
      • Size and composition of the bot's network
    • Don't waste your time following or arguing with bots
    • Thanks to Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning, bots will likely get harder to spot
Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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