Spy

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5941907/that-pretty-new-facebook-friend-probably-taliban

That Pretty New Facebook Friend? Probably TalibanIn the good ol’ days of spy vs. spy, the honeypot was a tried and true method espionage technique, laced with danger, intrigue, and sex. These days—as Australian soldiers have found out the hard way—all it takes to seduce your way to state secrets is a Facebook friend request and a Google image search for “hot chicks.”

As Australian news site News.com.au reports, a recent Aussie government look at the unhealthy intermingling of social media and the military, several of its soldiers have fallen victim to the oldest trick in the Facebook; someone pretending to be an attractive, flirtatious girl when in reality they’re not. Except instead of spammers, they get enemies of the state:

The review warns troops to beware of “fake profiles – media personnel and enemies create fake profiles to gather information. For example, the Taliban have used pictures of attractive women as the front of their Facebook profiles and have befriended soldiers.”

Why is that a problem, other than terrorists having access to your karaoke pics? Because soldier status updates can often include the kind of seemingly innocuous information that ends up giving away locations, statuses, and other sensitive details that could get people killed.

The report goes on to say that soldiers have been too trusting of Facebook’s default privacy settings, something which we’ve all fallen victim to at one point or another. Its just that the stakes for us normals aren’t anywhere near as high. But what’s the solution? Either to ban social media for troops altogether—as some have argued in favor of—or to insist on stricter guidelines and, especially, enforcement. Let’s hope the latter proves effective. It’s hard enough serving your country in a far-flung land without feeling even more cut off from the world than geography dictates. [News.com.au via Danger Room]

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Monday, September 10th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5892538/chinese-spies-friended-nato-officials-with-a-fake-facebook-account

Chinese Spies Friended NATO Officials With a Fake Facebook AccountLast year, a huge swath of senior British military officers and Defense Ministry officials became friends with who they thought was United States Navy admiral James Stavridis. While Stavridis is a real US Commander, sadly it now turns out that the man behind the Facebook profile wasn’t him; it was actually a Chinese spy.

In friending the spy, those British officials obviously leaked their own personal information reports ZDNet. That includes e-mail addresses, phone numbers, pictures, the names of family members, and possibly even the details of their movements.

Perhaps understandably, NATO is recultant to state exactly who was behind the attack, but The Telegraph reveals that it was almost certainly someone inviolved in Chinese intellgience. A spokesperson from NATO said in a statement:

“There have been several fake supreme allied commander pages. Facebook has cooperated in taking them down. We are not aware that they are Chinese. The most important thing is for Facebook to get rid of them. First and foremost we want to make sure that the public is not being misinformed. Social media played a crucial role in the Libya campaign last year. It reflected the groundswell of public opposition, but also we received a huge amount of information from social media in terms of locating Libyan regime forces. It was a real eye-opener. That is why it is important the public has trust in our social media.”

While it’s one thing ensuring that Facebook cooperates with these kinds of problems, I can’t help but think that a little more caution on the part of these Facebookin’ officials might help rather more.

(Note: the image above is actually the official NATO page of James Stavridis—the fake page has been taken down.) [ZDNet and The Telegraph]

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Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5884415/travelling-in-modern-china-requires-serious-secret-agent-skills

Travelling in Modern Day China Requires Cold War Era Secret Agent SkillsIf Kenneth G. Lieberthal were anything but a China expert at the Brookings institution, his travelling-in-China security procedures would read like the product of a paranoid mind that watched too many spy movies as a kid:

He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, “the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop.”

Talk about overkill, right? Well he’s not alone. The Times reports that these seemingly paranoid precautions are par for the course for just about anyone with valuable information including government officials, researchers, and even normal businessmen who do business in China.

But what about the rest of us? I may not have any valuable state secrets or research that needs protecting but that doesn’t mean I want the Chinese government snooping on my internetting when I visit my grandparents (especially when the consequences can be so severe). In the past, I’ve relied on a combination of VPNs, TOR, and password-protecting everything I can, but now it sounds like even that isn’t enough. Or maybe it’s totally overkill given my general unimportance in the grand scheme of things. Dear readers, I ask you, how much security is enough when it comes to the average person on vacation? [NY Times]

Image credit: Shutterstock/Rynio Productions

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Sunday, February 12th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

The End Of Google Search Is In The Palm Of Your Hand (GOOG, AAPL)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-end-of-google-search-is-in-the-palm-of-your-hand-2011-12


The funny thing about anti-trust cases against technology businesses is that technology businesses may sometimes monopolize a platform – but the platforms they monopolize are always on fire.

In the 1990s, Microsoft came under attack because Windows dominated the PC. 

But then the Internet made the operating system you use to access it from your PC irrelevant.

Now Google is getting scrutiny in Washington and in Europe because it owns so much of the search market.

But did you know that you hold the end of Google search is already in the palm of your hand?

Google makes money because people search the Web for stuff they want to buy (or for information about stuff they want to buy). Google brings them back a list of Web pages and ads. The ads are often as relevant to these commercial Web searches and the links, and so users click on them, ringing Google’s cash register.

But here’s the thing. I buy lots of stuff on the Internet, almost. I buy groceries. I buy movie tickets. I buy plane tickets. I book golf tee times. I order pizza. I buy Christmas presents from Amazon.

Google doesn’t take part in any of the transactions at all.

That’s because I do all this commerce not through the Web or through Google search; I do it through apps on my phone.

Check it out:

]iphone home screen

Now, at some point, I do search for these apps, just like I would search for Web pages. But I don’t use Google search to find them. I use Apple’s Apple Store.

My search results look like this. 

iphone home screen

Right now, Apple isn’t showing any ads in them, but that’ll change. When it does, it will mean less money for Google ads.

The good news for Google is that its mobile operating system, Android, owns a healthy slice of the smartphone market. It will be able to put ads in its own app store.

The bad news is that share is much smaller than its market share in search, where it also faces much weaker competition.

SplatF’s Dan Frommer made an awesome chart illustrating this:

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Monday, December 12th, 2011 news No Comments

British Teenagers Would Rather Lose TV Than The Internet

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/british-teenagers-would-rather-lose-tv-than-the-internet-2011-10


3D TV

Young British teenagers would rather lose access to a TV than access to the Internet or their cell phones, reports the Guardian.

According to new research carried out by British communications regulator, Ofcom, 18 percent of 12 to 15-year-olds said they would miss TV the most if all media was taken away. That compares to 28 percent who said they would miss their cell phones and 25 percent who said they would miss the Internet.

A year ago, TV was missed as much as the Internet.

However, according to Digital Spy, the study also showed that young teenagers are watching more TV than ever. Viewing figures have increased by almost two hours a week since 2007, and “catch-up” services online are increasingly being used.

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Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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