Tag Archives: yahoo

Experian Scans the Dark Web for Your Information

ExperianIn case you haven’t heard there is such a thing as the dark web, This is the side of the Internet that is not where you want to go. Here is where the child molesters, pedophiles, drug dealers, terrorist, human traffickers and other nasty people go to do business. The dark web is where you buy stolen information among other things. The dark web is aptly named, it is dark, hidden, dangerous and mostly illegal.

The AACR did a report on the dark web and we found that much of the Internet is indeed dark. According to DeepWeb.com only about 4 percent of the information on the web is available to search engines like Google or Yahoo! This is known as the “Visible Web” or “Surface Web.” So if you did the math you can see that 96 percent of information online is hidden from sight.

But now the question must be asked; how much of that information is yours? Your home address, phone number, email address, your social security number, your medical records, you passport number, and who knows what else. Most information you read about as being hacked or stolen ends up on the dark web.

There are ways and methods to scan the dark web for your information. Some legitimate companies and websites are eager to help you find and secure your information. Experian for example is offering to scan the dark web for your email address. The credit reporting company offers this website that will scan the dark web for your email address. The scan takes just a few seconds and the results are emailed to the email address you entered and it is completely free. At least the the email scan is. Experian will scan for your medical records, Social Security number, bank accounts, phone numbers, credit and debit cards, driver’s license and passport for a fee of $9.99 a month. You can try it for 30 days free. Its not a bad deal, and let’s be real, with all the data breaches happening you need to know. 

Now you know.

 

 

 

Internet Service Providers Can Sell Your Data

 FBI Director James Comey said, “There is no longer absolute privacy in the United States.” In the age of information everything you say do, write or watch on television is recorded somewhere. And now Congress is letting your internet service provider sell your personal data including your internet activity.

On Friday, the Senate blocked the implementation Obama administration rules stopping internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from selling customers internet browsing history and other data. The rule itself was scheduled to go into effect next year. It would have been a significant wall to ISP’s efforts to sell your personal data and combine that data with your other services to target advertising at you.

Many people fail to realize, or have become accustomed, to the level of tracking that is done by major corporations. For example Facebook tracks everything users do on their website and beyond, everything! And so do many other social media sites. This move lets ISP ‘s do the same.

But ISP’s have a bit of an advantage over sites like Facebook. For example many ISP’s offer bundled services. You can get television, internet, telephone and even cell phone service and home security in one package and one price.   This basically allows them to create a profile of not only what you watch on television, but who you call or calls you, your emails, your web searches, online activity and your mobile activity on your smartphone.

If you use Verizon your profile just expanded significantly. The Senate vote cleared the way for Verizon to link up all its databases. These databases contain customer information from AOL which Verizon purchased in 2015 for $4 billion. Soon that database will get even bigger if the sale of Yahoo! to Verizon goes through. 

Since the election of Donald Trump Republicans have worked to undo regulations imposed under President Barack Obama. All 50 Republicans voted in favor of killing the rule while 46 Democrats and two independents voted against.

Breach Brief – Yahoo! Again! A Billion This Time!

Yahoo-headquartersYahoo! admitted today that the previous data breach was just a warm-up act. The latest bad news reveals that user data recovered by authorities uncovered a different hack entirely. Now there are over a billion compromised accounts. Yes, I said a BILLION! 

This the second record breaking data breach of Yahoo! customer data. The previous hack endangered  more than 500 million Yahoo! accounts. It took years for that breach to come to light. 

Bob Lord, Yahoo!’s  Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) said, in a press release,  “As we previously disclosed in November, law enforcement provided us with data files that a third party claimed was Yahoo! user data. Based on further analysis of this data by the forensic experts, we believe an unauthorized third party, in August 2013, stole data associated with more than one billion user accounts.”

Yes, you read that right. More than a billion Yahoo! customer accounts have been vulnerable for over 3 years now.

It seems that Yahoo! employees simply don’t give a damn. Yahoo! admitted that some employees were aware of the breach announced in September as early as 2014. But someone inside Yahoo! decided to dropped the investigation.  

Yahoo! has advised, as it has before,  that “potentially affected users” change their passwords. Clearly Yahoo! has some serious  security  issues.  At one time Yahoo! was one of the biggest, most well known and respected Internet companies.  My how times have changed.

Now the company may die a sad death. At one time Verizon was considering buying the failing company but that could change and there are few other suitors.  According to Business Insider Yahoo! has admitted that Verizon may very well back out of the deal after this latest news.

Craig Siliman,Verizon’s chief lawyer, told reporters that the telecom giant has a “reasonable basis” to believe that Yahoo!’s monstrous data breach is equal to a material impact that lets Verizon trash the $4.83 billion deal.  

If that were to happen we could witness the death of the first giant Internet company. It would be historic but no unprecedented in the business world. You remember PanAm Airlines don’t you?

Yahoo! For Sale!

Yahoo-headquartersYahoo!,  the oldest web company still in business was founded 20 years ago by Jerry Yang and David Filo. It was, and still is, a directory or search engine to help people navigate the web. When Yahoo! came on the scene the WWW was not what it is now. You could actually count the websites back then. It could be said that Yahoo! was the Internet’s first golden child. My how times have changed.

Now Yahoo! is known as a cauldron of intrigue, dysfunction, and fascination and it may be dying as we know it. Yahoo! used to be so cool. Critics say that the company failed to keep up with the explosion of mobile and social networking. Despite multiple turnaround plans, nothing has really worked. Now it is rumored that Yahoo! may be selling off its Internet businesses and maybe even itself.

Earlier this month Yahoo announced it was laying off 15 percent of its 11,000-strong workforce or roughly 1,500 jobs. It is also closing a number of overseas offices cutting as much as $400 million in expenses.  In addition to those cost cutting measures the company is also shutting down some of its web businesses including  Yahoo! Food, Yahoo! Health, Yahoo! Parenting, Yahoo! Makers, Yahoo! Travel, Yahoo! Autos, and Yahoo! Real Estate.

Yahoo!’s biggest move in recent history is its purchase of the social media website Tumblr for $1 billion. But that has not helped the overall picture. Now the company is selling itself either whole or in pieces.

In the business world Yahoo! is commonly known as a fallen angel. That means it is a company that has value but is not performing the way it should. That would explain why there some pretty big name players that are looking at buying some or all of Yahoo! or even a merger.

Verizon Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. are companies that are expressing interest. Other investors that are said to be looking into Yahoo! are  Bain Capital Partners, KKR & Co. and TPG.

Time Incorporated, publishers of Time, Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune magazines, may be looking into merging with Yahoo’s core digital operations that could deliver Yahoo! from being sold in pieces. According to Bloomberg, executives from Time Inc. were considering the merger following a presentation from Citigroup bankers pushing the deal.

As we all have known Yahoo! it seems to be coming to an end. Questions are everywhere about the future of the company; can a buyer be found or will the company be slowly sold off piece by piece? What will the remainder of Yahoo! look like and how will it affect its millions of customers and email account holders? Will advertisers slowly move away draining the life blood, money, from the company? Can a buyer rebuild the brand into a force again? Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

See and Block Who’s Tracking You Online

canstockphoto19683471Privacy on the Internet is a rare commodity. Currently 85 percent or more of black people are online. Most black people own a smartphone or other mobile device. And most black people have no idea how easy it is to track exactly who you are, where you are, who you call, text or email and pretty much everything else you do online. You are being watched like a prisoner.

Trying to stop this constant tracking is a tough task and the law is no help. Congress and industry have little or no incentive to stop this incessant invasion of privacy. Part of the problem is that consumers have yet to get really angry about this activity.

There are people fighting for your privacy online but its an uphill battle to say the least. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Disconnect, Internet privacy right groups and a group of web companies have lauched a new “Do Not Track” (DNT) standard meant to encourage website owners and advertisers to respect your online privacy. Unfortunately this is a voluntary standard and companies are free to agree, or not to agree, to adhere to the new standard.

Big players like Yahoo! and Microsoft have not come out in favor of the new standard. Microsoft announced in April that it was no longer enabling ‘Do Not Track’ as the default state in Windows Express settings.

A year ago Yahoo! said that ‘Do Not Track’ settings would no longer be enabled on its site saying; “we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry.” But Yahoo! has agreed to honor the ‘Do Not Track’ setting on the Firefox browser as part of a search deal. So both companies are openly admitting they are tracking you.

Companies that have agreed to honor the new ‘DNT’ standard include publishing site Medium, analytics service Mixpanel, ad and tracker-blocking extension AdBlock, and privacy search engine DuckDuckGo.

Millions of black people are using social media. And the God of social media is Facebook. But did you know that Facebook is probably the biggest data collector in the history of civilization? Because people are giving it to them.

But who is using Facebook to track your Internet activity? How do you block them?

First of all keep in mind that advertisers may not not know your name and other personal information about you. But that is just a maybe. We don’t know what they know and they ain’t telling. Legally, they don’t have to.

But here are the steps to see and block advertisers that are tracking your Facebook profile from Businessinsider.com.

First go to the settings button on your Facebook page.

Facebook settingsFacebook

Scroll down and click “Settings.”

Facebook settingsFacebook

Inside the settings menu, click on Apps.

Facebook settingsFacebook

This looks like a list of apps that are signed into your account. But pay close attention to the “show all” option at the bottom of the list …

Facebook settingsFacebook

Voila! The list of apps tracking me is so long I have to make this super zoomed-out view to see them all:

Facebook settings

Facebook

On each app, there is an Edit function and a delete “x” mark. Let’s look at what QuizUp, the hot new trivia mobile game app, knows about me.

Facebook settingsSettings

QuizUp knows my email, birthday, and current location. Because it’s a mobile app on my phone, it also knows my phone number. But that’s not all …

Facebook settingsFacebook

Click this little “?” symbol on “basic info” and it turns out that QuizUp is getting a bunch more info about me, too, including a list of all my friends and my profile picture!

Facebook settings

(Source: Businessinsider.com)

You can control this information by clicking on the “x” symbol to delete the app’s access to your Facebook account. That might mean the app won’t work, however.

Review each app to either edit its permissions or delete its access to you on Facebook entirely. It’s a bit time-consuming — but otherwise you’re just giving these people free data.

Another thing black people need to be aware of is that companies are using your email to spy on you. Much of the email you recieve from an advertiser or even a company you do business with is loaded with spying technology.

To see who is tracking your email, or in this case Gmail, you can use a browser extension tool named UglyEmail to see what companies are tracking your Gmail email.

UglyEmail shows you if your email is being tracked. And email being tracked in Gmail will have a tiny eye attached to it. Your inbox will look something like this.

UglyEmail

One of the ways that your email is tracked is a technology known as pixel tracking. Pixel tracking is when a tiny image, about 1 pixel in size, is inserted in an email. The image is invisible to the email recipient but it has a code that tells the server to call the sender when the email is opened.

To block that you can use a browser extension known as PixelBlock. PixelBlock will block that pixel code from transmitting back to the sender. Email with a pixel tracking code have a red eye on them. PixelBlock will also tell you who sent the pixel and how many times they have attempted to track you.

We did mention that Facebook is the greatest collector of data in history didn’t we? Well did you know that Facebook follows you around the Internet even when you are not on the website? How do they do this?

Facebook employs over 200 different trackers that follow your online activity. These trackers come in the shape of cookies, Javascript, 1-pixel beacons, and Iframes. Tracking technologies are used to see what websites you visit, how often you visit them and other interactions with websites.

Not all cookies are used for tracking.  Many Facebook ‘Like’ buttons are used to collect and store information to be used later. Your browser communicates with a server to construct the website you wish to view. This called a request.

But keep in mind that the website you are viewing isn’t the only server your browser is talking to. Trackers from other data collectors, Facebook included, are on the site as well. You have no idea they are tracking you without privacy software. You don’t know they are there and you probably don’t wish to share your personal information with them.

To protect yorself and your information you need to use the do not track function on your browser. It may help but probably won’t competely stop the tracking. You can find a list of the five most secure browsers here.

Choose your privacy setting in the following browsers

Google Chrome

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Apple Safari

We used Facebook as an example of companies that track you online because they are the biggest offender. But undertand this, almost every website has some method of monitoring who visits it. The sometimes sell the information or just hold onto it to better serve you. Just remember AACR Internet rule #8 “There is no privacy on the Internet.”

Now you know.

 

 

 

 

ALERT! Yahoo! Hit with Malware ALERT!

unnamedIn a stunning announcement Yahoo! reported it has shut down a massive malware campaign infecting billions of visitors to its websites. Some experts believe the website infected with the malware was visited as many as 300,000 times and hour. 

Malwarebytes discovered the scheme which ran from July 28th through August 3rd and used Yahoo!’s ad network to infect user’s computers with malware used for advertising.

Malvertising is a scheme where hackers trick automated advertising networks into delivering malware. The trick is becoming more and more common. This malware does not require the user to do anything to become infected. Simply browsing a website is enough to get infected. This is sometimes called a drive-by download.

Yahoo! and other big name search engines are prime targets of malvertisers because of the hundred of millions of ads they deliver daily through their advertising platforms

Jerome Segura, Senior Security Researcher at Malwarebytes said, “Malvertising is the silent killer because its does not require any type of user interaction in order to execute their payload.” Segura also warned that the victims of the attack could also have been infected with ransomware.

For nearly a week Yahoo! sites were delivering malicious ads through its ads.yahoo.com. Yahoo! users were re-directed to several different domains that exposed them to an exploit known as ‘Angler.’ According to Segura some of the sites that users were re-directed to were hosted by Microsoft’s Azure a cloud computing platform.

Security experts also revealed that another exploit named ‘RIG’ was also infecting computers at the rate of 27,000 a day. Both exploits are related to the numerous flaws recently revealed in the Adobe Flash Player software. The software is found on millions of computers to run video and games on websites.

This is not he first time that attackers have used Yahoo!’s advertising network to infect users. Last year the network was used to distribute a range of malware including a Bitcoin miner.

Malwarebyes claimed they notified Yahoo! of the situation and the company took immediate action and the exploit is no longer active. Yahoo issued the following statement:

Unfortunately, disruptive ad behavior affects the entire tech industry. Yahoo has a long history of engagement on this issue and is committed to working with our peers to create a secure advertising experience. We’ll continue to ensure the quality and safety of our ads through our automated testing and through the SafeFrame working group, which seeks to protect consumers and publishers from the potential security risks inherent in the online ad ecosystem.”

Malvertising attacks have been steadily increasing because they are so difficult to stop. According to RiskIQ attacks increased in the first half of this year at the rate of 260 percent.

James Pleger, Director of Research for RiskIQ stated ,” The major increase we have seen in the number of malvertisements over the past 48 months confirms that digital ads have become the preferred methods for distributing malware.”

Related information;

Yahoo Malware Removal

Microsoft Safety & Security Center Malicious Software Removal Tool

Breaking It Down

If you have a good anti-virus/anti-malware software on you computer you may be safe, but just maybe. Yo may want to visit Yahoos safety website that describes how to remove this malware if you have it. But again, this may or may not work. I am not sure how it has been since this website was updated. Update you anti-virus software and all your software just to be sure.

A drive-by download is extremely dangerous. All you have to do is visit the website and you got the virus or malware. Its nice to have an anti-virus that blocks you from even going to that website. If yours doesn’t do that then switch. NOW!

Google recently updated its search engine to warn user of suspicious website before you get t them.

This is about as serous as it gets. Yahoo! is a huge company with billions of websites listed in their search results and I’d guess trillions of ads delivered annually. Imagine if a bad actor had figured out a way to distribute ransomware through the search engine. It could have been the greatest calamity in Internet history. Don’t laugh. It could still happen.

All I can say at this point is to make sure you update your anti-virus frequently. Better yet, set it to update automatically. But even that may not be enough. Take the time to search RIG exploit removal tool and Angler exploit removal kit. Take my advice.

 

 

Cable Television is Feeling The Heat

Slide1There is not a single black person who has not waited half a day for the cable technician to show up at our house; if they showed up. And who hasn’t put up with poor customer service and high cable bills for channels we don’t watch? You know the package where you get the two channels of you want and fifteen channels of crap! We have paid enough and put up with enough.

Video streaming is what’s happening now. The number of people dumping cable televison, or cutting the cord as some call it, is growing. Research conducted by TiVO subsidiary Digitalsmiths shows that 8.2 percent of former cable TV subscribers have cut the cord. That’s up a full percentage point from last year.  Another 45.2 percent reported having reduced their cable or satellite TV service during the same time frame. A practice known as cord shaving. These stats are putting huge pressure on the cable television industry.

Cord shaving consumers are chosing to go with smaller pay TV bundles. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video are becoming the video entertainment of choice. Why? Convenience is the first thing that comes to mind. Anywhere, anytime is a very appealing option. Second is the cost, streaming video services are significantly cheaper than cable television. Third, the shows people know and love are there for the viewing. And finally, cable customer service sucks!

Cable companies are feeling the heat. Verizon FIOS is the first major cable provider to go for the ala carte menu. They now allow cable customers to pick and choose what channels they want to pay for. But in defense of the cable companies they were in a bad position. Many media companies demanded that if the cable company offers one network they had to offer all of them. The result was expensive cable bills for the consumer.

Cable companies are also offering you that DVR thing that costs you so much a month to use but never own. Welcome to the age of the Internet, video streaming, on demand, wherever we want it. NOW! Its becoming obvious that the cable television business model is slowly dying.

Many people are worried about their Internet service and live programming like sports. But that is no longer a concern either. Keeping basic cable and Internet has always been an option. And new streaming services like SlingTV from DISH Network will provide ESPN and ESPN 2 for just $20 a month. You can get other ESPN channels for just $5 more.  And lets not forget that live sports will eventually become a regular part of the streaming media package. Yahoo will stream a live NFL game on October 25th. Its a sign of things to come. Other interesting services that are coming into the marketplace include HBO’s new service HBO Now. This allows you to stream HBO programs and movies as a stand alone service.

But lets get back to the cost of cable television. It is not unheard of for cable bills to be as high as $200 a month. African-Americans need to look at their bill and really make some hard choices about their cable package.  Black families can get an idea of the money they may save by using the interactive calculator provided by MarketWatch.com.

According to the survey 15.3 percent of consumers are planning to either switch, change, or cut the cord completely to cable television service.

Streaming media services offer original programming that is recieving high acclaim. Orange Is The New Black is an extremely popular program that is only available on Netflix. One of the most popular shows in the history of telelvision, Seinfeld, is now available on Hulu Plus. Another one of televisions hottest shows, Empire, is also streaming on Hulu Plus.

Cutting your cable may be a no brainer for some people. For others its a decision that may take some thought. But the bottom line is cable television is being threatened by a new technology with better choices and convenience.  Cable televison operators are fighting to stay in the game but its not looking good. I can take my tablet, laptop or cell phone anywhere and watch whatever I want, when I want.

Heartbleed; The Black Perspective, Now You Know

Black heartbleedHeartbleed, from a black perspective, is just as disastrous. If you have not heard about Heartbleed then my job is to highlight these type of events for black people and show my brothers and sisters what is happening in the cyber world. I’m not going to get technical on you here. The Heartbleed bug does not need a lot of explanation. Its really very simple to understand;  websites using a program to protect, or encrypt, your information and communications with that website is not working properly. It hasn’t been working properly for two years.  So anyone with enough technical knowledge can now see what’s on servers and computers you do business with. It’s that simple. It’s like finding you had a leaking water pipe under your house for the last two years and now you have to fix the foundation. That’s what happening on the Internet right now. Less tech, more knowledge here.

Black people do more banking online and mobile banking using wireless devices than other groups.  So when I tell you that someone might get into your bank and steal your user name and password then you better pay attention.  I’m talking about your money! And you know we don’t play when it comes to money. Is that simple enough for you?

Now how many black people use Yahoo! email? Gmail? What about Facebook? See this thing is bigger than you realize. Two thirds of the servers and computers used on the Internet have this flaw. Now you see why I’m here sounding the alarm. That’s literally millions of websites wide open for attack which means if you use these sites you are wide open too. Do you have an Android phone like a Samsung or HTC? You’re vulnerable too.

Call it nosy but since I’m black I have some questions that I want answered. For example, I bank online and I use Yahoo! and Gmail email. And I shop online as well. But not one place where I shop or use my credit cards has sent me a single email saying what they are doing to fix the situation. You would think there would be some effort to comfort customers and re-assure them that everything is being done to secure their information. Nothing!

Everywhere I go on the Internet and everything I read about the Heartbleed bug tells me to change user names and passwords. But my question is why? How do I know if my bank or the place I buy shoes online has fixed their problems? I have read that is the situation in some cases. People are changing their passwords and the site is still broken. No one, not a single website has said anything. No notifications have come my way! I would think this is basic customer service. They should just send out an email saying they are working on the problem and will have it fixed soon. As a black man  and Internet user that’s what I want to know. Otherwise how am I supposed to know whats happening. How do I know whats happening behind the scenes at my bank? I’m black and you have to tell me whats going or I get…black!

This really is not a black issue. But we have our opinion about it. Its an Internet issue and most of all a customer service issue. We expect a lot for our money. I think everyone does. But for black people I think I speak for us all when I say ; Don’t ignore me. If there is a problem let me know…now.

The Internet is a color blind technology. When something goes wrong it impacts everyone online. Black people included. Now you know.