Tag Archives: reputation

Google Gives Users The Finger One More Time

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The Internet is one kickass place – survey after survey continue to show that cybercriminals are picking off unaware/undereducated users, as if they were shooting fish in a barrel. And Google, the “Do No Evil” company has just made it easier for the bad guys to take aim at you, and me. Read on.

As I reported in March of last year – Search Engine Results – More Malware Surprises Than Ever!

Cyber criminals have bumped up the level of search engine malware.

One in five search topics lead to malware…………

Google search results produced 38 percent of overall search engine malware.

Luckily, those users in the know – were aware that steps could be taken to mitigate the risk of an infection transmitted through a bad search engine result. The tool of choice – one I have long recommended to regular readers here – has been WOT (Web of Trust).

WOT, one of the most downloaded Firefox Add-ons at the Mozilla add-on site, (also compatible with Internet Explorer and Chrome), is a free Internet Browser resource which  investigates web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams – helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

For example, here’s a Google search in which WOT indicates which sites are safe. Notice the unsafe (red) sites, in the Google ads!

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You can now scratch the reputation icon associated with the Google ads shown in the previous screen capture. Here’s the bad news. Google has reversed course, and no longer (as of April 13) allows a reputation assessment icon (in other words – a SAFETY assessment icon), to be displayed on Google sponsored ads.

According to WOT – “Due to Google’s policy change, WOT and some other similar tools can no longer show reputations for sponsored links on Google’s search results, or elsewhere on Google ads.”

In the following screen capture (taken today), you’ll notice WOT’s reputation icon (the green circle), attached to generic search results. You’ll also notice, on the TigerDirect (a Google ad), a reputation assessment is no longer available.

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In my view, Google can take its “Do No Evil” motto, and “shove it where the sun don’t shine”. No matter the reasoning behind this move – the net result is, Internet surfers are at more risk than they were last week. Tell me that’s not EVIL!

A big “thank you” to regular reader Michael F. for the heads up.

26 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Google, Internet Safety Tools, Software, WOT (Web of Trust)

Online PC Care Tells Me–“Remove Onlinepccare Scam From Your Website”

imageThe funny think about the “truth” is – it’s a variable. There are countless versions of the truth (unfortunately), including – “your truth”“my truth” –  and, “the truth”. It seems Online PC Care is questioning “my truth”, and is disputing the contents of an article I wrote earlier this year – Is Online PC Care A Scam? – outlining my highly unsatisfactory personal experience with one of its cold call sales representatives.

In an email (full contents below), Online PC Care states – “the scam posted in your website is seriously hampering our image”.  Now, before I go any further into this, let me say – Yes!! I’m absolutely delighted to hear it!

Online PC Care’s email:

Sir,

It has come to our notice that your website is publishing illegitimate scams against us. This is resulting in a very bad reputation of our company. The concerned person or party who has posted this has no substantial proof in his/her claim. So this is causing a negative effect in the minds of the persons who are visiting your website.

First off let me inform you that our company has a very good reputation in the market, there are lots of satisfied customers who has recommended us to their friends and relatives. In our website, we have numerous testimonials from people all over the world.

In such a case, the scam posted in your website is seriously hampering our image. I suggest that you review our website thoroughly, study the way we operate, and then come to the conclusion whether the scam posted is a legitimate one.

So it is a request on our part to remove the scam, as it is appearing totally ill. It’s a good initiative you have taken to reveal the scams, but when the allegations are made against the company who is so well reputed in the market and very honest in their services, then it becomes troublesome for us to bear it. We are waiting for your reply soon in this matter.

Yours Faithfully,
Amit Roy
Onlinepccare Team

Response breakdown:

The concerned person or party who has posted this has no substantial proof in his/her claim.

The article is a virtual blow-by-blow description of a cold sales call from a Online PC Care representative, who lied throughout the conversation regarding fictitious issues affecting my PC – “the overall presentation was structured in such a way, as to attempt to fraudulently convince me I had serious computer problems, including a non-existing malware infection.”

In fact, the conversation referred to in the article, was the second such conversation I had with an Online PC Care representative in that particular week. I choose to report on the second call only, in order to give your company the benefit of the doubt – such as it was.

First off let me inform you that our company has a very good reputation in the market, there are lots of satisfied customers……

You need to step back for a moment and take a reality break. The reality is – your company’s reputation sucks – big time! It behooves you to do a simple Google search using the keywords “Online PC Care”. I’m sure you’ll not be surprised to see that “Scam”, is the keyword most often associated with your organization.

The following screen capture attachment will save you the effort. You’ll notice in the Google search returns, that the Microsoft Answers site addresses the issue as to whether your company is involved in scamming.

Question – What information could “online pc care” a India cold call extract from my computer? They said they were Microsoft, I allowed them remotely into my computer, to fix a so called problem.

Answer – As you’ve realized – it was a scam!. You now need to notify your bank, and anyone who you’ve had dealings with over the internet, shut down your PC, and do a reformat/reinstall – there is no telling what the scammer has installed on your PC without your knowledge.

I feel a certain sense of accomplishment in seeing that my article is included on the first page. It seems “my truth” has validity. BTW, I’m curious to know if you’ve requested that Microsoft take down this inflammatory reference to your company. If not, then why not?

Google search inquiry – first page.

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Let’s not stop there though. If you’re curious as to what your reputation is, as determined by the WOT (Web of Trust) online community, then you’ll be interested in the attached WOT reputation rating screen shot.

It couldn’t get much worse – could it?

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FYI, I’ve included in this response a few (a very few), article references which investigate Pecon Software (your umbrella company).

The Guardian newspaper – Police crack down on computer support phone scam: An article which reports that Indian authorities shut down 19 websites following complaints from the UK and elsewhere. Here’s an excerpt –

Among those shut was supportonclick.com, registered to Pecon Software, a firm based in Kolkata. The company has now opened another support website, called onlinepccare.com, which is the subject of numerous online complaints about cold calling, “bullying”, and claims that the caller is from Windows PC care.

The Guardian newspaper: PC virus’ phone scam: supportonclick company insists it is innocent. Here’s an excerpt –

After being told to download a program that handed over remote control of their computer so the caller could install “fixes”, the PC users were told of the £185 charge for subscription to “the preventative service”. But the “fixed” computers never had any problems, and the value of the service was dubious.

Unfortunately, typical computer users pay little attention to warnings, and alerts designed to warn then against sophisticated scams. On top of which, consumers are easily manipulated, by well trained and persistent cold callers (but you know that), into ignoring safety precautions.

I’m glad to have received your take-down request, since it provides me with another opportunity to shine a light on the dark spaces in which parasitic organizations, such as yours, thrive.

Just to be clear – the ship has sailed, and I have no intention of retracting anything I’ve written regarding Online PC Care, or honoring your request for a take-down.

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19 Comments

Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Opinion, Windows Tips and Tools

WOT Beta for Social Media – Facebook, Twitter Protection And More

imageWOT (Web of Trust), has just raised the Internet security bar a notch by releasing a Beta version of their award winning Browser add-on which will provide protection against cybercriminals in a number of their favorite hunting grounds – Facebook and Twitter.

Hopefully, WOT’s reputation icons on links in Facebook, Twitter and additionally for shortened URLs by most popular services, such as bit.ly and t.co, will help thwart some of the most outrageous criminal schemes perpetrated on unaware social networking site users.

At the moment, the beta of WOT for social media is available for Firefox only. But, be quick – there are only 1000 preview downloads available!

Download the beta version of WOT for Social Media here.

According to WOT – “The new WOT version will be released in a few weeks for general WOT users, and newcomers.”

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7 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browser add-ons, cybercrime, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, social networking, Software, WOT (Web of Trust)