Tag Archives: social networking

Web of Trust (WOT) And Facebook Collaborate To Protect Users From Malicious Links

imageIf you’re a Facebook user and you haven’t met a cybercriminal yet; hang in there – you will. Survey after survey continue to show that cybercriminals are picking off Facebook users as if they were shooting fish in a barrel.

Most cybercriminal schemes on Facebook are outrageous. But the bad guys know, that even the most outrageous schemes stand a better than average chance of being successful when targeted at Facebook’s largely unaware, and unsophisticated, user base.

With the collaborative effort announced today by Facebook and Web of Trust, WOT will now provide protection against dubious and malicious web links, that Facebook users continue to be exposed to. When a Facebook user clicks a link that leads to a page with a poor reputation rating as defined by the WOT community, Facebook will show a clear warning message.

Click on graphic to expand to original.

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The plan is to roll out to US users 100% on May 12, and then the following week, after the translators have time to finish their work, roll out globally.

A quick reminder:

WOT’s Browser add-on users see reputation icons on Web sites, Google search results, email links, Twitter, as well as shortened URLs. WOT ratings are recalculated every 30 minutes to ensure users have the freshest and most reliable information. The free WOT add-on works in all web browsers and can be downloaded here.

You can read a full review on the benefits of adding WOT to your Browser here on this site – WOT (Web of Trust) – Is It The Most Important Browser Security Add-on You Need To Install?

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browser Plug-ins, Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, FaceBook, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Malware Protection, Online Safety, social networking, Social Networks, Software, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)

Ditch Facebook – Go Private With Free Flink12

imageThere are 600 Million plus, active Facebook users, but I must confess – I’m not one of the active users. It’s true, I do have a Facebook page but, I use it sparingly.

Since many software developers are now into the – “visit our Facebook page, click on the Like button, and we’ll give you ……….” school of marketing,  I use my Facebook account to meet this manipulative requirement.

My list of grievances with Facebook is a long one, but privacy, or more precisely, the lack of privacy, overrides all other concerns – I’ll leave the considerable security issues aside, for the moment.

I’ve always found it difficult to get a handle on Facebook’s constantly shifting definition of privacy and, it’s difficult to understand and hard to apply, personal privacy restrictions.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I just can’t get my head around the idea of putting private information out into the ether of the Internet. On the other hand, there are those who love the Facebook experience, and it seemingly plays an important role in their lives. I think it’s safe to say, that this is a market which will continue to grow exponentially.

Some people see this as inevitable progress – but I’m not one of them. Instead, my definition of progress in this market, is the development of private social networking platforms. Platforms that are designed specifically for friends, families, and  work teams, to privately share, discuss, organize photos, videos, etc., – all in a single easy to use private environment.

One such platform that caught my attention recently is Flink12. It was a “no-brainer” really. An application that can set out in a sentence, or three, an approach to privacy that meets my requirements, is sure to grab my attention.

Here’s what Flink12 has to say on social sharing privacy:

“Privacy first” is the highest priority at Flink12. This approach ensures that your personal information will remain completely secure. With no privacy settings to manage, your information is automatically safe. Personal information will not indexed on the web by search engines. You decide when, where and how much of your life you want to share and with whom.”

Since Flink12 passed my first test, I went on to the next set of questions – did it meet my requirements for functionality? Did it meet my requirements for usability? It did in both cases – and, the following list of features was very convincing.

Fast facts:

Safe & Private – Our “Privacy first” approach ensures that your personal information will remain private. Your information will not be indexed on the web by search engines. We designed Flink12 at its roots to be “udderly” private. Users have complete control.

Easy Photo Sharing – Easy to upload, free, fast, private photo sharing. Caption your photos. Comment on photos. There are several options for sharing each photo and privatizing comments. It’s truly the best way to share photos and comments.

Private Texting/Chat – Free instant communication one-on-one between you and any person in your Flink. Texting is free on Flink12.

Blogging – Write about your personal thoughts and activities as often as you wish. Blogging on Flink12 is quick, easy and fun. There are several options for sharing of blogs and comments amongst your flinks.

Friend Mapping – See where your friends are anytime, worldwide. You have a choice to show your location to your Flink friends or not. Very useful for travelers or friends and relatives across the globe or meeting up with friends for coffee.

Playful Icon Themes – Never forget to play. Our icons are all about expressing yourself in a playful way. Flink icons are uniquely humorous and allow you to quickly share your mood, health, activities and events using preset text or by entering your own text. Choices of several fun themes such as Moms & Babies, Sports Fans, Diva’s, Teens and Pets are coming soon.

Web & Apps – You can join and update on any platform- website, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android and you only have to post it once- Flink 12 updates seamlessly on all platforms.

Alerts – There are several options for notifications or alerts from your friends. On mobile, MOO’s and cowbells let you know when your friends have posted fresh news.

For more information and to sign up – visit the developer’s site: Flink12

Bottom line:

Flink12 is a technology rich application; full of powerful features – many more than I’ve been able to cover in this short review. At the same time, Flink12 has been designed for speed and simplicity.

If you’re into social networking and privacy is a concern, then take Flink12 for a test drive – I think you’ll be glad you did.

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Filed under Cloud Computing, Connected Devices, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Mobile Applications, Networking, Peer to Peer, Privacy, Social Blogging, social networking, Social Networks, Software, 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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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)

Twitter, Tweets, Cyber-Criminals And You

imageI like the idea that technology makes it easier to stay “connected”, but Facebook , Twitter and the like, take that connected feeling well past my comfort zone. While I do have several Twitter accounts, those accounts are dedicated to professional tweets only.

Despite my personal reluctance to be “hard connected”, I can certainly understand the attraction of social networking – particularly for the “wired” generation. I have no problem accepting that the social relevancy of Twitter and Facebook, is substantial.

Although, I must admit, I fail to see the social relevancy of the inane “look at me” tweets, posted to Twitter by celebrities like Demi Moore, or Ashton Kutcher. I’m just not driven by the paparazzi mentality, I guess.

Despite the obvious benefits of social networking, these sites are not without risk. Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites, are now a veritable snake pit of nasty socially engineered malware attacks.

The “wired” generation, who are anything but “wired”, in my view, when it comes to good security practices, have taken their inadequate security habits over to Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere. As a result, social networking sites have proven to be a gold mine for cyber-criminals.

Not a day goes by, where I don’t report in my Tech Net News column, on another virus, worm, or Trojan, targeting Twitter and Facebook users. Despite constant warnings NOT to click on embedded links, or respond to social network generated emails, a considerable number of users blithely ignore this critical advice. Go figure!

On balance, social networking is a good thing – it’s opened new doorways of opportunity to stay connected. But, with those positive opportunities, comes a new set of opportunities for cyber-criminals. Now, more than ever, if you are a social network aficionado, you need to be aware of the risks.

Minimum social networking safe practices:

Don’t let your guard down – assume every link in Twitter is potentially unsafe – including links from friends.

Be particularly cautious of shortened URLs.

Don’t trust social network e-mails – including emails that are purportedly from Twitter support.

Be aware that a single wrong click can lead to a drive-by-download infection.

It should go without saying that you must keep all applications (including your operating system) patched.

Install anti-virus/anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, FaceBook, Interconnectivity, internet scams, Malware Protection, social networking, Social Networks, Twitter, Windows Tips and Tools

Pownce is on the Bounce to Vox

Pownce, the free social networking and Social Blogging site, which made its name based on its easy user ability to share messages, files, events, and links with friends and associates, will soon be no more. Many of my friends, who are Pownce users, have compared this service to “Twitter on steroids”, so I’ll be sad to see it go.

On December 1, 2008, Pownce announced that it has been acquired by Blogging company Six Apart, and will be shutting its doors on 15 December, 2008.

Today’s announcement by Pownce founder Leah Culver stated, that as of that date, the company will be moving their technology over to Six Apart, the company behind Blogging software Movable Type, TypePad and Vox which is a similar, free, Pownce like service .

Current Pownce users should visit pownce.com/settings/export/ to generate an export file which can then be imported into Vox, TypePad, or WordPress.

Pownce advises that this must be done by December 15, 2008, since current content will not be accessible past that date.

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Filed under Freeware, Interconnectivity, Networking, Social Blogging, social networking, Windows Tips and Tools

FaceBook: A Beginners Guide

Facebook is a social networking service that lets you connect with friends, co-workers, and others who share similar interests or who have common backgrounds. What makes Facebook different from other social networks are its extensive privacy controls, its development platform, and its large and quickly growing user base. Compared to many other social networks, Facebook gets new features and improvements almost daily.

Setup

Facebook is all about getting in touch with others. Facebook has created some simple ways to find your friends using your e-mail address, or the buddy list from your AOL instant messaging account. You can search by name, or pull up listings based on your computer’s address book.

Find your friends with Facebook’s built-in friend finder.

To start adding friends to Facebook use a multipronged attack. Use your most active Web mail account and your AIM buddy list, which in some cases could pull up nearly everyone you know. Since everyone needs an e-mail address to sign up with Facebook, giving Facebook permission to use your existing address books should make it possible to track down everyone with whom you communicate.

Once you’ve added the people you know or remember, one of your first steps should be filling out your own profile. You can do this before tracking down your friends, but you’ll find that people are constantly making tweaks to their profile, so nothing is set in concrete.

The two things that are important are a personal picture, and your contact information–both of which Facebook highlights when you’re setting things up. For profile pictures you can simply upload an image from your hard drive. Filling out the rest of your profile is as simple as completing any Web form. You’re not required to include anything about yourself, so don’t feel too inclined to fill out information you don’t want others to see; which brings us to the topic of privacy

Privacy

Privacy is one of the key differentiators of Facebook from other social networking services. Facebook gives you the option of controlling what others see, right down to individual photo albums, pieces of personal information such as your address, phone number, and so on.

Privacy controls you’ll find on the profile edit page.

To control or limit the flow of information to others–including your friends–Facebook has set up some simple controls to adjust privacy. When setting up your profile, you’ll notice some small blue locks under your contact information. You can adjust each one of these for the information to be visible to everyone, just your friends, or no one at all.

Those small blue locks are just beginning. To dig deeper, beyond just contact information, click the privacy link on the top right of Facebook. This will take you to a control panel where you manage various elements of your profile, including: what users see when searching for you; what actions Facebook reports to others; and which people get limited, or no access to your profile. While you can change any of these, the two most important ones are the profile settings (what parts of your profile people can see), and your news feed and mini-feed, which is a running ticker of your activity on the service. Some people are happy to allow everyone to know what they’re doing, but if you don’t feel like sharing this information with people, it’s worth taking a minute to tweak.

Saying hello

Once you’ve got your profile set up and you’ve linked with several friends, there are a handful of ways to communicate with others. The first is the Wall, which is the place to leave a note on everyone’s profile page. It’s completely public, so whatever you write, others will be able to see. You can leave attachments on people’s Walls, including photos, videos, and all sorts of rich media items that have been integrated with Facebook applications.

Facebook also has its own e-mail service.

One thing that makes this internal messaging service attractive is its conversation threading, similar to Gmail. Like Gmail, you begin typing in a friend’s name, or pick the “send FRIEND a message” from the list of commands under their profile picture. This will open up the message composition page, where you can write and add attachments, similar to what you’re able to do on their Walls. Writing on a Wall is a public affair. People can see what you wrote, and visa versa.

Sharing

You can post items to your profile or send them to your friends on and off the service. Anyone you’ve shared items with can then leave comments and discuss the item with others.

There are two easy ways to share links on Facebook. One is to copy and paste a link to your sharing page. The other is to add the “share on Facebook” bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks bar. I f you intend on sharing things on a regular basis, add the bookmarklet, it gives you a one-click option to share something and continue browsing. Either way, once you’ve fed in a URL, it will scrape the page to grab any related pictures and a brief description. You can go in and add your own text. Once you’re finished tweaking, you have the option of posting it to your profile, or of sending it to others on or off Facebook.

Applications

One of the biggest draws of Facebook is f8, a platform for developers to make their own applications that integrate tightly with Facebook. Your friends can see what applications you’re using and vice versa, taking some of the effort out of finding what’s cool and what’s not. Applications reside mostly on your profile, for others to see. Many applications are like little Web sites that run right inside the service.

To find applications, there’s a built-in directory on Facebook. This directory shows the newest and most popular applications, along with a counter of how many people are using them. Once you’ve found one you like, you can simply add it to your profile. There’s no software installation required–you’re simply telling Facebook you want access to it. Likewise, if you find one of your friends using an application, you can click the link to its name to find out more about it.

While personal style is an important part of social networking, adding too many applications to your profile can render things distracting to friends, who simply won’t bother visiting your profile page.

Social timeline

You may have noticed that every time you add a new friend on Facebook, you have the option to give a small amount of detail about how you know them. Many of these options include things such as when you had a job together, if you went to school at a certain time, and so on. All of this information is made available in your social timeline, which can be found under Friends > Social Timeline. Assuming filled out this information, you’ll be able to keep track of all sorts of life events.

To add on to the timeline, just pick a friend who you want to add details about, and choose the “How do you know FRIEND?” link when browsing or searching in the Friends tab on the top menu. It’ll pull up that same assortment of boxes you get when you first add a friend.

Facebook toolbar

You’ve already mastered profiles, messaging, and more. In fact, you’re doing it so regularly you’d like to add the service to your browser to skip a few steps. Lucky for you, there’s a toolbar you can install in your browser which gives you a handy Facebook search bar and a notifier for when you get new message or when friends change items on their profile. There’s also an integrated share button to post whatever you’re looking at, similar to the bookmarklet mentioned earlier.

Facebook Photo Album Downloader

Facebook lets you upload and share your photos with others. A Firefox extension will pull down an entire album for you. One installed, just right click on the link to an album, and it will fetch all the pictures and download them to your desktop.

Facebook events to Google Calendar

Facebook’s built-in events feature is a neat way to create and keep track of upcoming social events. If you’re a Google Calendar user, you don’t have to rely on yet another calendar with this script for Greasemonkey, a popular Firefox add-on. Facebook events to Google Calendar does just what it says, by giving you a new option next to a Facebook event that lets you send a copy straight to your Google Calendar.

Other resources:

Get productive with the best Facebook Apps: Lifehacker.com

Facebook Powertools: 150+ Apps, Scripts and Add-ons for Facebook: Mashable.com

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Filed under FaceBook