Category Archives: Security

CBC/Radio-Canada and Shred Guard offering free shredding in Moncton on Friday, Oct. 19

Opportunities like this don’t come around very often, folks! CBC/Radio-Canada and Shred Guard are offering a free shredding service on Friday, Oct. 19, from 3-6:30 p.m. at the CBC/Radio-Canada building located at 250 Université Avenue in Moncton. You can never be too safe these days! Protect your identity by having your personal documents shredded in a proper and secure manner.

Click to enlarge image.

Social Media Matters: U.K. going after Internet trolls

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, June 22, 2012
Metro section

U.K. going after Internet trolls

Earlier this month, the British government introduced legislation called the Defamation Bill.

According to a June 12 Reuters report, “Website operators may soon be forced under planned new British laws to reveal the identity of those who post defamatory comments on their forums, a move that aims to protect victims by speeding up what is often a lengthy and expensive legal process.”

Kenneth Clarke
Kenneth Clarke

According to British Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, “The government wants a libel regime for the Internet that makes it possible for people to protect their reputations effectively but also ensures that information online can’t be easily censored by casual threats of litigation against website operators.”

The article went on to explain that, while British defamation laws are considered to be very strong with the onus of proof being on the defendant, obtaining a judgment that would force an apology, removal of the comments and/or compensation) is basically something only those who have sufficient financial resources can achieve.

The new law proposes that Internet providers act as intermediaries in order to attempt to resolve the issue between those who posted the questionable content and those who feel wronged. According to the Reuters article, if attempts at a solution failed, the Internet provider “would be required to hand over the subscriber’s contact details so the complainant could pursue legal action against the author. The website itself would be protected against any action as long as it complied with these rules.”

Union JackThe legislation is being proposed due to complaints from businesses and individuals in the U.K. who are fed up with online trolls who post and circulate lies and rumours about them online.

This is an excellent initiative by the U.K. government. While still protecting freedom of speech, it also ensures that online trolls don’t redefine “freedom of speech” into “freedom to lie.” Unfortunately, there is a very strong online subculture that believes that the freedom to spread lies should also exist.

U.K. bans Nike Twitter ad campaign

NikeThe U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has clamped down on advertising campaign run by sports giant Nike.

The campaign saw Nike-sponsored athletes posting Nike-related tweets. Unfortunately, the athletes did not make it clear that the tweets were a form of sponsored advertising for Nike. According to a BBC News Technology report posted June 20, Manchester United soccer player Wayne Rooney posted a tweet that read, “My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount.” Soccer player Jack Wilshere posted something similar while promoting Nike’s Make It Count campaign.

The ASA took issue with the tweets because the posters did not make the tweets “identifiable as marketing communications” and suggested that future posts include the hashtag #ad to make them more easily identifiable as spon­sored tweets.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature three YouTube channels for you to check out. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here! Statistics are current to June 19.

Valentina Lisitsa
Valentina Lisitsa

1) Valentina Lisitsa (54,363 subscribers): Valentina Lisitsa is considered the Justin Bieber of the classical piano world because she was discovered after posting videos of herself playing the piano on YouTube. (Bieber was also discovered on YouTube.) Born in the Ukraine, Lisitsa became so popular that she performed in front of an audience of 2,500 at London’s Royal Albert Hall on June 19. Her nearly 200 videos have about 45 million views. (Most popular video: Beethoven ‘Moonlight’ Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 3 Valentina Lisitsa – 3,103,677 views.)

2) WWE’s Official YouTube Destination (542,091 subscribers): This is the very popular YouTube channel of the WWE, short for World Wrestling Entertaining (formerly World Wrestling Federation). This channel has views galore with its videos having been seen about 320 million times. If you’re a fan of professional wrestling, this is the place for you! Playlists include WrestleMania XXVIII, Entrance Videos, Must-See Videos, WWE Classics, Outside the Ring and Backstage Fallout. (Featured video: Buh-bye Big Johnny – ‘Backstage Fallout’ Raw – June 18, 2012 – 1,833 views.) (No list available of most-watched videos.)

Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher

3) Thrash Lab (3,496 subscribers): Thrash Lab is owned by actor Ashton Kutcher, although he won’t appear in much content, according to an article about the channel published June 19 in AdAgeDigital. According to the article, the channel is growing its catalogue of original online content. ‘The first three series are ‘Subculture Club,’ a documentary-style show that looks at subcultures around the country, such as the ‘Real Rydaz’ bicycle club from South Central Los Angeles.’ Despite being relatively new, the channel already has more than 750,000 total views for its 25 videos. (Most popular video: Life Off The Grid In Slab City | Subculture Club – 273,866 views.) (Note: Most Popular Video has been updated since column appeared in the Times & Transcript.)

Social Media Matters: Not everything on Facebook is true

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, March 30, 2012
Metro section

Not everything on Facebook is true

A recent warning on the Facecrooks page warned Facebook users not to fall for a scam that purports to let you know how many people have “stalked” your page in the past day.

Despite my attempts at letting people know (even by posting directly to their profiles when they fall for this) that this is a scam, many people still think that there’s an application out there that will give you statistics on who’s looked at your profile in the last 24 hours. If you have 53 friends on Facebook and have your privacy settings turned sky high so that no one can find you even if they wanted to, then it’s highly unlikely that 291 people checked out your profile. Right?

Right! Be smart.

According to Facecrooks’ posting printed verbatim here: “There are several different Profile Viewer / Stalker scams active on Facebook at the moment. A very popular one is shown below. Any application you encounter like this is sure to be a scam – ALWAYS! Facebook doesn’t allow developers access to the necessary data to create these apps. Please like and share the alert to remind your friends of this fact.” The specific scam referred to in the warning is ‘Wow I cant Believe I Got My PROFILE & PHOTOS Stalkers’. (Spelling error and inconsistent use of capitalization left in for authenticity.) There are a number of other variations – all of them fake.

Debit card skimming news spread on social media

Debit cardLast Sunday, it seemed like the issue of debit card skimming in Moncton spread like wildfire all over social media, especially on Facebook, but also on Twitter.

On the Newschaser group and elsewhere, people were posting stories of having their bank accounts emptied of cash by swindlers who’d compromised their cards after altering machines in and around Moncton.

On Sunday, especially, many people wrote that they’d received a call from their bank or credit union that day telling them that their account had been compromised and to change their password immediately.

I never knew the issue was so rampant! Once you mention it online, there are many others who’ll chime in with their own horror stories. It’s more common than we think and there certainly seems to have been a rash of incidents lately!

If you are paying at an establishment that does not yet use chip technology, you may want to consider using cash or going elsewhere. Machines that use chip technology seem to be safer, so far. It’s only a matter of time that establishments not using the safer technology start to see their bottom lines affected by consumers wary of using unsecure terminals.

This is scary stuff, folks! It’s incumbent upon everyone to be as safe as possible – and it seems like the time may be coming when people will be afraid (and perhaps even refuse) to do pay with credit or debit unless a chip-enabled terminal is available. People don’t carry around a lot of cash anymore. To not be as secure as possible is to turn away business. That message is spreading fast and furious online. Don’t think it isn’t.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to March 27. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here!

1) harrier1934 (4 subscribers): After putting out a call to my Twitter followers for some YouTube channel suggestions for this column, I received a response from Stéphanie (@Littlebouncer) telling me about a channel that hosts videos made with her uncle, Marcel Lavoie of Campbellton, about constructing model airplanes. The channel has only been active since January, so there are only three videos uploaded so far, all of which pertain to Marcel’s method of building stick fuselages for model airplanes. If you’re a model airplane enthusiast, check them out! It’s always great seeing original how-to videos being produced here in New Brunswick. (Most popular video: The Lavoie Method of Building Stick Fuselages (Part 1) – 272 views.)

2) Britain’s Got Talent (301,205 subscribers): I’m pretty sure that I’ve already featured this channel before, but it begs repeating now that the 2012 season has begun. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably seen several links being shared among friends and followers. This is the show on which Susan Boyle was discovered, if you recall. In that same vein, check out the video by opera singing duo Charlotte and Jonathan. Jonathan’s voice is certainly an unexpected treat. Other 2012 auditions to check out include Sam Kelly and Only Boys Aloud. My one big criticism is that the channel doesn’t allow embedding, so watching videos directly on Facebook or posting the videos to blogs is impossible. Only links can be shared. (Most popular video: Natalie Okri – Britain’s Got Talent – Show 6 – 49,366,237 views.)

3) How It Should Have Ended.com (673,811 subscribers): Have you ever watched a movie and thought the ending should have been different? If so, this YouTube channel may give you some relief by hosting animated videos of alternate endings to dozens of movies, including Pulp Fiction, Twilight, Harry Potter, Toy Story 3, Thor, Jaws and Top Gun. (Most popular video: How It Should Have Ended: How Lord of The Rings Should Have Ended – 17,159,611 views.)

Social Media Matters: Twitter account seeks fake prayers

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Feb. 24, 2012
Metro section

Twitter account seeks fake prayers

On Facebook earlier this week, one of my online friends who happens to be a United Church minister posted a link to @UnvirtuousAbbey, a Twitter account that posts fake prayers based on song lyrics and those with first world problems.

The account’s biography describes @UnvirtuousAbbey as: ‘Holier than thou, but not by much. Digital monks praying for people with first world problems. From our keyboard to God’s ears.’

Unvirtuous Abbey
@UnvirtuousAbbey

According to UrbanDictionary.com, ‘first world problems’ are: ‘Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at.’ A couple of examples: 1) The price of caviar has gone up so high that I can only afford it six nights per week instead of seven; 2) I had to pay $100 to fill up my gold-plated Cadillac Escalade the other day. Isn’t the price of gas crazy?

@UnvirtuousAbbey makes a mockery of these problems and of song lyrics, too, by posting and retweeting sincere-sounding prayers that are actually sarcastic beyond belief, not to mention ridiculous and hilarious.

Earlier this week, the account called for followers to submit fake prayers based on lyrics of 1980s songs under the hashtag #80sPrayer. Here are a few samples: 1) From @KatFrench – ‘For Tommy, who used to work on the dock, whose union’s been on strike & is down on his luck, we pray.’; 2) @TheGreat-Askini – ‘For those who heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another, o Lord, deliver us.’; 3) And here’s the one I submitted from my account, @BrianCormier – ‘For those who live in a land down under and who meet strange ladies who make them nervous, we pray.’

The goal, of course, when posting tweets, was to get @UnvirtuousAbbey to retweet you. The #80sPrayer hashtag was so popular that it ended up trending on Twitter. So many entertaining tweets!

It was a hoot to read.

Some of the ‘first world problem’ non-prayers posted by the account include: 1) For those who quote themselves, Lord have mercy.; 2) Lord, you who turned water into wine, we pray for those who turn their student loans into alcohol. Amen.; 3) For those who put winter coats on their dogs as they walk by and ignore the homeless, we pray to the Lord.

If you’re on Twitter, do yourself a huge favour and start following @UnvirtuousAbbey. It’s quickly become one of my favourite Twitter accounts and I just found out about it a few days ago – ironically, on Facebook! There’s definitely a book to be made out of those tweets, as well. Funny stuff ! Just remember, though, it’s all in fun and sarcasm.

If you can’t joke around about religion, this is definitely not the place for you as you’ll most likely end up being offended.

Facebook users who have passed away

If you have a friend or loved one who has passed away and who also had a Facebook account, did you know that you could let Facebook know about it officially so that the account could be memorialized?

In Facebook’s help section, there’s an online form called Report a Deceased Person’s Profile. If you’re thinking of pulling a prank on someone, though, think twice.

Facebook also requires a link to an official (and needless to say, legitimate) obituary.

According to Facebook, ‘When a user passes away, we memorialize their account to protect their privacy. Memorializing an account sets the account privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile (timeline) or locate it in search. Friends and family can leave posts in remembrance. Memorializing an account also prevents anyone from logging into the account.’

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current as of Feb. 21.

1) Ilana Cohn of TheFunClub (13,142 subscribers): I love discovering new comedy YouTube channels. This one is the home of Los Angeles-based actress and comedian Ilana Cohn, who’s created 50 videos to tickle your funny bone, including commercial parodies. She can also be followed on Twitter at@ilanainla. (Most popular video: ‘Gina’s House’ – 150,615 views.)

2) Chapters/Indigo (418 subscribers): This channel is chock full of videos (more than 170, to be exact) mostly featuring footage of authors signing books and their talks to those gathered for book-signings. If you’re a fan of the Kobo e-reader, you’ll also find several Kobo-related videos, as well. (Most popular video: ‘Kobotorial: What is an eReader and why should I get one?’ – 105,742 views.)

3) Martell Home Builders (24 subscribers): Martell Home Builders has built up a great reputation as a company that ‘gets’ social media and how it can help them engage with clients and potential clients. The company’s YouTube channel currently has 80 videos ranging from interviews with exhibitors at the Moncton Home Show to a tutorial on how to clean your air exchange filter. If you’re thinking of buying or building a home in the Metro Moncton area, this is a good place to start doing some research. (Most popular video: ‘Martell Home Builders – Our Approach’ – 4,778 views.)

Social Media Matters: Parents should be ‘in the know’ online

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Feb. 10, 2012
Metro section

Parents should be ‘in the know’ online

AllFacebook.com posted an article on Feb. 2 that every parent should read called 33 Codes Your Kids Use On Facebook.  The post reproduces a chart developed by SocialShield which acts as an easy reference tool for the code words – many of them sexual or bullying in nature – used by teens when chatting with friends online. There were certainly a few of them that raised my eyebrows!

SocialShieldIn a SocialShield news release issued Feb. 2, CEO George Garrick said, ‘Many parents think friending their child on social networks is enough to monitor their activities and protect them, yet time and time again it’s shown that it isn’t. Most parents don’t have the time to keep up with the sheer volume of interactions or have the understanding of the online language to really get what their kids are saying or what people are saying to their kids. This makes it really easy for problems to go unnoticed.’ Some of the code words include POS (parent over shoulder), P911 (parent emergency), AITR (adult in the room), HSWM (have sex with me), BIH (burn in hell), sugarpic (a suggestive or erotic photo of oneself, i.e. ‘She sent me a sugarpic.’) and 5 (wait a few minutes, parent in the room). There are many others that parents should acquaint themselves with, as well. (Click here for a PDF version of the entire list.)

According to the news release, SocialShield is ‘the leading cloudbased social network monitoring service’ and ‘gives parents affordable, easy-to-use, state-of-the-art tools to help them enhance Internet safety for their children in the online environment.’

Twitter threats anger singer

Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue

Popular Australian singer, songwriter and actress Kylie Minogue has called in the police to investigate threats made against her on Twitter. On Tuesday, she tweeted, ‘I love 1,033,861 of you LOVERS, but 1 is not a lover, just a deluded weirdo making threats #andthatdoesnotmakeyouspecial SO..police alerted’. (Minogue’s pet term for her fans is ‘lovers.’) Minogue and her team provided no further details, according to a report published on Feb. 7 in the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph.

I’ve always found it astounding how brave people get when they post to ‘anonymous’ Twitter accounts. They’ll say anything, no matter how defamatory or preposterous. These trolls need to remember, though, that the people they’re trying to attack are watching – and printing every single one of their tweets as evidence for court when the inevitable happens and a lawsuit is launched. Anyone who thinks they’re tweeting into a void just because they have very few followers is deluding themselves. Once someone becomes aware that you’re spreading lies about them, the jig is up.

Everything is printed for evidence in court. Trolls can try deleting their Twitter accounts and tweets, but they never truly disappear. The ‘print’ button and screen captures are wonderful things for those being attacked – but not so great for the bullies and trolls who believe they’re protected by the fallacy of online anonymity.

I hope Minogue finds the Twitter user who thinks they’re getting away with it and that authorities throw the book at him or her! This won’t be the first or last time this happens, either. The number of similar cases will explode as court precedents are set and it becomes easier to find out who is spreading lies about you on Twitter.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current as of Feb. 7.

1) Tetesaclaques.tv (4,108 subscribers): If you haven’t seen the hilarious Têtes à Claques videos produced by Salambo Productions, they’re a real treat. Produced in Quebec, these animations feature a combination of crude animation and real-life facial features (eyes and mouth) that make for a visual that is a combination of creepy and gut-bustingly funny. The videos are in French, but English versions exist, as well. (Personally, I find the French ones a lot funnier.) While earlier animations clocked in at just a few minutes long, recent ones are full-fledged sitcom length of just under 23 minutes long. If you’re a fan, the company’s channel hosts nearly 200 videos. (Most popular video: Le Willi Waller 2006 – 1,231,876 views.)

2) TACtv (778 subscribers): This is the official channel for English Têtes à Claques videos. While the French channel has nearly 200 videos posted, the English version only has 24. Still worth watching, of course, although a bit of the humour is lost. However, if you’ve never seen the French-language originals, you won’t have a reference point and will likely be thoroughly entertained. No new English videos have been posted since June 2009, so it’s a safe bet to assume they never caught on. (A good reason to learn French!) (Most popular video: The Pilot – 83,663 views.)

3) SourceFed (245,426 subscribers): This channel created by YouTube star Phil DeFranco has only been online since Jan. 23 but already has a quarter-million subscribers. Not bad, huh? According to an article about DeFranco published in The Tech Chronicles on Feb. 6, ‘SourceFed includes shows like 20 Minutes or Less, which features rapid-fire takes on the news; Curb Cash, a man-on-the-street quiz show; and One on One, an interview series.’ (Most popular video: Being Gay Makes You Better?! aka How to Alienate your Audience on Day 1 – 466,345 views.)