Operation Minerva Rolls Out To Combat Deepfakes And Revenge Porn

Posted in Commentary on February 16, 2019 by itnerd

Takedown Piracy, the leading firm dedicated to protecting content owners from the damaging effects of piracy, has just launched Operation Minerva, which was created to combat Deepfakes and revenge porn. This service is available now to anyone and everyone, persons of celebrity or non-celebrity status.

Operation Minerva, which is named after the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, targets the makers of Deepfakes or those who digitally alter images or video of actual people onto copyrighted content (often of pornographic nature) in order to embarrass, extort, defraud or otherwise besmirch someone. It also targets those who traffic revenge porn or actual sex videos which they use to extort or cause damage to a person’s reputation.

As recently reported by CNN, Brookings and Fortune, sophisticated imaging tools and software have made the existence of Deepfake videos commonplace, targeting celebrities or those in the public eye. Today, anyone with a degree of understanding of these tools can manipulate content and insert anyone’s face to a seemingly realistic situation.

Revenge porn is also on the rise, which is genuine footage of people having sex that is published without their consent as a way to exact revenge, extort or humiliate them.

With its unique digital fingerprinting technology, Operation Minerva is able to identify Deepfakes and revenge porn on any of the video sharing sites they already monitor, including over 80 tube sites. If a Deepfake or revenge porn video is uploaded to a private, or non-monitored site, such as Vimeo, the victim can provide a link to the footage, and then once it has been digitally fingerprinted, it can be traced, and removed anywhere on the internet.

Many states have laws against revenge porn and those impacted by it are encouraged to contact an attorney in conjunction with retaining Operation Minerva.

Established in 2009, Takedown Piracy is the leading protector of digital copyright infringement. It currently represents more than 40 adult studios along with other firms, offering content owners the ability to protect their copyrighted property by aggressively identifying and removing pirated content. So far, an estimated 85 million infringements have been removed by Takedown Piracy, with an additional 2.5 million tube videos removed through digital fingerprinting to date.

Those interested in learning more about Operation Minerva may visit OperationMinerva.com or click here.

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Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses The 500px Hack

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 16, 2019 by itnerd

This week 500px, a popular photo-sharing service, confirmed that the personal information of 14.8 million of its users was impacted by a security breach. 500px users’ data is now for sale on the dark web, together with records stolen from fifteen other compromised websites.

“Even giant companies are not doing enough to secure sensitive user data. At the moment, approximately 620 million records stolen from sixteen compromised websites, including 500px, are up for sale on the dark web. The whole batch is available for roughly $20,000 in Bitcoin. However, no one knows how many cybercriminals and other shady personas have acquired it so far,” says Ruby Gonzalez, Head of Communications at NordVPN. “We urge all internet users to share less sensitive information online and to use security services, such as antivirus and VPN.”

In an email sent out to users, 500px states that the personal data compromised in the breach might include the following:

  • “Your first and last name as entered on 500px
  • Your 500px username
  • The email address associated with your 500px login
  • A hash of your password, which is hashed using a strong, one-way cryptographic algorithm – such hashes are almost impossible to reverse-engineer to access your original password
  • Your city, state/province, country, if provided
  • Your birth date, if provided
  • Your gender, if provided”

What to do if your account gets compromised

If your account has been hacked or compromised in a data breach, you should act quickly, before hackers can get their hands on other important information. NordVPNshares 5 most essential steps to keep yourself safer.

 

  1. Get back into your account

The first important step for you to do is to log into your account and change password immediately. It shouldn’t be ‘password’ or ‘imthekingoftheworld.’ Your password needs to be strong. Try this trick: think of a statement, for example, “I love to go for a walk every evening.” Then, turn it into 1l2g4awEVe (replacing I with 1, to with 2, for with 4, and every with EV).

If possible, use two-step authentication and get a password manager like LastPass or 1Password. Most importantly, never reuse the same password for all of your accounts.

 

  1. Take care of your other accounts

If you used the same or similar password for more than one account, change it on all other key platforms and accounts immediately. That includes your email, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other. Even though hackers, most probably, got hold of your hashed password, there’s still a chance they can decrypt it and get the real password.

Check haveibeenpwned.com to see if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach before.

 

  1. Update your settings and available data

Go through the privacy settings and data you provide both on the breached platform and all the other important platforms you use. Make sure you share only the required information and remove what’s not necessary, for example, your phone number and favorite locations. This way, even if your account gets hacked, it will be of less value for hackers.

Common advice is to share as little as possible online. If you are not intent on getting worldwide attention, change your account settings from ‘Public’ to ‘Private.’

 

  1. Revoke access to third-party apps

In Quora case, for the user convenience, there was a possibility to connect to the platform with Facebook and Google. Check, whether you permitted access to view one of those accounts.

We recommend reviewing which of your accounts are linked and rethink if you really need that. Revoke access to applications that are no longer in use, as well as suspicious ones.

 

  1. Beware of phishing scams

Since hackers may have detailed profile information of almost 15 million users on 500px, we are likely to see more personalized and sophisticated phishing scams in the near future. Phishing scams are very effective, as criminals usually use a piece of real private information.

You should be careful if you get seemingly legitimate, personalized messages from banks or any other familiar organizations. That is especially valid if they ask for more personal details, fund transfers or to click on any link. For additional safety, use a VPN, like NordVPN. Using a VPN when browsing can help to protect you against malicious websites and phishing sites.

Why My Wife And I Are Riding For Cycle For Sight This Summer

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 15, 2019 by itnerd

People who follow this blog know that I am a nerd who loves tech. And you’ve likely followed the adventures of my wife and I to places like the east coast and Eastern Ontario to ride our bikes. But what you may not know, though I have touched on it in the past is that I have an eye disease called Keratoconus which without special contact lenses makes it difficult for me to see. In the case of my wife, her grandfather was legally blind. So eye disease is something that hits home for both of us.

Right now, over 1 million Canadians are living with blinding eye diseases. There are currently no cures for these diseases and as vision fades, so too can hope. That is why we are participating in Cycle for Sight and raising money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB). We’ll both be doing a 50K ride, and we’d like as many of you as possible to help us to raise money for this worthy cause. You can help to provide hope by donating today at this link. Based on the traffic that this blog gets, if each of you donates $10, thousands of dollars for research into eye diseases could be raised. Thus I ask you to do your part to help to hasten the end of eye diseases that affect so many.

The ride is on June 22nd and I’ll be putting up a story about the ride and how it goes. Perhaps its not related the technology news and reviews that you come here for, but it serves a far more important purpose .

Thanks for reading.

Facebook Talking To The FTC To Make Their Issues Go Away

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2019 by itnerd

The Washington Post is reporting today that Facebook is negotiating a record breaking, multi-billion dollar settlement with the FTC to make their issues go away:

The fine would be the largest the agency has ever imposed on a technology company, but the two sides have not yet agreed on an exact amount. Facebook has expressed initial concern with the FTC’s demands, one of the people said. If talks break down, the FTC could take the matter to court in what would likely be a bruising legal fight.

Facebook confirmed it is in discussions with the agency but declined to comment further. The FTC declined to comment. The two people familiar with the probe spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private talks.

A multi-billion dollar fine would amount to a reckoning for Facebook in the United States after a series of privacy lapses that may have put the personal information of its users at risk. Lawmakers have faulted the company for mishandling that data while failing to crack down on other other digital ills, including the rise of online hate speech and the spread of disinformation from Russian operatives and other foreign actors.

You know, I really don’t think this is enough of a punishment. Facebook is a company that because of all its bad behavior needs to be wiped off the face of the Earth. Forever. A fine is simply not enough for them to atone for their sins because their sins are so great. Governments around the world should make it so difficult for Facebook to exist that they just die. And they should do it now.

Zoho Launches Next Generation of Office Suite

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2019 by itnerd

Zoho announced today at Zoholics Mexico City its new version of Zoho Office Suite, which includes four sophisticated, cloud-based productivity software applications—Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show, and Zoho Notebook—enhanced with Zia, Zoho’s AI-powered assistant. Zoho Office Suite provides deep contextual collaboration to meet the diverse, end-to-end business needs of users, whether they are part of a small business or enterprise.

Applications in the Zoho Office Suite are not only integrated among themselves, but also with Zoho’s communications tools (Zoho Mail and Cliq, a cross-platform messaging app), Zoho’s collaboration tools (Zoho Projects and Zoho Connect, a private social network for business), as well as Zoho’s several other business applications. These contextual integrations, for example, enable users to merge data from Zoho CRM into a document and send it for signature through Zoho Sign.

Create a Better Document, Spreadsheet, or Note with Zia

  • In Zoho’s document creation software, Zoho Writer, Zia detects context-based grammar mistakes, rates the readability score of each document, and suggests style corrections to improve overall writing quality. Click here for more information on Zoho Writer’s new features.
  • In Zoho Sheet, Zia offers deep insights into users’ data sets by automatically showing the most relevant charts and pivot tables for their data. Zoho Sheet also supports Natural Language Querying where users can ask Zia questions about their data and Zia will respond with the appropriate function, chart, or pivot table, which can then be added to their spreadsheet. Click here for more information on Zoho Sheet’s new features.
  • Zoho Notebook is the newest addition to Zoho Office Suite and one of the most advanced note-taking applications on the market. Zia Voice, Zoho’s conversational AI, can help users create a customized recipe “smart card” by grabbing the relevant visuals, instructions, and shopping lists from their favorite website—all initiated by voice command—and organizing it neatly into the application.

Dynamic Creation Tools for Today’s Workers

  • Zoho Writer features a new automation hub with document merging, fillable documents, form-based document creation, and one-click signature collection capabilities.
  • Zoho Writer can work completely offline on web, mobile, and iPad editions, syncing everything to the user’s account upon reconnection.
  • Zoho Writer offers a distraction-free mode, plus a focus mode that highlights the paragraph in development and dims everything else in the document. There’s also an option to enable typewriter sounds to bring back the nostalgia of writing on a typewriter.
  • Zoho Show’s user-focused interface helps the author easily and quickly populate slides and choose from a variety of themes, with options to include smart elements, tables, charts, and path animation.

Zoho First-to-Market Exclusives

Zoho Sheet is the first spreadsheet software to offer data-cleaning capabilities to address inconsistencies and eliminate duplications. The data-cleaning tool processes the given information, lists all possible errorswith options to replace them—and rectifies them at the click of a button.

  • Featuring custom functions powered by Zoho’s very own scripting language, Deluge, Zoho Sheet allows users to create their own personalized functions. For example, users can create a script or deploy a pre-built script to pull data across an accounting app to fill in a Zoho Sheet sales or expense report.
  • Zoho Show allows users to run presentations on Apple TV-enabled devices as well as Android devices by turning the user’s mobile phone into a controller, from which the presenter can beam and control slides on multiple TVs at one time.

Zoho Office Suite is available to single users for free, $3 per user per month for SMEs, and $6 per user per month for enterprises.

About Zoholics

Zoholics, is the annual series of user conferences across the globe, is an opportunity to meet our team face-to-face and learn directly from the staff behind our applications. Visitors will have ample opportunity to network with like-minded people from companies of all sizes and industries who have turned to Zoho to transform their business. For more information, please visit www.zoho.com/zoholics.

 About Zoho

Zoho is the operating system for business—a single online platform capable of running an entire business. With apps in nearly every major business category, including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting and back-office operations, and an array of productivity and collaboration tools, Zoho is one of the world’s most prolific software companies. In 2017, Zoho introduced the revolutionary Zoho One, an integrated suite of applications for the entire business. For more information, please visit www.zoho.com/one.

TP-Link Voted the Best Home & Consumer Router Manufacturer By Resellers

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2019 by itnerd

TP-Link Canada, a leading global provider of consumer and business networking products was awarded 2018 Best Home and Consumer Router Manufacturer by the Reseller Choice Awards. TP-Link is consistently ranked by analyst firm IDC as the No. 1 provider of WLAN and broadband CPE devices, supplying more than 40% of the global market. Winning the 2018 Reseller Choice award speaks volume about which networking brand is trusted globally and by Canadians alike. Entering the Canadian market since 2010, TP-Link has made significant strides in networking, smart home and mobile accessories.

Founded in 1996, TP-Link is a global provider of reliable networking devices and accessories, involved in all aspects of everyday life. The company is consistently ranked by analyst firm IDC as the No. 1 provider of WLAN and broadband CPE devices*, supplying distribution to more than 120 countries and serving hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

With a proven heritage of stability, performance and value, TP-Link has curated a portfolio of products that meet the networking needs of all individuals. Now, as the connected lifestyle continues to evolve, the company is expanding today to exceed the demands of tomorrow.

Ranked highest in customer satisfaction for wireless routers by J.D. Power in 2017 for signal strength, brand confidence and reputation, speed specifications and ease of use.

UAG Expands Their iPad Collection

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2019 by itnerd

Urban Armor Gear (UAG, urbanarmorgear.com) creators of rugged, lightweight mobile device cases, are striving to redefine the industry standard of bulky iPad protection with the addition of their sleek Plyo Series.

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Designed for the Apple 9.7-inch iPads, the Plyo Series offers lightweight materials and a minimal aesthetic to keep you focused on your next performance. The composite construction combines an impact resistant core with air soft corners. Making it the slimmest offering, while still meeting UAG’s renowned Military Grade protection.

The Plyo Series’ sleek design and slim profile, make it the ultimate case for people on-the-go. The case’s translucent aesthetic allows for the device’s unique design and color to shine through. While the tactile grip folio boasts 360-degree protection, safeguarding against inevitable drops and shocks.

Everyday armor and Military Grade Drop protection make the Plyo Series the go-to iPad case for active individuals.

Plyo Series– iPad 9.7-Inch
Compatible with iPad (6th & 5th gen), iPad Pro 9.7, iPad Air 1 & 2
Available colors: Ice
Price: $69.99

  • Impact-resistant
  • Tactile grip
  • Adjustable stand
  • Apple Pencil holder
  • Folio Cover with Auto Wake/Sleep function*
  • Easy access to touchscreen and ports
  • Meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G-516.6)