Archive for July 14, 2017

Report Says China Not Cracking Down On VPNs…. Maybe

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2017 by itnerd

So, remember that story from earlier this week where I told you that China was going to crack down on VPN usage in the country. Well… There’s this report courtesy of The Paper  which thee folks over at Engadget spotted claims that China isn’t planning a blanket ban. In a statement, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information said that “authorized” VPNs such as domestic and international companies, won’t be affected. Whatever authorized means exactly.

So, all this report has done is made something that looked pretty black and white and turned it into grey. Lovely. If I were a betting man, I would bet on a VPN ban going into effect. Thus if you happen to be travelling to the country in 2018 and you need to use a VPN while you’re there, don’t plan on it working.

 

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Investigating A Tech Support Scam – Part 4: How To Avoid Getting Scammed

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2017 by itnerd

In part one of this investigation I dealt with the initial threat. In part two I tracked down the scammers and I unwrapped what these scammers were up to in part three. Now I will tell you how to avoid a scam like this.

Here’s the big hint that this is a scam. The scammers will likely be pretending they are calling from Microsoft or from “Windows,” “Windows Tech Support” or “Windows Service Center.” or even your ISP.

Fact: A legitimate company such as Microsoft, Apple, or Google would never call you in this manner. The exception might be your ISP. There’s a minute possibility that your ISP would call you if your computer has been infected with malware that could be sending out something from your computer. If a caller claims to be from your ISP, ask for the caller’s name, where his or her office is located, and for the office telephone number. Ask why you’re being contacted by telephone, what the issue with your computer is and how the ISP could tell it was your PC specifically that had a problem. If a call sounds legit, hang up and call the ISP yourself, then ask for the tech support department or for the person who called you specifically. Use a phone number listed on your ISP’s website or on your bill, not a number that the caller gave you. That way, you could confirm or deny if this is legit.

Now, if you get a call from a scammer. The best way to deal with them is to hang up. But if you want to do the world a favor, do the following….. Though I will not exactly go out of my way to recommend vigilante behavior like this:

  1. The name of the company the scammer claims to work for, and the company’s website, phone number or address. Even the smallest pieces of info can lead one down the road of finding out who the scammers are and you’d be surprised how willing they are to give up this information to try and gain your confidence.
  2. Hang up.
  3. Report it. Microsoft has a Web page dedicated to reporting tech-support scams. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has a website for fielding complaints, while the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center is the place to go if you’re in Canada.

So, what happens if you get scammed? You need to act fast. First, shut down the computer. Then do this:

  1. First download and install legitimate antivirus software. Then, run a scan to see if anything has been left behind. Then change the passwords on the user accounts on your PC. You don’t have passwords on the user accounts? You should precisely for this reason. If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these items, call an IT expert for help.
  2. If you gave the scammer your credit card number, then you really need to act fast. Call your credit card provider and either reverse the charges or cancel the card (my client did the latter).  Then you should also contact one of the three credit-reporting agencies. Namely Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and ask them to place a free 90-day credit alert on your file. For the record, Experian doesn’t operate in Canada but the other two do. The agency you contact will alert the others and you’ll be notified if someone tries to do something in your name.
  3. Report it.

As you can see, getting hit by a scammer is not a trivial matter. You need to be on your toes to avoid this sort of thing. If you are, then you should never have to worry about the negative effects of being scammed. I’ve documented what People Connect Inc. were up to in this case, but there are lots of others who are just as evil. I hope this information helps to make sure that you are not a victim of something like this.

Airbnb Listings Now Available Within Concur

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2017 by itnerd

Concur today announced the availability to view and book Airbnb listings embedded within Concur Travel.

Embedded listings allow travelers to search for Airbnb listings directly on the search results page of the Concur online booking tool. The tighter integration will deliver greater flexibility for businesses to offer alternative lodging choices to business travelers within their existing travel management program and policy framework while delivering the ease of use customers have come to rely on from Concur, with itineraries and e-receipts being automatically fed back to Concur to simplify expense reports. Concur is now the only online business travel booking tool with Airbnb listings.

Airbnb usage continues to show strong growth over time, with the number of business travelers expensing Airbnb accommodations increasing by 33% year-over-year in Q2 2017.  In fact, employees from more than 250,000 companies in over 230 countries and territories use Airbnb for work. Concur Travel connects users seamlessly, while allowing organizations to maintain control over spend and compliance with corporate and regulatory requirements.

Airbnb listings are expected to be available in the coming months. For more information, visit the Airbnb blog.

Asus ZenWatch 3 Gets The Google AndroidWear 2.0 Update

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2017 by itnerd

I reviewed the Asus ZenWatch 3 a little while ago. Thus I was interested in fact that the Google AndroidWear 2.0 update is now available for the device.

Key update features include:

Direct access to the Google Play Store: With Android Wear 2.0, users need no longer install apps though their paired smartphones. Now, they can directly browse and download apps from the Google Play Store on ASUS ZenWatch 3 itself for installation on the smartwatch.

Google Assistant: Android Wear 2.0 brings the Google Assistant to ASUS ZenWatch 3, so users can simply ask questions or issue commands to the smartwatch. Google Assistant recognizes natural speech, allowing users to simply talk to their ZenWatch 3 to perform tasks like setting alarms, asking about the weather, updating shopping lists, or navigating to destinations.

Highly personalized watch faces: With Android Wear 2.0, ASUS ZenWatch 3 owners can now personalize their watch faces to show live information from their favorite apps like appointments, stock prices, and fitness data. Other uses of this new feature include the ability to interact with apps simply by touching the watch face — for example, to book a ride, start a workout or make a phone call. Profiles for different locations like work, home or outdoors, that show different sets of information can also be set.

Improved message response options: Android Wear 2.0 features improved ways to read and respond to messages using ASUS ZenWatch 3. Now, when messages are received, users can expand the notification and choose to respond by dictating; typing or handwriting a reply; or by drawing an emoji. There’s also a new Smart Reply function that instantly and intelligently suggests different pre-prepared responses based on the content of the received message. This feature works with the most popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Glide, Google Messenger, Hangouts, Telegram or Line.

ZenFit: With Android Wear 2.0, the ASUS ZenFit fitness app can now count repetitions when using gym exercise equipment like shoulder presses, butterfly machines, chest presses and lateral pull-down machines in addition to its existing ability to count push-ups and sit-ups. ZenFit can now be downloaded and set up on ASUS ZenWatch 3 independently without using the phone app.

Instant Google Translate: Google translate now allows users to speak in one language to ASUS ZenWatch 3, which will then show the translated phrase in the selected language. It even presents the translated text upside down so the wearer can conveniently show it to the person they are speaking to for reading.

Users can manually check for the update in the Settings menu of the watch under System Updates. 

Roku Hits 15 Million Monthly Active Accounts

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2017 by itnerd

Roku has  announced it reached 15 million monthly active accounts as of June 30, 2017 growing 43 per cent over the same period of the prior year.

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Users streamed nearly 7 billion hours on the Roku platform in the first half of 2017, growing 61 per cent over the same period of the prior year.

Roku offers a collection of over 4,000 streaming channels with access to 100,000+ movies and TV episodes in Canada. Users can search and easily find content from various channels with unbiased results sorted by price.

Roku is known for streaming innovation and high customer engagement, offering content providers and video advertisers the best way to reach streaming audiences. Roku streaming players and Roku TV models are available in 10 countries through direct retail sales and licensing arrangements with TV OEMs and service operators.