Archive for May 17, 2018

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses What Happens To Millions Of Facebook User Profiles Scraped by Scholars?

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 17, 2018 by itnerd

Just two months ago, the #deletefacebook hashtag was trending all over the Internet due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Back then, it was revealed that Facebook had allowed third parties to scrape users’ personal data. Aleksandr Kogan, a University of Cambridge psychology professor, had obtained the data of about 87 million Facebook users, which was then used in the Trump election campaign, among others.

Since then, it has come to light that – besides Mr. Kogan – various other scholars have been harvesting information from Facebook accounts, capturing the behavior of millions of individuals.

For example, Swedish and Polish researchers were using a program called “scraper” that logged every comment and interaction from a selected number of Facebook pages for about two years.

“It is still not clear how the data of these millions of scraped profiles is being used,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “As for Cambridge Analytica, at least we know where this data went –it was used to influence elections. How about all the other millions of profiles, collected by other scholars? We know that academic institutions do not always have experts in online security and data protection. Past experience shows that lots of this private information is stored on unsecure servers, and may be sold to marketers, stolen by hackers or handed over to political parties or consulting firms.”

The retained data may include people’s interests, preferences, geographical location, political profile and much more. The amount of collected data allows to match it with profiles and identify the actual people hiding behind anonymized profiles and to target them with specific messages, whether commercial or political. It can also end up in the wrong hands, allowing hackers to expose private information or to blackmail Facebook users.

NordVPN recommends following some simple rules that can help avoid being tracked on Facebook. It’s important not to use any third-party apps, such as quizzes, that require access to a user’s profile. It’s also advisable to revoke access to Facebook apps that are no longer in use or that offer users to get likes or followers.

Outside of Facebook, users should use ad blockers, regularly delete cookies and install anti-tracking browser extensions, such as Disconnect Private Browsing or Privacy Badger. Using a VPN is also crucial – it helps to browse the Internet privately and encrypts the data between a user’s device and the VPN server.


Review: Anker PowerLine Micro USB 3ft Cable

Posted in Products with tags on May 17, 2018 by itnerd

I needed a bunch of Micro USB cables to charge my cycling gear. To that end, I picked up six of these cables:


This is the Anker PowerLine Micro USB 3ft Cable which bills itself as a cable that is rugged and charges faster because it is made of thick gauge wire and has reduced cable resistance. Now the charging part is hard to quantify with the items that I was testing them with as they didn’t support fast charging. But I will say that this is a quality cable. It’s reinforced at both ends to resist breakage. It has an outer shell that is clearly made to be durable. Plus it comes with a velcro strap to keep things neat and tidy.

The price makes this cable a total winner. I paid $7 per cable on Amazon and come in five different colors as well as they come in a variety of lengths and types. If you need to pick up a few cables for your devices, this is great option for you.

Review: Anker 60W 6-Port Family-Sized Desktop USB Charger with PowerIQ Technology

Posted in Products with tags on May 17, 2018 by itnerd

Last year I got a high tech road bike that has a Garmin cyclocomputer as well as front and rear safety lights that need to be recharged. Ditto for my wife and her bike. Thus I decided to have a dedicated charger for it. We travel with our bikes as evidenced by our trip to Newfoundland last year, so it has to be easy to pack as well and should be able to be used worldwide.

Enter the Anker 60W 6-Port Family-Sized Desktop USB Charger with PowerIQ Technology:


Above you can see the charger as well as the power cable it comes with. It also comes with an adhesive strip to allow you to stick the charger to a wall or under a cabinet. It measures 14.6 x 13.8 x 3.8 cm which means it takes up very little real estate. Yet it will still charge six devices.

If you need to use this somewhere other than North America, it can support 100-240V, though you’ll have to source your own cables or use an adapter. If you have a phone that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, it will charge your phone at high speed. It feels very solidly built and I think it will hold up over repeated usage. When I tested it by charging all the cycling gear at the same time, it didn’t even get warm which implies that its ability to manage heat is great.

The best part about this charger is the price. I paid $40 CDN on Amazon which is great value for money in my mind. If you have a big family, or you need to charge a lot of devices, this is a must buy as far as I am concerned.