Thursday, August 27, 2009

World's First Real-time Fashion Search Engine

/24-7/ -- Go to http://www.thatssoswag.com. "That's So Swag" is the hottest new Twitter application that keeps you up to date on what "tweeple" are buzzing about right now in the world of fashion.

VivaSwag.com, a new online shopping site that uses Twitter to reach out to their 18-24 female demographic, came up with the real-time fashion engine in response to the spam filled searches that kept turning up whenever they tried to search Twitter for fashion news.

Says Carlos Rodriguez, Viva Swag's Creative Director and the designer of VivaSwag.com and VivalaDrama.com, "In order for Viva Swag to be relevant, it was very important for our merchandisers to be able to key into top fashion news among celebrities as well as everyday women. But, every time we ran a search on Twitter, it would be filled with spam, and it would take hours to wade through."

With the help of Pablo Bornacin, Viva Swag's top programmer, they put their heads together and began brainstorming on a way to bring a clean and easy search that would be useful to Viva Swag as well as the rest of the Twitter community. They came up with an idea to use Twitter's already prolific "Trending Topic" (Trending topics are the topics that are most talked about on Twitter) so that people can search fashion trending topics as well as related products.

Bornacin says: "ThatsSoSwag.com is extremely user friendly. EVERYONE, even those without a Twitter account, can search the hottest news and products in the world of fashion."

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cyberbullying Advice for Parents from InternetSafety.com & the Cyberbullying Research Center

/PRNewswire/ -- Cyberbullying, the practice of harassing another individual through digital channels such as email, instant/text messaging, and social networking websites, affects roughly one in five children. At times it has led to tragic results such as the recent suicide of Australian teenager Chanelle Rae, who took her own life after nasty messages were circulated online about her appearance. The problem has received national attention in the U.S. as well with a series of highly publicized incidents, including the recent introduction of the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act named after a 13-year-old who committed suicide in 2006 after an online harassment campaign initiated by a friend's mother.

According to Sameer Hinduja, InternetSafety.com's cyberbullying expert and co-founder of the Cyberbullying Research Center, cyberbullying ups the ante on the age-old practice of bullying in several ways. First, victims often do not know who the bully is or why they are being targeted. The cyberbully can cloak his or her identity behind a computer or cell phone using anonymous email addresses or pseudonymous screen names. Second, the hurtful actions of a cyberbully are viral, enabling an entire school to be involved in a cyber-attack or at least find out about the incident with a few keystrokes. This can add immeasurably to the victim's trauma.

Signs that a child is being cyberbullied include a marked change in computer habits such as less frequent computer use, nervousness when a new e-mail or instant message arrives, constant looking over his or her shoulder when at the computer, and anger or depression either at or away from the machine.

To deal with cyberbullying, InternetSafety.com and Hinduja recommend strategies such as:

-- Working together with the child to arrive at a mutually agreeable
course of action, including soliciting input from the child for
resolving the situation.
-- When necessary, explaining the importance of scheduling a meeting with
school administrators (or a trusted teacher) to discuss the matter.
-- Refraining from immediately banning access to instant messaging,
e-mail, social networking Web sites, or the Internet in general.
Hinduja warns that this strategy neither addresses the underlying
interpersonal conflict nor eliminates current or future instances of
cyberbullying victimization. It will also likely close off a candid
line of communication and promote overt defiance of the ban for
children accustomed to frequent online access.
-- Paying even greater attention to victimized children's Internet and
cell phone activities.
-- Considering installing parental control filtering software and/or an
online tracking program like Safe Eyes (http://www.safeeyes.com/) to
block emails from known cyberbullies, monitor and record online chat
sessions, or in extreme cases block IM, email or social networking
sites completely. Over 70% of teens surveyed by the National Crime
Prevention Council reported that being able to block cyberbullies was
the most effective method of prevention.

"If you're using filtering and blocking software, tell your children about it and explain why you have chosen to take that step," Hinduja said. "Open communication is key to maintaining the level of trust that children need to confide in their parents about problems they are having--online or offline."

"While cyberbullying rarely ends in suicide, these extreme cases demonstrate just how harmful the practice can be," said Joe Stradinger, Chief Evangelist for InternetSafety.com. "The Internet and other new communication methods have made bullying much more potent and troublesome, and parents need to be vigilant to protect their children from serious emotional harm."

For more on cyberbullying, visit the InternetSafety.com blog at http://blog.internetsafety.com/ and the Cyberbullying Research Center blog at http://blog.cyberbullying.us/

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Businesses Beware Of Mass Marketing Scams

Almost everyone has heard horror stories about individuals who have been taken in by mass marketing fraud schemes—from phony sweepstakes to lottery scams. But here’s something you may not know: the very same fraudsters who target individual consumers also target businesses.

Illicit mass marketers know that the keepers of corporate funds may be just as susceptible to fake ploys as anyone else. And while business-oriented fraud usually results in losses of a few hundreds dollars the first time a company is hit, employees may continue to fall victim to these scams if the company has insufficient internal controls.

So what sort of mass marketing frauds are perpetrated against businesses? Here are just a few examples of what might happen to your companies:

* Masquerading as your usual office supplies provider, a fraudulent mass marketer contacts your employees, offering products at reduced or current prices in anticipation of impending rate increases. After paying the invoice, your company never receives the supplies it purchased.
* Your organization is asked to buy ad space in a business directory. The directory never sees the light of day, or only scammed companies like yours receive a copy.
* Criminals send invoices for unordered or undelivered products showing higher-than-agreed-upon prices, trying to exploit poor communication channels that may exist in your company and hoping that phony invoices will be paid without a second look.
* Your business receives an information packet offering to create and host your website. The packet includes a card that must be returned in order to “opt out” of the service, but the card is simply ignored or thrown out. Your company is then billed for web services it never ordered.
* In a variation of the advance-fee scheme that often targets individual consumers, perpetrators—usually targeting small businesses—offer low interest loans in exchange for an advance fee. You pay the fee, but your business never receives the loan.

While the FBI and other law enforcement agencies vigorously investigate frauds of all kinds, there are steps your businesses can take to protect themselves. For example:

* Educate yourself and your employees—especially frontline and accounts payable and receivable personnel—about common fraud schemes;
* Always ask for offers in writing, and require a written contract or purchase order for ANY transaction;
* Carefully review all invoices and compare them to expense records to make sure they are legitimate (and keep all records!);
* Use a credit card for purchasing supplies and services (if the vendor fails to deliver, you can dispute the charges);
* Don’t give out full names of employees, as fraudsters can obtain an employee’s name and then later claim this individual authorized the purchase of a product or service; and
* Be wary of accepting checks, because in some cases perpetrators have conducted a series of smaller, legitimate transactions to enhance their credibility and then used a counterfeit check to pay for a large order.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel, a database accessed by law enforcement agencies around the country. You can also contact your local FBI office.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

www.AutomotiveStimulusPlan.com Warns of Online Scams

/PRNewswire/ -- Some of the leading U.S. Automotive Retailers recently launched a dealer funded stimulus program to provide up to $4500 in incentives for consumers who were left behind by the government funded stimulus plan. Due to the rules of the government's program, over 90% of consumers are not eligible and consumers are not happy about it. Some of the largest retailers in the country recently launched the www.AutoStimulusPlan.com, a Stimulus Program that is more inclusive because all vehicles older than 2007 are eligible regardless of their current mpg.

The recent launch of the dealer stimulus plan sparked a nationwide wave of interest in the program, which provides up to $4,500 of trade-in credits to car-owners who trade in their vehicle for a more fuel efficient alternative. However, the flood of enthusiasm for the new dealer stimulus plan has led to the emergence of scams targeting consumers looking to benefit from the program. www.AutoStimulusPlan.com, the official website for the dealer funded stimulus, has issued a warning to consumers and is providing specific instructions on how to avoid scams. "Consumers should be cautious because some scam sites have emerged that are attempting to fraudulently capture personal financial information to be used illegally," said Scott Fletcher, director of www.AutoStimulusPlan.com.

www.AutoStimulusPlan.com warns consumers to be wary of any site that asks for personal financial information. "Avoid any website that says you need to "pre-register," or asks you for your social security number or credit card number," said Fletcher. The organization is warning consumers not to give out their personal information on these scam sites because it could result in identity theft.

The organization has advised consumers, "You are not required to sign up for this program. Participating new car dealers will add a trade-in credit to your vehicles fair trade value, assuming it meets program requirements. Don't be fooled by fake websites that portray themselves as an official website for the dealer stimulus plan because there is only one official website for the national dealer funded stimulus program, www.AutoStimulusPlan.com," said Fletcher. The organization also advises consumers to make sure they receive all the manufacturer rebates in addition to the trade-in credits they receive for their qualifying vehicle.

Some local dealerships have implemented advertising campaigns that mislead consumers to think they are a part of the national dealer Stimulus Plan. To be safe, consumers are advised not to rely on local advertising and should visit the only national dealer-funded Stimulus Plan at www.AutoStimulusPlan.com.

The dealer funded stimulus plan has gotten a lot of attention because it compensates for the gaps in the governments program by allowing consumers to purchase pre-owned vehicles and to choose a short term lease.

Automotive Stimulus Program Requirements:
1. Current vehicle is a 2006 or older
2. Current vehicle is operable
3. Current vehicle has been owned for a minimum of 6 months
4. Current vehicle has been registered for a minimum of 6 months
5. The replacement vehicle has to be more fuel efficient by a minimum
of 2mpg


Incentives vary based on the consumer's current vehicle and desired vehicle (visit www.AutoStimulusPlan.com for details). Incentives vary in some states due to state laws that regulate automotive advertising and promotion. The Auto Stimulus Plan will end on November 1st and will continue if the government's program expires before that date.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

National Cyber Security Alliance Calls on All Americans to Promote Cybersecurity Awareness

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) one of the primary promoters of National Cyber Security Awareness Month each October, launched a Web portal (www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam) to encourage broad-based participation in education and awareness activities this year.

"The theme of National Cyber Security Awareness Month this year is "Our Shared Responsibility," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA. "We can only secure cyber space if everyone gets involved in making sure that all computer users engage in safe and secure practices to protect the computers and networks they use. October is a rallying point for everyone to get involved in educating their employees, customers, students, neighbors, friends, and family. The portal is designed to make participation easy."

The user-friendly site provides a wealth of collateral to foster participation in National Cyber Security Awareness Month. From printable collateral to school curriculum for volunteers, the Web site is divided into easily navigable sections with ideas and opportunities for spreading safe and secure online practices including:

-- Customizable Posters: For the first time, there is a special National
Cyber Security Awareness Month poster that is customizable with a logo
or a message to help promote local activities.
-- Wide Variety of Media Tools: Other information and resources include
Web banners, brochures, and tip sheets for helping everyone build
awareness programs to help spread the word about how computer users
can protect themselves and our Internet infrastructure.
-- Endorsement Forms: Organizations, companies, and government agencies
can show their commitment to cybersecurity by endorsing National Cyber
Security Awareness month through an online endorsement form. Endorsers
can have their logo and web link on NCSA's website staysafeonline.org.
-- School Volunteer Program Templates and Curriculum: Reaching young
people is critical and companies and individuals are encouraged to
help young people stay safe online. NCSA's Cyber Security Awareness
Volunteer Education (C-SAVE) program is designed to help schools fill
the gap in cybersecurity education. C-SAVE volunteers are provided
with classroom presentations created by a former teacher.
Presentations are available for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-12 and focus on
educating young people about cybersecurity and online safety issues.
-- Event Calendar: The NCSA keeps a robust calendar of National Cyber
Security Awareness Month events and welcomes submissions through a new
online form.


NOTE: All NCSA materials are free and there is no cost for endorsements or event listings.

President Obama recently released the "Cyberspace Policy Review" calling for a national campaign to promote cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy and to build a digital workforce for the 21st century. National Cyber Security Awareness Month compliments the President's public awareness priority by actively engaging public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to increase overall awareness and minimize vulnerabilities.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

AT&T Strengthens 3G Wireless Broadband Coverage In and Around Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* today announced a substantial enhancement to its local 3G wireless broadband network with the launch of additional wireless spectrum in the 850 MHz band. This new spectrum adds significant capacity to the network to support ever-growing demand for 3G mobile broadband service, and provides improved in-building 3G wireless coverage for customers across the metropolitan Atlanta and surrounding areas including parts of Fulton, DeKalb, North Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, and Fayette Counties.

The network enhancement is part of AT&T's continual efforts to enhance and expand the scope, capacity and speed of its 3G wireless network - the fastest 3G network in Atlanta, according to recent data compiled by leading independent wireless research firms. It is also part of AT&T's ongoing investment to build the broadband networks that will create jobs and fuel economic growth, and enable its customers to quickly access the content, applications and services that matter most to them.

"Our mission is to connect people with their world, everywhere they live and work, and to do it better than anyone else," said Sylvia Russell, president-AT&T Georgia. "This substantial network upgrade is part of our commitment to deliver the nation's fastest 3G connectivity along with the highest possible levels of service quality and reliability."

"A thriving economy is driven by the ability of businesses to connect, and the investments AT&T continues to make in Georgia help us attract and retain jobs and build strong communities," said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. "By enhancing existing networks and bringing innovative communications technologies to Georgia, AT&T is helping position our state to be a leader as the economy recovers."

The 850 MHz spectrum has been added to the existing 1900 MHz spectrum across more than 540 cell sites in and around Atlanta to deliver a substantial increase in overall network capacity in these areas. Overall, the effort enhances 3G wireless broadband coverage across more than 3,800 square miles. The 850 MHz spectrum is part of the highest-quality spectrum band available. While specific benefits of the new spectrum will vary by location, AT&T 3G customers should receive improved quality and coverage. AT&T will continue work to fully optimize the new spectrum over the next several weeks.

"We know many of our customers depend on wireless as their primary communications connection to work, family and friends, and our mission is to ensure that every time a customer hits the 'send' key, whatever the application, it just gets done," said Keith Holmes, vice president and general manager, AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets for Georgia. "We're enhancing our network every day to help customers do more with and get more from their wireless connections."

In markets where the 850MHz spectrum has been deployed, AT&T technicians who continuously monitor network performance for service quality and coverage have seen significant increases in total 3G data traffic.

"Atlanta consistently ranks as one of the most technology-savvy cities, and investments in technology and broadband continue to position our region for success," said Sam A. Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. "We are truly becoming a national hotbed for technology innovation and investment."

The AT&T 3G network opens the door to a new era of advanced mobile services, devices and feature-rich audio and video content, such as AT&T Video Share(SM), a first-of-its-kind technology that allows users to share live video during a wireless call.

AT&T's wireless network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies, which includes GSM and UMTS, the most open and widely used wireless network platforms in the world. As a result, only AT&T can offer 3G data roaming in more than 70 countries, as well as voice calling in more than 200 countries, in addition to AT&T's continuously expanding U.S. 3G footprint.

AT&T also enables unsurpassed choice and openness in the range of devices, services and applications compatible with its 3G network. AT&T offers a wide variety of devices from more than a dozen manufacturers, including handsets that are compatible with six different operating systems and five different e-mail applications. Our Media Mall 2.0 offers more than 90,000 content options, and customers can download virtually any application over the Internet. Additionally, AT&T supports a community of more than 13,000 application developers via its devCentral portal.

AT&T's 3G network is now available in more than 350 U.S. major metropolitan areas. AT&T plans to deploy 850 MHz spectrum in the majority of these markets over the course of 2009.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Lachlan Markay - Seeking the impossible? Rupert Murdoch's quest for online revenues

After posting disappointing fourth quarter numbers, media giant News Corporation announced Wednesday that it would begin charging for online content for all of its news services. Many have bleak hopes for the company’s future should it institute a membership-fee regime, but it has an opportunity to be a trail-blazer in the world of online news.

Among News Corp. subsidiaries are movie production and distribution giant 20th Century Fox, as well as Fox’s cable television stations, the Wall Street Journal and New York Post newspapers, and social networking pioneer MySpace.

Murdoch insisted that his company would have to begin charging for online access in order to maintain a high standard of reporting. "Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting," he said.

Click to read: Lachlan Markay - Seeking the impossible? Rupert Murdoch's quest for online revenues

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Michael Jackson's Death, Swine Flu and Obama's Presidency Were Top Three Issues Used to Distribute Malware This Year, According to PandaLabs

/PRNewswire/ -- Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, today announced that PandaLabs, the company's laboratory for detecting and analyzing malware, has published an analysis of major malware campaigns in 2009 and determined that cybercriminals are more frequently using current events as their primary vehicles for distributing malware.

Michael Jackson's death, swine flu and Barack Obama's political campaign and presidency have been the top issues used by hackers in the past year to distribute viruses via email or through social media such as Twitter or Facebook. By being aware of people's increasing use of the Internet to search for the latest news on social events, virus creators are relying upon highly trafficked terms and the latest news items as bait to spread viruses.

Issues involving applications for spying on partners when suspecting infidelity are also highly successful. For example, attackers have been offering applications that supposedly allow people to read the SMS messages sent or received on a specific cell phone via the Internet. Visual representations of these types of messages can be found here on Flickr:


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3574/3788395766_453dee9d10_m.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3458/3788395738_812abf7621_m.jpg


PandaLabs' study of the top issues cybercriminals used from January to July to distribute viruses resulted in the following breakdown:

Topic %
Michael Jackson's death 30%
H1N1 (swine flu) virus 27%
Obama's campaign and presidency 11%
Software to spy on partners' SMSs 9%
Independence Day 8%
Reuters agency news 5%
Online shopping discount vouchers 4%
Valentine's Day cards 2%
Farrah Fawcett's death 2%
Links to Pussycat Dolls videos 1%
Other 1%


One of the most active virus families as of late is Waledac. Waledac appeared two years ago and is still thriving, using topics like those above. For more information about these techniques, please visit: http://www.pandasecurity.com/img/enc/Boletines%20PandaLabs5_en.pdf.

Simple Tips to Avoid Falling Victim

Usually, once attackers have attracted attention, they redirect users to web pages to view or download something. However, YouTube's official website, for example, does not require users to download a codec to watch videos. If you are taken to a Web page that looks exactly the same as a legitimate one, such as YouTube, for example, make sure that the URL displayed in the address bar is the official one.

If you don't know what the official address is, find it by performing a search in any of the search engines that you normally use. Generally, the first result corresponds to the official site.

You can use security software to avoid carrying out these checks manually.

If you do not have a solution that provides this service and do not know whether the Web page accessed is dubious, you can still prevent your computer from being infected. Remember that you must agree to the file download for the malicious code to download and install on the system. Finally, scan every file with a security solution before running it.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

NASA Astronaut Sends First Tweets From Space Station

/PRNewswire/ -- NASA astronaut and U.S. Army Col. Tim Kopra has become the first International Space Station crew member to use the social media tool Twitter to discuss living and working in orbit.

Kopra (@Astro_Tim) recently joined the Expedition 20 crew after arriving at the orbiting laboratory July 17 aboard space shuttle Endeavour. He is set to return to Earth on the STS-128 mission, which is targeted to launch Aug. 25. To follow Kopra on Twitter, visit:

www.twitter.com/Astro_Tim

Kopra will provide followers with a unique perspective as an Expedition 20 flight engineer and member of the Army. He is an Army aviator and West Point graduate. He periodically will answer questions submitted on the Army's Web site. To submit questions and view Kopra's answers, visit:

www.goarmy.com/space

This is Kopra's first spaceflight. He completed his first spacewalk July 18 during the STS-127 mission. Kopra is in orbit with station Commander Gennady Padalka and Roman Romanenko -- both Russian cosmonauts -- and NASA astronaut Mike Barratt, European Space Agency astronaut Frank DeWinne and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Bob Thirsk.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Will Skype Survive the Legal Battle?

Shock threat to shut Skype

Asher Moses
July 31, 2009

eBay says it may have to shut down Skype due to a licensing dispute with the founders of the internet telephony service.

The surprise admission puts a cloud over the 40 million active daily users around the world who use Skype for business or to keep in touch with friends and far-flung relatives.....http://www.theage.com.au/technology/biz-tech/shock-threat-to-shut-skype-20090731-e3qe.html

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