Maybe the hardest part of uncovering fraud is figuring out what it looks like. In the old days, that meant knowing the markings of a fake check, or even just counting the till and matching it to inventory. Now, it means watching out for phishing, identify theft, and social media cons. While some of that activity looks surprisingly human, a new study of Facebook Like farming suggests there are some tell-tale signs.
Story found by MediaSmarts
This report is drawn from a national survey of Canadian youth conducted by MediaSmarts in 2013. The classroom-based survey of 5,436 students in grades 4 through 11, in every province and territory, examined the role of networked technologies in young people’s lives. Life Online (the first in a series of reports from the survey) focuses on what youth are doing online, what sites they’re going to, their attitudes towards online safety, household rules on Internet use and unplugging from digital technologies.
by Mihir Patkar
The big surprise of 2013 was that Apple didn’t wow us with any revolutionary hardware. Instead, the year was marked by valiant efforts from smaller companies like Pebble and Leap Motion, comebacks by old stalwarts like BlackBerry and Motorola, and capped by the launch of next-gen consoles. And perhaps most surprisingly, the best gadget of the year was the cheapest: Google’s incredible little Chromecast.
For a list of the best new hardware products of 2013, we tried as much as possible to focus on “new”. The gadgets had to do something others didn’t do, or offer it at a ridiculously low price. Here are the shiny hunks of metal that made us drool in the last year.
To find out more, go to The List
by Ann Brenoff
Posted: 11/01/2013 12:57 pm EDT | Updated: 11/01/2013 8:44 pm EDT
At the end of last year, a mom pulled my son over and asked him to stop sending gibberish text messages to her kid. The two boys were fooling around, copying and pasting nonsensical messages and texting them back and forth. It was a duel of annoyance, something 12-year-old boys specialize in.
For my family (with an unlimited texting plan), it was an issue of my son just fooling around and wasting time when he perhaps could have been doing something more productive like his homework. But for this other family, it was that, but also an expensive way to use up their texting plan's limits. The boys' fooling around had a price tag attached to it for this family. I got it and put a stop to the practice post haste.
What I didn't realize at the time was that my son and this boy were practicing a primitive form of text bombing, a cyber bullying technique that has blossomed because of apps that enable you to torment your target with up to 10,000 text messages.
Internet safety expert Sedgrid Lewis, who runs SpyParent.net, called text bombing a "serious underground problem that is about to burst into the mainstream scene" and urges parents to educate themselves about it. In an interview with The Huffington Post, he said, "Imagine getting 10,000 text messages to your phone telling you you are an ugly slut and should die?" He added, "That's what some kids are doing to each other." [sic. using sites like ClamTXT.com]
Spyparent's Lewis says he regularly sees calls for "revenge" text bombing on Twitter. "If someone ends a relationship, people will put their ex's cell number out there and tell people to text bomb it," he said.
Spyparent.net published a blog about the practice, referring to a post on Reddit about how effective a cyber bullying tool text bombing is. Here is an excerpt of what the Reddit poster said:
"I purchased an older android phone and a T-Mobile prepaid sim with a month’s worth of unlimited texting. ... I fired up the phone and started up a texting app I have. ... I typed 'Thanks for using winafreeipadtoday.com you just entered to win a free iPad! This entry will cost $1 and will be charged to your cell phone bill.' I set the app to send the message 4,000 times. [Later] I set it to send the same message 10,000 more times. Over the next month I sent that guy about 40,000 messages. It completely wrecked his old Blackberry and he was unable to do anything with his new phone until he blocked text messaging. I can just imagine the fear when he checked his phone bill for charges."
Reddit commenters responded with enthusiasm. Some requested the name of the app so they could use it themselves. Others jumped into the conversation with suggested messages that could be texted:
"Your wife/girlfriend is cheating on you." Reading this 10,000 times is enough to plant the seed of doubt in anyone's mind.
"She never loved you."
"I know what you did. I saw you."
Yes, kill yourself.
The most popular text bombing apps are SMSBOMBER (Android) and SMSBARRAGE, which was banned from the Google App store due to malicious text bombing.
Lewis says parents concerned about text bombing should pay close attention to the apps on their kid's phone. The only legitimate purpose of text bombing apps is to send mass messages. "So ask yourself: Why is this app on my son's phone?" said Lewis.
What else should parents look for? A spike in the family cell phone bill as text bombing can lead to some serious charges. Lewis also suggests making sure your teen's phone is not rooted. Rooting an Android phone means that you give yourself, rather than Sprint/Verizon/T-Mobile/AT&T's software, the permission to act as the administrator of the phone. New Android operating system 2.3 and higher only allows 30 SMS -- texts -- from the same phone at one time. Teens with rooted phones can still send thousands of texts.
The good news is, there are spam-blocking apps that prevent text bombing. For Android phones, try Text Bomb Defender or Anti SMS Bomber Pro. For iPhones, there is NumberCop.
As for my son and his friend, well, they've stopped exchanging those nonsensical texts. But without question, the ability to play a prank on a friend is not without appeal. "Mom," my son told me, "it's just like kids making phony phone calls and hanging up. No big deal." Now if there was only an app for changing a kid's attitude.