Spear Phishing

First you had Spear Phishing - image by Kevin FrankPhat, then you had Phishing and now Spear Phishing.

Spear Phishing is an email fraud attempt that uses information in a targeted way to trick you into giving them money or trade secrets.

It is important that you know how much about yourself is on the web. This type of fraud usually happens when someone claims to know you through some social event, when they have really only read about it on your Facebook page or other social site.

This type of phishing can also happen when a person emails the victim claiming to be from their own company and wanting log in details.  They can only do this by learning about specific details of your company and who you may answer to.  So if you think that this information is readily found on the internet, be careful who you give out information to.  It could be a phishing scam.

For the definitions of all things web, go to Webopedia.



Stop the Meter and Stop the Spying bill

Open Media has petitions on at the moment to Stop the Metering of our internet.  The companies that own the cable networks that we have previously been watching are worried that they are going to lose that revenue stream as more and more people watch content on their computers.  With movies online, YouTube and music, more and more people aren’t even subscribing to cable any longer.

Here is a video that explains it better than I can.




Another contentious bill that will be debated and voted on when Parliament goes back in session (after their long summer holiday) is

an invasive, anti-Internet set of “Lawful Access” electronic surveillance laws within the first 100 days of Parliament. If passed, these laws will turn Internet service providers (ISPs) against their own customers by making them collect our personal information without court oversight.

go to rabble.ca to read more

Not only is this scary for our privacy and civil liberties, this will force a lot of smaller Internet Providers out of business because of the cost of putting the software in place to collect the information needed.

Open Media is asking us to sign their petition about this as well.  Both of these initiatives have long reaching implications for all of us.  We already have one of the most expensive internet systems in the world, and these two initiatives will make us even more expensive and our use of it even more limited.


Compare between 350 indie ISPs at CanadianISP.com, and show Big Telecom that you’re not buying!


June Newsletter is out!

I send the June newsletter to all of my clients, but if you don’t receive it, a link to the newsletters that I have published so far are on the newsletter page.  You can also sign up to receive it at anytime with the link on the left side of the site under the pages.  They are only sent out once a month, and have tips and news about websites, technology and just IT in general.



Damn you AutoCorrect!

I received an email from someone (thank you) about auto correct in phones and how unintentionally funny those corrections can be.
I wasted a bit of time looking at this site.

Damn You AutoCorrect.com

Warning, autocorrect has a dirty mind, so if you are easily offended, you may want to skip this site. However it is pretty hilarious.

I have a friend called Spencer, and my Word Processing program used to want to correct his name to Spanker.   He was happy with that.


Linked In Social NetworkingLinkedIn is a social networking site, similar to Facebook, however it is different in that it isn’t used like a Facebook business page to promote your business to clients, as much as a networking area for professionals without all the games and distractions of Facebook.

You could think of it as an online Chamber of Commerce.

What Linked in allows you to do is:

  • connect with professionals in your own area of expertise in the Groups area. You can use these areas to share ideas, pick up a few tips and connect with people who have the same interests.
  • Help your search engine optimization efforts. With your personal profile and company page, you can link back to your own website, giving you a higher rank in Google.
  • Stay on top of industry news.
  • Demonstrate your expertise by posting answers in the sites Answers section.

When you sign up for LinkedIn, you make connections rather than becoming someone’s friend. This introduces you to their connections, which helps you meet more professionals.

Joining relevant Groups is a good way to make connections as well as share information and find support. For example, I’ve joined groups to do with SEO and website design.

You can also ask for recommendations from clients, colleagues and other people in your network to endorse you through LinkedIn Recommendations. Like a reference letter, they reinforce your professional identity online. You can then easily return the favour. These recommendations are considered “social proof” that someone has vouched for you that you are good at what you do, and can deliver results.

But LinkedIn isn’t just about promoting yourself, it is important to use it as a tool to help others and their business as well.

New & Hopefully Improved

I use the phrase “the cobbler’s children go barefoot” quite a bit.  It is because when I am busy doing sites for my clients, I don’t have time to update and work on my own sites.

So at the moment, in between other work, I have turned my site into a WordPress site to enable me to put my blog together in the same place as my website.  It has also given me a great chance to play around with Plug-ins and learn new things, knowing that if I screw up, it’s my site and not yours!

Please bear with me, while I add more information to the site over the next few weeks.

Sweet Tweets

A Roger’s Sportsnet newscaster was fired recently for tweeting his views on gay marriage.

It was called a new employment phenomenon, career suicide by social media. It’s not new though, last year a woman’s firing was made news after she had a bad day at work and shared it with her “friends” on Facebook. Trouble was, she’d also “friended” her boss. She was told (via Facebook), that she didn’t need to show up for work in future.

It’s a warning to us all that the Internet is not the safe haven of anonymity that we would believe.

Judges are generally willing to order Internet Providers to disclose the identity of people using pseudonyms to criticize others.

In some cases, even having a link to a site that defames someone can be construed as publication under Canadian Libel Laws, leaving you as in as much trouble as the person that posted the comment in the first place.

Michael Smith, of Borden Ladner Gervais, offers the following tips for companies to avoid cyber-libel.

  • create clear guidelines and policies for the use of social media in the workplace. These should be built into contracts and include the use of laptops, cellphones and smart phones.
  • educate employees about the policies for using social media at work and while using company property.
  • if you use Twitter, Facebook for your own business, make sure a team of reviewers checks outbound comments before being posted and are moderated.
  • you should implement a “sober second thought” policy. Have a colleague read any negative email or message before sending it. (this is good policy for any of us)

It is likely best, another lawyer advises, if you don’t host an interactive website at all.

  • if you do host a website with comments enabled, take down any negative or potentially defamatory comments immediately when notified. (better yet, moderate first)

It’s a minefield out there and what we all have to learn is that the rules haven’t changed in our interactions with other people.  We just have to updating our thinking about the immediacy of social media and email.  What we write to day is “out there” forever in cyberspace.


Source: The Toronto Star

Prey & Twitter

Sean Power from Ottawa went on a trip to New York City and had his laptop bag stolen along with his birth certificate, cell phone and cash. Fortunately, he had installed a security program called Prey onto his laptop that helped him get it back!

Prey allows you to log on and take snapshots of the person using the laptop and uploads them to your account. Sean then twitted to his followers on Twitter the IP address (still in the bar he had last seen it), along with the photo of the person using his laptop. Now don’t try this at home, but some of his followers happened to live in Soho New York and actually talked the man into giving them back Sean’s property after he realized they had his photo and that they would likely call the police.

Prey is a open source software, meaning it is free to use (there is a paid version with other options) and sounds like a good idea for all your expensive toys. There are other programs like this out there, but this one works on Mac, Windows and Linux.

Source: Toronto Star – Friday May 13, 2011

TV without borders

You can watch all sorts of television shows online nowadays. If you’ve missed an episode of Corner Gas, or ER, you can go to your television network’s website and see if they offer it for you to watch there. And often it is. However if you want to watch something on NBC or another US channel and you happen to be Canadian, you will find that you get a message saying something similar to “this content is not available in your region”. Which can be really annoying. After all, we are only miles from our American friends, why can’t we see it too?

This practise is called Geo-blocking or geo-gating and networks restrict access to online videos outside the territories when they hold the rights. However there is a way around it, that is completely legal.

What you can do is download a “cloaking” program to your computer, and none of the sites you were previously blocked from viewing are suddenly unable to tell where you are located, and their content is now available. Not only that, but it may make your computer a bit more secure as well!

Go to anchorfree.com and download the program Hotspot Shield. It only takes a minute to install. And watch to your heart’s content.

March 25 update – this worked really well the first time I used it, but since then I tried it again and it wouldn’t work at all. Perhaps the stations have caught on and adapted with their own software. Also, I couldn’t watch stations that are local when it was turned on! So it may not work any longer. The border guards are up again!

I’ll Senduit!

I’ve been having some issues with some software that I’ve bought and I was asked to send a log file back to support so they could see what is going on in the background. I didn’t take much notice of the size of the log file, so I attached to an email and tried to send it. Ten minutes later my Internet Explorer (which is tied to my hotmail) stopped responding. I tried to attach it to my gmail account and then finally got it to go with my regular email account tied to my ISP. That one finally went, but came back as the recipient wasn’t allowed such a large file.

I emailed back the support and asked if there was a part of the log file I could copy and paste, as I had also tried to copy and paste the whole file and that also caused my gmail to crash.

She emailed me back and said to upload it using a site called Senduit. And I’m sure there are other sites like this but I just thought WOW.

You can pay for FTP (file transfer protocol) services that allow you to upload files and give a user name and password to your clients or friends, but this is a time related service that is free! (and I like free)

Here’s how it works. You go to www.senduit.com and all that it really has is an upload button. You click on the upload button, navigate to the page where your file, image etc is, and select open. Then choose how long your recipient has to open it (from 30 minutes to 1 week) and then click “Upload”. What comes back is a link to a website that you send to your recipient for them to download. When that page comes up, a message tells them that the file will immediately start to download and it does. Now it takes a bit of time depending on your own internet speed, and the size of the file, but it’s a great service for those large files you need to send to someone from time to time. Regular email accounts just won’t allow you to send them!

How long did my 14mb file take to upload? Twenty-eight minutes.

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