Tag Archives: Social Media

What will change after Net Neutrality gets repealed on Thursday?

The potential Net Neutrality repeal is a trending topic in the US

The potential Net Neutrality repeal is continuing to be a trending topic here in the US, and more and more people are starting to realize how the FCC decision is going to affect their lives. We recently covered what Net Neutrality is and how you can cast your vote for or against it. While Net Neutrality repeal has been accompanied by predominantly negative media coverage and the topic has sparkled furious conversations amongst hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, this Thursday the Republican-dominated FCC will repeal Net Neutrality. Rather than pouring gasoline on the fire, we decided to accept the democratic decision and put down a list of things that will most likely change after the repeal.

Small businesses and artists

When Net Neutrality gets repealed, internet providers will lawfully be able to give priority to specific sites over others. What this means for artists is that if Verizon and SoundCloud start disagreeing at some point in the future, you may not be able to access the music website from your devices. Mobile carriers and ISPs will have the power to render websites such as Netflix and SoundCloud useless. If you are a small business owner who relies massively on Facebook advertising, you may have to start looking for a different platform to promote your business as people may not be able to access it freely and its popularity will decrease. Verizon is pushing a video platform called go90, so you may have to move from YouTube to go90. You may have to start using the Aol search engine instead of Google. If you are a website owner, you may have to pay a premium to ISPs if you want them to allow users with normal internet speeds to your website.

Increased bills

While we keep in mind that tech giants such as Facebook and Google may have to end up forking some cash to sweeten their relationships with ISPs, this may have an impact on your pocket as they will have to find a way to justify the new expense. This can come in various forms, you may have to pay additional $5 to your wireless carrier if you want to be able to access Facebook, or Facebook may have to end up charging its users for the service. If Net Neutrality gets repealed on Thursday, your new home internet bill might start looking similar to your Verizon Wireless bill – ISPs will stop being treated as utility bills. This is an equivalent of giving SoCal Edison the ability to charge you more for electricity used by a Samsung fridge vs. a fridge manufactured by Whirlpool.

User experience

After the Net Neutrality repeal, loading an Amazon page may not be as easy as it is right now. Your connection will depend on the relationship between the two companies. The internet provider of your choice will have the power to slow down your connection to sites that are on their naughty list. You may be taking for granted the fast speeds that you have now – soon it may take you minutes to load your favorite online magazine. ISPs will not breach your first amendment; they will simply make you wait more unless you, or the website, pay them.

Monopoly

One of the perks of living in the free world is the fact that if a company decides to abuse their power over its clients, these clients are free to leave and look for a better solution. If you are lucky enough to live in densely populated areas, you most likely have access to a few ISPs so you can pick and choose. If you live in a place where there are just one or two broadband providers, then you most likely should not be happy to see the Net Neutrality repealed as you will not have other options but to pay what you are being asked. And we all know that nowadays, the internet is not a luxury but a necessity.

Twilight of modern Internet

Currently, there are many websites expressing their protest against the so-called ‘twilight of the modern internet’ and want ISPs to continue being treated as utility companies. Others are glorying the decision to repeal Net Neutrality as this will “restore the internet freedom” for Internet providers and telecom companies. Whatever their decision is, we all will have to respect it – tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook have been tracking your online steps and internet habits for years, now a few more big names such as Verizon Wireless and Comcast will simply join the crowd and get their piece of the pie.

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New Study Shows “Fake News” Part of Parents’ Concerns about Online Activities

Controversies around “fake news” sites aren’t just nightly news fodder or political footballs. As it turns out, they’re new additions to the list of parental fears, sitting alongside computer viruses, social media, and online sexual predators.

Parents today aren’t just worried about their kids watching internet porn. Many are concerned their child will read a Breitbart article or watch a video on CNN.

Panda Security’s exclusive analysis of U.S. parents reveals what they fear the most when it comes to websites, online activities, and apps.

  • More than twice as many parents consider right-wing website Breitbart unsafe for children than CNN.
  • 20 percent of parents think CNN is not safe for their kids.
  • 47.9 percent of parents think Breitbart is unsafe for children.
  • 75.9 percent of parents think anonymous sharing is a danger to kids.
  • More parents block Facebook (5.9 percent), YouTube (5.8 percent), Netflix (4.3 percent), than they do Pornhub (2.5 percent).
  • 54.2 percent of parents are most concerned about sexual predators online.
  • 37.1 percent of parents concerned about sexual predators haven’t spoken to their kids about it.

We surveyed 1,000 U.S. parents to determine the websites, apps, and activities that most concern them when it comes to their children.

Parents Are Worried About Some Of The Web’s Most Popular Sites


Of our total sample of respondents, 90.1 percent ranked Pornhub as “Very Unsafe” or “Somewhat Unsafe”. Our analysis also shows some major social media sites as a source of concern for many parents. 47.0 percent of parents view Facebook as unsafe, while Reddit received the same rating from 46.1 percent of respondents.

Video streaming websites like YouTube and Netflix also ranked as concerning to parents. 36.7 percent of parents said YouTube was a safety concern while 15.5 percent also felt the same about Netflix.

Parents also considered news sites like CNN and Breitbart as a threat to their children. 20.5 percent felt concerned about CNN while 47.9 percent reported Breitbart News as somewhat or very unsafe.

For parents who felt “Very Safe” or “Somewhat Safe” towards specific websites, Amazon ranked first with 71.4 percent. More parents said they felt Netflix (69.9 percent) was safer than Wikipedia (65.5 percent).

More Parents Blocked YouTube than Pornhub

Our analysis showed there was a disconnect between parental concern and parental action. We found more parents reported blocking video websites like YouTube (5.8 percent) and Netflix (4.3 percent) than they did porn sites like Pornhub (2.5 percent).

One reason why parents may be blocking sites like YouTube and Netflix more than Pornhub is that parents may consider excessive screen time more concerning and more likely than specific content like pornography. Parents may feel the chances of their children finding/watching adult content too remote for concern, especially if the children are very young.

However, a University of New Hampshire survey of 1,500 internet-using youth between the ages 10 and 17 showed 42 percent of them had been exposed to online pornography in the past year. Of those, 66 percent reported unwanted exposure.

Parents Overwhelmingly Think Anonymous Online Sharing Is Unsafe for Kids


Of the seven online activities we listed, “anonymous sharing” was the online activity most concerning to parents. 75.9 percent reported feeling “somewhat unsafe” or “very unsafe” when it came to their kids and anonymous sharing.

The data suggests app developers need to include better parental controls for monitoring or stopping anonymous sharing activities of children.

Anonymity could factor into the perceived safety of social media sites. While there’s a good amount of safety concern among parents for a social website like Facebook (47 percent), it’s even more for 4chan (58.4 percent)—a site where anonymity is more prevalent.

Social networking was the second most unsafe online activity with 57.2 percent followed by “video sharing/watching” at 56.6 percent. A larger percentage of parents reported feeling concerned about video sharing than reported being concerned about the video sharing website YouTube.

Parents Are Worried About How Their Kids Get News


Our analysis shows 47.9 percent of the total pool of respondents who had heard of the right-wing website Breitbart rated it “somewhat unsafe” or “very unsafe”. That’s compared to 20.5 percent that responded the same to the more centrist Cable News Network. 8.1 percent said they considered both websites a safety concern when it came to their children.

Wikipedia also ranked as somewhat or very unsafe to 12.2 percent of parents. “Fake news” controversies and growing concerns about biased information are threatening the legitimacy of some online information sources like Wikipedia.

Parents Are Very Concerned About Sexual Predators


Of the six options presented, 52.4 percent of parents chose “sexual predation online” as their top online concern for their children. 14.3 percent chose “Maintaining online privacy” followed by “online bullying” at 11.8 percent.

More Than a Third of Parents Don’t Talk To Their Kids About Online Sexual Predation


While 52 percent of parents reported sexual predation as their primary concern, 37 percent of those said they hadn’t spoken to their children about the topic in the past year. Among parents who reported online bullying as their primary concern, a similar percentage hadn’t spoken to their children about the topic, at 33 percent.

For less emotionally and physically dangerous concerns like “Computer Viruses” and “Hidden Fees in Online Apps”, the percentage of all parents who expressed concern, but hadn’t spoken with their children, was even higher (54 percent and 43 percent, respectively).

Among parents most concerned about maintaining online privacy, 44 percent of parents overall hadn’t discussed the topic. The numbers suggest the threat of online privacy and identity theft is being perceived as a similar to hidden app fees.

Cyberbullying Is Being Underrated By Parents As A Concern


Our analysis shows parents biggest fears aren’t reflective of actual prevalence rates. Of the total group, 54.2 percent of parents said sexual predation online was their biggest concern while 11.8 percent said the same for online bullying. Sexual predation is defined as any person using the internet for the express purpose of targeting a minor to perform non-consensual sex acts.

Compared to sexual predation, cyberbullying occurs much more frequently for children. The prevalence rate for sexual predation online is only 13.0 percent. In contrast, a 2016 study commissioned by the Cyberbullying Research Center found 33.8 percent of U.S. high school students between the ages of 12 and 17 said they had experienced cyberbullying. Examples of cyberbullying can include sending threatening or hurtful texts, posting embarrassing photos or video, and/or spreading rumors.

Methodology

Panda Security conducted an online survey of 1,000 U.S. parents.
Our survey was designed to gather from parents four different types of data:

  • Demographic
  • Level of concern for specific websites, online activities, and apps
  • Actions they’ve taken to address their concerns.
  • Their knowledge level of their child’s online activities, friends, and passwords.

We wanted to discover what parents were the most concerned about and what they were doing to address those concerns, either directly (e.g. blocking content) or indirectly (e.g. discussing issues with their children).

Our approach to analyzing the data was to determine if there was a correlation between the level of concern and amount of reported activity.

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YouTube Virus: Can I Get One?

Can you get a YouTube virus?

You’re smart for even asking the question. It seems reasonable if viruses existed, YouTube would be a good place to get one. The site has more than one billion users. That’s a lot of opportunity for hackers and cyber criminals to make huge amounts of money stealing your data and infecting your devices.

While it’s unlikely you’ll ever get a YouTube virus from watching videos, real dangers exist on the site. Cyber criminals trick us into clicking links so they can install malicious software on our devices. Falling for such nefarious traps is easier than you think.

YouTube is wildly popular among tweens and teens, so parents should take notice. Kids are tech savvy, but also notoriously naive and insatiably curious. Keeping your devices safe from YouTube viruses means educating your kids on the dangers and warning signs. Inappropriate content and viruses go hand-and-hand, so parental controls help mitigate the risk. Here’s some help.

Avoid clicking video description links

Links to malicious websites can inhabit a YouTube video’s description. While most links send you to legitimate sites, some send you to places where your systems is secretly infected with unwanted software.

One of these scams targets people searching for full versions of their favorite movies. Kids are especially vulnerable since the promise of watching their favorite Disney movie can lead them to click on anything. Best advice to give your kids: “Don’t ever click on these links, at least not without checking with me first.”

The image below shows a suspicious result from searching for “The Iron Giant Full Movie”. These four warning signs scream “Stay away!”:

  1. The video isn’t the actual movie. It’s an ad telling you to click the description.
  2. Online scams and phishing schemes often contain bad grammar and misspellings.
  3. Description in the link. YouTube itself does provide full length streaming movies, but they will never ask you to click a link in the description to access them.
  4. Ad promoting the “Full HD” movie. Likely to take you to a malicious site.

Beware the YouTube comments section

Links to malware sites can also be found in a YouTube video’s comment section. Cyber criminals offer additional video content along with a link. After the viewer clicks the link, they’re prompted to upgrade their video player or other software. The “upgrade” is actually a virus, malware, or other malicious software. Best advice for protecting your kids: turn off the comments section (see below).

Video ads can lead you astray

Video ads can send you to dangerous places too. Opportunistic hackers use botnets, a sort-of robot virus, to infect thousands of devices.The botnet turns your computer into an automated video-watching zombie, using your electricity, your computer’s processing power, and causing wear and tear on your device. Often the botnet plays the videos on mute, so you won’t even know it’s happening.

Advice: Avoid suspicious ads that promise free gifts or show up on videos like the one above. Emphasize to your kids the adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

It should be clear by now that many links lead away from the YouTube platform and onto malicious sites. Locking all of those doors is impossible. But, a few common-sense steps will make it less likely you or your kids will get a virus while on YouTube.

Enable YouTube Restricted Mode

YouTube lets you control what their kids watch with a setting called “restricted mode.” The setting hides any videos with titles, descriptions, and other info containing mature or inappropriate material. Best of all, enabling restricted mode hides the video comments section, so your child won’t see malicious links or other questionable content.

Download the YouTube Kids app

Overall, YouTube does a good job at recommending and filtering age appropriate content, but no system is perfect. The YouTube Kids app gives you even more parental control over what your child watches. It closes even more doors leading to cyber criminals. These features are worth a look:

  • Disable Search. You can turn off the search feature, so your kid can’t secretly look for stuff she shouldn’t.
  • Pause Search Histories. You can disable the “recommended videos” feature. It’s easy for children to go down the rabbit hole of recommendations. If they look long enough, they’ll come to something you’d rather they not watch or click.
  • Vetted Ads. YouTube Kids ads are all paid and reviewed. They’re safer and more likely to be from legitimate businesses.

Get virus protection software

While there are many steps to reducing your chances of being a victim of cybercrime, the best defense is a good virus protection plan. Antivirus software like Panda Security will protect your devices from viruses and malware attacks like those found on YouTube.

Plus, Panda’s software gives you even greater parental controls, protecting your children from inappropriate content and unknowingly opening your device’s doors to cyber criminals.

Even if your child accidentally clicks on a description link, ad, or other malicious link, you’re protected. Panda’s “Safe Browsing” feature automatically detects phishing websites and malware-ridden servers. Panda antivirus software uses advanced detection techniques to scan all of your devices in real time, detecting, preventing and destroying malware.

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Facebook Telepathy Texting – Could It Be Hacked?

Is telepathy texting the next step in technology communications?

With over 2 billion registered members, Facebook is the world’s most popular online service. But to maintain that title, Facebook is constantly developing new services to keep people logging in. In a recent video conference, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg discussed one of the cutting edge projects his team are working on. The top secret Building 8 division has begun to develop what they call a “direct brain interface”, or the technology that would allow to text by “telepathy”.

What would you do with a direct brain interface?

The direct brain interface is intended to capture the words you plan to speak as they pass through your brain. These thoughts would then be converted into text, ready for transmission – to a nearby screen, or even directly into the mind of another person using a similar interface.

Initially, Facebook hopes that their new technology will allow people with brain injuries or communication problems finally “speak” with the outside world. One scientist working on the project believes such a device would be “as transformative as the computer mouse”.

Taking the direct brain interface mainstream

Once the medical application has been proven, Facebook would naturally expect to take the interface mainstream. Zuckerberg described how he would like to see the technology used to send messages telepathically between Facebook users.

Because the technology is “decades” from release, it is hard to properly imagine what the interface could do. At the most basic level it will probably work like a person-to-person version of the Facebook Messenger app. Presumably users would be able to send text messages direct to the brain of their friends, anywhere in the world without having to lift a finger, or making a sound.

The potential for problems

Just like any computing device, there is always a potential risk that the direct brain interface could be hacked. Again, the specifics of such an attack are hard to guess, but could be relatively harmless, such as receiving unwanted advertising messages directly into the brain.

The outcomes of a cyberattack could conceivably be far worse too. Malware that increases processor activity could cause the interface to overheat, damaging the brain for instance. As the Stuxnet virus demonstrated, malware can cause physical damage. But if that damage is caused to devices connected directly to the human brain, the results could be catastrophic – potentially fatal.

Plenty of time to prepare

The good news is that Facebook’s telepathic text system is still a long, long way from even having something to test. It will be many years before we see a working prototype, let alone a unit that we can actually buy.

In the meantime, engineers will be hard at work developing security measures to protect users against hackers and malware. And as devices finally start to appear, you can expect to see new anti-malware products going on sale to add an extra layer of defence.

In the meantime, why not check if Facebook Messenger is properly protected on your phone with a free Panda Mobile Security download

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Do you suffer from FOBO?

How long are you able to stay offline?

Modern life is increasingly dependent on the Internet. We manage our finances, do our shopping and communicate with friends and family online. And when we’re not sitting at a desk working on a PC, we’re glued to our smartphones and tablets.

As we spend more time online, the more important connectivity becomes to our lives. We rely on apps to give us the news headlines, and email to keep us up to date with projects at work. And if we ever find ourselves trying to kill a few minutes while we wait in a queue, social networks provide a quick injection of humour or gossip to fill the time.

The importance of being able to get online means that we even choose hotel rooms for holidays based on whether there is in-room Wi-Fi available or not.

What happens when we lose connectivity?

This obsession with connectivity has a dark side though. Some people experience genuine emotional distress when they lose access to the internet.

In fact, some people even have problems with the thought of not being able to go online. One journalist even came up with a name for it: FOBO, the Fear of Being Offline.

How do I know if I have FOBO?

It’s important to note that FOBO is not a medically-recognised condition. But that’s not to say that you don’t have a problem – here are the warning signs:

  • You take a backup battery and charging cable for your phone everywhere you go.
  • Thinking about losing internet access makes you distressed.
  • You constantly scan for Wi-Fi connections so that your phone is always online.
  • You avoid places where you know the mobile signal/Wi-Fi is unreliable.
  • Your pre-travel research always begins with Wi-Fi availability at the destination.

Ultimately, if connectivity is your priority in most situations, you may have FOBO.

How to protect yourself

If you do have FOBO, the best protection is to reduce the risk of losing internet access. This means taking steps to ensure that you don’t lose connectivity in the first place.

Things to consider include:

  • Choosing a mobile network provider with extensive coverage to reduce the risk of being caught in a blackspot.
  • Installing anti-malware software on your phone and PC to prevent your connection being hijacked or broken (you should do this even if you don’t suffer from FOBO).
  • Replacing your router or installing Wi-Fi repeaters throughout your home to boost network coverage and eliminate blackspots.
  • Taking out a roaming Wi-Fi subscription to use national networks like The Cloud when you’re out and about.
  • Planning your travel routes to avoid rural areas with known blackspots.

FOBO might sound silly, but people really do experience anxiety at the thought of going offline. Hopefully these tips will help to manage those concerns.

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Is it dangerous to share your location on the internet?

Look at the apps installed on your smartphone and you’ll see that many of them offer location sharing functions. Location sharing is incredibly useful – when used correctly.

Here are a few things you should be aware of

“Check-ins” and strangers

Apps like Foursquare and Swarm encourage users to “check-in” when visiting restaurants, bars and other places of interest. When using these apps, you are encouraged to leave a short review so that other people can decide whether to visit in future.

Swarm also encourages users to create networks of followers who they then compete against, collecting points for every check-in. You can even share these check-ins on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook and Twitter also allow users to share photos, comments and their exact location with status updates. And any of your followers can see these details.

For anyone with a very small social network of people they know and trust, this location sharing isn’t really a problem. But where you have hundreds or thousands of followers who you don’t actually know, sharing this information is less safe.

Potential for crime

For most people, sharing their location is perfectly safe. But the potential for problems does exist.

Burglars have been known to monitor social media for instance. Your holiday snaps taken on the beach on Ibiza are clear evidence that you’re not at home for instance. Which means that your house is empty – a perfect target for a robbery.

As well as knowing where you’re not, location sharing also lets people know exactly where to find you. This is fine for friends and family, but what about jealous ex-partners? Or in the case of children, complete strangers? These people can use your location to meet you for an argument, or perhaps something worse. These incidents are rare, but the risk is real.

Location sharing made safe

The key to sharing your location safely is to limit who can see that information. Rather than broadcasting your location publicly, you should carefully choose who to share with.

Apple

Tools like Apple’s iMessage allow you send pinpoint locations to specific contacts for instance – perfect when you’re trying to organise a meeting, or when one of your friends gets lost on the way. Find My Friends, another Apple app, allows family members and close friends to keep tabs on each other all the time – so long as they agree to sharing their location first.

Android

For Android users, Panda Mobile Security limits sharing personal information through the Privacy Auditor. It shows the permissions required by the apps installed on your device (access to contacts, bank account data, photos, your location, etc.). With a quick look you’ll decide which apps can have access to your location.

Google Maps offers similar functionality – but to maintain your privacy you must set a time limit for sharing. This means your contacts will only see where you are for a few hours or days, reducing the risk of someone you don’t want following you around.

Ultimately, there are four rules you must follow:

  • Do not share your location with the general public.
  • Always think carefully who else may be following you.
  • Regularly check who your location is shared with – and remove permissions for anyone who doesn’t need to know.
  • Use privacy-focused apps like iMessage, Find My Friends and Google Maps to ensure your location isn’t exposed to the public.

One final rule of thumb – if you can’t be sure, don’t share.

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Is Youtube Safe For Kids?

It can be surprising for parents that someone like Pewdie Pie has a net worth of millions of dollars, or that watching someone else play videogames is a billion dollar business thanks to streaming companies like Youtube. The types of videos that young children gravitate towards often surprise us, as the trends are constantly changing. To avoid any nasty shocks or surprises though -for you and your kids- it’s important to have adequate parental control in place.

Surely your kids won’t mistakenly find inappropriate content on websites like Youtube?

Sadly, this is not the case. A recent piece by Gizmodo’s Spanish website has highlighted the huge amount of videos on Youtube that parody kids’ cartoons. Series such as Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer have been hijacked by comedians who give the show an adult theme that wouldn’t be appropriate for the original show’s target audiences. Judging by the thumbnails, some of these could easily be mistaken by a child for the real thing.

Even well intentioned amateur copies of shows that are still aimed at kids may not be great for the young ones. Remember that shows like Peppa Pig are specifically written and created with the help of child psychologists and pediatricians that understand the subtleties of how a child’s mind works.

Some of the adult-themed parodies have clear warnings at the beginning of the video, but this is not the case with all of them. What can we do though? Clearly blocking Youtube on our children’s devices is not a viable option, as so much of the content on there is great for the kids.

Youtube Restricted Mode

Youtube Restricted Mode, though not foolproof, is good place to start. When watching any video, scroll down to the bottom of the page where you’ll see several options like “language”, “content location”, “history” and “restricted mode”. After clicking on “restricted mode” simply press “on” and you’re good to go. Youtube itself warns that “no filter is 100% accurate, but it should help you avoid most inappropriate content.”

The Youtube Kids app also does a pretty good job of filtering out bad content for kids. Google, who own Youtube, have also been keen to stress that it is a signed-out experience. The app doesn’t collect any personal data. However, a watch history is kept to recommend shows for kids, a controversial issue that raises the possibility of targeted ads. Something we definitely don’t want for our three year olds.

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