afternoonbuzz

Los Angeles, WordPress Google Drive, More: Friday Evening Buzz, April 8, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

A new Web site ranks the cleanliness of the streets of Los Angeles. “The city unveiled an online database today that grades the cleanliness of streets and alleys across Los Angeles as part of an effort by sanitation and elected officials to determine which areas need the most cleaning.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

WordPress is going full HTTPS. “WordPress has announced that it’ll soon ensure every site built on its platform uses encrypted HTTPS as standard, in line with efforts being made across the rest of the Web. HTTPS is already available if you have a ‘.wordpress.com’ site but this is now being rolled out to custom domains that only use the WordPress backend.”

USEFUL STUFF

From MakeUseOf: How to Easily Collaborate on Google Drive with Online Annotation. “Google Drive’s native tools (including comments, a chat feature, and different levels of editing powers) are a great set of features, but there are specialized annotation web apps available that integrate with Google Drive and make communicating with others about your document, PDF, or image file easier and more effective.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Recently I mentioned people using Facebook to buy guided missles. Now I read that apparently social media is used for drug transactions as well. “The process is simple. On Instagram, using the social platform convention of hashtagging, a potential customer trawls through the app looking for phrases like #weed4sale or the names of the drugs themselves (#mdma, #mephedrone etc). The customer then contacts the owner of the account and the deal moves along through direct messages. In the case of Tinder, potential customers can swipe through profiles until they find a dealer and match with them.” (Tinder?)

Was Ted Cruz attacked by a swarm of Twitter spambots? “Yesterday, Republican strategist and #NeverTrump affiliate Patrick Ruffini noticed something strange. Four hundred sixty-five separate Twitter accounts had tweeted a message complaining about Ted Cruz’s robocall program. ‘If you’ve opted out of Ted Cruz robocalls and are still receiving calls, you can file a complaint with the FCC,’ the tweets read, followed by a link to a reporting page.”

What’s going on at Nest? “There’s something brewing over at Nest and it ain’t pretty. Though once one of Google’s more promising acquisitions, the company that helped put a friendly face on devices like thermostats and smoke alarms has reportedly lost its way. Not only has the company been unable to come up with any new type of innovative hardware, recent reports indicate that the Alphabet subsidiary is practically bleeding money while continuing to lose key talent.”

Looks like the Yahoo sale drama is going to go on for a while longer. “Yahoo has moved the deadline for its bids out another week to April 18, according to sources close to the situation and the blabby bankers they talk to. The process to sell Yahoo has been churning on as a variety of potential acquirers and just plain rubberneckers get briefed by management, either by video, phone or in person (only the chosen strategic ones like Verizon and AT&T get that royal treatment).”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Spear phishing (where the target is named in the e-mail) is getting more widespread and more scary. “According to researchers at security firm Proofpoint, a single threat actor, dubbed TA530, has been targeting executives and other high-level employees in an attempt to trick them into installing an assortment of malware—including the CryptoWall ransomware program that encrypts valuable data and demands a hefty fee to undo the damage. Other malware spread in the campaign includes the Ursnif ISFB banking trojan and the Ursnif/RecoLoad point of sale reconnaissance trojan targeting businesses in the retail and hospitality industries. Targeted executives typically have titles of chief financial officer, head of finance, senior vice president, and director.”

Beware: the expanse of advertising in Instagram also means scammy ads. “The worrying thing is that this made it onto Instagram at all. It pops up right under your thumb as you scroll through photos, and preys on potentially vulnerable, unsuspecting people. It also appears to contravene Facebook’s—and by extension Instagram’s—advertiser policies which explicitly deny ‘deceptive, false, or misleading content, including deceptive claims, offers, or business practices.'” To be fair, Instagram probably doesn’t have the time to deal with this, being preoccupied with mistaking cakes for breasts.

The Open Source Vulnerability Database (OSVDB) has been shut down. “The OSVDB was set up in March 2004 as a clearing house for security vulnerabilities that could keep code safer. Companies could pay for a license to use the database, but the problem is that plenty of them didn’t.” I did not need another reason to dislike McAfee. Good evening, Internet…

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Categories: afternoonbuzz

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