According to a study by New York computer forensics firm, Kessler International, 40 percent of the hard drives that are purchased in bulk orders on eBay contain personal, private and sensitive information. They’ve found everything from corporate financial data to surfing histories and even the downloads of a man with a foot fetish.
The study, which was conducted over six months, consisted of nearly 100 drives that ranged in size from 40GB to 300GB. “With size of the sample, I guess we were surprised with the percentage of disks that we found data on,” stated Michael Kessler, CEO of Kessler International. “We expected most of the drives to be wiped -- to find one or two disks with data. But 40 drives out of 100 is a lot.”
Of the data that they retrieved, 36 percent was personal data and confidential information (including financial information), 21 percent were photos, 13 percent were corporate documents, 11 percent browsing histories, 11 percent DNS server information, and 4 percent was miscellaneous data.
So, should you be looking to sell your machine on eBay let this be a warning to you! Be sure to format the drive completely, ensuring that you wipe out each little piece of data. Who knows where it might end up?
Let's play word association: I say "Monster" - what would you say? You might say ".com" (popular job hunting site), or "Green" (Fenway Park's famous left-field wall), or "Frankenstein" (doctor? monster? both!), or you might even say "Cable" as in Monster Cable. However, as far as Monster Cable is concerned, the only "Monster" they seem to believe in is their own trademark.
As TechDirtreported this week, Monster Cable's busy suing almost every company with "Monster" in the name for alleged trademark infringement. Monster Cable's latest target is a Rhode Island-based miniature golf company calledMonster Mini Golf. The company is already looking at a cool $100G in legal fees because of the litigation with Monster Cable. To learn how the mini-golfers are fighting back, join us after the jump.
Founded by Mary Lou Song and Alex Kazim, erstwhile eBay employees, Tokoni has financial backing from eBay. The press release announcing the official launch seems to suggest that sharing stories through Tokoni would be far easier for the mainstream users compared to other platforms on the social web.
Give Ebay some credit - its union with StumbleUpon, which it acquired in May 2007, has lasted longer than some marriages. But now it appears Ebay wants out of its $75 million relationship, assuming Tech Crunch's sources prove reliable.
The news site claims Ebay has hired Deutsche Bank in hopes of stumbling upon a buyer, though the asking price remains unknown, and it's anyone's guess whether or not the auction site can get back what they invested in StumbleUpon. From July 2007 to July 2008, StumbleUpon has dropped from boasting 4.4 million worldwide visitors and 31 million page views to 1.1 million visitors and 25 million page views. Oddly enough, registered users continue to grow and now sits at over 6 million strong, a 20 percent increase over what it was just 5 months ago.
Between raising the fee scale to censoring sellers from leaving anything less than positive feedback, Ebay has found itself under an increasing amount of scrutiny this past year. The online auction site is also finding that e-tailers are starting to offer more competitive pricing, a move Ebay believes is responsible for driving potential customers away from its auction format as buyers look for instant gratification.
"Buying online has changed," said Scot Wingo, chief executive of the market research firm ChannelAdvisor. "Retail sites no longer make customers choose between convenience and price."
To win customers back and prevent others from leaving, Ebay will once again change its fee structure, this time to the advantage of sellers looking to unload goods at a set price. Starting in mid-September, sellers will pay just 35 cents to list a fixed price "Buy It Now" auction, representing a 70 percent reduction in upfront fees.
While the new pricing scale might not be met with a warm welcome by sellers who prefer the auction format, Ebay is quick to note that "sellers can still choose to list items in Ebay's auction-style-format, which, with a low start price, remains the most cost-effective way to offer many kids of items."
eBay is continuing to provoke it’s user base with big changes to it’s business model it seems. If the recent fee hikes were not enough to get sellers on eBay mad, they are furious over the deal eBay struck with Buy.com that allows the company to sell millions of books, DVDs, electronics and other items on eBay without paying the full eBay fees. This is making it hard for small sellers to compete. Since the beginning of the year over five million fixed-price listings from Buy.com have been added.
The reason behind this shift seems to be that eBay’s growth has slowed recently and new CEO John Donahoe, has decided that the future lies with a model more along Amazon’s design and larger sellers as opposed to the small mom and pop sellers that have made eBay such a success. You can read the tale in full over at nytimes.com
Like Obi-Wan said about Mos Eisley, “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be
cautious”. eBay has certainly had it’s shares of trouble makers on the site. Scam artists, Phishers, and con men have run roughshod over good sellers and customers alike. It’s been a good year since I bought anything on eBay because of the hassle of having to look at a seller from every angle to figure out if they are legit. Even worse than that is buyers that would run up the price on an item to retail. You can still get a good deal, but you have to be patient and ready to spend lots of time shopping.
I’m just not into that. Given the number of sites complaining about eBay it looks like a number of others are not happy with them either.
Are you still a big user of eBay? Tell me what you like and dislike about the eBay of today.
A man of ordinary sanity doesn’t need sophisticated e-mail filters for egregiously unconvincing messages from someone lodged in a war torn African country, informing the recipient of how the sender miraculously found him, of all Homo sapiens, and a deal worth millions awaits him. But, unfortunately enough, perfectly sane people do fall prey to such messages, and don’t fare too well against the slightly more plausible fake eBay and Paypal e-mails either.
eBay and its cognate company Paypal have tied-up with internet behemoth Google to immunize Gmail users from phishing attacks. Fraudulent e-mails, claiming to be from eBay or Paypal, would be purged by using DomainKeys and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). However, Paypal admits that the technology still needs some polishing. DomainKeys has been used for a while now and, in fact, most Yahoo Mail users might recall e-mails from some major domains including Paypal having a stamp of approval from Yahoo Domain Keys: Yahoo Domain Keys has verified that this message was sent by XYZ.com. All said, this is a good move.
Tip: If you want to be absolutely sure about your precious Paypal and eBay accounts, don’t ever click through to these websites from links embedded in emails, no matter how credible they might appear to your untrained eye. Also change your password as often as you can, preferably, as often as once a month.
Vicarious liability is a legal principle that lays out rules for liability of one person for the acts of the other. But the most uncompromising version of this legal doctrine has surfaced in France, where a court ordered eBay to pay luxury goods group LVMH damages worth $63 million.
Keep reading to learn why the French Court slapped the whopping fine against eBay. Also join our discussion - "after the jump" - on whether eBay should have been punished for the sins of its users.
Despite all the Web 2.0 rhetoric the internet still has no sure-fire answer for rampant phishing frauds. Microsoft, PayPal and Google – the who’s who of the internet – have laid the cornerstone of the Information Card Foundation to confront some of the most daunting and taunting online security challenges. The organization has as its immediate goal to replace each individual’s myriad of online passwords with a single ID card.
Such an ID card will be a person’s key to the internet and will only transact information absolutely necessary for accessing a website. It can certainly put a lid on phishing fraud. The technology required for these information cards is present as we speak but there aren’t enough compatible websites. Also don’t forget it is easier to treasure – or even venerate - a single all-purpose ID card than innumerable passwords. Did You Know: eBay-owned online money transaction major PayPal has been offering a cheap security device called Security Key, which is effectively a key generator, since early 2007 to its customers. Security is paramount for PayPal as any lapse or breach can result in serious monetary damage to its users. PayPal offers this device for $5 to all its users except business members for whom it is free.
With 309 million registered users and $126 million in first quarter earnings, it'd be easy to see why some might want to leave well enough alone, but don't expect Skype to remain stagnant. Despite the strong numbers, Ebay investors are into Skype for $2.6 billion, an amount most have since admitted was too much for the five year old company. In a bid for renewed faith for the pricey acquisition, Skype 4.0 will bring some major changes to the table, and you can test drive a beta version right now. Click through to see what to expect from the redesign.