The next time someone tells you antivirus software is a waste of time, money, and resources, keep this in mind. According to PandLabs, every day hackers put up another 57,000 fraudulent website designed to trick users into handing over thier personal information, such as bank login credentials and other tidbits you don't want falling into the wrong hands.
One way around this is to surf with common sense, but with or without antivirus software, you can ill afford to let your guard down.
"The problem is that when you visit a website through search engines, it can be difficult for users to know whether it is genuine or not," Panda says. "For this reason, and given the proliferation of this technique, it is advisable to go to banking sites or online stores by typing in the address in the browser rather than using search engines which, although they are making an effort to mitigate the situation by changing indexing algorithms, cannot fully evade the great avalanche of new Web addresses being created by hackers every day."
According to Panda, the 10 most targeted brands among all fake websites include:
eBay - 23.21 percent
Western Union - 21.15 percent
Visa - 9.51 percent
United Services Automobile Association - 6.85 percent
HSBC - 5.98 percent
Amazon - 2.42 percent
Bank of America - 2.29 percent
PayPal - 1.77 percent
Internal Revenue Service - 1.69 percent
Bendigo Bank - 1.38 percent
All told, bank and transaction companies account for around 65 percent of the fake sites.
Need more evidence that Facebook rules the Internet? Try this one on for size. According to research firm Hitwise, Google blinked, and Facebook leapfrogged ahead of the search engine as the most popular destination on the Web.
Combined, the two sites accounted for 14 percent of all U.S. traffic last week, but individually, Facebook nudged ahead of the search giant by claiming 7.07 percent of the hits compared to Google's 7.03 percent.
This marks the first time Facebbok has ever been able to outpace Google for a week, and likely not the last. While the lead is small, Facebook continues to trend upwards, having grown from a little over 2 percent a year ago. Not only that, but Facebook's membership has more than doubled in the past year as well.
Not surprisingly, users are also spending more time on Facebook, logging on average almost 6.5 hours per week, compared to less than 2.5 hours on Google.
Even as the economy picks up, it's a toucgh tech market out there, especially as company's look to trim staff and their IT budgets. What's a geek to do?
Learn Drupal. Drupal, as you're probably aware, is a free and open source content management system (CMS) that has been gaining traction in the last few years. According to CNET, Drupal has been downloaded more than 2 million times and is now found powering sites for some heavy hitters, including the White House, Warner Brothers, and right here at Maximum PC.
"I recently learned that there are more jobs available working with Drupal than there are employees to fill them," writes Dave Rosenberg, a regular CNET blogger and all around tech guru. "There's a clear need for bodies skilled in Drupal and other open-source software, including Linux."
For those looking to learn Drupal, the timing couldn't be better. Training at this year's DrupalCon conference will cost $150 to $350, way down from what it normally runs, which is $1,500.
Whistleblower site Wikileaks last made headlines about 6 months ago when the website got hold of a U.S. report detailing the locations and assets of U.S. neclear power plants and posted it for all the world to see. And now? Wikileaks finds itself in a bit of trouble, but not because of its content. Short on funds, Wikileaks has supsended operations and hopes the move turns out to be temporary.
"To concentrate on raising the funds necessary to keep us alive into 2010, we have reluctantly suspended all other operations, but will be back soon," Wikileaks wrote on its homepage. "We have raised just over $130,000 for this year but can not meaningfully continue operations until costs are covered. These amount to just under $200,000 PA [per annum]. If staff are paid, our yearly budget is $600,000."
In their attempt to solicit donations, "even $10," Wikileaks' webmasters claim to have received "hundreds of thousands of pages from corrupt banks, the U.S. detainee system, the Iraq war, China, the UN, and many others" that they don't have the financial muscle to release.
Following in Newegg's footsteps, Shuttle this week announced the official launch its new Shuttle Canada website, http://ca.shuttle.com/.
"We've really got a great year ahead of us. Aside from the new models and product lines that we just unveiled, we're focusing more closely on several of our key markets, such as Canada," said Nicolas Villalobos, Director at Shuttle Computer Group in Los Angeles. "With the growing market demand and rising user base there, we've decided to roll out a new website just for Canada - making it easier than ever for resellers, distributors, and everyday users in Canada to get support for their Shuttle products."
Shuttle said it has sprinkled in a few new areas that cater specifically to the enthusiast crowd, including a DIY section. Right now, this consists of a 3-part video tutorial showing users how to put together a Shuttle barebones system, something which isn't embedded into the company's U.S. portal.
eBay says it has since fixed the software SNAFU that caused all the ruckus and promises this was a one-time deal, but that doesn't rectify the situation for sellers who were affected by the outage. To make things right, eBay said it plans on compensating vendors in several different ways.
"To minimize the impact, we'e working to ensure that sellers and buyers whose transactions were affected by the disruptions will be made as whole as possible," said president Lorrie Norrington. "This includes listing fee refunds and protection against negative or neutral buyer feedback as well as detailed seller ratings (DSRs) lower than five starts for impacted sellers, and coupons for buyers of items that were impacted by the disruption."
According to eBay, the surge of holiday shoppers caught the site off guard, which led to the crash.
Many online commenters try and compensate for their lack of insight into the subject at hand by summoning their ability to enliven even the most vapid discussion with a highly stimulating cocktail of profanities. But not everyone can fully relish this amazing ability as not everyone possesses it. The practitioners of this colorful art are often persecuted by the prim archpriests of insipid internet discussions.
But the paper’s director of social media, Kurt Greenbaum, who had posted the concerned article, managed to track down the anonymous poster using the WordPress e-mail alert that accompanies every comment. The alert included the commenter's IP address, which was found to be from a local school.
“About six hours later, I heard from the school’s headmaster. The school’s IT director took a shine to the challenge. Long story short: Using the time-frame of the comments, our website location and the IP addresses in the WordPress e-mail, he tracked it back to a specific computer. The headmaster confronted the employee, who resigned on the spot,” Greenbaum wrote in a blog post on Monday. Was it right on the paper’s part to pursue an anonymous commenter? If yes, then what is the point of allowing anonymous comments? Have your say without the fear of getting fired.
Want to increase your website's presence on Google? Don't waste your time littering your site with "keywords" meta tags, because according to Google, that won't do you a bit of good.
In a blog post on Monday, Google explained that it doesn't use keyword meta tags, disregarding them completely. The reason, Google says, is because meta tags are subject to abuse. It's far too easy (and common) for a webmaster to inject oft-irrelevant keywords without typical visitors ever seeing them, so Google has been ignoring them for "many years."
The search giant also clarified that it doesn't ignore all meta tags, such as sometimes using the "description" meta tag as the text for its search results snippets. However, these too are disregarded in terms of ranking.
Like, OMG! Netbooks are soooo cute! But "once you get beyond how cute they are, you'll find that netbooks can do a lot more than check your mail." For example, they can help you 'Get healthier' (tech tip #2) by tracking exercise and food intake at free online sites, and to 'Eat better' (tech tip #3) by finding recipes online. You can even 'Get Organized' (tech tip #4), because "Remember the Milk is a free, tweakable online task manager." Or use a netbook to 'Chill out' (tech tip #5).
These are all real tech tips, and they're all listed on Della, Dell's new microsite dedicated to helping women shop for notebooks without focusing on all those manly GHz and GB abbreviations. The new site pays particular attention to the Dell Mini 10 and Studio notebooks, making it a point to convince women that these laptops won't cramp their stylish lifestyle.
Anyone miss Circuit City yet? For those of you that do, you may be in luck. Sort of. While the bankrupt electronics chain won't be making a brick and mortar comeback anytime soon, it appears Circuit City has some kind of future planned online. Going to Circuit City's website now reads:
"CircuitCity.com is also temporarily closed, although we anticipate the website will reopen in the coming weeks. Please check back for updates."
What exactly the former chain has planned so far remains a mystery. News site TGDaily notes that calls made to the company's office in Richmond, Virginia have gone unanswered, and without any kind of statement from Circuit City or its liquidator, that leaves the online message as the only clue we have to go on.
Circuit City did everything it could to avoid going out of business earlier this year and last year, including closing down over 150 stores and cutting 20 percent of its workforce. But it was unable to find a buyer and, following a controversial liquidation sale, closed its doors for good last March.