Facebook and Gambling?

Did I hear this correctly? Is Facebook moving into the gambling industry? Apparently so. They are going to launch their first application where users can actually bet and win real money. Launching first in the UK, Today users over the age of 18 will be able to play online bingo and slots to win cash prizes.

I was wondering when and how Facebook would start bringing in more money to their business. This is definitely a good way to do it. But why are they only launching in the UK? According to a spokesperson gambling is very popular in the UK and it is well-regulated.

Facebook, the social media giant with over 900 Million users, has been struggling trying to assuage investors’ fears about the future of their company, what with the stock price hanging on to around US$20, and their attempt to enter into the mobile industry. This news might bring some light to their current situation.

Facebook is not actually building an application as it never is directly involved in the creation of a new app. However, they have allowed Gamesys, a UK game app developer  for many games (eight in total) such as Jackpotjoy Slots, Wonderland, Barnyard Bonanza, to allow the game Bingo & Slots Friendzy on their social media site using real cash instead of Facebook credits. With this new development they are going to test the success of this app and foresee how the future would pan out if they provide more games like these.

Entry into the gambling world maybe a tricky one for Facebook as they are all over the world, yet gambling rules vary from country to country. The United States for example is very strict on gambling.

Another issue I feel Facebook needs to truly have in check is the age limit. How are they going to enforce that only individuals over 18 are gambling? It is stated that Gamesys is implementing numerous measures to ensure only those allowed to view the app will be able to use it. For example, users have to verify their age as well as their location on their account before they can use the app. Facebook is also stating that they have an age-gating technology that will block any activity related to the game (i.e. ads, timelines, searches).

This is new territory for Social Media in general to implement a gambling aspect to their business model. For me I think this new venture can go either way. A lot of trust is dependent on different parties and a lot of lobbying to get this feature global. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you think this is a match made in heaven…or..?

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Free Ways to Boost your SEO

Contrary to what many people think, there is no quick fix to boost your SEO standing, even if you spend hundreds of dollars hiring outside help the best way to boost your SEO is naturally and organically. What do I mean by that? With the latest SEO Update by Google known as Penguin a lot of companies were affected by the update. Here are some tips to boost SEO organically and for very cheap

Content, Content, Content

When users search Google they are looking for the best content for their search. As such, the better your content for the user, the better your rating will be. The best thing to do is keep your content current and fresh. A blog is a good way to keep your visitors informed as well as keep content fresh. Before the Penguin update websites were making content solely for the crawlers (Google bots that search your website for content quality) and not for the user. Thus they were able to get high rankings but were not user-friendly. Now, Google penalizes websites that try to boost their ranking through fake content.Good things to write about would be any news in your industry, your business, trends, special promotions, polls and answers to frequently asked questions.

Directories

Including your business in free local directories such as Yelp and Google Places which contain reviews on a business is really good for building your reputation and SEO ranking. The more directories you can get listed on the better, especially if you can get reviews (and good ones at that). It is good to maximize those directories by putting as much information as possible, pictures, hours of operation, phone number, website, etc. This, along with the reviews will entice users to visit your business.  With these reviews you can adjust your business accordingly. For example if someone complained about bad service, you can be able to correct it and respond to the reviewer.

Social Media

This is another really great way to Boost your SEO is through social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube. However just signing up for a social media site is not going to help your SEO, as I mentioned earlier content is king. To really increase your ranking you should be connecting with your audience, building a relationship and by doing that you will attract more people to your website thus improving your ranking.

These are just three free ways to boost your SEO. Slowly but surely if you stick with it, no update (whether its Panda, Penguin, or Porcupine) will ever bring your ratings down.

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Wifarer – Tells You Where You Are Inside a Building

Ever wondered where you were inside a mall and wanted to get to a store quickly but couldn’t find the nearest information map? How about being inside a museum and wanting to know more about a particular display but aren’t satisfied with the information placard? Now with the advancement of technology indoor positioning service Wifarer is able to download the inside of a building blueprints, find your location and give you directions to your destination and more information about the location you are at.

For example the Royal BC museum in Victoria, Canada is working with Wifarer to not only map its floor plan but also provide a location-based guide for its exhibits.  Meaning to say, if you want more information about a painting all you need to do is look at your smart phone and get all the detail you need.

This is where Wifarer is different from the competition; once a base map is produced the building owner can start adding to the map to correspond with the physical space. These objects can be populated with information and can then be accessed directly from the map. Wifarer is using virtual information to correspond with a physical space.

Wifarer, based in Vancouver, has developed their own fingerprinting technology that determines a phone’s exact location within 3 meters. With WiFi accessibility the technology is able to pinpoint down to half a meter.

So, in the case of the BC museum, when you move from display to display, Wifarer can track your movements and provide you with additional information on the particular exhibit. They are also including an icon on the map so that users can determine if they want to venture into that direction or not.

Another way Wifarer is different from its competition is that instead of building maps and then selling advertisement, Wifarer allows the partners to build their own revenue model and control how the maps are utilized. As such, if you want to put coupons for your store, you can do that.

Wifarer is still in BETA testing among different companies such as The Bay Center shopping mall in Victoria and the Vancouver International Airport. Soon it will expand to the U.S.

The “inside” is the last frontier of location-based services. I think this will really improve how we find things. What are your thoughts of this new software for your mobile phone? Will you be one of the first Canadians to use it inside the Vancouver airport or BC museum?

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Dropbox security breach – A warning to ALL Internet Users

Were you one of the many Dropbox users that were under a spam attack? On July 17th Dropbox users started to notice an increase in the level of spam attacking their accounts. It was brought to Dropbox’s attention when users notified the company that they were receiving spam only in their email accounts related to Dropbox, which indicated that the leak had to have come from Dropbox itself. Most of these users came from Europe including Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands.

Dropbox was quick to act and notified users that they were bringing in outside experts to investigate. Today, was the first day we received news from the investigation stating that hackers did in fact breach Dropbox. The company is now adding a two-factor authentication and other security features to prevent future problems.

What exactly happened? The company via their blog post stated that usernames and passwords were stolen from third-party websites, these were then used to sign in to a “small number of Dropbox accounts.” There was no mention to how much was a small number but the company stated it contacted those users and is helping them protect their accounts.

It goes on to further state that a Dropbox employee’s password was stolen which contained project documents with user email addresses. This is what the company believed led to the spam.

So what are the changes the user should expect to receive?

  • Two-factor authentication—enabling a unique code in addition to your password when signing in. This should be available in a few weeks.
  • New automated mechanisms to help identify suspicious activity. This will be increased over time.
  • A new page that lets you examine all active logins to your account. This will be helpful so that users know when their account has been accessed.
  • Lastly, requirement to change a password if it has not been changed in a long time.

Although Dropbox is heightening its security, users should also create unique passwords and take caution not to reuse the password. That is always an easy way for hackers to steal multiple information from you from different websites.

Analysts say that it wouldn’t be surprising if this hack has a ripple effect to multiple websites. For example when the LinkedIn password leaked, if users use the same password and email address for Dropbox it is very likely that those hackers can also access their account.

There have been so many instances of security breaches. It is important to be diligent with your passwords. Below are some safety tips that ALL users can benefit from:

  1. Use a unique password for each website you use.
  2. Use Capital letters characters and numbers. (ex. T3lec0m_New5)
  3. Change your password every 90 days
  4. Keep your passwords safe so that you don’t forget what they are.
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Twitter Users beware of new malware.

Warning! If you have seen a tweet about you that and you don’t know who it’s from, don’t click on the link!

Security researchers found a new Twitter scam campaign that is attacking the social network stating that they have a photo of the victim. However, there is no photo. Instead, once clicked a Blackhole exploit kit will be installed onto your computer. A Blackhole exploit kit is the newest threat to get hold of your computer to exploit it in any way the executor sees fit. Twitter users have been targeted in the past and will most likely be targeted again in the future.

The malware so far has been noted to state two different messages

  1. “Its you on the photo?” @[username] It’s you on the photo? http://%5Bdomain%5D/#%5Busername%5D.html
  2. “It’s about you?” @[username] It’s about you? http://%5Bdomain%5D/#%5Busername%5D.html

There is a link attached to it which takes you to a .su domain that contains the Blackhole exploit kit which will ultimately be downloaded onto your computer. Please note that even if you do not see these two exact phrases the malware message can change at any time. As such, don’t click on any links from people who you do not know. Instead ask the sender why they sent you that message.

There are thousands of malicious links targeting micro-blogging networks like Twitter. As such if you are a frequent user, and in general, ensure that your PC is protected.

It has become easier for attacks to happen quickly and frequently, as Twitter becomes more popular with an increase of twitter followers (over 150 million users) and over 340 million tweets daily. Because of their increased growth Twitter is expanding and improving the functionalities of Twitter to make the user experience more enjoyable. Some new features that Twitter is implementing are the ability to retrieve old tweets. As tweets are only kept to the most recent 1,000 tweets, those past tweets that we want to remember can now be found. Why would Twitter want to do this? For a Twitter user it is pretty compelling as it is like a micro diary from all of your daily tweets.  Other new features are an auto-complete function in which Twitter tries to guess what the user is trying to search for resulting in images, videos and other contented posted by other users.

Twitter is speedily moving away from that simple interface with the ability to only post 140 characters in 2008. Now with all these new features people are wondering if Twitter is a media or a technology company. Only time will tell.

 

 

 

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Skype Calls Were Secure?

There’s been much buzz around Skypes recent change to their internal network structure.  Skype, owned by Microsoft since 2011, has begun routing calls from peer servers to their own supernodes which has left many asking why they’ve done this and what will be the consequences of the move?

The Skype system update seems to fly in the face of their peer-to-peer (P2P) system where users connect directly to each other and not through Skype’s servers.  What most are worried about is that their calls can be tapped if they pass through Skype supernodes rather than being solely P2P, and it seems like people have good reason to worry, or do they?  This whole update has originated from MS, where they’re reorganizing the Skype service to fit in with their future VoIP strategy.  It’s very difficult to implement a P2P VoIP service like Skype across a platform, where MS will most likely want to incorporate the service with Xbox, Windows 8, and other platforms in the future.  Many believe this isn’t their motivation, but it’s instead to allow law enforcement agencies to have access to any Skype calls they wish.  To further support this idea is that MS acquired a patent for legal intercept technology to discreetly copy communications transmitted soon after they purchased Skype.  Quite the coincidence I’ve got to say myself.  Skype has responded that the “supernodes simply allow users to find one another,” in other words calls don’t pass through their supernodes but are in fact P2P, although they have never provided hard documents or evidence to support this.  It sounds like there are theories and weak evidence for both camps, leaving the issue up in the air.

 The thing is that this update doesn’t change the fact that all activity via the internet can be viewed by anyone that has the right resources and motivation.  It should be assumed that as soon as you turn on your computer all activity could be accessed, with Skype being no different even before being taken over by MS.  For example, there is a program that exists, very possibly many different versions at this point, that is meant to intercept Skype calls no matter how good the encrypting is.  It’s believed that is was Swiss programmer Ruben Unteregger that developed the program back in 2006, where it’s meant to pick up calls on either end of the communication, not en-route.  The program may be loaded onto a “victim’s” computer somehow, where it will then copy calls and save them as mp3 files and send them to pre-determined destinations.  The program is open-sourced, so that anyone can get their hands on it relatively easily and from there make modifications to it as they choose.  This program and programs like it aren’t made to hit larger numbers, but are targeted attacks.

So now that we know that Skype calls haven’t been secure for some time now, the question remains as to what MS and Skype’s true intentions are with these modifications that begun a few months ago?  Skype has officially neither confirmed nor denied allegations, but have said that “Skype co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.”  This doesn’t seem to say all that much either, although maybe that’s the point, since it would not be the most responsible idea for them to say that their service is in fact 100% secure so to attract criminal or terrorist elements to their service.

Personally, I think that MS wants Skype’s service in line with their strategy, although they’re very aware of and welcome the side effects of the move.  Leave your comments below as to what are your thoughts about privacy on Skype and their true motivations for the restructuring?

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