Monthly Archives: November 2012

Is Something Watching YOU

Here’s something I’d describe as being very close to the top of the creepy scale…

Do you ever get that creepy feeling that store mannequins are … watching you? Well, that feeling may now be justified. Italian display form company Almax has recently introduced its EyeSee line of mannequins that are equipped with cameras and microprocessors in their heads. EyeSee Store Mannequins are gathering intelligence on shoppers.

The idea behind the mannequins is that they could be located in storefront windows or specific areas of the store, where they would gather demographic data on the customers. Using facial recognition software, they can reportedly determine things such as a person’s age range, gender and race. The mannequins will also keep track of the number of people to pass through a certain area within a given amount of time, and how much time each person spends there.

Almax suggests that store owners could then use that data to develop targeted marketing strategies, to place salespeople in the parts of the store with the highest traffic, to see what times of day are busiest (and with what sort of customers), and to gauge the effectiveness of window displays or the popularity of displayed items.

Needless to say, privacy concerns are definitely an issue. According to the company, all the data is processed within the mannequins, so no outside computers are involved, and nothing is transmitted. Nonetheless, that doesn’t change the fact that the mannequins would actually be watching you – and scrutinizing you.

The EyeSee mannequins were designed and are manufactured by Kee Square, a facial recognition tech company affiliated with Politecnico di Milano.

This particular company has also developed a product called Morpheus ICAO which is another facial recognition program where the typical applications include human examination of facial images, verification of identity through comparison of facial images, computer-automated face identification (one-to-many search and one-to-one match) All are applications geared towards government and TSA surveillance.

I can only assume that these mannequins will make their way to the United States very soon and then… how long will it be before they’re all networked together and sharing data with their corporate home offices or our government agencies. CREEPY…..

 

Black Friday or Cyber Monday

If Black Friday is not your idea of a fun way to spend a day off, then warm

Thanksgiving ACTSmart Style!

up your mouse and keyboard and get ready for Cyber Monday 2012…

A little history lesson:
Cyber Monday
is a marketing term for the Monday after Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States, created by companies to persuade people to shop online. The term made its debut on November 28, 2005 in a Shop.org press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”

In 2006, Shop.org announced that it launched the CyberMonday.com portal, a one-stop shop for Cyber Monday deals. Cyber Monday has become an international marketing term used by online retailers in Canada, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany and Chile.

The term “Cyber Monday” was invented by Shop.org. It was first used within the ecommerce community during the 2005 holiday season. According to Scott Silverman, the head of Shop.org, the term was coined based on 2004 research showing “one of the biggest online shopping days of the year” was the Monday after Thanksgiving (12th-biggest day historically). In late November 2005, the New York Times reported that “The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work Monday and buying what they liked.

Previous years “Cyber Monday” sales results:

2006 – $610 Million
2007 – $730 million
2008 – 846 million
2009 – $887 million
2010 – $1.028 billion
2011 – $1.251 billion
2012 – $2 billion anticipated

Visit the following sites for all the info and bargains:

Shop.org
http://www.cybermonday.com

Cyber Monday Savings Cente
http://www.offers.com/cyber-monday

Are You Ready To Ditch Carbonite

Free Onsite & Offsite Computer Backup

Designed for home users, with 1 or multiple computers, who are looking for a fast, secure, inexpensive and robust onsite, offsite AND cloud backup program, CrashPlan might just be the answer. Truly dependable computer backup means backing up to multiple locations – not just online – which until now could be complicated. CrashPlan automatically backs up to multiple destinations for FREE!

CrashPlan’s groundbreaking social backup concept makes it easy to back up to computers belonging to your network of friends or family for offsite backup, in addition to using your own computers and external drives for onsite backup. CrashPlan works on all your computers, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility either. The program works with Windows, MAC, Linux and Solaris operating systems.

Some of the features available include:

Automatic Backup
CrashPlan computer backup happens all by itself. Nothing to remember. No annoying popups. If backup is interrupted, CrashPlan automatically resumes when computers become available again.

Back Up Attached Drives
CrashPlan backup software can back up files and folders on attached drives. You can even remove and later reattach drives without restarting the backup. CrashPlan doesn’t care how long they’ve been disconnected either.

Unlimited File Size
Some data backup services limit the size of files you can back up. CrashPlan backup software has no restriction on file sizes.

Open / Locked File Support
On OS X and Linux, you can back up any open file. On Windows, CrashPlan uses Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service. If the application that created the open file does not support VSS, CrashPlan data backup software retries until the file is not busy.

Smart Backup
Data backups to different destinations occur one at a time. To ensure you’ll have a full backup at one location as soon as possible, CrashPlan automatically determines the order of your computer backups based on which destination will complete first. In general backups to local destinations happen before remote backup.

Backup Scheduling
If you want to control when computer backups take place, CrashPlan gives you the option to schedule your backup.

Transmission Efficiency and Compression
CrashPlan’s advanced backup software works to make your data backup as small as possible. In addition to minimizing bandwidth and storage requirements, small backups allow CrashPlan to work faster and invisibly. This is possible because:

  • Differential Backups: After the first backup completes, CrashPlan first checks for data that is already backed up and ignores it for subsequent backups. Subsequent computer backups are usually much smaller because they contain only new or changed information.
  • Data De-duplication: This data de-duplication happens at the block level, so even repeated information within a file, as well as across all files, is not backed up unnecessarily.
  • Compression: New / changed information is compressed before the backup is sent.

Flexible Restore Options
With CrashPlan backup software, you can go back in time and choose to restore specific versions of files based on date. You can also tell CrashPlan where to save the files when you restore and whether or not to rename them.

CrashPlan never throws anything away
Unlike other backup products, CrashPlan keeps your deleted files forever (unless you tell us not to.) No matter how much time passes after you delete a file, you can get it back. (Files backed up to CrashPlan Central are retained as long as you have an active subscription or free trial).

Visit http://www.CrashPlan.com for more information

Here’s a link listing the different features of each version of CrashPlan.
http://www.crashplan.com/consumer/compare.html

Has Your Browser Been Hijacked


Does this scenario sound familiar? “Every time you do a search and click on a results link, you end up on some random page, even though the link shows you should be going elsewhere. This “browser redirection” problem is affecting Google, Yahoo and other search engines and is caused by a multi-faceted threat called TDSS or Tidserv.

TDSS or Tidserv is designed to redirect search results to other links and infected web pages so you end up visiting web sites associated with the threat’s authors, but that’s just the most visible effect. According to Symantec it hides itself using advanced rootkit technology, displays advertisements, and opens a back door that further compromises the affected system’s security.

Symantec reports that this Trojan is designed specifically to make money. It generates web traffic, collects sales leads for other dubious sites, and tries to fool the victim into paying for useless software. If those tricks don’t work it can kick up the threat level by downloading additional malicious or misleading programs.

Threats like this one, once they get past normal security precautions, are usually very difficult to remove.  If you click on a search link and it goes to the wrong place once, that might be a fluke. If it happens multiple times you’ve got a problem. Update your antivirus and run a full scan, seek a threat-specific removal tool online like Kaspersky’s TDSSKiller.

You can download the program here.
http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208283363

The main reason, we’re talking about this problem today is lately we’ve received some emails from unknown senders offering to “help” fix this problem for free.  The subject line of the email is usually something like “Remove The Google Redirect Virus Instantly” and below is the text from one of the actual emails:

—————————————————————————————

From: wowdealz@googlegroups.com [mailto:wowdealz@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Google redirect fix
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2012 9:50 AM
To: wowdealz@googlegroups.com
Subject: Remove The Google Redirect Virus Instantly

hi internet user

Do you know that:

The Google / Search redirect virus is one of the most common viruses

of 2010, 2011 & 2012, infecting millions of computers around the World.

Designed by expert hackers, it is highly annoying and will continually redirect your web searches to fake or dangerous websites.

The main reason why this virus is is one of the most damaging is that it cannot be removed with traditional antivirus programs.

Instead, you need to use special methods or tools to get rid of it, which have remained a mystery until now.

 FixRedirectVirus is the solution to remove the search redirect virus from your PC.

Created by a computer technician with over 10 years experience, this working method removes the virus at its core –

removing the infection from your PC & preventing it from returning.

My simple program will explain exactly what the virus is and will then remove it automatically for you.
Now!

What Is The Google Redirect Virus& Why Is It So Difficult To Remove?

>>>>>> Click here 

—————————————————————————————————-

I know we’ve talked about these types of emails in the past but sometimes people forget or just believe that there are friendly people out there just lining up to help them fix all their computer problems for free –

I’ve removed the links from this email for your safety but if you clicked them they would take you to a web page with additional links to click and download their program that will clean your computer for free. The file that you would download is a “zipped” file that you would need to download and double click to “extract” – nuff said…..

Don’t EVER trust your computers security to an unknown person offering to fix it for free… I did a quick Google search on “how to fix Google redirect” and came away with hundreds of sites and links with all sorts of potentially harmful fixes, downloads and links that take you to an infected webpage causing the exact problem you are trying to fix. My quickie search result showed 2,610.000 webpages found.

If you do attempt to fix problems like this on your own, visit legitimate business websites like Kaspersky or Symantec and search for their removal tools and instructions.  Remember, even some legitimate looking webpages may not be all they pretend to be.

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