Logan Hochstetler

Logan Hochstetler

Friday, 16 December 2016 07:18

Are you emotionally intelligent?

Studies have found that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of success than IQ, but what is it?

It was once widely believed that a person's intelligence quotient, or IQ, would correlate strongly with their future success, so researchers were surprised to learn that people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time.

What was behind this unexpected finding? Emotional intelligence (EQ).

Emotional intelligence refers to a person's ability to perceive, understand, evaluate and manage their emotions and the emotions of others in positive ways. It affects how we behave, how we make decisions and how we navigate social situations.

EQ can be difficult to wrap your head around, but people with high levels are often described as being self-aware, persistent and motivated, as well as having self-restraint.


"EI is not soft, fluffy or about wanting to be liked," writes Travis Bradberry, author of the bestselling book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0." "Individuals who have high EI want to succeed, can control their emotions, are gregarious and have positive self-appraisals. Nothing fluffy there."

Research shows that people with high EQs are often the top performers in their fields, and a 2011 study of 17,000 infants followed over 50 years reveals that high EQ was a better predictor of success than academic performance.

Similar studies have found that people who develop emotional skills at a young age are not only able to perform well in their careers, but they also have longer marriages and lower levels of depression and anxiety. There's even evidence that such people are physically healthier.

How's your EQ?

Emotional intelligence isn't something you either have or don't have — it’s a combination of several traits that everyone possesses, but you may be strong in some and deficient in others.

According to psychologist Daniel Goleman there are five components of EQ: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills and empathy.

"What having emotional intelligence looks like is that you're confident, good at working towards your goals, adaptable and flexible. You recover quickly from stress and you're resilient," Goleman told The Huffington Post. "Life goes much more smoothly if you have good emotional intelligence."

Measuring an individual's emotional skills can be difficult though. Often, tests designed to assess EQ are self-reports on how well you think you manage your emotions, which is akin to taking an IQ test that asks how smart you think you are.

And while there are plenty of tests that measure certain components of EQ, the most accurate tests of overall emotional intelligence are typically administered by professionals.

One popular method of measuring emotional intelligence is testing a person's ability to read facial expressions and body language. This quiz by the University of California's Greater Good Science Center looks at how well you read people and identifies the facial muscles involved in expressing certain emotions.

company meeting

Emotional intelligence in the workplace

In TV and movies, the higher-ups at a company are often portrayed as cold and emotionally distant, and there may be a bit of truth to that, according to Bradberry, who co-founded TalentSmart, an emotional intelligence test and training company.

Bradberry and his colleagues analyzed the EQ profiles of more than a million people in the TalentSmart database and discovered that "organizations do promote the emotionally inept...except when they don't."

Their analysis revealed that middle managers have the highest EQ scores, which makes sense because companies tend to promote people who are even-tempered and get along well with others.

However, things changed as they looked at EQ scores higher up the corporate ladder.

"For the titles of director and above, scores descend faster than a snowboarder on a black diamond. CEOs, on average, have the lowest EQ scores in the workplace."

Bradberry points out this could be because working in the highest levels of management often means fewer interactions with lower-level employees and little understanding of how decisions impact others.


But that doesn't mean that all CEOs are emotionally inept. While they had the lowest scores in the analysis, the best-performing CEOs were still those with the highest emotional intelligence.

Improved performance — and a better bottom line — explains why many companies are investing time and money into hiring employees with high EQs.

Even the U.S. Air Force has seen the benefits of employing such people. The organization used a test called the Emotional Quotient Inventory to select recruiters and found that its top performers were those who scored highest in empathy, assertiveness, happiness and self-awareness.

By using the test in hiring, the Air Force learned it could predict successful recruiters by nearly three-fold, saving $3 million annually.

Unsure about your EQ?

Unlike your IQ, which won't change significantly over your lifetime, your EQ can evolve if you're committed to improving your skills.

According to Harvard Business Review, these are some signs that you may need to work on your emotional intelligence:

  • You often feel like others don’t get the point and it frustrates you.
  • You’re surprised when others are sensitive to your comments and you think they’re overreacting.
  • You think being liked at work is overrated.
  • You hold others to the same expectations you hold for yourself.
  • You find others are to blame for most of the issues on your team.
  • You find it annoying when others expect you to know how they feel.
If you think your EQ could use some work, here are some tips to help you improve your emotional skills.

Six months after iOS users were given access to Google’s Gboard, the tech giant is finally rolling it out for Android devices.

The keyboard comes as an update to the standard Google Keyboard, and has a Google search bar built right into the app.

Like its iOS counterpart, users can easily find and share information, GIFs and emojis based on their text - and it is designed with Glide Typing.

Scroll down for video

Gboard comes as an update to the Google Keyboard, which offers a Google search bar built right into the top row. Like its iOS counterpart, Users can easily find and share information, GIFs and emojis based on their text - and it is designed with Glide Typing

Gboard comes as an update to the Google Keyboard, which offers a Google search bar built right into the top row. Like its iOS counterpart, Users can easily find and share information, GIFs and emojis based on their text - and it is designed with Glide Typing

Google announced the release on iOS back in May and the tech giant said it would eventually hit Android devices.

Although it took six months, the tech giant is keeping to its promises and the search-centric keyboard is now available for the other half.

Its currently available as an separate app from Google, but should make its way over to the Play Store, as it was designed to replace the Google Keyboard altogether.

A Google logo is shown on the keyboard, which represents the search engine for looking up information to send – such as restaurant locations, reports Ars Technica.

There is also the highly anticipated emoji search.

Users simply tap on the emoji button and a search field will appear – allowing you to search terms to find the right emoji.

The keyboard also has a GIF search, which will drop an animated image right into your chat window.

Gboard feels like all of your favorite text apps combined into one location.


Source:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4027076/Google-finally-launches-Gboard-app-Android-six-MONTHS-iPhone-users-download-smart-keyboard.html

Tuesday, 13 December 2016 05:50

12 Reasons We’re SO Thankful This Year

Sure, everyone is thankful for fall-themed cocktails and the return of the Starbucks red cups. But, as you all gather around to feast on your Friendsgiving potluck and gorge your food-baby, I want to know what you’re thankful for this year.

To keep to tradition, I set out to ask the SEJ team what we are thankful for this year. Although it may seem like we’re always on Facebook Live or organizing another SEJ Summit here, we’re actually a global group of techies who are very much like yourselves – though we love us some SEO news, we know the things that matter most in life can’t be announced on Google Webmaster Central Blog.

From new babies that made us all smile to gifs that allow us to get a few new laughs on Slack (and little leftovers like roadways free of water that I’ll never take for granted post-Hurricane Matthew), here are the 9 things the SEJ team is thankful for this year.

And don’t forget to let us know what you’re thankful for this year too, below in the comments!

Caitlin's animals

  • “The internet, for giving me the ability to pay my bills and keeping me connected in a way that still feels like magic.
  • Animal snuggles and a supportive family.
  • NPR Politics Podcast, for keeping me informed and amused during the craziest campaign season ever.
  • GIFs, obviously.”

— Caitlin Rulien, Social Producer @sayscaitlin 

“I’m thankful for so much but two things stand out:

1) The SEJ team’s strong and trustful bond, which has taken years to develop and evolve. There is nothing more critical to progress in a small and distributed team like ours.

2) Our team members’ positive embrace of feedback. Sheryl Sandberg recently said the ability to take feedback well is the most important trait an employee can have, and I find this to be so true. This is a hallmark of the “growth mindset” which we’ve worked hard to thread into our company culture.”

— Jenise Henrikson, CEO @itsduhnise

“The biggest “thank” is my son was born! Regarding career, I am thankful to SEJ for being such a great team!”

— Vahan Petrosyan, Senior Developer @vahandev 


“I am thankful to work with an amazing team that supports my growth and gives me room to make mistakes and try new strategies.

As a parent, I am grateful to work for a company that values a balance between working and family. I simply could not ask for anything more than the opportunity to watch my little girl grow and do work that is both empowering and fun.”

— Danielle Antosz, Features Editor @dantosz

“About 9 months ago, I started training Jiu-Jitsu and met my coach Manny Soares, who quickly became by best friend. Manny’s and his wife Carol’s friendship, my Jiu Jitsu family (Garra BJJ), and training 6 days a week have helped me through one of the hardest times of my life. OSS!”

— Brent Csutoras, Chief Social Media Strategist @brentcsutoras

“Thankful for all the blessings. I am also thankful for my family – for each and every one of them. For my friends, for their love and support. I am also very grateful to be a part of the SEJ team.”

— Meg Cabrera, Editorial & Research Assistant @megcabrera

“The positivity and perseverance of the SEJ team to always want to do better; TSA pre-check; and texting, which has allowed me to stay in touch with my family and friends as we go through medical issues, childbirth, happy moments, and more.

— Kelsey Jones, Executive Editor @wonderwall7

“I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given this year. I’m thankful for the chance to try, fail, and succeed on those opportunities. As a new member of SEJ, I’m thankful to be part of the team and the community.”

— Rina Caballar @rinadianewrites

“Always thankful for family and friends :).”

— Jessica Cromwell, Director of Sales & Events @jrdoog

“I am thankful for the fact that Google has been more transparent this year, with respect to Algo updates and providing information about what’s going on behind the scenes of Google Search. This has been a tremendous benefit when it comes to helping SEOs and site owners stay on top of their game.”

— Matt Southern, Lead News Writer @mattgsouthern

“I very thankful for the blessings I received this year and I got back to my good health. I am also thankful to my family and SEJ family for the love and support. I am very grateful for being part of this great team!”

— Paulo Bobita, Director of Design @paobobita

Anna's thankful photos

“This year has been one of the most challenging years I’ve had so far. I wouldn’t be able to get through it without my mom and dad. They have made me this quirky, driven person I am today. My friends and our childish inside jokes make me laugh every day.  My two low rider basset hounds, Norman and Mabel that cuddle me unconditionally, even without treats hidden in my pocket. And, I’m so incredibly thankful for the opportunities that have come my way thanks to SEJ. SEJ has given me a home and something to build on for my future. I’m so thankful to be a part of such a talented, amazing team. Thank you to everyone! Cheers to another awesome year!”

— Anna Crowe, Features Writer @annaleacrowe

So, while some of you may be saying turkey, schmurkey, I know the warm, full of fall feeling you all get from taking a moment to remember what matters most to us.

Tell me below in the comments what you’re thankful for this season. And, who knows? Maybe we’ll even start our own Thanksgiving tradition.

Auhtor : Anna Crowe

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/reasons-were-so-thankful/178470/

One of the keys to building credibility with search engines is to keep creating fresh content. But not every website owner has time to create the quantity of quality content favored by search engines or like-minded thought leaders. Here are ideas to speed up the content-generating process without sacrificing quality.

Avoid fluff

Rule No. 1 when trying to produce several 500-1,000 word articles per week is to not fall into the trap of creating fluff that doesn't benefit anyone. Users certainly won't keep coming back to your site if all you give them is useless information. So, make sure your content is original and has some value to readers.

Start with outlines 

Outlines are the best way to map out the focus of an article and how it logically leads to a conclusion or important point. You can begin simply through brainstorming sessions in which all you do is write down the most powerful keywords relating to your content.

Then use these words to build phrases, which become headings that summarize paragraphs. Headings naturally flow into sentences that open paragraphs, followed by primary and secondary support sentences. It helps if you've already done research and have key facts in front of you. The outline process should only take about 10 minutes. 


Collect a list of ideas

Collecting ideas before you even begin the process of writing is the first thing that you should do even if you end up using only a small percentage of those ideas. Show your readiness to collect content ideasas they come, so that they are at your fingertips when you need them. This can be done using your notebook or your smartphone.

Schedule your writing tasks

To speed up your content writing, conduct brainstorming sessions for multiple headlines and ideas at once and categorize topics into themes or the manner you want to group your content. Then, list them according to your content writing schedule. Give yourself your own writing assignments. Waste no time in putting your content ideas on your editorial calendar for the upcoming weeks or months, all at once.

Research in advance

Advanced planning allows time to conceptualize what you will be writing the week before. This allows you time to research before you actually start writing. Once you make this a habit, it will prevent you from getting side-tracked during the critical phase of first-round of writing. When researching, you will probably come across ideas that you may want to write about later. It’s advisable to keep them for the future.

Show zero-tolerance towards distractions

Social media and net-surfing are common distractions while you write content. Try using tools that won’t allow you to access social sites while writing. Multi-tasking is another big distraction, as it doesn’t work, and saps your productive abilities.

Refrain from self-editing as you write

The initial copy of your content could be rather sloppy, replete with errors and typos, and voluminous at times. However, you are advised to refrain from self-editing as you write. Editing comes much later. Write your content in chunks and do it quickly without thinking too hard. Once the initial copy is ready, you can think about the perfect conclusion and the heading.

Make an audio recording

Since most humans can speak faster than they write or type, it's helpful to just record yourself saying what you want to say. Then go back and transcribe it and edit it so that it flows better for a reader. Perhaps the audio will be listenable enough to publish on the site as well. If you talk at a pace of 120 words per minute, it's possible to create a thousand-word soundtrack in less than ten minutes. 

Outsource content 

The final piece of the puzzle to crafting vast amounts of content quickly is to do what many professional media outlets are doing these days (in case you are using dictation software or recording content): outsourcing content to professionals or freelancers who do transcription work based on your specifications, while maintaining the confidentiality of the file, and charge within your budget. 

Author:  Beth Worthy

Source:  http://www.business.com/

Do you still have a Yahoo Mail account? The tech company made its way onto the scene in 1994 and became a popular search engine and email service. However, it's had a very rough year.

First we learned of a massive data breach that could have impacted billions of users. Then we found out Yahoo was allegedly complying with a government security agency's request to spy on all incoming emails. Now, there is more troubling news coming out about the tech giant.

Security researcher Jouko Pynnonen recently discovered a severe security vulnerability with Yahoo Mail. The flaw would allow an attacker to access the victim's email account.

This was a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack, similar to the one discovered by Pynnonen around the same time last year. Watch this video to see a brief detail of last year's discovery:

Why this flaw is so alarming

What's terrifying about this is the victim wouldn't even need to click on a malicious link to be affected. You only had to view an email sent by the scammer for your Yahoo Mail account to be compromised.

Yahoo filters HTML messages, which is supposed to keep malicious code from making its way into a user's inbox. However, Pynnonen discovered a vulnerability that kept the filters from catching all malicious code. It had to do with different types of attachments that could be added to emails.

The good news is once Pynnonen reported the flaw, Yahoo fixed it. The tech giant also paid him $10,000 for discovering the vulnerability through its Bug Bounty Program.

Even though these flaws have been patched, it's been a rough stretch for Yahoo. If all of these problems worry you, you might want to close your Yahoo accounts. Here are instructions on how to do that:

  • How to close your Yahoo account:
  • Go to the "Terminating your Yahoo account" page.
  • Read the information under "Before continuing, please consider the following information."
  • Confirm your password - if you forgot your password, you can recover it with the Yahoo Sign-in Helper.
  • Click Terminate this Account.

Remember, if you do close your Yahoo account, you will not be able to use services associated with it. So if you decide to keep your account, at the very least make sure you have a strong password. Here are three proven formulas for creating hack-proof passwords.

You can also enable two-step verification, set up a Yahoo Account Key, or use a password manager. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

Author:  Mark Jones

Source:  http://www.komando.com/

Blippar expanded its augmented reality visual search browser on Tuesday to recognize faces in real time with a simple smartphone camera and return information about that person.

The Blippar app feature, Augmented Reality Face Profiles, should build a bigger consumer following for the app, according to Blippar CEO Ambarish Mitra. He believes it will put the app in the hands of more consumers, so when brands like Nestlé, Condé Nast, Time, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Heinz, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Anheuser Busch launch campaigns, a larger number of consumers will already be familiar with how it works.

"In the world of augmented reality, that was missing," he said. "For any app to do well, you must have a compelling consumer story."

The feature allows users to point the camera phone at any real person or their image in a picture on television and the Blippar app returns information about the person from the company's database filled with more than three billion facts.

Real-time facial recognition is the latest tool, amidst expansion in artificial intelligence and deep-learning capabilities.

For public figures, their faces will be automatically discovered with information drawn from Blipparsphere, the company's visual knowledge Graph that pulls information from publicly accessible sources, which was released earlier this year.

Public figures can also set up their own AR Face Profile. The tool enables them to engage with their fans and to communicate information that is important to them by leveraging their most personal brand -- their face.

Users also can create fact profiles -- Augmented Reality profiles on someone’s face, which users create so they can express who they are visually.Users can view each other’s profiles that have been uploaded and published and can add pictures or YouTube videos, as well as AR moods and much more to express themselves in the moment.

The public figure blipping capabilities are now live and the augmented reality face profile feature is coming soon.

Author:  Laurie Sullivan

Source:  http://www.mediapost.com/

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 12:38

Yes, Google Tracks Most Everything You Do

1 Yes, Google and YouTube Track Your Every Step

Whether you like it or not, Google, Facebook, and Bing track everything that you do on their sites. Google is particularly far-reaching because it also captures what you do on Gmail, YouTube, and the millions of partner websites who use Google Analytics software.

For Google users, this means: every search you perform, every video or web page you open, every geolocation you travel to, and all the advertising segments you represent are all attached to your Gmail account and your computing device.

The declared intent of this tracking is to give you targeted advertising that is tailored to your tastes and habits. But that's only the declared intent. The logs of your web habits can also be used by law enforcement and anyone who has access to those massive logs.

Yes Google and YouTube Track Your Every Step

So, this is an uncomfortable fact about being online: if you choose to use Google products, you also implicitly agree to reveal parts of your life to the Google corporation and its partners. The pages that follow describe the 6 broad areas of information that Google tracks about you.


There is some good news, though: you do have *partial* control over this tracking, and if you choose to make the effort, you can reduce how much Google can see into your digital and personal life.

Click to see the first thing Google tracks about you...

2  Every YouTube Video and YouTube Search Is Logged

Every YouTube Video and YouTube Search Is Logged

Google owns YouTube. Accordingly, Google tracks every search you do on YouTube, and every video you ever view. So whether you just watched a Rick Astley music video, or searched for 'girls in bikinis', all of it is logged in a YouTube database. This information is outwardly used to recommend other videos to you in the sidebar. This information is also prime pickings for any investigators who might be charged with looking into your life.

How YouTube logging might impact you: your private interests could be outed and used against you by family members or anyone seeking to cause you emotional harm and embarrassment. In the worst case, your YouTube habits could be used by investigators and prosecutors should you ever be accused of wrongdoing or impropriety.

3  Your 'In-Market' Segments' Are Logged.

Your In-Market Segments Are Logged

This is arguably the most benign form of tracking that Google and Google Analytics captures about you. 'In-Market Segments' are the broad categories of advertising interest that you personally represent. As you'll see in the above screenshot example, the biggest number of sessions (visits) was by people interested in 'employment', followed by people interested in 'Travel/Hotels & Accomodations'.


How in-market segment impacts you: this is how Google and Facebook and Bing will tailor the ads that appear on the side of your web page. This data also helps individual webmasters decide how to adjust their page content to better appeal to you.

4  Your Physical Location and Travel History Are Logged

Your Physical Location and Travel History Are Logged

Unless you specifically turn off or mask your geolocating features, Google will store a history of where your smartphone has traveled, and where your desktop computer is located. This is a potential privacy risk for people who don't want to reveal where they move about.

How geotracking might impact you: if you become accused of stalking or some other crime, then this geo-tracking.can be used against you by investigators and prosecutors. Conversely, it could be used to clear your name of wrongdoing.

5  Your Demographic Details Are Shared with Partner Publishers

Your Demographic Details Are Shared with Partner Publishers

Google's reach goes much further than the Google.com and YouTube.com sites. Any website that uses Google Analytics software can view your demographic details. This means: your gender, age, geolocation, preferred hobbies and interests, your computing device details, and your in-market segment details are all logged at the website, along with the keyword phrases you used to find that website.

How Google Analytics might impact you: while most users won't have any negative experience from being tracked by G.A., this information can be used by online vendors to manipulate their prices to match demands. For example: an online airline ticket seller sees that you searched for 'emergency flights to Denver'. If you return later that same day to check prices again, that seller can opt to raise the price of Denver airline tickets that display to you online.


6  Every Google Search You Perform Is Logged

Every Google Search You Perform Is Logged

This should be no surprise; Google does indeed store every keyword phrase used by every single user across the planet. Thousands of disk drives around the Google universe are filled with logs of what people search for, in every native language that was used.

How this search tracking might impact you: in addition to possibly being used against you in a criminal prosecution, the likely impact will be any potential embarrassment you might experience around family and work colleagues; Google will display your recent searches as predictive text (auto-complete) in the Google search bar. If you don't want people to see what you've been searching for online, you would best served by hiding this search history.

7  Your Google Voice Searches Are Stored Forever

Your Google Voice Searches Are Stored Forever


If you choose to use 'OK Google' (Google Voice) for voice searching, it can be very helpful for hands-free use while you're driving. But know that every voice search you do, like every Google.com search, is stored on Google databases. The above screenshot example is staged, of course, but if you were to use Google Voice to do incriminating searches, then beware.

How this could impact you: beyond any criminal prosecution that you might have to bear one day, be careful if you jokingly do illicit searches on your smartphone. Even more likely: be careful that your friends don't prank you by using Google Voice to search for embarrassing or controversial things on your smartphone!

8  Google Pushes Targeted Advertising to You, Based on What It Knows About You

Google Pushes Targeted Advertising to You Based on What It Knows About You

This is the whole thrust of Google's data collection:  the ability to push targeted advertising tailored to every one of their millions of readers.  And in turn, Google charges high rates for advertising because they can promise targeted delivery to their millions of readers.

9  How You Can Reduce Your Google Exposure

How You Can Reduce Your Google Exposure

While you will never fully prevent giants like Google from collecting data on you, it is possible to reduce how much of your life is stored in Google databases.

Since June of 2015, you can see all your Google account settings at this URL:


This is where your Gmail/Google Plus/YouTube account is centralized. If you want to exert control over what Google tracks about you, go to the above URL and click on the link called 'Activity Controls' . (You will need to be logged into your Gmail/Google Plus/YouTube account for this to work.)

Once you get to the myaccount page, click on Activity Controls. There you will see multiple options as follows:

  1. 'Your searches and browsing activity'
  2. 'Places you go'
  3. 'Information from your devices'
  4. 'Your voice searches and commands'
  5. 'Videos you search for on YouTube'
  6. 'Videos you watch on YouTube'.

To request Google to stop tracking you, find the round button slider and set it to 'paused' (when the round button slider is pushed to the left). You will need to repeat this for each of the 6 categories.

Note the careful choice of wording by Google to say 'paused' and not 'disabled'. This means that Google can, and possibly will, turn on any of these features again without notifying you.

It's not a guarantee of privacy, but this does reduce your exposure. As long as you choose to use Google and YouTube services online, this is the most privacy you can ask for from the search king.

Good luck, and may you have safe and happy travels on the Web!

Author:  Paul Gil

Source:  https://www.lifewire.com

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 12:28

The Greatest Computer Hacks

While most hackers are benign hobbyists, some hackers do inflict terrible widespread damage and cause financial and emotional hurt. Victimized companies lose millions in repair and restitution costs; victimized individuals lose their jobs, their bank accounts, and even their relationships.

So what are examples of large-scale hacks that wreaked this much havoc? What are the greatest hacks of recent history?

With 'greatest' being synonymous with 'harshest', About.com has assembled a list of noteworthy hacks from the last 20 years. As you read this list below, you will certainly want to reconsider your own password practices. We've enclosed some strong suggestions at the bottom of this article to help you reduce the risk that you too will be hacked one day.

1 Ashley Madison Hack 2015: 37 Million Users

Computer being hacked

The hacker group Impact Team broke into the Avid Life Media servers and copied the personal data of 37 million Ashley Madison users. The hackers then incrementally released this information to the world through various websites. The shameful impact to people's personal reputations has had ripples across the world, including claims that user suicides followed after the hack.

This hack is memorable not only because of the sheer publicity of the impact, but because the hackers also earned some fame as vigilantes crusading against infidelity and lies.

Read more about the Ashley Madison breach:
Rob Price describes the impacts of the Ashley Madison hack scandal
Callum Paton tells us how you can check if your spouse was affected by the hack
Krebs on Security describes how the hack transpired

2 The Conficker Worm 2008: Still Infecting a Million Computers a Year

Conficker worm malware: still infection 1 mil computers per year

While this resilient malware program has not wreaked irrecoverable damage, this program refuses to die; it actively hides itself and then nefariously copies itself to other machines. Even more frightening: this worm continues to open backdoors for future hacker takeovers of the infected machines.

The Conficker worm program (aka 'Downadup' worm) replicates itself across computers, where it lies in secret to either a) convert your machine into a zombie bot for spamming, or b) to read your credit card numbers and your passwords through keylogging, and transmit those details to the programmers.

Conficker/Downadup is a very smart computer program. It defensively deactivates your antivirus software in order to protect itself.

Conficker is noteworthy because of its resilience and reach; it still travels around the Internet 8 years after its discovery.

Read more about the Conficker/Downadup worm program:
Kelly Burton describes the technical side of the Conficker worm
How to detect and remove Conficker from your computer
Symantec can also remove the worm for you

3 Stuxnet Worm 2010: Iran's Nuclear Program Blocked

Stuxnet worm set back Iran's nuclear program by years

A worm program that was less than a megabyte in size was released into Iran's nuclear refinement plants. Once there, it secretly took over the Siemens SCADA control systems. This sneaky worm commanded over 5000 of the 8800 uranium centrifuges to spin out of control, then suddenly stop and then resume, while simultaneously reporting that all is well. This chaotic manipulating went on for 17 months, ruining thousands of uranium samples in secret, and causing the staff and scientists to doubt their own work. All the while, no one knew that they were being deceived and simultaneously vandalized.

This devious and silent attack wreaked far more damage than simply destroying the refining centrifuges themselves; the worm led thousands of specialists down the wrong path for a year and half, and wasted thousands of hours of work and millions of dollars in uranium resources.

The worm was named 'Stuxnet', a keyword that was found in the code's internal comments.

This hack is memorable because of both optics and deceipt: it attacked a nuclear program of a country that has been in conflict with the USA and other world powers; it also deceived the entire nuclear staff for a year and a half as it performed its nasty deeds in secret.

Read more about the Stuxnet hack:
Stuxnet: a modern digital weapon?
Stuxnet was like a Tom Clancy novel
The real story of Stuxnet

4 Home Depot Hack 2014: Over 50 Million Credit Cards

Home Depot hack, 2014: over 50 million credit card numbers

By exploiting a password from one of its stores' vendors, the hackers of Home Depot achieved the largest retail credit card breach in human history. Through careful tinkering of the Microsoft operating system, these hackers managed to penetrate the servers before Microsoft could patch the vulnerability.

Once they entered the first Home Depot store near Miami, the hackers worked their way throughout the continent. They secretly observed the payment transactions on over 7000 of the Home Depot self-serve checkout registers. They skimmed credit card numbers as customers paid for their Home Depot purchases.

This hack is noteworthy because it was against a monolithic corporation and millions of trusting customers.

Read more about the Home Depot hack:
How CEO Frank Blake responded to his chain of stores getting hacked
The Wall Street Journal describes the hack here
The Home Depot hack is now an official case study

5 Spamhaus 2013: the Largest DDOS Attack in History

Spamhaus: nonprofit protection against spammers and hackers

 A distributed denial of service attack is a data flood. By using dozens of hijacked computers that repeat signals at a high rate and volume, hackers will flood and overload computer systems on the Internet.

In March of 2013, this particular DDOS attack was large enough that it slowed the entire Internet across the planet, and completely shut down parts of it for hours at a time.

The perpetrators used hundreds of DNS servers to 'reflect' signals repeatedly, amplifying the flood effect and sending up to 300 gigabits per second of flood data to each server on the network.

The target at the center of the attack was Spamhaus, a nonprofit professional protection service that tracks and blacklists spammers and hackers on behalf of web users. The Spamhaus servers, along with dozens of other internet exchange servers, were flooded in this 2013 DDOS attack.

This DDOS hack is noteworthy because of the sheer scale of its brute force repetition: it overloaded the Internet's servers with a volume of data that had never been seen before.

Read more about the Spamhaus attack:
The New York Times describes the DDOS attack
A London teenage hacker pleads guilty to being one of the DDOS hackers
Meet Spamhaus, the anti-spam service who was the prime target of the DDOS attack.

6 eBay Hack 2014: 145 Million Users Breached

eBay: the world's largest marketplace

Some people say this is the worst breach of public trust in online retail. Other says that it was not nearly as harsh as mass theft because only personal data was breached, not financial information.

Whichever way you choose to measure this unpleasant incident, millions of online shoppers have had their password-protected data compromised. This hack is particularly memorable because it was very public, and because eBay was painted as weak on security because of their slow and lackluster public response.

Read more about the eBay hack of 2014:
BGR describes how the eBay hack transpired
eBay does not win any points with its sluggish response to the breach
Here's eBay's blog response

7 JPMorgan Chase Hack, 2014: (76 + 7) Million Accounts

JP Morgan Chase was hacked

In the middle of 2014, alleged Russian hackers broke into the largest bank in the USA and breached 7 million small business accounts and 76 million personal accounts. The hackers infiltrated the 90 server computers of JPMorgan Chase and viewed personal information on the account holders.

Interestingly enough, no money was looted from these account holders. JPMorgan Chase is not volunteering to share all the results of their internal investigation. What they will say is that the hackers stole contact information, like names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. They claimed that there is no evidence of social security, account number, or password breach.

This hack is noteworthy because it struck at people's livelihoods: where they store their money.

Read more about JPMorgan Chase hack:
The New York Times tells the story of the hack
The UK Register tells us that server technicians failed to upgrade one of its servers that allowed the hack
Here is the official report documentation from the S.E.C.

8 The Melissa Virus 1999: 20% of the World's Computers Infected

Melissa email virus 1999

A New Jersey man released this Microsoft macro virus into the Web, where it penetrated Windows computers. The Melissa virus masqueraded as a Microsoft Word file attachment with an email note 'Important Message from [Person X]. Once the user clicked on the attachment, Melissa activated itself and commanded the machine's Microsoft Office to send a copy of the virus as a mass mailout to the first 50 people in that user's address book.

The virus itself did not vandalize files or steal any passwords or information; rather, its objective was to flood email servers with pandemic mailouts.

Indeed, Melissa successfully shut down some companies for days at a time as the network technicians rushed to clean their systems and purge the pesky virus.

This virus/hack is noteworthy because it preyed on people's gullibility and the current state weakness of antivirus scanners on corporate networks. It also gave Microsoft Office a black eye as a vulnerable system.

Read more about Melissa virus:
1999: Melissa wreaks havoc on the Web
How Melissa works
What can we learn from Melissa?

9 LinkedIn 2016: 164 Million Accounts

LinkedIn hack 2016: 164 million accounts breached

In a slow-motion breach that took four years to reveal, the social networking giant admits that 117 million of their users had their passwords and logins stolen back in 2012, to later have that information sold on the digital black market in 2016.

The reason this is a significant hack is because of how long it took for the company to realize how badly they had been hacked. Four years is a long time to find out you've been robbed.

Read more about the LinkedIn hack:
CNN Money describes the incident
LinkedIn publicly responds to the 2012 hack

10 Anthem Health Care Hack 2015: 78 Million Users

Anthem health care: 78 million users hacked

The second-largest health insurer in the USA had its databases compromised through a covert attack that spanned weeks. Details of the penetration are not being volunteered by Anthem, but they do claim that no medical information was stolen, only contact information and social security numbers.

No harm has been yet identified for any of the compromised users. Experts predict that the information will one day be sold via online black markets.

As a response, Anthem is providing free credit monitoring for its members. Anthem is also considering encrypting all their data for the future.

The Anthem hack is memorable because of its optics: another monolithic corporation fell victim to a few clever computer programmers.

Read more about the Anthem hack here:
Anthem responds to their customer questions about the hack
The Wall Street Journal describes the Anthem hack
More details about the Anthem hack and their response.

11 Sony Playstation Network Hack 2011: 77 Million Users

Sony Playstation network: 77 million users hacked

April 2011: intruders from Lulzsec hacker collective cracked open the Sony database at their Playstation Network, revealing the contact information, logins, and passwords to 77 million players. Sony claims that no credit card information was breached.

Sony took down its service for several days in order to patch holes and upgrade their defenses.

There has been no report that the stolen information has been sold or used to harm anyone yet. Experts speculate that it was a SQL injection attack.

The PSN hack is memorable because it affected gamers, a culture of people who are computer-savvy fans of technology.

Read more about the Sony PSN hack here:
Extremetech describes how Sony PSN was hacked
How SQL injection works

12 Global Payments 2012 Hack: 110 Million Credit Cards

Heartland hack 2012: 110 million users

Global Payments is one of several companies that handle credit card transactions for lenders and vendors. Global Payments specializes in small business vendors. In 2012, their systems were breached by hackers, and information on people's credit cards was stolen. Some of those users have since had their credit accounts defrauded with dishonest transactions.

The signature system of credit cards in the USA is dated, and this breach could have easily been reduced if credit card lenders would invest in using the newer chip cards that are used in Canada and the UK.

This hack is noteworthy because it struck at the daily routine of paying for goods at the store, shaking the confidence of credit card users around the world.

Read more about the Global Payments hack:
CNN Money describes the GPN hack
How hackers use DoS and SQL injections
Heartland payment processor was also hacked in 2009 before merging with Global Payments

13 So What Can You Do to Prevent Getting Hacked?

How to Make a Killer Password

Hacking is a real risk that all of us must live with, and you will never be 100% hacker-proof in this age.

You can reduce your risk, though, by making yourself harder to hack than other people. You can also reduce the impact of when you do get hacked by implementing different passwords for your different accounts.

Here are some strong recommendations to reduce your online identity exposure:

1. Check to see if you've been hacked and outed at this free database.

2. Make the extra effort to design strong passwords as we suggest in this tutorial.

3. Use a different password for each of your accounts; this will substantially reduce how much of your life a hacker can access.

4. Consider adding two-factor authorization (2FA) to your Gmail and other main online accounts.

5. Consider subscribing to a VPN service to encrypt all of your online habits.

Author: Paul Gil

Source: https://www.lifewire.com/

Security and intelligence company IST Research has acquired Rescue Forensics to double down on its efforts to find human traffickers and victims of modern day slavery.

IST Research and Rescue Forensics did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition announced Thursday.

Rescue Forensics tech will be used to improve efforts by both the Department of Defense’s Memex deep web search engine and IST’s Pulse platform. Both can be used to trace human traffickers and other groups.

The Memex program has been used to help prosecutors secure convictions, said Scientific American in a February 2015 article.


IST has worked with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) since 2012, founder Ryan Paterson told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

“Many of us have come from the defense and intelligence side of things and we started realizing the structures we were seeing emerge from this,” Paterson said. “The commercial sexual exploitation environment was the exact same structure we were seeing in terrorist organizations, transnational organized crime, and others…with the connectivity and link indicators between them.”

The International Labour Organization estimates that 4.5 million peopleworldwide are involved in forced sexual servitude and more than 21 million are victims of modern day slavery.

Memex crawls the deep web — sites that are not indexed by search engines like Google or Bing — and incorporate tech from more than a dozen teams of researchers at universities and companies like IST.

The DARPA website refers to fighting human trafficking as a “a key Defense Department mission.”

“The deep-web networks involved in human trafficking are closely related to other illicit and regionally destabilizing networks, including ones involving weapons and drugs. DARPA’s work is adding investigative and prosecutorial capacity in all these areas,” DARPA spokesperson Rick Weiss told VentureBeat in an email.

The study of informal economies like sex trade and prostitution through ads around the world led to the creation of the IST Pulse platform, Paterson said, a platform that is funded in part by the Department of Defense. Pulse looks for phone numbers or email addresses used, or commonalities like spacing and misspellings in sex ads on the deep web to track individuals.

The platform scours the deep web for irregularities and trends on the deep web and also includes ads for sex on sites like Craigslist.

The artificial intelligence and search tools used to focus on specific populations — like human traffickers — can also be used to focus on other specific groups, Paterson added.

“We’re interested in child soldiers, we’re doing work in central Africa right now with the Lord’s Resistance Army, fighting the LRA there, that Kony mission, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, what’s happening in Mosul, in Aleppo,” he said. “Our goal as a company has been how do we provide the ability to extract information from parts of the world where human security is a real issue, and pull that data and disconnected folks into the highly connected big data, policy, law, and investment spectrums.”

In addition, the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Memex refers to the relation of human trafficking to crime and national security.

“Human trafficking is a line of business with significant web presence to attract customers and is relevant to many types of military, law enforcement, and intelligence investigations,” the BAA said. “The use of forums, chats, advertisements, job postings, hidden services, etc., continues to enable a growing industry of modern slavery.”

IST has worked with DARPA since 2012, Paterson said.

Rescue Forensics uses a combination of big data, predictive analytics, and computer forensics to provide law enforcement agencies with easy to read intelligence.

Tech that IST acquired from Rescue Forensics will be used to put knowledge in the hands of state and local law enforcement. IST now works with organizations like the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and Rescue Forensics works with more than 450 agencies in various parts of the world.

IST is one of multiple software solutions now available to fight modern day slavery.


The startup TraffickCam was created by the Exchange Initiative that has so far collected more than 1.5 million geotagged images from the inside of hotel rooms. The website and iOS app is used to determine where sex crimes take place.

Made in a Free World uses software to detect signs of slave labor in the supply chains of large corporations.

The Polaris Project, from partners like Twilio.org and Salesforce, is used to help human trafficking victims quickly communicate with law enforcement officials.

IST Research is based in Fredericksburg, Virginia and has 50 employees.

Source : http://venturebeat.com/

Updates related to operating systems (OS), iOS apps and android apps are very common. Consumers expect it, anticipate it and often demand it. This is great, because in world where needs and wants are constantly evolving, the ability to improve and make changes on the fly are essential. Since more products are living online or connected to the internet, updates are required. There is one company whose updates can put businesses on edge and greatly impact websites. Google algorithm changes can seemingly come out of nowhere and recovery times if penalized can take a while.

A Google algorithm change can be happening right now but due to the subtleness, is not noticeable to the average web surfer. However, when big updates happen like Google Panda, Google Hummingbird or Google Penguin, businesses should check to see that their website isn’t affected. Moz details larger algorithm updates in-depth if you would like to dig deeper into Google algorithm changes.

Google Penguin 4.0 and Impact

Recently Google released a new algorithm update to Google Penguin. Google Penguin 4.0 has the same core function of the original Penguin algorithm. Originally Google Penguin was rolled out to address the growing practice of generating links unnaturally. These links often came from spammy sites that Google is actively working to eliminate.


Google values user experiences above all and will penalize websites who are in violation. Google penalties are legendary and tend to have a seemingly lasting impact. These penalties result in loss of keyword rankings on search engine pages. This is a very big deal, as an important keyword your company once ranked on and drove traffic and/or sales could be lost. By ‘lost, we mean that Google could greatly hinder your chances of ranking on a keyword like “big screen tv” or “consulting service” if penalized.

SEM Rush explains historically once a site was penalized by Google it could take months or even years to recover. Google Penguin had a lasting impact as some websites waited years for a Google Penguin Recovery after making site changes. This was because larger Google algorithm changes and updates were rather infrequent and websites could only recover after a new update.

This delay could mean missing out on valuable prospects due to your site falling in the rankings. Now Google Penguin 4.0 is focusing on maintaining the integrity of websites while also increasing the speed at which website can recover from any potential penalty.

Penalties From Google

Previously, when a site received a Google penalty it impacted the entire website. Now Google Penguin 4.0 makes the penalties much more targeted. This means that opposed to the entire site being impacted it could just impact a specific page. Therefore, it is more important to regularly check subdomains and individual web pages to ensure that no drastic changes have happened. This isn’t uncommon as you aren’t notified when you are impacted – you just have to look for the signs.

Signs may vary but some of the signs are significant sudden drops in organic keywords or/and keywords dropping in position. If you notice any of scenarios happening to you chances are your website or webpage may have been hit by Google Penguin. These checks can be performed using sites like Google Analytics and SEM Rush. Once you identify bad links you want to remove or disavow those links. If you can’t remove the links, Google explains the disavow process here. Once these changes are made your Google Penguin Recovery will be much quicker.

The biggest benefit of this Google algorithm change is the speed the penalty can be resolved or even implemented. Previously when Google Penguin penalized a website for spammy links, it could take a while before Google ran the algorithm again to see if the problem had been corrected. Now due to the real time aspect of this algorithm a Google Penguin Recovery can occur fairly quickly.

In addition the opposite is true as a violation can be discovered and a web page can be impacted.

The easiest way to protect yourself is to perform regular site audits to make sure that any backlink that you receive is credible. While Google rewards quality links a bad link can slow down all of the hard work you put into building your online presence.

Things to Keep in Mind

In conclusion here are a few points to remember when thinking about Google Penguin.

  • The goal is to ensure a good user experience so you should always write for your web visitors. If you are doing this and making sure your links are credible you greatly minimize the chance of getting hit by Google Penguin 4.0.
  • Penguin is in real time meaning that it is vitally important to keep track of any backlinks and monitor your web pages. Previously the whole site would be affected by Penguin but that currently isn’t the case. While it’s great to make changes and see Google quickly stop penalizing your web page you must remember the inverse. This means a if spammy sites began linking to your site you could be penalized.
  • Use tools such as Google’s Disavow Tool or SEM Rush’s Backlink Audit to eliminate any spammy backlinks. You can also consider speaking to a professional in regards to performing a site audit. The important thing is to regularly check site traffic for any strange fluctuations.

Author:  Ray Bennett

Source:  http://www.business2community.com/


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