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Issac Avila

Issac Avila

Those 'someone's nicked my car' days are over.

There's nothing quite like the feeling of returning to a car park only to realise you have no idea where you left your car.

Are you looking on the wrong level? Has someone really nicked your knackered Renault Clio? Have you been the victim of a stealth paint job prank? No, you've just forgotten where you parked.

Don't worry – we've all been there.

Thankfully, Google Maps is here to ensure you never need to suffer like that again, as its brand new parking location feature has now been officially rolled out on both Android and iOS devices. Hallelujah.

To activate the feature, simply tap the blue dot that denotes your location on the map. For Android, press "Save your parking" and on iOS, "Set as parking location". It really is that simple.

And that's not the only neat feature Google has been rolling out on its services – the newly-renovated Google Earth just introduced one of its coolest features yet.

Not content with offering users virtual tours of some of the world's natural wonders (which is cool enough, let's face it), there's now the option to go on a tour voiced by Sir David Attenborough.

The tours feature content from some of Sir David's pioneering docuseries, including Life Story, Africa and Planet Earth II, so not only will you have fun, but you'll learn stuff, too.

This article was  published on digitalspy.com by RIANNE HOUGHTON

With the continuing growth of the Internet of Things (Internet-connected devices all around us), voice search has helped the search function move off the computer and mobile screen.

Microsoft and the team at Bing have put together an infographic illustrating their predictions for the future of search. They argue that natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will help search become more of each of the following 3Ps:

Personal: Consumers expect personalized experiences, and 75% of customers get frustrated when content that is not relevant to their search comes up. The good news is that voice search is becoming increasingly accurate with an all-time low error rate of 5.9%.

Pervasive: A whopping 50 billion Internet-connected devices are expected to be in use by 2020, and consumers will want ways to interact and search seamlessly.

Predictive: Companies will increasingly rely on search data to help them predict patterns and behaviors in their business.

To see more about the future of search and how brands can keep up, check out the infographic. Just tap or click to see a larger version.


This article was  published on marketingprofs.com by Laura Forer

What are the top bad habits to stop immediately or I'll regret big time later in life? the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

1- Forgetting That You Will Die - People waste time like they are going to live forever. You will die. Everything you take for granted will be stripped from you. Walking, talking, breathing and sh*ting are gifts, and one day the universe will take them back.

2- Saying "I can't" Instead of "I won't" - Look 99% of the time, you mean to say I won't when you say I can't. When you say I won't, you take responsibility for what you are saying no to. It gives you power, and sometimes it shows you where you are being weak.

3- Letting your self-image run your life - People are working jobs they don't want, going home to people they never loved, and living in cities they hate because they are afraid of making decisions that will make them look bad. You will look incompetent at the beginning of any journey. Incompetence is temporary, regret last a life time.

4- Watching TV by Yourself - If you want to watch a game, go to that teams bar. If you want to watch a show, find a friend and watch it with them. Throw out your TV and make watching the Tele a social experience. Don't waste your life watching other people live theirs.

5- Not Acting on your Worries - If you are worried about something, act on it as soon as possible. This kills your anxiety levels and helps you sleep better at night. Definitely don't wait for things to get out of hand before dealing them.

6- Waiting For Things to Happen - Tens of thousands of people die everyday because they don't have access to clean water, life doesn't care about you getting a promotion and finding love. Go out and learn how to get what you want.

7- Not Taking Care of Oral Hygiene - I want you think about how many people don't exist because someone had bad breath.

8- Using "That's Just Not Me" as an Excuse Not to Grow - Look nothing is going to be "You" before you do it. You is a fluid concept, if you want to learn how to do something, do it.

9- Masturbating Multiple Times a Day - Look I know this is a weird one to include, but guys and I do mean men, masturbating everyday drains you of your testosterone, which kills your motivation and makes you overall less awesome. Read the testimonials on the reddit "NoFap" for success stories. This doesn't mean don't ejaculate ever, as that can have an adverse effect on your prostate, namely prostate cancer.

10- Not Listening to People's Advice - Don't get in the habit of asking people for advice and then not applying it.

11- Not Telling the People You Love "I Love You" - Not a day goes by I don't tell the people I love, "Love you" because you never know when it's going to be your last time speaking to them.

12- Not Wearing a Seat Belt - It's a lot easier to put on your seat belt before the accident happens.

This question originally appeared on quora.com

how to restore deleted text messages on an iphone l

We’ve already talked about how to delete your text messages, so now we’re going to look at how to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone. That’s right, text messages don’t really get deleted when you delete them, unless you reset your iPhone to its factory settings — an action designed to erase everything on your device, not just texts.

If you’re passing your iPhone on to someone else, or selling it, then performing a factory reset is the safest way to rid your device of its precious data. If you’ve deleted some texts by mistake and want to recover them, there are ways you can do this. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Restoring texts from an iCloud Backup

Restoring an iCloud backup is probably the easiest way to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone. Provided that you have iCloud Backup turned on, and your iPhone has been doing its scheduled backups, then your deleted texts should be backed up to iCloud. The service backs up messages sent via iMessage, SMS, and MMS, though it does require the SIM card that was in use when you made the backup.

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Backup.
  2. Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.
  3. After that, you will have to erase your iPhone by going into Settings > General > Reset.
  4. Choose Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Once done, you’ll be asked if you want to restore your iPhone from an iCloud Backup.
  6. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup.

Once your backup is restored, you should be able to access any texts that were on your phone when you first made the backup.

Restoring texts from an iTunes Backup

prevent from syncing itunes iphone ios

prevent from syncing itunes iphone ios

If you’re in the habit of doing backups through iTunes, then you should have a number of backups to choose from. However, this requires a bit of digging in the iTunes preferences before you plug your iPhone into your computer.

  1. In iTunes, go to Edit > Preferences > Devices.
  2. Make sure Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically is checked.
  3. Click OK.

If you sync your iPhone with iTunes, you can permanently delete messages so they can’t be recovered. Once you’ve prevented your iPhone from automatically syncing, however, there are two ways to restore your iPhone from an iTunes backup.

  1. After you reset your iPhone to its factory settings, you can either Restore from iTunes Backup or plug your iPhone into your computer and open iTunes.
  2. Select your iPhone in the top menu, and in the Summary section, click Restore Backup.
  3. If asked to update your device, select Download only.

Restoring text with a third-party app

There are many apps that will allow you to retrieve text messages from your iPhone, most of which work in the same way. You plug your iPhone into your computer, open a program, and follow a set of on-screen steps. From texts to call history, these apps will let you recover things you thought were lost forever. Below are a few of our favorites.

The best

iMobie Phone Rescue ($60+)

Phone Rescue will allow you to recover a number of files, including messages. What sets this program apart, however, is that it allows you to recover data from your iCloud account, in addition to your iTunes and device backups. The app also has a number of repair tools, which let you recover your device when it crashes or experiences errors.

Download now from:


The rest

Wondershare Dr.Fone ($70+)

This recovery tool is compatible with the latest iOS devices, and you can install the program on both MacOS and Windows-based machines. The software will allow you to quickly recover text messages, as well as photos, videos, and even data from third-party apps like WhatsApp.

Download now from:


Tenorshare Ultdata ($50+)

Like other recovery apps, this app will let you recover both messages and media. It also allows you to recover your iPhone when it’s stuck in recovery mode, or when it fails to install the latest iOS update.

Source : yahoo.com 

Study after study attribute the increased number of households without a cable or satellite TV subscription at least in part to Netflix is a game-changer. You know it, I know it, and the pay TV industry certainly knows it. The cord cutting trend is accelerating and study after study attribute the increased number of households without a cable or satellite TV subscription at least in part to Netflix.

While Netflix has changed the game for entertainment, we’re about to change the game for your Netflix experience with 10 tips and tricks you’ll wonder how you even lived without.

Remove things you’ve watched from your history

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.50.01 AM
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.50.01 AM

This is the holy grail for many users, and yet they had no idea the option is there.

Have you ever watched something and you’d rather not have other people in your house know you watched it. Don’t worry, we’re not here to judge. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to be ashamed anymore — you can simply remove the movie or TV show from your history.

On Netflix.com, hover over your name in the top-right corner and click “Your account.” Now scroll down to “Viewing activity.” Head over to the title you’re not exactly proud of and click the “X” all the way to the right. If it’s a show and removing one episode isn’t enough, you can then click the “Remove series” link that appears.

Test new features before they launch

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.56.16 AM
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.56.16 AM

Want to check out new features Netflix is testing before everyone else? Hover over your name in the top-right corner and click “Your account.” Now click “Test participation” under Settings. Click the toggle to on and, on occasion, you’ll get access to new pre-launch features that Netflix is testing.

God Mode

Netflix just rolled out a big redesign that helps fix those annoying carousels but if you really want to see Netflix’s titles presented in the best possible way on Netflix.com, you need “God Mode.” Our earlier post on Netflix God Mode will tell you everything you need to know.

Tell Netflix what you like

Don’t rely solely on your watch history for Netflix recommendations. After all, everyone has those guilty pleasures we’d rather not repeat. Instead, help Netflix recommend more fitting content by telling it exactly what you like.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.27.44 AM
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.27.44 AM

On Netflix.com, hover over your name in the top right corner and then click “Your account.” Now scroll down to “Taste preferences.” There, you can indicate how much you like different themes, and you can also pick which genres you like and which ones you dislike.

Force high-quality streaming

By default, Netflix is set to optimize your stream based on the quality of your internet connection. If you only want to stream high-quality videos, hover over your name in the top right corner and then click “Your account.” Now scroll down to “Playback settings.” Click “High” and you’re good to go.


If Netflix’s recommendations aren’t enough and you want help finding new content to watch, check out Flicksurfer. The site lists all content on Netflix and lets you drill down by genre, and then you can sort by Rotten Tomatoes rating, IMDb rating, Netflix user rating, or a combination of all three.

Use your phone to watch, not a set-top box app


The Netflix experience on your smartphone is so much better than the experiences offered by set-top box apps or smart TV apps. Use AirPlay to stream content from your iPhone or Chromecast to stream from your Android phone. Then you can find content in that great mobile UI, and search using a keyboard instead of moving a cursor around a keyboard on your TV.

See everything you’ve rated, and adjust ratings

Are your Netflix recommendations not as solid as you’d like? People’s tastes change over time, so it might be a good idea to go back through the content you’ve rated and make some adjustments.

Hover over your name in the top right corner and then click “Your account.” Now scroll down to “Ratings.” Here, you’ll see everything you’ve rated and you can either make adjustments or remove titles completely.


Do you find it difficult to keep track of everything new that’s added to Netflix? Do you just want to see the most popular content? Or how about the most popular movies and TV series only among recently added content? Instantwatcher is the answer.

Keyboard shortcuts

Heaven forbid you have to move more than a few inches while you’re streaming the latest episode of Daredevil. Use these keyboard shortcuts to control playback:

Space – Toggle Play/Pause
Enter – Toggle Play/Pause
PgUp – Play
PgDn – Pause
F – Full-screen
Esc – Exit full-screen
Shift+Left arrow – Rewind
Shift+Right arrow – Fast Forward
Up arrow – Volume Up
Down arrow – Volume Down
M – Mute toggle

Source : yahoo.com


Scientists have developed the first global Internet Atlas — including a detailed map of the internet's physical structure in India — an advance that could help guard the infrastucture from terrorism or extreme weather events.

Despite the internet-dependent nature of our world, a thorough understanding of the internet's physical makeup has only recently emerged through Internet Atlas developed by researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US and their collaborators.

"Internet is in a constant state of flux and mapping is really important to understand the evolution of the Internet," Ramakrishnan Durairajan, a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said.

"No single service provider can offer an authoritative perspective on the structure of the Internet," Durairajan said.

While average users rarely think of these elements, things like submarine cables - buried below the ocean floor — run between continents to enable communication.

Data centres in buildings all over the world are packed with servers storing many types of data. Traffic exchange occurs between different service providers at internet exchange points.

Though these and other elements may be out of sight for the average user, they are crucial pieces of the physical infrastructure that billions of people rely on.

"We have over 1,200 maps worldwide including India. All the data are connected using web search," said Durairajan.

"From maps that we have in our repository I'd say we have fibre running across almost all the states in India. However, connectivity could be improved in the north-western and north-eastern regions," he added.

Mapping the physical internet helps stakeholders boost performance and guard against a number of threats, from terrorism to extreme weather events like hurricanes.

"A lot of infrastructure is by major right-of-ways, like railroad lines," said Paul Barford, Professor of Computer Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US, meaning that an event like a train derailment could end up disrupting internet communications.

"The question of 'how does mapping contribute to security?' is one of our fundamental concerns," said Ramakrishnan Durairajan, PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The project has helped direct attention to the problem of shared risk. Physical infrastructure is commonly shared by multiple networking entities, so damage to any particular piece of infrastructure can impact more than one entity.

"There is a lot of infrastructure sharing happening in the Internet today," said Durairajan. "Many service providers do this to save deployment costs by signing leases with other service providers."

"This infrastructure sharing leads to a problem called 'shared risk': physical conduits shared by many service providers are at an inherently risky situation since damage to those conduits will affect many several providers," he said.

Much of the data used to create the Internet Atlas comes from publicly available information, such as what internet service providers publish on their websites.

Other data has taken more legwork to uncover, such as combing through mundane items like local permits for laying cables, researchers said.

The team is looking to enhance the maps even further and share their work so it can be deployed by others to boost network performance and security. — PTI

This article was published in tribuneindia.com  


At this week's Facebook F8 conference in San Jose, Mark Zuckerberg doubled down on his crazy ambitious 10-year plan for the company, first revealed in April 2016.

Here's the current version of that roadmap, revealed by Zuckerberg this week: 

Basically, Zuckerberg's uses this roadmap to demonstrate Facebook's three-stage game plan in action: First, you take the time to develop a neat cutting-edge technology. Then you build a product based on it. Then you turn it into an ecosystem where developers and outside companies can use that technology to build their own businesses.

When Zuckerberg first announced this plan last year, it was big on vision, but short on specifics.

On Facebook's planet of 2026, the entire world has internet access — with many people likely getting it through Internet.org, Facebook's connectivity arm. Zuckerberg reiterated this week that the company is working on smart glasses that look like your normal everyday Warby Parkers. And underpinning all of this, Facebook is promising artificial intelligence good enough that we can talk to computers as easily as chatting with humans.

A world without screens

For science-fiction lovers, the world Facebook is starting to build is very cool and insanely ambitious. Instead of smartphones, tablets, TVs, or anything else with a screen, all our computing is projected straight into our eyes as we type with our brains.

A mixed-reality world is exciting for society and for Facebook shareholders. But it also opens the door to some crazy future scenarios, where Facebook, or some other tech company, intermediates everything you see, hear, and, maybe even, think. And as we ponder the implications of that kind of future, consider how fast we've already progressed on Zuckerberg's timeline.

facebook mark zuckerberg smart glasses
(Mark Zuckerberg promises that, oneGetty) 

We're now one year closer to Facebook's vision for 2026. And things are slowly, but surely, starting to come together, as the social network's plans for virtual and augmented reality, universal internet connectivity, and artificial intelligence start to slowly move from fantasy into reality.

In fact, Michael Abrash, the chief scientist of Facebook-owned Oculus Research, said this week that we could be just 5 years away from a point where augmented reality glasses become good enough to go mainstream. And Facebook is now developing technology that lets you "type" with your brain, meaning you'd type, point, and click by literally thinking at your smart glasses. Facebook is giving us a glimpse of this with the Camera Effects platform, making your phone into an AR device.

Fries with that?

The potential here is tremendous. Remember that Facebook's mission is all about sharing, and this kind of virtual, ubiquitous "teleportation" and interaction is an immensely powerful means to that end.

This week, Oculus unveiled "Facebook Spaces," a "social VR" app that lets denizens of virtual reality hang out with each other, even if some people are in the real world and some people have a headset strapped on. It's slightly creepy, but it's a sign of the way that Facebook sees you and your friends spending time together in the future. (Facebook Spaces, which lets you hang out with your friends virtually.Facebook) 

Facebook Spaces
And if you're wearing those glasses, there's no guarantee that the person who's taking your McDonald's order is a human, after all. Imagine a virtual avatar sitting at the cash register, projected straight into your eyeballs, and taking your order. With Facebook announcing its plans to revamp its Messenger platform with AI features that also make it more business-friendly, the virtual fast-food cashier is not such a far-fetched scenario.
Sure, Facebook Messenger chatbots have struggled to gain widespread acceptance since they were introduced a year ago. But as demonstrated with Microsoft's Xiaoice and even the Tay disaster, we're inching towards more human-like systems that you can just talk to. And if Facebook's crazy plan to let you "hear" with your skin plays out, they can talk to you while you're wearing those glasses. And again, you'll be able to reply with just a thought.
Regina Dugan F8
(Regina Dugan unveiled Facebook's mind reading ambitions on Wednesday.Facebook)
If we're all living in this kind of semi-virtual world, it makes Facebook key to every interaction, and crucially, every financial transaction we conduct in that sphere. It could make the company a lot of money, certainly.
So yes, while it's still at least a decade off, this is all happening, little bit by little bit. But with Facebook facing fresh questions every day for its role in our personal lives and our political elections, it's also important to remember that much of this gives the social network — as well as companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft which all pursuing the same ends — unprecedented control over our conceptions of reality. It's time to ask these questions now, and not later.
This article was published in  finance.yahoo.com by Matt Weinberger
Friday, 21 April 2017 06:37

Where You Live May Add To Why You Smoke

Each week, LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Smokefree Policies Help Queer Folks Quit

Researchers found that LGBT smokers in Missouri were significantly more likely than those who had quit smoking to live in communities that allow smoking in places like restaurants and bars, where the LGBT community has traditionally gathered and been exposed to tobacco. Moreover, 94% of queer smokers in communities with a smoking ban wanted to quit compared to just 76% of those in places without bans.

Colorado Study Schools Youth Disparities

A survey by the state of Colorado revealed staggering disparities among the state’s LGBT high school students, including triple the use of tobacco, quadruple the rate of suicide attempts, and more abuse of substances. Denver’s ABC 7 dug into the details and shared that trans students who felt safe in their schools were 2.3 times less likely to have attempted suicide.

Syphilis Scares this STD Awareness Month

The CDC announced, as part of its April STD Awareness Month program, more data suggesting syphilis is a growing problem in the U.S. – especially among queer individuals. The just-announced 2015 numbers were the highest in 20 years, and 82% of the cases were among queer men. Moreover, half of the queer men reporting syphilis infection were also living with HIV.

Gay Prostate Cancer Survivors Face Isolation, Vulnerability

A UK study examined the experiences of prostate cancer survivors who were under 65 and either gay or unpartnered, and found that both face problems like isolation from having a disease that greatly effects sexuality, especially at a younger age than most men who develop the cancer. The researchers added that gay prostate cancer survivors have unique needs, and require better access to targeted information and support.

Doc Defends Trans Community’s Right to Care

A gynecologist opined in Rewire that doctors treating transgender patients should remember the oath they take to not let a patient’s identity stand in the way of quality care, and to remember the doctor’s code to “do no harm.” The good doctor warns that policies allowing anti-trans discrimination in the name of a doctor’s constitutional freedoms ignore the basic principles of medical care.

UNAIDS Launches Antidiscrimination Finder

UNAIDS launched a new website that allows you to search for tools from all around the world on combatting HIV-related stigma and discrimination. The search engine even allows you to zero in on tools specific to different populations, such as the LGBT community, women, or racial minorities.

Source : huffingtonpost.com

Friday, 21 April 2017 04:23

How to make money on Facebook

It’s fair to say that social media has taken over the internet in the last decade. For most people, the bulk of their internet usage involves Facebook. With the ability to simply plug in and view the timelines of all of your friends’ lives, it’s not hard to see why it is so addictive.

Whether sites like Facebook are ultimately a good or bad thing for society is up for debate, but one thing can be said for certain: There is money to be made there. If you have products or services to sell, it is best to make sure that your brand is visible in areas where your audience is present.

There are many ways to make money with Facebook. Let’s take a look at a few of the easier ways to get started:

The group post + Email opt-in method

One of the most basic methods of making money on Facebook is a twist on the whole “landing page” method of internet marketing. You can create a simple landing page that provides a valuable offer. For example, let’s say you’re in the pets niche, so you offer to send people a free book on how to groom their cat in exchange for their signing up for your email list. While the original offer is free, this increases the likelihood that your prospects will be willing to buy your products or services.

Next, make a Facebook profile (or use your existing one). Join all of the category-related groups that you can find on Facebook and post your landing page on there, telling people that they can get something free for signing up. Obviously, you must do this in a way that isn’t spammy, otherwise, your efforts will backfire.

Once th"]ey sign up, you can send them niche-related affiliate offers periodically and make money from that. If you already have your product or service, you can promote that. You can also alternatively just post your affiliate link to relevant products in the groups, but this is more likely to get you banned.

Networking: The slow method

If you already have a business going, you can make more money by simply networking on Facebook. This is a “slow and steady” approach that can provide significant results over time. The key is to focus on having conversations with potential customers that don’t focus on selling.

Use your platform to position yourself as a resource. Answer common questions that your customers have. Use your expertise to provide value. When you position yourself effectively, people will feel more comfortable with spending their money with your business.

For example, if you own a company that builds fancy custom bicycles, you might join cycling-related groups. Give useful information and answer people’s questions. Once you have built a good reputation, then casually mention that you make custom bicycles. If people ask about a certain kind of bike, mention that you make them and give a bit of information.

Before you know it, people will be coming to you when they need your product or service.

Note: Facebook isn't the only way to network. Every business needs a website, and it doesn't take much to get online. Wix offers hundreds of gorgeous templates to choose from. 

Use paid ads to boost your business

If you have some capital, then buying paid ads or boosting your promotional posts on your business Facebook page can go a long way. This is an art in and of itself, but with enough experimentation, you can get tons of sales or opt-ins if your ads are targeted enough.

Making money on Facebook requires some creativity and some patience when learning the ropes, but it can pay off big in the long run since you will have a huge audience.

Source : komando.com

Didn't we fix this back in 2005? Apparently not

Click this link (don't fret, nothing malicious). Chances are your browser displays "apple.com" in the address bar. What about this one? Goes to "epic.com," right?

Wrong. They are in fact carefully crafted but entirely legitimate domains in non-English languages that are designed to look exactly the same as common English words. The real domains for the two above links are: xn--80ak6aa92e.com and xn--e1awd7f.com.

In quick testing by El Reg, Chrome 57 on Windows 10 and macOS 10.12, and Firefox 52 on macOS, display apple.com and epic.com rather than the actual domains. We're told Chrome 57 and Firefox 52 are vulnerable while Safari and Internet Explorer are in the clear. Bleeding-edge Chrome 60 on macOS 10.12 was not vulnerable.

This domain disguising, which tricks people into visiting a site they think is legit but really isn't, is called a "homograph attack" – and we were supposed to have fixed it more than a decade ago when the exact same problem was noticed with respect to the address "paypal.com."

So what is this, how does it work, and why does it still exist?

Well, thanks to the origins of the internet in the United States, the global network's addressing systems were only designed to handle English – or, more accurately, the classic Western keyboard and computer ASCII text.

The limitations of this approach became apparent very soon after people in other countries started using the domain name system and there was no way to represent their language.

And so a lengthy and often embarrassingly tone-deaf effort was undertaken by largely American engineers to resolve this by assigning ASCII-based codes to specific symbols. Unicode became "Punycode."

There may be trouble ahead...

The trouble – which was first noted way back in 2001 – is that some letters in other languages like Cyrillic are different but look almost identical. You can get identical-looking versions of "a", "B", "c", "i", "l", "O" and "p," among others.

So by combining the codes for these other letters with non-coded letters you can appear to spell out a word like "apple," therefore tricking people into visiting a different website from the one they think they are visiting.

Needless to say, the organization in charge of overseeing the domain name system, US-based ICANN, took this seriously and put out a warning back in 2005 on what it termed "homograph attacks." The world's DNS overseer stated:

ICANN is concerned about the potential exacerbation of homograph domain name spoofing as IDNs [internationalized domain names] become more widespread, and is equally concerned about the implementation of countermeasures that may unnecessarily restrict the use and availability of IDNs.

And so it turned to its community of internet engineers and policy makers and opened a formal comment forum to come up with "countermeasures" and "improve public protection from abusive use of domain names."

That was 12 years ago. What's happened since?

Not much, it seems. The comment forum that ICANN opened received just three comments and was archived in 2006. Statements put out by internet organizations including CENTR and APTLD have long since been lost thanks to broken hyperlinks.

I can't hear you

The internet community appears to have just wished the problem away. Unfortunately, it was still there. So five years later, in 2010, and then again in 2011, it reappeared.

This time spammers had started using the technique to get people to click on their links by providing what looked like legitimate domain names. The one that caught everyone's attention was a Cyrillic version of "paypal.com" that was really "raural.com," but looked the same.

The problem had grown because of ICANN's own expansion of the IDN space. The organization was under significant pressure from governments around the world who were very unhappy with the speed of progress at the US-based and American-dominated organization in adding their languages to the internet's infrastructure.

For its own self-preservation, ICANN approved a "fast track" of new IDNs, but the issue of homograph attacks appears to have been left untouched. ICANN is in a position to develop new policies that would then likely be adopted by other organizations that make up the internet eco-system – but it appears to have chosen not to bother.

Browser manufacturers have been similarly lazy:

  • Most have introduced a system for people to report phishing websites, which it then uses to provide a warning if users visit that site.
  • Firefox places some restrictions on mixing different language scripts in an effort to limit the abuse.
  • Apple and Safari have simply provided online guides for how to turn IDNs off.

However, even though some browsers responded back in 2010 by turning off IDNs as a default, it appears that at some point a browser update has set the default back to on.


In terms of actual policy changes, the last activity we saw was a group working on "universal acceptance" at a domain name conference back in 2015 that would enable all internationalized domains to work across the internet.

That group was being given informal support from ICANN, as well as Google, but has made limited progress thanks to a lack of resources. Part of that group's work was to figure out how to minimize the impact of phishing through IDNs.

As to what you can do to mitigate being tricked by their coding issue: the best solution, unfortunately, is to simply turn off support for IDNs in your browser.

ICANN's webpage on the topic hasn't been updated since September 2015. We prodded ICANN for any information on current efforts to tackle homograph attacks. A spokesperson told The Reg:

ICANN is as concerned as ever about malicious use of the DNS via phishing. We have not changed our rules for what contracted TLDs are allowed to delegate in their zones. The recently described attacks are no different than the ones ICANN has been looking at since the addition of IDNs in 2003.

In the meantime, ICANN is coming toward the end of another lengthy policy process that would allow or block the use of country codes – like "us" for the United States or "de" for Germany – in the hundreds of new top-level domains that ICANN has approved in the past few years. These have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the small Los Angeles-based organization.

It should be noted however that the policy only covers ASCII text – ie, the English keyboard. Fifteen years on from the first warning of homograph attacks using non-English characters, it seems that some priorities never change. ®

PS: To fix the issue with Chrome, wait for Chrome 58 to arrive around April 25 and install it. On Firefox, go to about:config and set network.IDN_show_punycode to true.

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Source :theregister.co.uk


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