Hulk Hogan vs Streisand Effect

It’s amazing how often the Streisand Effect impacts both celebrities and organizations. For example, consider the recent news around Hulk Hogan.

Back in 2012, unknown people were shopping around a sex tape of wrestler Hulk Hogan. Never ones to be above petty gossip around washed up celebrities, the Gawker site released a small, edited portion of the tape to prove it existed and reap millions of clicks.

By 2015, the mainstream public had completely forgotten about it, and Hogan was working for the WWE, making money well past his prime.

So what happened next? The Streisand Effect stuck. Wikipedia defines this as the “phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.” Named for how Barbra Streisand’s 2003 attempts to suppress photos of her mansion actually increasing interest in them.

Back in 2015, the mainstream public had pretty much forgotten about Hogan’s sex tape, and he was back to performing in the WWE, which is pretty impressive for a 61 year old. However, this all came crashing down when Hogan decided to file a $100 million privacy lawsuit against Gawker years late.

The lawsuit immediately turned the existence of that tape from a forgotten minor scandal to top story, and immediately increased interest in the original tape. This new interest caused the full tape being released by the people who originally sold it to Gawker.

This new, full version includes a long, racist rant that caused the WWE to not only end their partnership with Hogan, but strip any and all references to him from their site and media.

Even worse for Hogan, the sudden interest in the full tape, along with the public reaction around his racist rants, may end up being the best defense against Hogan’s case according to Fortune.

If ever there was a lesson to be learned in social media, it’s “don’t discount the Streisand Effect”.

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Fake Tech Support Calls

How secure are you?

Imagine this – you are sitting at home minding your own business when you receive a phone call from an official-sounding person who tells you your computer is seriously infected with viruses. They say they will help you out and eliminate the viruses if you will provide your credit card information.

An increasing number of computer users are receiving similar phone calls and some — afraid of potential data loss and device damage — are surrendering their bank account information in the hope this will protect their tech.

If you get such a call, I recommend only one response — hang up. It’s a scam!

Our clients continue to report phone scams targeting both PC and Mac owners. Cybercriminals pretending to work for Microsoft, Geek Squad, or another other nationally-recognized tech company call their intended victims, claim they’ve scanned the potential victim’s computers remotely and found viruses on them. Taking advantage of the average computer user’s fear of viruses, they trick people into giving them remote access to the computer.

Once the scammer has access to the victim’s system, they will often show the user scary-looking error messages on the machine as “proof” their machine is infected. They will then say the only solution is for the user to make an immediate payment to the “technician” so he can clean up the “dangerously infected” computer. Often, they will the offer to install more “protection” software onto the system to prevent this from happening again. Unfortunately, this is most often the scammer using access to the victim’s machine to install other bits of malware to capture the victim’s online shopping or banking information.

If your first instinct is not to trust cold calls about fixing your computer, you’re absolutely right. Scammers use publicly available information (like your name and telephone number) to make initial contact and can often make an educated guess about your PC’s operating system. They can sound very convincing (they are good at this), but don’t be taken in.

It’s important to understand that reputable tech companies (like Microsoft, Geek Squad and other tech leaders) will not scan computers remotely without permission from the owner. They will not call computer users unless they are already working with them on a support issue initiated by the user.

Should you get one of these telephone calls, here are a few tips to help protect yourself:

  • When in doubt, hang up and call the company back at their publicly listed telephone number. You can usually find contact information on their web site. (Geek Squad’s number is 1-800-433-5778)
  • Never provide a credit card or banking account information to someone on a cold call, even if they claim to be from a computer support company.
  • Never give remote access to your computer to any technician unless they can confirm they are a legitimate member of a computer support company with which you have an existing support agreement.

If you’ve been a victimized by a phone scammer:

  • Contact your credit card or bank and speak with the fraud prevention team to have the charges reversed and the account protected from future charges.
  • Change your computer password, along with the password of any online accounts that may have been provided to the cybercriminal. Before changing the password, you might want to read this article on creating a secure password.
  • Update your security software and run a full scan on your computer, or use one of our tools to scan your machine. You may also want to contact a Geek Squad Online Support Agent to have the PC checked for malware.
  • Report the scam to the FTC to help alert other potential victims.

Phone scams are successful because cybercriminals rely on computer users trusting an unknown person with access to their computers. Together, we can defeat these scams by simply hanging up when you receive an unrequested support call, regardless of who they say they are.

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WTAM 1100 – Passwords & Kerbals

Even the most advanced security can be defeated by a poorly chosen password. On this week’s #Tech Tuesday segment on WTAM 1100 Newsradio, Bill Wills and I discuss basic tips on how to choose a strong password. I do recommend the use of a password managers, such as LastPass and DashLane.

We also talk about Kerbal Space Program, a fun but smart physics-based game for all ages with an interest in rockets and spaceflight. More information and a free demo can be found at kerbalspaceprogram.com.

Listen to #Tech Tuesday on WTAM 1100 Newsradio in Cleveland every Tuesday at 7:50am. Follow Bill Wills on Twitter as @billwillswtam and myself at @agent3012.

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Tracking Tech for the National Bike Challenge

The warm weather of Spring may have you interested in getting outside.

The National Bike Challenge

If you have a bicycle, the National Bike Challenge is looking to encourage both current and new riders to bring more activity to their life by tracking miles ridden for both recreation and transportation. The challenge runs from May through September at nationalbikechallenge.org

While you can manually track and enter your daily or weekly rides, we have a number of tech solutions to not only make it easier to submit your miles, but provide you with a wealth of other activity information for any health and fitness goals you may have.

If you have a smartphone, you already have the basic hardware needed to track your ride. Several apps are available across the Android, iOS and Windows platforms to help track both rides and runs. Four apps in particular have the ability to directly sync your riding activity to the National Bike Challenge website once you setup your account. Those apps are Strava, Endomondo, MapMyRide and Moves.

Most of these apps will have both free and paid versions depending on your needs. For new riders, the free service will use your phone’s GPS to track your ride and give you helpful information such as the total and distance time travelled, average speed and even calories consumed. Syncing with the National Bike Challenge site is included.

Paid subscriptions to those apps usually include more in-depth information for advanced riders looking to improve their rides, including specific segment information, as well as the ability to record heart rate information from Bluetooth monitors like the Polar H7 or the Mio LINK Sport.

For those looking to go beyond the information available via their smartphone, or simply to avoid running down the phone battery, there are dedicated devices available. Cycling GPS units attach to a bicycle with sensors that can track speed, distance and cadence, with an easy to read display on your handlebars. Units like the Magellan Cyclo 315 or the Garmin Edge Touring can use the GPS feature to not only track your ride but provide directions on pre-loaded routes. Some models include the ability to pair with a Bluetooth or ANT+ heart rate monitor.

GPS watches, like the TomTom MultiSport with Heart Rate Monitor or Garmin Vivoactive can be used across sports. Their small form factor makes them a great choice for those who run as well as ride.

Another great feature of any of the services used to sync to the National Bike Challenge site is their ability to share your progress with others. Most have their own community aspects, allowing you to follow (and challenge) friends, as well as share your progress with your favorite social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. Even within the National Bike Challenge site, you can create both local and national teams for schools, organizations or work (Even Best Buy has a team).

However you track your ride, the end goal is to get out and be more active. Stay safe and enjoy the trip!

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