All posts by Joel Fernandes

Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

Play “Angry Anna” to Fight Against Corruption

Inspired by the insanely popular and one of the most addictive  games of all time, Angry Birds, a bunch of geeks from a Noida-based company called Geek Mentors Studio, have designed a game called Angry Anna, which encourages online users to Play to support Anna Hazarein his battle against corruption in India.

Just after the launch of the game earlier this week, it was already hit by massive fan followers, bringing over 50,000 hits to the home page and thousands of Twitter and Facebook posts. The game has been played more than 270,000 times since its launch.

Angry Anna Game

Anna’s rallies and protests are going on nationwide, but many who support the cause can’t go out on the streets to participate. So the idea was that people play the game as a support to the noble movement of Mr. Hazare,said Mohammed Shah Nawaz, one of the game’s developers.

Mohammed Faisal, a 3D animation expert and co-founder of the game stated that they were concerned about reactions from the politicians; however he said that, no one has complained anything against the game or the company yet.

Anna Hazare is fighting against corruption to wipe out all the corrupt politicians including the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, preventing them from stealing the Indian money, and get back the black money hidden in Swiss bank accounts.

In the game, the politicians are surrounded by money bags, and Anna’s target it to destroy the politicians. Once they are all destroyed, the bags returns to Team Anna’s side and the player can move on to the next level. The game has four levels, and has replaced the Angry Birds with animated pictures of Anna Hazare, Ramdev and several others who are a part of Anna’s team.

This Angry Anna game is a browser based game, and can be played online here: http://www.angryanna.com/

Click the play button to play the game.

The sound effects are quite funny, and you can find it similar to the Angry Birds’ sound effects. Although the game experience isn’t as good as Angry Birds, the idea is quite innovative and a perfect way to support Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement.

How I wish Anna Hazare could wash away these filthy politicians with just a mouse click!

Support Anna Hazare to Fight Against Corruption with Android and Nokia app

Facebook Hits 1 Trillion Page Views in Just One Month

After attaining a solid user base of over 750 million users, the social media giant Facebook, has crossed one trillion page views in just one month, making it the first website to cross the milestone.

Google’s ad network DoubleClick, which was acquired for $3.1 billion, reveals the top 1000 most-visited sites on the web. Facebook topping the list has got 870,000,000 unique visitors (users), 46.9% reach and a whopping 1 trillion page views in June 2011. It’s a milestone achieved for Facebook!Facebook Hits 1 Trillion Page Views

The other interesting part of the stats is the 870 million unique visitors. You might wonder that Facebook now has 870 million users. That’s not true. Amit Agarwal from Digital Inspirations explains that the number comes from certain site sections like Facebook Pages and Profiles which are open to non-users as well as registered members.

Further digging into the data reveals that users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the social network and, on an average, each user generates 1,150 page views, sharing more than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) every month.

YouTube ranks second (in terms of unique visitors) with 790,000,000, quite close to Facebook, but far behind with 100 billion page views, or about 10 percent of what Facebook gets. However, Google states that the list excludes adult sites, ad networks, domains that don’t have publicly visible content or don’t load properly, and certain Google sites.

The top 10 most-visited websites –

  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. Yahoo
  4. Live.com
  5. Wikipedia
  6. MSN
  7. Blogspot.com
  8. Baidu.com
  9. Microsoft
  10. qq.com

With all this remarkable stats, there’s just one question that comes to my mind. Will Google Plus ever be able to make this far? I don’t think so! It looks like the newly launched social network Google Plus, is slogging behind, and probably having a slow death just like Orkut. Unless Google comes out with something really kickass and unique, I see the future of Google+ is not going to be that good.

Google Doodles 112th Birthday of Argentine Author Jorge Luis Borges

Continuing the tradition of celebrating birthdays, festivals and other occasions, Google today are celebrating the 112th birthday of the Argentine author  Jorge Luis Borges,  by creating a doodle, which is inspired by his writings.

Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo, born on August 24, 1899 to a respected family, was inspired by literature by the books in his father’s library. He was not only a renowned writer, but also a great essayist, poet and translator.

His Works

After moving with his family to Switzerland in 1914, Borges continued his education, after which he returned to Argentina in 1921 and began publishing his work in surrealist literacy journals. He also worked as a librarian and public lecturer.
Jorge Luis Borges
The most famous  books,  Ficciones  (1944) and  The Aleph  (1949), are compilations of short stories, and are mostly interconnected by common themes such as dreams, labyrinths, libraries, animals, fictional writers, religion and God. He was awarded the first International Publishers’ Prize for the Prix Formentor, in 1961.

Borges was awarded the National Prize for Literature from the University of Cuyo, and the first of many honorary doctorates. However, Borges was one among several other eminent authors who never received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Borges commented “Not granting me the Nobel Prize has become a Scandinavian tradition; since I was born they have not been granting it to me.”

Google Doodle

112th Birthday of Jorge Luis Borges - Google Doodle

Today’s Google doodle draws heavily from Borges work. It depicts the different architecture, buildings and the great man himself. The doodle has been designed to mimic the outline of the letters which make up the traditional Google logo. Clicking on the doodle will take you to a search results page for Borges.

Red Arrow Crashes During Air Show Video – Facebook Scam

In a tragic incident, flight Lieutenant Jon Egging’s Hawk T1 jet crashed into a river during the Bournemouth Air Festival yesterday, after which he was pronounced dead.   This disastrous incident has got scammers to increase users’ curiosity by creating sensational headlines and promising them to show the crash video on Facebook.

The scam titled – “Red Arrow crashes during air show” leads to a Facebook page that contains an image which appears like a real YouTube player. Clicking on the play button will click-jack and like-jack your Facebook account automatically, and will reload the page with a set of surveys, which you will be asked to complete them in order to watch the video.

Red Arrow crashes during air show - Facebook Scam

However, there is no point in completing any steps or surveys, because there is no video shown at the end of the process. Scammers post Facebook scam messages like this to get users to “like” the message and complete surveys.

This scam is similar to the recent death video of the infamous Osama Bin Laden, Justin Bieber scam,  Miley Cyrus scam,  teen from Egypt commits suicide scam  and  girl killed herself after dad posted on here wall scam. The mode of operation of all these scams is similar, as they entice users to click on a link and then ask them to fill a survey while posting an update to their wall.

Scammers earn money by getting users to complete online surveys. Sometimes, users are asked to purchase surveys using credit cards, and the entered card details will be sent to the scammers, which could be further misused. They are also used to spread malware and obtain personal information.

If you come across this message, please ignore it or delete it from your news feed. Alternatively, you can report it to the Facebook Security team, and prevent other Facebook members from falling for the trap.

As a precautionary measure, always check which applications you use and remove unwanted or suspicious ones. If you aren’t sure how to do it, you can always check our guide on  removing apps from Facebook. In addition to that, don’t forget to check out our article about  Avoiding Facebook Lifejacking and Clickjacking scams. Here’s an article that might help you protect your Facebook account from hackers –  How to Prevent Your Facebook Account from Getting Hacked

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How to Prevent Your Facebook Account from Getting Hacked

While scams and phishing attacks are issues of serious concern, it’s not an easy task for several users on Facebook to identify and avoid them. Hackers try to hack user accounts by sending them phishing mails, and eventually steal personal information and other credentials like credit card details and bank details.

There are several ways how hackers carry out the hacking process. Scammers Hackers go through users’ account and gather publicly available information, and send phishing emails to obtain secured information like credit card number and bank details. Sometimes, they create malware programs that are automatically downloaded on your computer which help them gain access to credentials like email id, passwords and so on.

However, hacking isn’t as easy as pie. It goes without saying after all that hacking does require some – considerable amount of knowledge. Here are four common methods that hackers use to target and hack the accounts of Facebook users  –

  • Phishing Attacks
  • Key logging Programs.
  • Password rest via Mobile
  • Revealing saved Facebook passwords on web-browsers.

Phishing Attacks

Difficulty Level: Moderate

The term phishing means the fraudulent attempt to steal a person’s confidential information like username, password, bank account numbers, credit card number, and so on. It is one of the most commonly used and easiest methods to gain access to a user’s account.

When you go fishing, you obviously need to have some bait. Similarly, phishers send spoof emails pretending to be from the Facebook team. Typically the email will direct you to click on a URL, which will lead you to a fake webpage, and you will be asked to provide your private information.

The most common and popular phishing attack involves creating a fake login page. Fake login pages appear exactly like the original Facebook login page. When a user attempts to login on this page, the entered username and password will be sent to the hacker, who will then have control over your account.

Here’s an attempt by a hacker that sent a fake security message –

Facebook Security Phishing Attack

From the above screenshot you can notice that the link provided to verify your account is a fake. It has the link – http://shortlink.tk/gh/accountconfirm which redirects again to http://apps_facebook_account_help_center.cast.cc. Facebook does not create any short URLs when it comes to security related issues. Clicking on the link will take you to a page where you will have to go through the verification process.

Please Read Facebook Security Network – Phishing Attack for complete details.

Get A Free $100 Pizzahut Gift Card – Facebook Scam

Facebook’s anti-spam computer algorithm might have a way to tackle scam messages, but that doesn’t stop scammers from creating new scams and spreading them across the network. A new bogus offer is now underway, which offers users a “Free $100 Pizza Hut Gift Card” upon completing a set of surveys.

Get A Free $100 Pizzahut Gift Card! Facebook Scam

The message contains a link, www.FreePiesOn.us that leads to bogus webpage, which displays an alert box with a message in Hindi that states – “Congratulations! You are today’s 19th winner (current date). Please select a prize, enter your email address and enter your shipping information”

Entering into the site will display the following page:

Get A Free $100 Pizzahut Gift Card! Facebook Scam

There isn’t any relation between the title of the scam and the website that you are taken to. The title says that you will receive a $100 gift card from Pizza Hut, but you are taken to a site that contains affiliate links to coupon sites like SnapDeal and MyDala. The site also has a flashing title that states – “You are the winner of today”

On the bottom-right, you will notice a timer, which indicates that you need to claim the offer within the provided time, else it will expire. In order to claim the prize, you need to enter your email address and shipping details, which will completely compromise your privacy.

Clicking on the Continuebutton will take you the respective coupon site, where you will be asked to enter your email id to create a new account. Sometimes, you will be redirected to another page where you will be asked to purchase reward surveys by entering your credit card details.

If you come across messages like this, then please avoid clicking on them. Scammers create such scam messages to make money by tricking users to enter username, password and credit card number. I suggest you to remove the scam from your news feed by clicking on the Xmark on the top-right corner of the post. Alternatively you can report the scam to the Facebook Security team.

Facebook has come up with a 14 page document called Guide To Facebook Securitywhich will help its users understand the social network’s security features and possible ways to protect their account from threats like malware and phishing attacks. It also includes tips on how users can avoid  click-jacking and like-jacking scams.

I recommend you to go through the document which will definitely help you tackle scam messages. The document is available for free and you can  download  a copy of it from the  Facebook Security Page.

Facebook Apologies for Mistakenly Blocking Accounts of Environmental Activists

Avoiding spam messages on Facebook isn’t an easy task. Even Facebook’s anti-spam system finds it difficult to identify and remove scams from its network. Recently, Facebook’s anti-spam computer algorithm mistakenly deleted numerous animal  rescuers/animal lovers and groups, which had been accused of posting spam and “irrelevant” content.

Many animal rescue organizations and environmental activists, who depend on Facebook to organize events and rescue animals, were accused of posting spam messages. Hence the automated system that identified the content as “spam”, notified the group members and other activists that they have been banned for 15 days from posting anything at all.

The reason for banning users was unknown, whether Facebook was really targeting animal rescuers, or was it the automatic system that erroneously marked it as spam. Members of the affected groups and activists arose and contacted the Facebook team to revoke the ban.

Animal Rescue

The affected members also created a Facebook page stating – Dont suspend our Animal Rescue Accountwhich is liked by more than 11,500 “likes”. An event that was created by the same members stated – Facebook abide by the Terms Of Service and undo the 15 day suspensionsgot over 1000+ attendees.

The members notified Facebook officials by sending e-mails to [email protected] and [email protected]

Here’s an email sent by one of the activists –

I am writing because numerous animal rescue / animal lovers and groups such as myself have been accused erroneously by facebook for posting spam and irrelevantcontent and disabled for 15 days…

We have been posting and cross posting about animals that need rescuing from shelters and owners… trying to find new homes for these animals.   This Is NOT SPAM NOR IRRELEVANT!!!!     These postings have helped unite pets with owners and obtained NEW homes for pets and SAVED ANIMALS LIVES!!!

l. I am NOT posting spam

2. Certainly NOT posting irrelevant content

In a quick response to these letters, Facebook sent notes of apology and lifted the ban from the blocked environmental activists and other people from posting messages. Facebook claimed that the instance was done by mistake, and had no intention to disable accounts or removing contents of the social network.

Here is the response sent by Facebook

“Your account was mistakenly blocked from posting on Pages. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. We’ve lifted the block from your account, and you should now be able to post again.”

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement to The Associated Press – “Facebook is not – and has never been – in the business of disabling accounts or removing content simply because people are discussing controversial topics. On the contrary, we want Facebook to be a place where people can openly express their views and opinions, even if others don’t agree with them.”

However, Facebook did not provide an in depth detail on why these groups were disabled, since they thought spammers would find ways around the anti-spam software.


Google Plus Adds “Verified Accounts”

There have been a lot of issues and debate over the last month about Google’s real namepolicy for their social network, Google Plus. Accounts that had pseudo names and nicknames were taken down immediately from the network. Google’s strict name policystates that users are prohibited from using nicknames and should enter their real name while creating an account.

Despite the naming rules, there are several aficionados who are creating fake profiles of celebrities and public figures, which make it difficult to understand who the real one is. Recently we saw an increasing number of accounts using the name of Paris Hilton. To overcome this problem, Google had announced that they will start verifying accounts of its users on its social network, and probably delete the fake profiles.

Wen-Ai Yu, an employee at Google, announced  on her Google Plus profile along with a YouTube video stating that the social network has started the verification process by providing a verified namebadge to all celebrities and public figures.

When you visit a user’s profile and notice a check mark next to their name, it indicates that the user’s account is verified, and when you mouse over the check mark, it says verified name.

Google Plus Verified Account

However, the verification process is not applicable to everyone. Wen-Ai Yu states that Google is focused on verifying public figures, celebrities, and people who have been added to a large number of circles. They are taking things slowly and are working on expanding this to include more people in the future.

You might be wondering how to verify your own name on Google+. For now, we’re focused on verifying public figures, celebrities, and people who have been added to a large number of Circles…but keep in mind that this is just the beginning. We’re working on expanding this to include more people in the future, so hang tight!

Below is a video from  Wen-Ai Yu, explaining the new Verified Accounts feature.

The Impact of Facebook Scams and How Scammers Make Money

In the past, we reported a number of Facebook scams that were spreading like wildfire. Scam messages including Girl Killed Herself After Dad Posted On Wall Scam, Marika Fruscio Spam, OMG Can’t Believe Justin Beiber Did This To A Girl Spam, which were reported earlier are still spreading on Facebook. As Facebook scams continue to boom and spam news feeds, Websense, a web security firm conducted an interesting study that explains how scam messages spread and how they work.

Websense conducted their study by choosing two scams which are still very much actively spreading. The study showed that nearly 1800 Facebook users clicked and interacted with the scam every few seconds. Assuming that every user spent at least 1 minute on the scam website completing surveys, then there will be 2,592,000 hits (visitor count) per day! That’s a bomb!

Calculation: (24 hours X 60 minutes) X 1,800 users = 2,592,000 hits per day

Users are tempted to click on such scam messages that increase their curiosity. And that’s why scammers create scams with enticing titles and descriptions along with images (thumbnails) of half-naked girls.

How do scams spread?

There are two ways on how scam messages spread. One, when users click on a scam message, they will be taken to a fake page where they will be asked to verify their age by clicking on the “Jaa” button twice. The “jaa” button is coded with functions that will post the message on their Facebook wall automatically.

Second, when a user clicks on a scam message, the user will be taken to a webpage where it contains an image which appears like a normal YouTube player (Or any other video player). These sites will not have any age verification procedure. However, in this case the play button is coded, so when the user clicks on the play button, it will automatically “like” and share the scam message on their Facebook wall.

Here is the code that is used to automatically share the message in the background –

Facebook Scam Share Code

The scam the spreads across the news feed when users’ friends start clicking on the message.

Official Guide To Facebook Security – Protecting Your Facebook Accounts from Scammers

It looks like the Facebook Security team have started to take scam messages and phishing attacks seriously. They have come up with a 14 pages long document called Guide To Facebook Securitywhich will help its users understand the social network’s security features and possible ways to protect  their  account from threats like malware and phishing attacks. It also includes tips on how users can avoid click-jacking and like-jacking scam messages and scam apps.

The 14-page guide was authored by three key persons, the former Senior Director of Internet Safety at Symantec Linda McCarthy, Purdue University security researcher Keith Watson, and teacher/editor Denise Weldon-Siviy.

The authors state – “This guide is all about empowering you to Own Your Space — to understand what Facebook is doing to make the site safe and secure and to take the actions that are needed in this new digital world to protect yourself and your account,”

Guide To Facebook Security

Here are the top tips for Staying Secure on Facebook provided by the Facebook Security team –

  • Only Friend people you know.
  • Create a good password and use it only for Facebook. Don’t share it with anyone and change it on a regular basis.
  • Share your personal information only with people and companies that need it.
  • Log into Facebook only ONCE each session. If it looks like Facebook is asking you to log in a second time, skip the links and directly type www.facebook.com into your browser address bar.
  • Log out of Facebook after using someone else’s computer.
  • Use secure browsing whenever possible.
  • Only download Apps from sites you trust.
  • Don’t paste script (code) in your browser address bar.
  • Use browser add-ons like Web of Trust and Firefox’s NoScript to keep your account from being hijacked.
  • Beware of goofyposts from anyone—even Friends. If it looks like something your Friend wouldn’t post, don’t click on it.
  • Scammers might hack your Friends’ accounts and send links from their accounts. Beware of enticing links coming from your Friends.

The document is a Creative Commons licensing,  and is available for free! You can  download  your copy from the  Facebook Security Page.

Additionally, the document elucidates how to avoid scammers, and configure advanced security features, like HTTPS encryption, one-time passwords, log-in notifications and recovering a hacked account. It is a must read to every user on Facebook. Especially the ones who are always tricked by scammers.

However, I wonder if this would stop users from clicking/spreading scam messages. I personally feel that Facebook needs to come with a strong way on how they themselves can prevent scams from spreading, rather than educating users with tips and relying on them to put an end to scam messages.

We have compiled a list of  Most Actively Spreading Scams on Facebook  that you might want to have a look at. In addition to that, don’t forget to check out our article about  Avoiding Facebook Likejacking and Clickjacking scams. Here’s an article on how you can  Identify and Avoid  Facebook scams.