All posts by Keith Dsouza

I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

2 FREE Southwest Airline Tickets! (limited time only) Facebook Scam

As if department stores gift cards and Victoria’s Secret Valentines day gift cards were not enough scammers are now distributing free tickets for Southwest airlines on .

The new Facebook scam is spreading using the following message:

Receive 2 FREE Southwest Airline Tickets Today! Southwest Airlines is currently giving away 2 FREE Tickets to all Facebook users!

Southwest Airline Tickets. | Welcome. Southwest Airline Tickets,Your Explicit Participation Required.

However, beware of this scam as it is not true and Southwest airlines is definitely not giving away FREE tickets to anyone as such. The scam in itself is not dangerous, but it might become if lot of people share them.

Southwest Free Tickets Scam

Currently, clicking on the link will not harm you since it will only post a link to your wall. However, in future spammers could throw up a survey scam or even download malware to your computer.

Another similar scam is also running with a signature “Southwest Airline Tickets,Your Explicit Participation Required.” This scam has a like page on Facebook and asks users to complete a survey to get their free Southwest Airline tickets. However, in the end you will not get anything.

We will keep an eye on the Facebook spam to see if more users are affected by this and whether or not the scam gets more dangerous in the future.

It is recommended that you DO NOT click on such links or scam messages on Facebook. If you come across this scam message, please delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to Facebook Security.

With over 800 million users on Facebook, the social networking giant has always been a main target for spreading scams. It is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook. Here is a post on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams. Bookmark Techie Buzz Facebook Scams or Subscribe to Scam Alert Feed. We always keep you updated with the latest scams spreading on Facebook.

Get $1000 Victoria’s Secret Valentines Day Gift Card Facebook Scam

Valentine Day is fast approaching and it looks like will be targeted with a lot of scams which will target it. To start off a new Gift card scam is currently underway where scammers are targeting users with a free $1000 gift card from Victoria’s Secret.

The Gift Card scam is similar to earlier Gift card scams for Costco, Subway, Wal-Mart and other popular stores. The new Victoria’s Secret Gift Card Scam is spreading with the following messages:

Get $1000 Victoria’s Secret Valentines Day Gift Card! Victoria’s Secret is giving away free Valentines Day Gift Cards!

Clicking on the link takes users to a website which says that you will receive 2 Free Victoria’s Secrete Valentines Day Gift Card and asks users to share the link on their profile and then click on the like button.

Victorias Secrete Facebook Scam

Doing the above steps will not give you any $1000 Victoria’s Secret Valentine’s day gift card and will instead just spread the scam further on your wall and trick your friends as well. So Stay away from clicking on it.

It is recommended that you DO NOT click on such links or scam messages on Facebook. If you come across this scam message, please delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to Facebook Security.

With over 800 million users on Facebook, the social networking giant has always been a main target for spreading scams. It is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook. Here is a post on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams. Bookmark Techie Buzz Facebook Scams or Subscribe to Scam Alert Feed. We always keep you updated with the latest scams spreading on Facebook.

Google Guesses Age and Gender Based on Websites You Visit

Quite recently, Google made several changes to their privacy policy to simplify it and merge several privacy policies into one. One of the changes Google made was to allow users to change their ads preferences easily across the board.

However, one interesting thing that Google has now disclosed through their Ad Preferences Manager is that, Google has been guessing a user’s age and gender based on the websites they have visited.

Google Demographics Guess

Google says that the gender and age are determined by the websites a user visits. In my case both the Age as well as the Gender were correct. Google does not say as to how they are coming up with that assumption but their algorithm looks pretty accurate for most users and might include data from as well. Of course, this information may not be right always and Google provides users with an option to correct it as well.

Google uses this age and gender information along with other preferences to display personalize ads for the users. If you are not comfortable with Google collecting this information, you can easily Opt out by visiting this page.

You can view your own Age and Gender information by visiting Google Ad Preferences Manager page, however, you will have to be logged in with a Google account to view this information. Do let us know if Google was correctly able to guess it for you or not.

$500 Costco Gift Card, $100 Gift Cards Facebook Scam

Last month, there was a big scam on where scammers were spreading a fake Costco gift certificate with the text "Get Costco Gift Card for FREE! (limited time only)". It looks like the scam has started to spread again using "$500 Costco Gift Card", "$100 Applebee’s Gift Card Giveaway", "$100 Subway Gift Card", "$1000 Walmart Gift Card", "$50 Walgreens Gift Card", "$50 Grocery Gift Card", "$100 MC Donald’s Gift Card" and "$100 KFC Gift Card" among others.

The scam in question is spreading using the above text while telling users that their explicit participation is required in order to claim the gift. Clicking on the link in the messages will take you to the fake Facebook fan pages (Costco fake fan page shown below) and ask you to participate in survey or click on additional links.

$500 Costco Gift Card Scam

You will be asked to complete a survey in order to see if you qualify for a gift card, this will take you to an external website. The website may not download any malware to your computer, but they will make money through the surveys you complete. Providing your personal information in the survey may lead to spam being sent through emails or paper mails.

If you did complete the surveys, don’t expect to get any gift cards fro Costco, McDonalds, KFC, Applebee’s, Grocery or Subway since the sole purpose of this was to make money for the scammers and not provide you with any gift cards.

It is recommended that you DO NOT click on such links or scam messages on Facebook. If you come across this scam message, please delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to Facebook Security.

Also, 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.

With over 800 million users on Facebook, the social networking giant has always been a main target for spreading scams. It is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook. Here is a post on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams. Bookmark Techie Buzz Facebook Scams or Subscribe to Scam Alert Feed. We always keep you updated with the latest scams spreading on Facebook.

OMG HOLLY SHIT VIDEO MUST SEE Facebook Scam

A new scam is spreading in with a vulgar picture and various different signatures. The wall messages for each of the scam messages are unique and different which will make it harder to track, but the base message of the scam is "OMG HOLLY SHIT VIDEO MUST SEE" followed by names of popular personalities.

The Facebook scam video is spreading with the following text and leads to different websites in different messages.

99% delle persone non è possibile guardare il video più di 25 secondi

[website]

Ti sfido a guardare questo

The scam message is spreading in various languages as well. The scam is similar to earlier scams which used videos as a way for people to click on the link. Earlier scams included some of the one’s listed below.

Clicking on the video link in the message will take users to a blogspot blog which is designed to look similar to Facebook. This trick was also recently used in the Top 10 Videos of 2012 Facebook spam.

holy_shit_video_scam

The website will then ask you to install a plugin on your browser. We WARN YOU NOT to install the plugin as it is a rogue ware and can allow the attacker to track your browsing habits and also send sensitive information back to them. Please keep away from the plugin and also inform your friends about it.

It is recommended that you DO NOT click on such links or scam messages on Facebook. If you come across this scam message, please delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to Facebook Security.

With over 800 million users on Facebook, the social networking giant has always been a main target for spreading scams. It is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook. Here is a post on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams.

Top 10 – Most Popular Videos, Top 10 – Best Videos 2012 Facebook Scam

After an earlier scam of Chuck Norris being dead at 71 video, scammers are now busy spreading a new scam with the signature Top 10 – Most Popular Videos and Top 10 – Best Videos 2010.

The Facebook scam is spreading with the text similar to:

TOP 10 – MOST POPULAR VIDEOS [link]

TOP 10 – MOST POPULAR VIDEOS

[website link]

The TOP 10 of most wanted videos by youtube users

And

TOP 10 – BEST VIDEOS 2012 [link] or TOP 10 – BEST VIDEOS 2011

TOP 10 – MOST POPULAR VIDEOS

[website link]

The TOP 10 of most wanted videos by youtube users

There are several websites which are used in this attack and clicking on the link might spread the link on your wall. When a user clicks on the link to see the Top 10 videos, they are taken to a websites called fb1.now.im or which looks and feels similar to Facebook as seen in the screenshot below.

Facebook Top 10 Video Scam

Clicking on any link on this page will take you to a page which looks similar to a Facebook video page and ask you to grant permission to a fake app. However, this will in turn grant permission to a rogue app and spread the spam on your timeline.

Fake Video Player Scam Facebook

Even the comments shown on the page are deceptive to look like that of Facebook itself. We are warning you not to click on the link or grant it any permissions whatsoever. This is definitely a very believable Facebook spam.

It is recommended that you DO NOT click on such links or scam messages on Facebook. If you come across this scam message, please delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to Facebook Security.

With over 800 million users on Facebook, the social networking giant has always been a main target for spreading scams. It is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook. Here is a post on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams.

[video] Chuck Norris dies at age 71! Not a Joke Facebook Scam

Chuck Norris is a legend, but it looks like scammers are hell bent on killing him using a new Facebook Scam. The new Facebook Spam is spreading rapidly with a message saying.

R.I.P chuck we ♥ u!

Chuck Norris dies at age 71! Not a Joke.

[website link]

See the video to find out how he died. News today of Chuck Norris death at age 71 has been met with confusion and humour, but sadly it is true.

The scam is also spreading with text like "RIP chuck! you gave us all a good laugh", "would any of you expect chuck to die like this?", "dont know if i should be sad or make a joke" and other text.

This scam is pretty similar to earlier scams like those where Bon Jovi was killed by spammers or the scam where Justin Bieber was stabbed outside a restaurant.

It is recommended that you DO NOT click on such links or scam messages on Facebook. If you come across this scam message, please delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to  Facebook Security.

With over 800 million users on Facebook, the social networking giant has always been a main target for spreading scams. It is quite difficult to identify scams on Facebook. Here is a post on How to Identify and Avoid Facebook Scams.

Coach.com and Coachfactory.com Hacked to Protest Against SOPA by UGNazi Group

It looks like the SOPA war is getting bigger with another new group called UGNazi stepping in and hacking sites which support SOPA. The group has currently hacked Coach.com and Coachfactory.com to protest SOPA and are going to hack more sites in retaliation.

All the three sites are currently redirecting to a site called ugnazi.com which was created yesterday. It is not clear as to whether this is a new group or another form of Anonymous who have been taking down websites like that of FBI, CIA and more to retaliate government control and shutdown of sites like Megaupload.

Also Read: An Interview with an OpDarknet Anon

Over the past few days, Megaupload was shut down by FBI and several other file sharing websites pulled the trigger on themselves with FileSonic stopping downloads, Uploaded.to blocking the U.S. users and several other file sharing websites shutting operations.

The UGNazi group had earlier hacked UFC.com website and is against the SOPA from USA and ACTA bill from Europe which are draconian piracy bills in their current form.

We understand that these websites will enevitably (sic) take back their website.
We don’t steal users data, only here to make them aware.
From SOPA/PIPA, to ACTA to just pissing us off…there is always a reason

It is unclear if the group is associated with Anonymous, but it looks like their motives are same. SOPA, PIPA and now ACTA have definitely stirred quite a few users on the internet and we will definitely keep seeing more such attacks in the future.

Story developing….

Facebook, Twitter Come Out Against Google’s "Search Plus Your World"

Google has been ramping up its operations with , the social networking they created to rival . However, of late Google has been trying to introduce a lot of changes to their search results by integrating it with Google+.

Most recently, Google started personalizing Google search results based on recommendations from your Google+ circles. The new introduction is called "Search Plus Your World" and allows users to get answers from search results as well as people who you are connected to on Google+.

This introduction did not sit down with rival social networking sites like Facebook and who think that it is an unfair advantage for Google to push their own social networking over others. During a recent interview by John Battelle, Facebook’s director Blake Ross said that they had come up with a hack to take back Google to it’s old roots of "Don’t be evil". The hack was created by engineers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

How much better would social search be if Google surfaced results from all across the web? The results speak for themselves. We created a tool that uses Google’s own relevance measure—the ranking of their organic search results—to determine what social content should appear in the areas where Google+ results are currently hardcoded.

All of the information in this demo comes from Google itself, and all of the ranking decisions are made by Google’s own algorithms. No other services or APIs are accessed.

The tiny hack or bookmarklet which can be found on the website Focus on the user allows users to switch back to a "more relevant Google" without all the Google+ integrations. It searches all the social web to find relevant results for the users rather than the recent changes in Google search which just focused on getting information from Google+.

Google Search Results Regular

The bookmarklet in itself does not change Google’s search results and you will have to manually click on the bookmarklet to see the results generated by them. The screenshot above shows the normal search results which focus heavily on Google+. The one below shows the changes made by the "don’t be evil" bookmarklet where it focuses on other sites like Twitter and Facebook as well.

Don't be Evil Search Fix

Facebook and Twitter might be driving a point to Google here asking them to stop being selfish and pushing their own social network when other networks are updated more frequently. The argument from "Focus On The User" is that, Google pushes their own network which hasn’t been updated for past two months, whereas hiding Twitter and Facebook which have been updated more frequently for users.

So is this Google monopoly? Well, it could be and it could not be. Every social networking dictates their own policies and it is difficult to say what is right or what it wrong. It will be interesting to see whether Google makes any changes to their search results or whether they will stay adamant and continue to ignore other social networking sites. The battle has just begun, we’ll be here to tell you more as it happens.

FileSonic Stops File Downloads and File Sharing

It looks like the Megaupload takedown is not just prompting rebuttal from sites like Uploaded.to, but also has put fear in the minds of other large File sharing websites.

Filesonic Logo

After Uploaded.to blocked U.S. users, another large file sharing website called FileSonic has now stopped users from downloading files that other’s have uploaded.

When compared to Uploaded.to, FileSonic is a very large website with an Alexa global rank of 167 and a U.S. rank of 220. Compete data shows that FileSonic gets approximately 1.9 million visitors from the United States. The site now displays a message as shown below when you try to download a file from FileSonic.

All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled. Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally.

If this file belongs to you, please login to download it directly from your file manager

It is not really clear as to whether FileSonic stopped file downloads due to fear of being targeted by the FBI and US Justice Department or whether they have already been targeted. However, it looks like that file sharing websites are starting to become cautious of what data they hold on their servers thanks to the U.S. Justice Department and FBI crackdown.

If you are affected by this, don’t forget to check out several alternatives to Megaupload to store files in the cloud and other ways to share files online. You can also check out services like Dropbox and SugarSync among others to easily sync and share your files online or take a look at several other services to backup and sync your files online.