If you link shortener of choice is Bit.ly, you might want to consider changing this as right now ALL of their links are being flagged by Chrome, Firefox and Safari as malware.
After checking the safe browsing stats from Google, they say:
“Site [Bit.ly] is listed as suspicious – visiting this web site may harm your computer. Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 31 time(s) over the past 90 days.”
We’ve not seen an official statement yet on why all Bit.ly links are being blocked. Hopefully we’ll get some more news on this as the day goes on.
From the 31st October, driving licence fees will be slashed up to 32%, the government has announced.
Under these new rules the cost of a provisional licence will now be £34 from £50 and the reduced cost for an online application for a 10 year licence will be £14 from £20.
We’ll also be seeing the cost of a tachograph reduced to £32 from £38. These are used by businesses to
stalk record how far their staff are driving.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said the move was designed to “give savings back to the taxpayer”.
Personal thanks from me, Danny. Just another 9 years and 3 months until I can look forward to that £6 “saving”.
Social media is supposed to be fun. Ish. A way to connect with childhood sweethearts and a means for potential employers to decide whether you are the right fit for their company before they hire you. But now Which!!! have found a new, less amusing use for your Facebook profile- a way to get a free credit card.
As an experiment, and using volunteers, Which!!! mined some personal details from Facebook, and then used this information to cross check to other publicly available records, like telephone directories and electoral roll details. Which!!! then used these details to apply for three credit cards who do not require bank account details on an application (as presumably even the most muppety Facebook muppet wouldn’t post their bank account number on Facebook). While the applications with Santander and Nationwide ultimately proved fruitless, it seems it is possible to get a Capital One credit card in someone else’s name relatively easily.
Now, the application did require the correct home address for the person whose name was being used, but apparently this is a minor setback that is relatively easy to solve. Cifas, the UK’s card fraud prevention service, said so-called ‘current address fraud’ accounted for 75% of identity frauds recorded between January and August of this year. Typically, fraudsters target victims who live in blocks of flats where post can be nicked from a communal area, or apply for a credit card while the victim is on holiday (because you’ve been boasting about that upcoming trip ALL over Facebook), making it easier to surreptitiously retrieve the card.
Another sticking point could be your date of birth, and some silly folks still have their full date of birth showing on their ‘about’ tab. However, even if you don’t have this information showing, Facebook helpfully tells all your friends when your birthday is, so that they can write all over your wall, notifying potential identity swindlers of the date. And all you have to then is complain about being “30 next year” or something and they’ve got the year too.
The three card companies Which!!! identified told us they take credit card fraud and online security very seriously and each has various sophisticated measures and checks to prevent fraudulent applications and to verify each applicant’s identity. And to be fair to Santander and Nationwide, their measures seemed to work.
However, Capital One, the one whose checks failed to spot a fraudulent application, told Which!!! without a trace of irony that it “leads the industry both in preventing fraud and in assisting the victims of fraud” but that it advises customers to protect their data and to restrict access to their profiles on social media sites.
Which!!! do have further guidance about how to protect yourself on social media, which includes never mentioning your birthday, and never telling anyone where you are or where you’ve been, and by protecting your tweets so only 17 people can read them. Which all seems to kind of defeat the purpose of social media really…
Well hello coronary and cheerio clean arteries as KFC Korea have just unleashed a bit of a beast.
Their Zinger Double Down King – which sounds a bit like a name for a mattress – takes no prisoners with two piece of fried chicken sandwiching a bacon cheeseburger.
LOOK AT IT.
It contains 750 calories. Just as a comparison, a Big Mac from McDonald’s is about 550 calories and that’s lower than some sarnies from Pret.
There’s no news as to when – or if – it hits the UK, but it’s slightly more welcome than Ebola, and if you’ve gotta die of one or the other, we know which way we’d go.
Failing that, you could always go to Korea.
She started a petition to get the collectibles off the shelves, because they’re related to a violent TV show about crack cocaine. Of course, these figures could only be found in the section designated for adults, but there you go.
The stars of the show aren’t best pleased about it either. Aaron Paul who played Jesse Pinkman tweeted: ”Wait, so @ToysRUs pulled all of the Breaking Bad figures from their shelves and still sells Barbie? Hmmmm…I wonder what is more damaging?”
He added: “And what about all of the violent video games you sell @ToysRUs ? Do you still sell those? Florida mom really messed it up for everyone.”
Toys R Us said in a statement: “Let’s just say, the action figures have taken an ‘indefinite sabbatical.’”
Bryan Cranston tweeted his ire too: “Florida mom petitions against Toys ‘R Us over Breaking Bad action figures.’ I’m so mad, I’m burning my Florida Mom action figure in protest,” adding: “Toys R Us puts Breaking Bad toys on ‘indefinite sabbatical.’ Word on the street is that they were sent to Belize. Nicely played Florida Mom.”
So there you have it. America, where you can’t buy toys from a toy shop, but you can get a free gun when you take out a loan. Crackers.
Carl Smith, who founded Ngen Works in That America, have been send a photo of a bloke messing about with his bare junk by Apple, who were letting them know about an app they’d created which can be used to view mucky material.
The dirty attachment was sent with no warning from Apple.
Writing on his blog, Carl said: “It turns out Apple thought the best way to tell us our app could be used to surf porn was to surf for porn using our app. Then send us some pictures and say take a look at these! Except they said, “Please see the attached screenshot for more information.” So with no warning…”
“Apple sent us pornography without trying to mask it and with no warning of what we were going to see. This means they exposed employees of my company to things Apple themselves said was objectionable. How is this acceptable?”
The picture in question, made modest by Smith, is here for your viewing pleasure. Seems very odd that Apple would send such a thing to another business, but there you go.
[top image, like all our porn coverage, c/o the wonderful SFW Porn]
Amazon lost nearly $500 million in the last three months. Oh no! The US company reported a loss of $437m in the three months to September, which is 10 times the $41m they reported for the same period last year.
Well that’s just careless.
Shares in the company dropped 5%. However revenues rose 20% to $20.58bn, missing market expectations of $20.85bn.
Amazon do tend to report losses, but the fall in share price could indicate investors have had it with the company’s direction.
Operating expenses went to $14.6bn from $12.4bn in the same three months of 2013, mainly due to chief executive Jeff Bezos going off shopping around, buying the likes of Netflix, Hulu and various other bits.
It’s not all gloom and doom though as it’s ‘the holiday season’ and the company expects net sales of between $27.3bn and $30.3bn for the next three months, even if it is – boohoo – down on the $30.89bn analysts had expected.
While Tesco have been through the mill of late and many other supermarkets having a tough time, Asda have been fairly quiet, getting on with business.
Until now that is. The retailer is looking at huge legal action by the women who work in their stores who claim that they’ve not been paid the same as men who work in the distribution warehouses, even though their jobs are of “equivalent value”.
This case will look at how Asda decide how much they pay staff throughout the business and, if the women involved in this are successful with their claims, then the rest of the sector should start getting worried as there could be legal action against everyone else.
Over 1,000 employment tribunal claims have been submitted already and, a lot of the cases are being taken up by men who are employed by Asda as they would get a pay rise if the case is successful. Lawyers note: Asda has said it will vigorously defend itself from these claims and say that they do not discriminate.
Lauren Loughheed, the solicitor with Leigh Day who is leading the case, told the Beeb that the difference in pay could be as much as £4 an hour in difference. If the case sides with the workers, then there’s going to be some gigantic back payments.
An Asda spokesperson said: “A firm of no win, no fee lawyers are hoping to challenge our award-winning reputation as an equal opportunities employer. We do not discriminate and are very proud of our record in this area which, if it comes to it, we will robustly defend.”
Bloaters are always being told about the downsides of being a bit porky – heart disease, diabetes etc- but there’s never been any good news.
Until now. Now, it actually pays to be overweight. A new report by NHS England Chief Exec Simon Stevens outlines a massive £8bn deficit in NHS funding over the next five years and outlines a number of ways in which the gap in finance can be filled. One idea is to reduce NHS spending on all the fat people, by paying them to be less fat.
The report outlines how employers are a key partner in forcing people to lose weight, and how they could reward employees, in cash, shopping vouchers or with prizes, who successfully lose weight. The idea, of course, is that the money the NHS pays out in reimbursing employers will be more than outweighed (arf arf) by the savings for not having to buy more super-sized beds, for example.
But is this really a good plan? While people carrying a few extra pounds who are thinking of slimming down are going to be chuffed at gaining a few quid for their troubles, isn’t this a bit unfair on those who don’t need to lose weight? What about all those people who have spent a fortune on slimming clubs so they aren’t overweight any more? That could be a bit hard to swallow. Should slim people start eating all the pies now so they can get heavy enough to lose some weight and pocket the cash?
And would such a scheme create a different kind of environment at work? Would people who don’t lose weight feel ostracised or even overlooked for promotion? Do you really want your employer knowing how much you weigh and giving you cash on the basis of your poundage? And what about the poor old self-employed- do they just have to stay fat?
Of course, this is not policy, merely a recommendation as to one way to plug a funding gap. But people used to say they’d never be able to ban smoking either. Perhaps overweight people will one day be a distant memory too…
Well, they say ‘half’, but based on a survey of 2000 web users, 51% said they’d been affected by online scams, phishing, ID theft or some pesky virus.
The report by the Get Safe Online organisation, also said that many victims are left emotionally scarred by the experience.
Which is about right. You DO feel a bit vulnerable and freaked out that some arse has buggered your online-scene up.
Half of the victims said they felt violated by their ordeal and rued clicking on that link for free glans/baps (delete as appropriate). Only 14% of the affected felt they’d achieved any kind of redress after the matter either.
Also, a report by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, released to coincide with Get Safe Online Week, claimed that online scams raked in £670m between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014.
However an upshot of all this, has meant that those who have been violated then got heavy with web protection and not being so free and easy with their online behaviour.
Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online reckons this, by saying “Get Safe Online Week this year is all about ‘Don’t be a victim’, and we can all take simple steps to protect ourselves, including putting a password on your computer or mobile device, never clicking on a link sent by a stranger, using strong passwords and always logging off from an account or website when you’re finished.”
“The more the public do this, and together with better conviction rates, the more criminals won’t be able to hide behind a cloak of anonymity.”
Meanwhile Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude threw his weight in and said the figures underlined the importance of doing everything possible to shore up the UK’s cyber defences, saying: “The UK cyber market is worth over £80bn a year and rising. The internet is undoubtedly a force for good, but we cannot stand still in the face of these threats, which already cost our economy billions every year.”
“We have an £860m Cyber Security Programme which supports law enforcement’s response to cybercrime, and we are working with the private sector to help all businesses protect vital information assets.”
The Icelandic airline WOW air have announced the £99 fare, which includes taxes, which is being offered on a selection of one-way journeys next year.
Passengers can travel from London Gatwick to Boston Logan International Airport from 27 March next year and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport from 4th June.
But there’s a but.
The flights aren’t direct, as there’s a stopover at Keflavík International Airport, in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. Although going to Iceland for an hour or two would be amazing, even if it is just sitting about in their airport.
Additionally, there is a booking fee of £8.98 and it costs a further £39 to check in a bag, so customers are realistically looking at a minimum price of £146.98.
The Boston flight will operate five times a week and the Washington DC one four times.
Even your computer isn’t safe from the threat of Ebola. Hackers and spam merchants are taking advantage of people’s panic about the disease by sending out emails that look like they’re from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Obviously, they’re not from the World Health Organisation.
These messages encourage you to open an attachment, which will show you how to protect yourself from Ebola. However, instead of helping you, it’ll infect your computer and download malware into your system and then, as ever, will allow people to get at all your lovely personal information and bank details.
There is also a scam doing the rounds which is much less believable, where the email is from ‘an Ebola expert’. If you’re daft enough to open the attachments in that, then frankly, you deserve everything you get.
Message topics to look out for are: ‘What you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak’, ‘So Really, How Do You Get Ebola?’, ‘Is there ANY way to cure Ebola?’ and ‘The #1 Food Items You’ll Need In An EBOLA Crisis’.
Seeing as most people are ignoring the small threat of Ebola in real life (unless you work in a newsroom of course, where it is being heralded as the new plague), the best advice is to treat any emails with the same laissez faire attitude you’ve been employing thus far.
One young lady called Trinity Groves was such a fan, that she watched tutorial videos so she could improve her looming. However, in the process, she ran up an enormous phone bill over a fortnight after her home’s WiFi stopped working.
Her dad, Philip, was blissfully unaware she’d been using Vodafone’s premium rates to get online, and after 28 hours of videos, dad got the unpleasant surprise of a £1,792 phone bill.
Philip is not happy at all. He said: “She was only learning how to make loom bands so she could trade them with her pals. We thought we were using the WiFi for a good fortnight and there was nothing to suggest it had disconnected.”
“We didn’t know we were using up all these charges for the internet at a premium rate. As far as I was aware, the WiFi was connected. I wasn’t informed otherwise. If a phone company sees a discrepancy in your bill or a huge surge in usage surely they have an obligation to let you know?”
“Suddenly I had this bill through from them on my doorstep, demanding all this money. I was absolutely gobsmacked. Now they are threatening to take me to court – it’s frightening that they can bully you this way. I might have to sell my van just to afford it, but I rely on that for my livelihood. I don’t know where to turn.”
After disputing the bill, Philip got another kick in the groin when Vodafone informed him that he was now blacklisted. They still want paying too.
Philip added: “They cut me off within five minutes. I told them I was going to go to an ombudsman but they have done nothing. They have just demanded I pay £1,410 by next week but I have been out of work recently because of an operation, I can’t afford it. How many of their clients pay this much for their internet? It’s disgusting. I have always had good a credit rating but since this, I have not been able to get a loan or anything.”
Trinity isn’t happy either, saying: “When I come home from school I usually get my phone and all my loom bands… I used to love watching the tutorial videos but now I know it cost my dad £1,792 I have had to stop watching them – it’s made me very sad.”
A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: “We can only confirm at this stage that we will launch a thorough investigation into the matter. We will then get back in touch with the customer once our inquires are concluded.”