DarkCyber for September 21, 2021 Now Available

September 21, 2021

DarkCyber for September 21, 2021, reports about the Dark Web, cyber crime, and lesser known Internet services. The program is produced every two weeks. This is the 19th show of 2021. There are no sponsored stories nor advertisements. The program provides basic information about subjects which may not have been given attention in other forums. The program is available at this link.

This week’s program includes five stories.

First, we provide information about two online services which offer content related to nuclear weapons. Neither source has been updated for a number of months. If you have an interest in this subject, you may want to examine the information in the event it is disappeared.

Second, you will learn about Spyfone. DarkCyber’s approach is to raise the question, “What happens when specialized software once considered “secret” by some nation states becomes available to consumers.

Third, China has demonstrated its control of certain online companies; for example, Apple. The country can cause certain applications to be removed from online stores. The argument is that large US companies, like a French bulldog, must be trained in order stay in the Middle Kingdom.

Fourth, we offer two short items about malware delivered in interesting ways. The first technique is put malicious code in a video card’s graphics processing unit. The second summarizes how “free” games have become a vector for compromising network security.

The final story reports that a Russian manufacturer of drones is taking advantage of a relaxed policy toward weapons export. The Russian firm will produce Predator-like drones in countries which purchase the unmanned aerial vehicles. The technology includes 3D printing, specialized software, and other advanced manufacturing techniques. The program includes information about they type of kinetic weapons these drones can launch.

DarkCyber is produced by Stephen E Arnold and his DarkCyber research team. You can download the program from the Beyond Search blog or from YouTube.

Kenny Toth, September 21, 2021

DarkCyber for September 7, 2021 Now Available

September 7, 2021

DarkCyber is a twice-a-month video news program about the Dark Web, cyber crime, and lesser known Internet services. Program 18 includes stories about China’s information war fighting. The program explains three services which allow anyone to find the individual to which a US license plate has been registered. Crypto currency for criminal activities is playing a larger and larger role in illegal activities. How can you determine the level of risk associated with a particular digital currency transaction. DarkCyber points to a service which provides extremely useful information. The US government has released yet another report about facial recognition. Learn the three systems which are relied upon by several US government entities. There’s a great deal of chatter about nation stations which are sponsoring cyber attacks on the US. These stories often overlook the ease with which an insider can be instrumental in providing access to an allegedly secure network. And, finally, we explain how the Hellfire missile equipped with fragmenting blades has sliced and diced its way into Afghani history. DarkCyber is a production of Stephen E Arnold. The program appears every two weeks. This week’s program is available on the Beyond Search blog and on YouTube.

Kenny Toth, September 7, 2021

Need a Job? TikTok or TikNot?

September 6, 2021

I read “Employer Pitfalls of the TikTok Resume Trend.” Some organizations, eager to beef up their social media offensive line, are prowling TikTok for candidates. Those seeking “real” jobs (sort of) are posting TikTok video resumes. The write up states:

Human resources industry experts have long cautioned companies about peeping at the social media accounts of job applicants. The drawbacks of using social media in professional contexts are exactly the same even if the platform differs. Employers who use TikTok, Facebook, Twitter or other social networks to evaluate job candidates run certain risks, including overlooking potentially strong non-video savvy applicants or unwittingly succumbing to bias, Stevens [a headhunter] says. Social media profiles and TikTok resumes almost always include user images, which can reveal the candidate’s age, race, weight and level of attractiveness—factors that are more easily obscured in a resume.

There are other risks as well. How about old tweets or posts like those which wrapped Sony and Jeopardy in late night comedy jibes. Imagine a Timnit Gebru-type of matter in which TikTok videos are evidence in court?

Try explaining that to a judge and jury.

Stephen E Arnold, September 9, 2021

TikTok Is Big and Growing Bigger

August 26, 2021

The Twitter of video is roiding up.

Why are we not surprised? Nikkei reveals results of its recent global survey of downloads in, “TikTok Overtakes Facebook as World’s Most Downloaded App.” Writer Rei Nakafuji reminds us:

“Some believe that personal information shared with TikTok is not secure. In 2020, former President Donald Trump called on the company to sell off its U.S. operations or be banned. The app’s popularity nevertheless grew during the pandemic, when it became the leading download in Europe, South America and the U.S. Joe Biden, Trump’s successor, withdrew the presidential executive order, but uncertainties remain elsewhere.”

Despite these uncertainties, it seems the sky is the limit for TikTok. The write-up reports that, in the US and UK, total viewing time for the app has surpassed that for YouTube. We notice there is even a service now, named Heepsy, that helps advertisers find influencers to promote their brands. Its description reads simply:

“Find TikTok influencers who fulfill your brand’s requirements in a matter of seconds. Filter by location, follower count, and engagement. Check out their location, engagement rate, follower count, and total number of videos.”

Are Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube getting nervous about TikTok’s ascendance? We are curious to see what countermeasures each will deploy.

Cynthia Murrell, August 26, 2021

DarkCyber for August 24, 2021, Now Available

August 24, 2021

The program for August 24, 2021, is now available at this link. This program, number 17 in the 2021 series, contains five stories. These are:

The NSO Group matter has produced some interesting knock on effects.

The consequence of NSO Group’s activities include criticism from the United Nations and Edward Snowden, a whistle blower and resident of Moscow. The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan was remarkable.

The core technology for the antagonists is discussed. You will learn about the musician Tankz and his method for making illegal credit card fraud accessible to young people in the UK and elsewhere. In addition to alleged financial crime, Tankz sings about Pyrex whipping. Ask your children what this is and then decide if you need to take action.

The program includes another reminder than one can find anti-security actors on the Regular Web and the Dark Web. The challenge is to make sure you do not become the victim of a scam.

The US government created an interesting report about nuclear war. It is not clear how lo9ng this document will remain available from a public Web server. You can check the link in the DarkCyber video for yourself. Tip: The document explains how the US may select a target for a nuclear strike.

The final story reports that the drone called Avenger has a new capability: Autonomous decision capability enabled by track and follow electronics. No human operator needed when a target is identified.

DarkCyber is produced by Stephen E Arnold and the DarkCyber research team. New programs appear every two weeks unless one of the video distribution services decides to remove the content derived from open sources of information. Tankz and a fellow traveler named DankDex, purveyor of the Fraud Bible, appear to post without pushback.

Kenny Toth, August 24, 2021

Traditional Sports Media: Sucking Dust and Breathing Fumes?

August 12, 2021

The TikTok video format is becoming a norm core channel. I want to mention that Amazon Twitch is having a new media moment as well. I read “Lionel Messi’s Twitch App Interview Shows How Social Media Is Conquering Sports.” Note that this link is generated by DailyHunt and the story itself is output by smart software; thus, the link may be dead, and there’s not much I can do to rectify the situation.

The story contained this statement, which may be spot or or just wild and crazy Internet digital baloney:

Spanish influencer Ibai Llanos chatted with Lionel Messi on Amazon.com Inc.’s streaming platform Twitch after the world’s best-paid athlete signed with French soccer club Paris Saint Germain from Barcelona.

Here’s the kicker (yep, Messi-esque I know):

More than 3,17,000 people watched the exclusive interview, the kind of prestigious content that would often be sold to the highest bidder for TV broadcast in different territories. Llanos was introduced to Messi by Sergio Aguero, a fellow Barcelona player and video-game enthusiast who is friendly with the social media celebrity. Sports viewing is shifting steadily onto streaming platforms, and even overtaking traditional broadcast TV in the Asia Pacific region, according to GlobalWebIndex.

What? Twitch? Who is the star? Messi? The write up states:

Soccer clubs are eager to tap this new revenue source after they were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, especially as they need to win over younger audiences who enjoy video gaming just as much as traditional sports. Llanos has drawn 7 million Twitch followers since he started out commenting on esports tournaments from his home. He’s brought a humorous commenting style to everything from toy-car races to chess games. He’s now becoming a sports entrepreneur in his own right, collaborating with Barcelona’s Gerard Pique to broadcast the Copa America soccer competition in Spain. Llanos streamed a top-tier Spanish game for the first time in April under a deal between the Spanish league and TV rights owner Mediapro.

Observations I jotted down as I worked through this “smart software” output:

  1. Amazon Twitch plays a part in this shift to an influencer, streaming platform, and rights holder model
  2. The pivot point Llanos has direct access and channel options
  3. Eyeballs clump around the “force” of the stream, the personalities, and those who want to monetize this semi-new thing.

Big deal? Well, not for me, but for those with greyhounds in the race, yep. Important if true.

Stephen E Arnold, August 12, 2021

ECommerce to VCommerce the TikTok Way

August 9, 2021

TikTok is the most popular non-gaming app downloaded in the Western world. Amazingly it is owned by Chinese company ByteDance Limited. Trump attempted to ban it during his tenure, but failed. The Taipei Times published a Bloomberg Opinion entitled, “TikTok eyes E-Commerce, Gaming And Everything Else” about ByteDance’s future for TikTok. It is astounding how much TikTok has grown over the past year:

“TikTok’s growth and the level of its user engagement have been remarkable. According to Sensor Tower, the app was the most downloaded and highest-grossing non-game during the first half of this year, surpassing 3 billion total installs. Analysts expect TikTok to keep growing faster than its competitors, and industry tracker eMarketer projects that the app’s user base in the US would rise 18 percent this year, compared with a 1 percent increase for Facebook Inc and a 4 percent gain for Facebook’s Instagram.

Most impressive of all, TikTok users are growing more addicted to the short-video service. Research firm App Annie has said that the app has surpassed Google’s YouTube for average time spent per user in the US and the UK.”

TikTok’s competitors are ramping up their own game. Facebook will upgrade Instagram to also be a mobile video entertainment platform. YouTube and Snap Inc. started their own short-video services and are paying creators for content. TikTok is expected to remain the top short-video platform due to its popularity, continues to add new features, and creators do not need to go anywhere else.

TikTok’s current job listings have over one hundred listings for e-commerce positions and nearly ninety with the word “live.” ByteDance wants to become the one stop hub for live-streaming social commerce and they plan to focus on several industries: fashion, beauty, lifestyle, technology, and anything else that allows them to sell merchandise directly through the platform. ByteDance already does this with TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, Douyin.

TikTok could face regulatory action in the US, because it might pose a data-security risk. It could complicate TikTok’s initial public offering, but any advertising is good. Making TikTok “illegal” could make not all the more appealing.

Whitney Grace, August 9, 2021

YouTube Snaps Up Simsim Video E-Commerce App

August 4, 2021

This seems like a natural extension. Gadgets 360 announces, “YouTube Acquires Indian Video Shopping App simsim, to Introduce E-Commerce Features in Future.” We are told simsim will continue to operate independently, but YouTube is working to help it reach new customers. Google-owned YouTube is sure to build on its new purchase, extending online video commerce to any market it can. Writer Tasneem Akolawala tells us:

“The simsim platform enables e-commerce through videos — creators make videos of products, and viewers can then buy those products from local businesses, through the simsim platform. Video-driven e-commerce is a growing category, which recently saw another company, Firework, launch in this space. Instagram has been a popular platform for small businesses to sell products online, and it appears that YouTube plans to build online video commerce in a similar manner with the simsim acquisition. On simsim, videos are available in three local languages: Hindi, Tamil, and Bengali. YouTube has not offered details on how it plans to introduce this video shopping feature on its platform. YouTube says that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire simsim and expects to complete the transaction in the coming weeks.”

The company announced the deal in a Google India Blog post, but it did not share the financial details. We can all look forward to seeing some sort of extension of this video e-commerce approach on YouTube soon.

Cynthia Murrell, August 4, 2021

Hiring Excitement: TikTok Helps Ensure Dedicated Applicants with Social Video Skills

July 30, 2021

Even before AI assistance, employers were considering applicants’ social media presence in the hiring process. According to Fast Company, that may be a good thing for companies and workers alike. Writer Tomas Chamorro-Premuzik describes “How Social Media Data Secretly Reveals Your Personality to Hiring Managers.” The premise is that embracing the phenomenon can lead workers into more satisfying careers. We’re told:

“A constant feature throughout this time has been organizations lamenting their inability to find the right talent, and, on the other side of the problem, too many talented people complaining about meaningless or uninspiring jobs. … Our notions of talent have not evolved to keep up with the times. When university credentials have become disconnected from job-relevant knowledge, hard skills quickly become outdated, and what we know is less important than what we can learn, organizations are often left looking for talent in all the wrong places. This also harms their desire to create a diverse and inclusive workforce. When your main talent currency is still the resume, and the value of a resume depends on outdated talent currencies like college qualifications or past experience, it is hard to avoid hiring the same type of people over and over again, optimizing for ‘culture fit’ rather than diversity. In this context, social media emerges as a promising alternative to the dominant currency for talent. Its data acts as a talent bitcoin capable of redefining human capital more inclusively and meritocratic. Our social media activity already reveals a great deal of information about our deep character traits, precisely the type of stuff employers need to know (and at times also want to know) before they decide to hire us.”

Chamorro-Premuzik gives some examples to support his premise, from Facebook and Twitter to TikTok and Spotify. He admits to the ethical and legal issues here, but suggests they could be addressed with transparency and an option for applicants to opt in. We wonder, though, how optional would that really feel (or be) for most job hunters. We are reminded this use of data is happening anyway, so we might as well welcome the process and make it official. It is true that old hiring methods are woefully out of touch, but the idea that this trend is the best solution may be a stretch.

Cynthia Murrell, July 30, 2021

DarkCyber for July 13, 2021, Now Available

July 13, 2021

DarkCyber is a twice-a-month video news program about the Dark Web, lesser known Internet services, and cyber crime. You can view the program at this link or use the viewer on the Beyond Search splash page. The DarkCyber for July 13, 2021, discusses the new US GAO report on facial recognition. Plus a 2019 report, with numerous FR vendors and accuracy tests, provides data not in the 2021 report. Also, in this program are stories about: [a] what cohort (age group) is most susceptible to online scams, [b] Amazon eCommerce vulnerabilities, and [c] a report about the US Navy’s autonomous mid-air refueling drone. DarkCyber is produced by Stephen E Arnold.

Kenny Toth, July 13, 2021

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