May 18, 2012 12:15:00 PM
Jul 11, 2011 3:48:00 PM
Whenever people desperately want something, criminals have always come up with ways to rip people off. It's a practice as old as time.
The Google+ invite frenzy has prompted some devious spammers to send out fake invitations. Sophos, a cyber securities firm, first reported this spam.
Gmail users would receive a Google+ invite that looks like the real thing. Except when you click on the link to the Google+ invite, it leads you to a completely different website, riddled with malware.
This isn't the first time that insane demand for Google products spawned scams. Back when Gmail membership was an exclusive club and a hot item, spammers sent existing Gmail users a notice that Google had just given them 50 extra invites.
All they have to do is fill out a form with their Gmail password.
Apple, was also used as bait. Back before the iPad was released, bogus Facebook pages were set up to ask users to be beta testers; they would get the iPad in advance and then keep it for free.
All these Apple fans had to do was provide their personal information and cell phone number. Their cell phone number was subsequently enrolled in an expensive premium service.
For active Internet users, scams and spams are a fact of life. Abiding by the following guidelines, however, will lessen the pain.
- Don't respond to sweet offers that you didn't pursue or don't know the origin of, whether it's a Google+ invite or a millionaire trying to give away his fortunes.
- Don't ever give out your personal information to email requests from scammers posing as legitimate entities. Legitimate entities will never ask you that; the only time they might prompt you for personal information is when you approach them do something.
- Too good to be true offers do not exist. For example, somebody looking to share the wealth of somebody who has no "next of kin"...does not happen in real life. If you're not sure, don't go for it, especially if you have to provide your personal information or grant access to your computer in exchange for it.
Jul 1, 2011 10:20:00 AM
This week, Google launched its own social network in an attempt to challenge Facebook with a service that ties together all its existing sites including Gmail. Google’s long expected second shot at taking on Facebook in the social networking space has arrived in the form of the Google+ Project. It has some interesting twists on the social networking model but is far from a Facebook-killer.
Google+ is structured in a remarkably similar way to Facebook, with profile pictures and news feeds forming a central core. However, a user's friends or contacts are grouped into specific circles of their choosing - as opposed to the common pool of friends typical on Facebook.
Google+ started rolling out to a limited number of users on Tuesday in what the company is calling a field trial. Only those invited to join will initially be able to use the service. Google did not say when it would be more widely available.
To create Google+, the company went back to the drawing board in the wake of several notable failures, including Google Wave and Google Buzz, a micro-blogging service whose launch was marred by privacy snafus. 'We learned a lot in Buzz, and one of the things we learned is that there's a real market opportunity for a product that addresses people's concerns around privacy and how their information is shared,' said Google spokesman Bradley Horowitz.
As with Facebook's service, Google+ has a central web page that displays an ever-updating stream of the comments, photos and links being shared by friends and contacts. A toolbar across the top of most of Google's sites - such as its main search page, its Gmail site and its Maps site - allows users to access their personalized data feed. They can then contribute their own information to the stream. Google+ will also offer a special video chat feature, in which up to ten people can jump on a conference call. And Google will automatically store photos taken on mobile phones on its Internet servers, allowing a Google+ user to access the photos from any computer and share them.
Want to try the service? Right now, it’s strictly invite only. Some press are being allowed in, along with others that Google hand picks. There’s no ETA on when wider invites will be available. Unusually, this isn’t being called a beta test or an experiment but rather a “field trial” that’s meant to finally gather some feedback from outside Google itself. The limited test is probably wise. It’ll give Google more time to discover things it might not have anticipated being problems, as was the case with Buzz.
For more detailed information and additional video tours of Google + click here.
Mar 10, 2011 8:16:00 AM
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