Monthly Archives: March 2012

All Is Well

My wife Sarah and I have been inactive on our @TweetSmarter Twitter account  for more than 90 minutes only a few times in the last four years. Today was one of those days.

To those of you who asked if we’re okay, all is well. No great harm or expenses were incurred :-)

I had a quick errand to run with just enough time to get back before a conference call, and no upcoming tweets scheduled. Thanks to a comedy of errors, I got stranded without my phone, and wasn’t able to successfully get a message though to Sarah to let her know to be in touch with the conference folks (she is on WCCO radio weekday afternoons here in the Twin Cities).

So a few hours went out without any tweets from us, and the great folks I was supposed to be conferencing with had no idea where I was or what was happening, which I sincerely regret.

Thanks to all of you who checked in to see if we were okay!

How to protect your confidential information on websites

Something I’ve done for a long time is give unusual answers to “challenge questions,” such as “What is your mother’s maiden name?” that some site use to “increase” security.

For example, I typically give as an answer a second password that I use, instead of something that actually fits the question. That way, it doesn’t matter if the real answer to the question is somehow discovered, no one can know what I actually answered to the question. (For example, my answer to “What was the name of your first pet?” might be “J8ds7~!A”).

I mention this because hackers have been invading credit report websites, in part by using the “challenge questions,” to steal people’s identities.

Another thing I do is I have my browser save my login information for fast filling out of web forms, but I have it save the information slightly incorrectly.

For example, say my credit card ends in 1234. I’ll have it saved as 1934, and then I’ll just edit the “9” to become a “2.” That way I can save information to help speed up web forms, without worrying about it somehow being stolen.

Of course, you should also use different passwords on different sites (here’s an easy way to do that) and be careful where you really are when you login.

Infographic: What Men And Women Want Most

Netbase queried a database of billions social web conversations for those that take the form “I want (object)” to identify and tally which came from a man or a woman to produce a summary of what men and women want. I’m only showing a portion of the infographic below (click it to enlarge), you can see the whole thing here.

I noticed that other than the order of wants, the only difference in the top ten is that men want beer, chicken and bacon, and women want chocolate, coffee and sushi:

Hackers creating fake apps as fast as Twitter can block them

Note: If affected by a bad app, revoke it at …although Twitter will often suspend them quickly

If you see one of the many variations of “Wanna see who viewed your Twitter profile?” do NOT click.

There is NOT nor has there EVER been an app that can show you who views your Twitter profile.

Most of the time (if you do click) you’ll see an app that has been suspended/revoked. But if you’re one of the first people to click—before Twitter suspends the app’s connection to Twitter—you’ll be able to authorize the app, and it will start tweeting on your behalf, trying to get other people to click through.

The app can do a variety of things once you authorize it. A common theme is that you have to do something before you can see those people who viewed your Twitter profile—such as take a survey. You might be taken to a page that looks like this:

See all those supposed “viewers” of your profile? They do NOT exist.

The app could also tweet other things from your account, such as links to a variety of malware or spam. Driving you to spam surveys that pay the bad app maker money is the least troublesome thing the app can do.

And of course, if you try to leave the page, it makes a fake offer, filling in your city (taken from the IP address you are visiting the site from) and today’s date. (Be sure to click “Leave this Page” to stay safe.) One example:

My Apologies

In checking out the operation of one of the apps from a test account, the browser was accidentally switched to one where @TweetSmarter was logged in, and the app was able to send out a tweet from the @TweetSmarter account. It was deleted in under ten seconds, but that should NEVER happen!

If you clicked through the link from @TweetSmarter and authorized the app before Twitter was able to suspend it, my sincere apologies.