Thursday, July 24, 2014

Anatomy of a scam site


The Internet has its own share of scam sites. Their intention is to manipulate human emotions to the personal benefit of the web site owners. Websites focus to make the viewers stay longer. They use click baits for this purpose, where attractive and often misleading titles are used for otherwise an ordinary or boring article. Websites also wants to make the viewers subscribers. This is to ensure that the users will return. If there are free subscription plans, the focus will be to make the subscribers upgrade to a premium plan that would require a monthly fee.

If a networking site requires monthly fees just to connect to other users or even to read and reply to the incoming messages, it surely is a scam, in my opinion. These sites may employ fake profiles to lure men and women to register for their premium services. Scam sites display their advertisements over the other websites. They also often just comment on the forums with their links, hoping innocent guys will end up in their site, after reading the comment.

Recently, I was browsing an apparently scam web site full of ads and pop ups, which displayed a timer indicating I should buy the offer within 11 mins and 57 s to qualify for a 75% discount. After a few minutes, I just refreshed the page, which set the timer to 13 mins and 39 s again. Virtually, I was able to keep the limited 'discount' opportunity forever, by merely refreshing. I am sure, you may find that 'discount' almost everyday.
After a refresh

Some of the scam sites which claim to be free, require a credit card, just to 'verify' your age. However, once they got the credit card information, it won't cost them much effort, before they start charging you the first month usage fee. Most of these web sites accept the credit card without verifying. They verify only when they decide to scam your money. You may use a fake credit card number generator to see whether the site fails for it. Most of the scam sites indeed fail this simple test. Even the legit looking sites may have some scam elements in them. Just be careful when you use your credit card in the Internet.

Change and Growth

Since the Internet became popular, many sites has come and gone. Orkut, a social networking site from Google once popular in the Indian subcontinent is going to die on the 30th of September, 2014. Recently, I was going through an old promotional video to the Internet. It looked a bit odd and irrelevant, though it could be a useful guide for the kids in 1997, 17 years ago. We do not honestly know when will the current Internet giants see their end. Probably, one day they will. Hope the transition will be gradual, and when that happens we will be given option to download our data from the sites.

Many of the sites have disappeared since they made this video. Yahooligans was a search engine for the kids. Sometimes, I do not understand why a few websites disappear, even when they are backed by an Internet giant such as Google or Yahoo. This probably could be due to their lack of ROI. They could at least consider donating these web sites to some open source projects, as Google did with Wave, instead of killing them. Some of the web sites mentioned in the video, such as nick@nite and ticketmaster still exist for more than 17 years. Juno has changed its business since then, from free email provider to dial-up internet service. Interestingly, the not-so-fancy online virtual frog dissection tool still exists, without modification or improvement. An equally interesting video was a compilation of Microsoft advertisements from Windows 1.1 to Windows 8. The early advertisements indeed look goofy, with lack of professionalism compared to the current standards.

I remember, buying a computer of 40 GB disk on the 6th of January, 2006, which was perfectly enough for Windows XP and Mandrake Linux dual boot. This February 11th, I bought a laptop of 1 TB, and having a dual boot of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS - 64 bit and Windows 8. I have already filled up half of the space! Same can be said about the memory and CPU, where those days tinier resources were more than enough for running all the applications. I used to store documents in 1.44 MB floppy disks, downloaded from the University internet. Now not even a single document can stay inside such a small space. These changes were within 8 years. Probably, by 2022, I will have more to say here, that is, if Blogger still exists by then.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The third summer in Lisboa..

Cape St. Mary, Faro
So the summer is back. Hot and shiny long days. UPC and KTH guys have also done their defence. That means, 2/3 of the EMDC 2012 family has already graduated. Even the remaining of us - the IST guys, have received the last scholarship of the program, which reminds the end of the program. Time has gone too quickly.

[12/07/2014] Enjoying my third summer in Lisboa. Time for some beach. Went to Faro (using Rede Expressos bus, with a student discount). From Faro, took an "Animaris Ferry" for return trip 10 Euro, to Ilhas Desertas (Also known as Desertas Island or Ilhas Barreta) to see the Praia da Barreta beach and Cape St. Mary, the southern most point of the mainland Portugal. Faro was awesome with lots of birds.. :)