Monday, December 28, 2015


Everyone seems to want your location on the Internet. When you log into Facebook, open up Google, or join a new site and a prompt asks if you want to allow the site to use your location, what do you click?

Click no. Hell no.

Geotags are the geographical metadata attached to your device, that are telegraphed when you post from that device onto the Internet.

There may be times when using your location is unavoidable, such as if you want to use a weather app on your phone. It kind of needs to know what city you want the information for. That said, you still don't need to give the app your specific location, so disabling geotagging is not going to affect it.

If you open up Google maps on your mobile device, see where the arrow leads to before you open up the search bar. It leads right to the shingles on the roof of your house.

Check your settings right now on your phone or tablet. Make sure your exact geographical location is an empty box.

Here's why. When you take a photo of your kids in the back yard with your device, the geotag will publish your location right down to the shingles on your house. You might not think much about it, but what if you posted that picture on Twitter or Facebook? Then somewhere along the way, you mention a big trip you're going on. Vacation week in Hawaii. Thanks to your photos, now people know exactly what color your shingles are and that your house is going to be empty for a week.

Maybe people know you're single and live alone with a cat. That's all a sex offender needs to know after the geotags on your photographs can lead them straight to your house.

Perhaps I'm overreaching. The odds may be very slim, but why give crime a chance? Turn off your geotags. Strangers on the Internet do not need to know which house you live in. Heck, they don't even have to know the city, unless you post it.


Saturday, December 19, 2015


This is the online version of a female walking down the street past any group of men who hoot and holler, who decide to follow you, who try to pressure you to respond to their catcalls and then get mad when you don't. This online version is called catfishing. They tend to start like this:

Although to this one's credit, there is more wording than you would normally see. Usually it's just "hi" and they keep sending the same message, then they get mad when you don't respond. I usually delete or block them.

But textbook definition of catfishing online is someone hiding behind a false identity who tries to lure you into a relationship. We've seen numerous versions of the offline version of this: on Investigative Reports, Dateline, and 20/20. It never ends well. It doesn't always end in murder, but it likely always ends with a parting of the funds.

Dr. Phil has listed a few things to look out for when you decide to entertain the thought of online dating.

  • Fake photos.
  • Above average poor spelling and grammar.
  • They're ready to jump into marriage before you say hello.
  • They ask for money.
  • Too many questions.

If it seems creepy, it usually is a creep. Forget politeness. When you get continuous Google chat popups like the one above, or Facebook direct messages, just block and delete. No explanation or response is necessary.

Women ain't got time for catfish.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hacking Is Life

It's happened to everyone at some point on the web. Even to those seasoned and technically-savvy veterans of the Internet.

It is guaranteed to happen to those who surf the Net without a parachute and in complete and total ignorance.

You've been hacked.

It's a good chance everyone who has ever owned a Twitter or Facebook account has been hacked at some point. How? When you don't pay attention to what you are clicking. Some of those too-good-to-be-true or sexy salacious stories come with a hacksaw. You usually know when one of your buddies tells you they've just received some weird message from your account.

How do you get out of a social hack? Change your password. Log out. Log back in with the new password. Use a complicated password, like: iReallywantTogoto1henew5tarwarsMovi7 or something half that long.

You really do need a unique password for every account. Don't use the same one across the board or something simple, like benandsandy if those are your kids' names.

Even if your computer is Fort Knoxed, you can still get hacked. Your information is as secure as the IT from the companies you deal with. If Amazon decides to save money on IT and put it into a new launch instead, unless they have a blackhacker on staff, all their information is put at risk if their IT is not as tip top as they can pay for.

Need an example, besides Sony (which isn't just about movies but also your Playstation)? Here are some biggies:

Go Daddy, Dropbox, Nissan, Mastercard, Visa, Reuters... in 2012
Facebook, Microsoft, NBC, Twitter... in 2013
Target, Michaels, AT&T, US and Canadian governments, Home Depot, Apple iCloud... in 2014
Anthem, IRS, JP Morgan Chase, British Airways... most recent

There is no getting around it. The Dark Web, where all of this information gets sold as hackers make money on your behalf, is bigger than the Internet you are currently using.

You can't hide. Even if you decide to put a moratorium on Internet travel, you can't control what other companies do when you shop in person, or how secure your cable company's records are. You can only use best practices and be diligent: strong and unique passwords (so what if you have to write them down in a book), don't do banking from a public wifi (coffee shops, airports), make sure your computer is fully upgraded and not too old for upgrades (I don't use my Windows XP laptop online anymore), have a really good and fully updated antivirus program.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Captivity Survival Techniques Can Improve Your Life


Loss of freedom can mean many things.

It can mean being held against your will by another person, domestic violence, and a whole assortment of criminal behaviors that are meant to dominate another person into submission.

Sometimes we hold ourselves hostage. If we are unhappy and frustrated with our circumstances and can't see a way out, we can easily fall into captive behavior.

The Hostage Survival Skills for CF (Canadian Forces) Personnel written by Major P J Murphy and Captain K M J Farley describes a form of captivity as being emotionally distraught from a personal crisis or domestic dispute. In other words, a life crisis or environment imprisons us mentally.

It can happen when someone close to us dies, like a parent losing a child, or when we are the target of a cyberbully. Poverty can make people grind through life. We might let the circumstance consume us and keep us from moving forward or seeing the light, so we let our dreams, our goals, die where we left them.

It doesn't have to be that way.

After watching the first interview with journalist Peter Greste on Al Jazeera English after he was freed from an Egyptian prison, he mentioned there were three keys to his survival after being locked up for over 400 days. Keeping fit physically, mentally, and spiritually. He also saw his experience as an awakening. It brought people together in ways he could never have fathomed, but it was also like a rebirth. He missed the little moments more than the big issues: seeing a sunset, the stars, feeling the sand on his feet.

Here are some tips on how to survive in captivity that can translate into helping you survive online and everyday life.

Friday, October 16, 2015

You Look Disgusting

 This is a powerful video from +My Pale Skin that reaffirms there is no pleasing anyone. Chew on this for a moment: those who post hateful comments, how is YOUR life so much more perfect than ours? The only person's opinion that matters is your own.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Twitter can be an ugly place for women

We know that largely it is the bad guys who seem to get more press than those who are doing good. The people just going about their daily chores, minding their business, who have made some online connections, share a few photos and stories on social media, who are not on the public radar, are not immune to cyberbullies and trolls. But for anyone who has been in the #trending box or has had any sort of celebrity whatsoever -- these are the people who especially seem to attract the worst of the worst. Or you just have to be a female.

This story was recently shared by my media colleague +Alex Ruiz on Facebook:

It doesn't take much to elicit the ire of a troll. You only have to exist. And for some, if you're female, you are all that is wrong with the world. I guess these trolls must really hate their mothers.

You don't have to "feed the troll" to fight back. In fact, even a troll will admit that any response from his or her target will act as rocket fuel. Expect the abuse to lock into higher gear.

When the tweets get to the point that they are libelous or they egg on criminal behavior, what you can do is document every post with their Twitter handle beside it. Keep a detailed file and make two copies: one for you and one for your police report for when the abuse crosses the line from pure hatred to actual threats. Include any of their Twitter buddies who favored, replied, or shared their hateful tweets (with their Twitter handles), then go back and report and block all of their sorry little asses.

If there are too many, find someone to assist you or hire someone to take that task off your hand. The last thing you should do is close your Twitter account. I just want to scream when people do that. It means you let those bastards win. When one troll wins, they all win.

Although police departments are not necessarily equipped with the ability to fight Internet crime, or know what it is, still file a police report when it truly crosses the line to cyberbullying or you feel physically threatened. Having a police file number is a bit like a security blanket. Even if the police don't pursue the case, that piece of paper validates your experience, if nothing else, for yourself.

It's also good for you to know that some trolls are being jailed for their behavior. It doesn't mean they're sorry, but it does mean the laws are changing to your favor. 

Hold your head high and spit in the trolls' direction. One of the best empowering tools comes from +Jimmy Kimmel Live with his Mean Tweets. There are others, but it is so important not to let a troll draw you into becoming like them.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

When You Truly Can't Repay A Debt, Know Your Rights

You're one of the millions who were affected by the 2009/2010 economic fallout that suffocated the United States, and was felt by some industries in Canada. Then Canada spiraled into a recession.

Because things were great just prior to the downfall, your business was riding high. You had credit at your fingertips and things looked pretty rosy. Then all of a sudden, the shit hit the fan and you either lost your business or your job. Saddled with debt you were able to manage with the previous income, you now have no way to pay it back.

If you're over 50, well, you know the drill. Finding work that resumed the same kind of income you had has been sketchy. Maybe you found some piecemeal jobs to put food on the table and pay rent, but with very little left over to manage your bills. All your bills have gone to collections.

Some of your collectors were sympathetic to your plight, so even if you could only pay $25 every other month, it was something and it showed you were trying. Others were relentless to the point of abuse -- and some may have broken the law.

Maybe you already had a bankruptcy under your belt from decades prior and you don't have the money now to pay the larger fees required to file a second one.

No matter how hard you work to try and find the income, after downsizing, borrowing more, you can't make it work. Your only option is to ignore the debt. The collection calls continue and so does the abuse.

Years pass. Maybe you've moved or your house was foreclosed. Either way, you've had a break from the constant reminder. The calls have stopped. Then all of a sudden, a there is a knock at the door, or you learn that a bailiff wants to serve you a judgement order on a debt that is over two years old.

There is a statute of limitations

Check your province or state. In Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan, there is a two-year statute of limitations. That means creditors are prohibited from legally suing you for unsecured debt.

Where some people screw this up is when they acknowledge the debt in writing, such as an emailed response to a creditor who decides to hound you electronically. The statute of limitations is in effect right after the last payment or acknowledgement of the debt. So if someone approaches you after two years or however long the limitation is in your area: shut up. Don't respond. Don't acknowledge. If they come to your door, don't accept the paperwork, don't even acknowledge your name. Bid them good day and shut the door.

They are not able to collect the old debt from you, even if you now have the money to pay it. Yes, it is up to the debtor to remove any of rotten credit from your report. But face it. Your credit is bad whether you pay it or not. Paying it doesn't make it miraculously disappear from your credit report.

If it seems that your debt has resurfaced and the collection process has started all over again, after the two years have expired, that probably means your debtor has illegally sold your debt to a third-party debtor.

When your debt gets to the collection stage, most states and provinces have similar legislation as to the personal conduct of a collector. In today's digital world, your debtor may even take to extremes and troll your social media accounts, publicly disclose your debt, and bully you. This is illegal.

Know your rights.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Microsoft Just Found a Brilliant Way to Lose Customers to MAC

Why Windows 10 WiFi sense is freaking everyone out - Jul. 30, 2015

If this CNN Money report is true, why on EARTH would anyone want to have this on their computer?

I am a long-time, loyal, and advocate of Microsoft. I've tried MAC computers and haven't yet warmed up to them, especially their price tag.

But this. This feature in Windows 10 is enough to make me go MAC. Seriously, talk about leaving yourself open to hackers and your cyberbully.

Microsoft, what the hell?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Leaked AshleyMadison Emails Suggest Execs Hacked Competitors

Leaked AshleyMadison Emails Suggest Execs Hacked Competitors — Krebs on Security

Okay, we all know hacking is a serious breach and is truly a criminal act. It happens way too often, it seems, as companies continue to cut costs on their Internet security, thus putting their employees and customers at risk for identity theft.

Still, in the case of AshleyMadison, it's hard to muster any sympathy, since the site encourages breaking marital laws. Pity the families who were unaware of a cheating spouse, unless both spouses had accounts, then we can expect their kids to be equal cads when they grow up.

As unsympathetic as these customers may be, this is something that can happen to anyone on any popular website. Imagine if Facebook and Amazon did not keep their security up to date (and face it, theirs is better than our U.S. and Canadian government securities, whose websites have been hacked). Although we don't post dick pics on Amazon (let's hope not) and we hopefully don't put our entire families at risk for fraud, extortion, or worse as these profiles flood the dark web.

Now to learn the company may have hacked its competitor sites? Geez, Louise.

In the meantime, the memes say it all about how the rest of the world feels about AshleyMadison users.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Keep Ya Head Up: How Small Businesses Can Win Against Cyberbullies and Trolls | Andrew Chau


Keep Ya Head Up: How Small Businesses Can Win Against Cyberbullies and Trolls | Andrew Chau

"At one point in my life...I was that guy, the person who would post a one-star review simply because I waited too long or someone gave me attitude. I get home and say to myself, "Surely, I'm going to show them!" In reality, it didn't show anyone anything other than how spiteful I was-- like I had it out for the employee or business. It's like I want him or her to get fired over spilt milk (ironically, that did happen one time). That was just mean-spirited and immature."

I think many of us can relate. To echo the words of Maya Angelou, when we know better, we do better. 

Think before you post.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Twitter User Defames James Woods


Hollywood stars are not immune to criticism, speculation, and rumors. People talk about their careers, their personal lives, and circulate stories, a lot of times without checking the source.

Not everything you read about a celebrity (or anyone for that matter) is the gospel truth. Even if the source seems credible (such as reputable media outlets like +Rolling Stone+The Hollywood Reporter+ABC News), there have been documented cases where a story had to be retracted because of an error, a misrepresentation of the context, or the origin was untrue.

Enter a Twitter user who, for some reason, sought out a personal vendetta against actor James Woods.

When you call someone a fraud, child molester and, as in the case of Woods, a drug addict, you'd better have the legal proof to back that up that specific terminology or you have opened yourself up for a lawsuit, even if your target doesn't have the means or the will to pursue it.

Not so the case of James Woods. He's got the will, the dough, and is making the time to hunt down and persecute his tormentor, for $10 million.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Winning Against Your Childhood or Online Bullies

Leonardo DiCaprio paints Kate Winslet
Success is what you would call the last laugh. Imagine if these targets had given up?

Never let someone else dictate your life based on what they might perceive as a flaw. It's only a flaw to them, to you it is your strength and your power.

So what do Kate Winslet, Eminem, Jackie Chan, the Dutchess of Cambridge, Elvis Presley, and YOU have in common?

Kate Winslet was called "Blubber" in school. Perhaps there was an internal smile of revenge during the scene in Titanic when costar Leonardo DiCaprio was painting her naked.

You will be empowered when you click this link.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Online Bully Murders Cop, Injures Another, Takes Own Life

Constable Dan Woodall
All hell broke loose on the Monday night of June 8, 2015 in West Edmonton when a warrant was being executed by members of the Edmonton Police Services Hate Crimes Unit to a known anti-Semite.

The officers didn't make it to the front door.

Constable Dan Woodall and Sergeant Jason Harley were both hit by a flurry of 53 bullets that were fired through the door. Sergeant Harley was injured after being hit in the back but Constable Woodall was fatally wounded. Both men were wearing bullet-proof vests.

The warrant was being served for extreme criminal harassment and the online hatred and bullying of a local family. The perpetrator's bullying behavior was known back to February 2014 and had escalated enough for the warrant to be issued, as the family feared for their safety.

The perpetrator torched his house immediately after firing the rounds and is said to be dead as the home burned to the ground. The house was reported to be in foreclosure and the man was described by his neighbor as a deadbeat who left his property in serious neglect.

It's a terrible story that emphasizes the depth that an online bully can go to wreak his or her carnage.

The victimized family will likely sleep a little better now that their tormentor is dead, but not without a heavy price. He left behind two additional families in distress, one of them in an unrecoverable state. God speed to Constable Woodall's widow and young children. The cowardly perpetrator's name was purposely left out of this entry because it is more important to know who the real heroes are.

RT @NumberGenie#EPS #EPSstrong #PoliceLivesMatter #foreverinmyheart #love #unity #family 
#father #husband #forever

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cyberbullying in the Workplace


The workplace can be a gut-wrenching environment for some when you have a bad boss, a job you hate, or your income is such that you need a second job. Sprinkle in the element of cyberbullies and the stress factor goes through the roof.

As the bully's weapon of choice tends to be email, texts, and social media, while those elements may seem hidden from the workplace environment, the impact it has on a company's bottom line can be devastating.

Workplace cyberbullying is seeping in your computers like a flock of locusts during The Great Depression. Trolls are hungry for power and do not care who they take down or why.

In a study from Punched from the Screen, 80% of the 320 respondents had experienced workplace cyberbullying.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Australia's Chronicle Discovers Adult Cyberbullies Worse Than Kids

When readers responded to an article about the cyberbullying of students, they said that adult cyberbullies can actually be worse.

The Chronicle is actually looking for story examples from fellow Australians.

For more about the newspaper's story on adult cyberbullies, click here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Harassment & Bullying of Reporters Is Still Harassment & Bullying

It's the clip that has been seen around the world, well at least Canada.

News reporter Shauna Hunt encountered a team of neanderthals outside a Toronto FC soccer game, which on it's own is not so unusual, at least for females these days. But where the story got interesting was that one of the perpetrators was fired from his job, once his employer caught wind of his ugly behavior. He and his gaggle of cavemen buddies were also banned from attending the pitch for a year.

Because the venue was owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the fools may end up being banned indefinitely from all MLSE events, and certainly from all Major League Soccer games at other centers.

Some might think that women can't take a joke. We can. We just don't like being demeaned, especially in our workplace.

Like Hunt says in the clip, it gets old very quickly. The string of incidents keeps growing. And with respect to the "man" in the video, I'll bet money his mother is not laughing. If she is, she is more a candidate for child protective services than mother of the year.

As women, we're mad as hell and we prefer not to experience these acts of moronism any more.

Personally, I experienced the lack of respect a different way. In the city where I did most of my reporting, the players were, for the most part, great to work with. I had very few issues with them. The behaviors that impacted my ability to do my job came from management. On more than one occasion, I'd be in the middle of a one-on-one interview with a player, who would be in mid-sentence to answer a question, when a PR director or team president, or another member of the team that wasn't on the playing field, would barge in, and interrupt only to talk to the player about something mundane. I could tell it even annoyed the player, who was forced to recalibrate his thoughts to resume the interview after the team representative finally left the scene.

The examples of the harassment of female reporters are endless. Below are just a few that will give you the idea of the working environment.

Five female sports reporters and the disrespect they face
Calgary man charged with shouting obscenity at female reporter
Every year, women journalists are killed, assaulted, threatened and defamed
Most female journalists have been threatened, assaulted, or harassed at work.
Women journalists confront harassment, sexism when using social media
Sports media misogyny: what is fans' problem with female commentators?
Female journalists harassed at offices all around the damn globe

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Growing a Thicker Skin Is the Upside of Being Cyberbullied

"It has shook me to the core."

That is how +Stephanie Frasco describes being cyberbullied by an adult.

It's true that even if your intentions are good in doing, saying, or sharing something, there are people who will rake you over the coals for it. Haters hide behind the keyboard, lying in wait, for the sole purpose of ruining someone's day and there is no amount of explanation or counter-argument that will be good enough to get them to stop or take it back.

Stephanie responded to the web by posting this blog piece, to which her key advice is to just play nice.

That's probably the best advice ever. By fighting hate with love, venom with inspiration, we can change the Internet for the positive, one post at a time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Business Owners and Suicide Compounded by Cyberbullies: The Unknown Statistic


North Americans are swallowed in personal debt. This is true for many businesses.

The business cycle can be unforgiving when you're an entrepreneur. An accident, illness, death, bad employee, and a weak economy all wreak havoc on those who are barely hanging on by a thread.

Running a business isn't for the faint of heart. It does take long hours and sacrifices to get anything off the ground. Even the most sound business mind can falter on a decision that sends one's finances out of control. If there are employees counting on the job to feed their families, that adds to the pressure to make things work.

As confident as one might look on the outside, the psyche of an entrepreneurs can be quite fragile. Sprinkle in a cyberbully and in some instances, it's enough to send a business owner over the edge.

Canadian household debt is 163.3% of disposable incomeCanada has the highest debt to income ration in the G7 countries. 

Over 1 in 3 Americans are nearing or experience financial disaster. Overwhelming debt and lousy incomes make many people easy targets for creditors, who use the Internet as a tool to shame them and compound their ability to get back on their feet. This is a CRIME. There are laws on the books in both Canada and the United States that address collection laws and what creditors can and cannot do. 

Know your rights. Here is a guidebook on how to fight back.   

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Every Cyberbully Target's Fantasy


Unfriended is a movie that was released this week (April 17, 2015) that is penned with a brilliant premise.

While it was created for the horror genre, in reality, it could fall under fantasy, at least in the idea that every cyberbullying target will fantasize about what they might do to their own bully.

The storyline goes like this: girl gets bullied online; girl commits suicide; girl's account comes to life and haunts her bullies online; bullies die off one-by-one. Can it get any better than that?

This is not to advocate taking any action against your bully, but we can all dream.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Revenge Porn

Relationships. They take a lot of work to keep it together. Part of that effort might involve a webcam or a camera, where couples "get naughty" with each other and use the pictures to spice things up. But what happens when that relationship goes sour. What happens to the images then?

Statistics show that the divorce rate in the United States and Canada ranges from 40 to 50 percent. There are no real numbers as to the solvency of non-married relationships.

Because we know a lot of breakups end badly, because it is so easy for a disgruntled partner to use the Internet for payback, the many of the United States have specifically introduced Revenge Porn as part of legislation. This is an effort to try and protect people from having unwanted images published without their consent. Even social media is stepping in to take action against those who use intimate images as a revenge tactic.

It's a big problem. Spouses are using the threat of publishing compromising photographs and videos to get what they want in a divorce proceeding.

Enter the social media prenuptual, which is actually takes care of the postnuptual should the couple separate or divorce. More and more couples are spelling out in black and white with a notarized signature that they will not engage in revenge porn should the relationship end.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Monica Lewinsky Is Patient Zero From Adult Cyberbullying

"Imagine walking a mile in someone else's headlines."

For over 20 years, Monica Lewinsky has been branded worldwide by Internet "stone throwers." That is what she calls those who continually and relentlessly publicly humiliate her about something that happened when she was 22. A lot of us have done what she did. Only for the rest of us, it may not have been plastered throughout the 24-hour news cycle or joked about on every television comedy hour and stand-up routine.

At age 25/26, I had an affair with my married boss that lasted over a year. I was fresh out of a divorce, in a new job and city, and was about a year into my singlehood. Unlike Lewinsky, I don't think I was in love with him. I might have been 22, when I married the first man I met after a volatile courtship that became only more capricious after the ceremony. I sewed my oats, big time, once the Decree Absolute was served. I was unabashedly brazen for at least 20 years.

When you look at Lewinsky's story in context, now that you know better and are not being influenced by the late-night comics and the pundit news media that gets its advertising dollars from piling on someone's misfortune and shame, you see just how tragic it is.

I remember when her nightmare started. It didn't sit right with me that it was her so-called friend, a confidant, who secretly recorded their private conversations and shared them with the world. I needed a shower after just hearing that. There can be no greater betrayal. I'm fortunate that a lot of my escapades were done before the Internet. However, who knows if someone had some sort of recording device or secret pictures that are now circulating on the deep web.

A lot of people can relate to Lewinsky's Internet experience. Just ask anyone who has been cyberbullied, who have had their personal reputation disparaged by a dedicated web page or had their private moments and words shared publicly without permission and without context.

Kudos to Lewinsky for finding her voice. She has become my personal hero as a result. Her message is clear and echos what I have been working on for the past couple of years: clean up the Internet one post at a time. How you do that is a) post positively and b) report bullying.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

If I Say I Don't Like You Is It Bullying?

Disliking someone doesn't give you the license to be mean.

Cyberbullying behavior has less to do about how an individual feels about another and more about how they feel about themselves.

Even so, when someone pees in your Cornflakes, you don't have to eat out of that bowl.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Stop Being Dumb About IT

Target, Home Depot, Sony, and many more have something in common. Someone inside their networks, either internally or via a third-party supplier, opened the door to give free reign to hackers.

Of course, anyone who clicks an unsuspecting malicious link hasn't deliberately put their company at risk. It also does the boss no good if he or she singles out and punishes the employee.

What will lessen the chance of this happening is if your company actually invests money into its IT, rather than just pay lip service with an anti-virus here and a firewall there. That may be okay for one computer but if you have more than one synced to a server, installing more than one level of security will make it more difficult for the bad guys to sneak in.

The other thing you can do is train your staff to be more diligent about what might be construed as a phishing link, whether it is in their social media feeds, email, or from an online search for information. They should also be trained on the art of making up a password. If you have to tattoo it to your elbow to remember, so be it, but the simpler and more obvious the password, the wider the door has been left open.

Alex Holden sniffed down a group of Russian hackers who infiltrated 420,000 websites, stole the credentials, and used them for their spam campaign. In an interview with +Mitch Jackson on +Human.Social  he lists steps you must take if you think you've been hacked.

1. Assess the situation. What was taken? How was it taken? Was there more than one entry point?
2. Preserve the evidence.
3. Get the right people to advise you.
4. The process of recovery is a delicate one and cannot be rushed.

Here is the entire interview.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy Slapping: Another Form of Cyberbullying

There is nothing happy about Happy Slapping. The term was coined for when a planned or unplanned assault is videotaped and posted online. Its roots seemingly originate in the United Kingdom.

This presentation provides a quick overview of what this entails.

This is a crime. It is also taking the act of physical bullying to the Internet. Whether you live in the United Kingdom or North America, there will be legislation that deals with this.

Another term used for a group of individuals who assault a person or group is called swarming. These incidents could end up online, too.

Of course, just because happy slapping and swarming are a crime, doesn't mean the victims will always receive justice. The laws have much catching up to do in order to reflect societal expectations.

This short film is a clear example of what happy slapping looks like.

Friday, February 20, 2015

40% Adults Are Targets of Cyberbullies: PEW


(At least) 75 percent of American adults have been witness to cyberbullying and (at least) 40 percent have experienced it first-hand. This is according to a 2014 PEW Research study.

The types of harassment between the sexes is the same, varying only slightly as to whether men or women experience a certain type more. Cyberbullies tend to engage in:

  • Name calling
  • Embarrassing someone
  • Physical threats
  • Long-term harassment
  • Stalking
  • Sexual harassment

The PEW results also show that about half of the targets didn't know their tormentors.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Being a Cyberbully is Easy

Look no further than the comment feed to any major source article, Facebook page post, or YouTube video. Vile and contempt are everywhere. 

It is almost as if there is real money in being as mean as you can on the Internet. 

In reality, when an adult business owner is the target of a cyberbully, it does involve real lost business. 

Being that bully is so easy to do that even the well-intentioned have worn those shoes at one time or the other.

This post by Stephen Hill of the Squamish Chief tells you how easy it is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bakery Example of Business Cyberbullying

A bully wakes up one day and decides to rain toxin at a small business establishment that is only trying to make good cupcakes. The only thing this business did to trigger this abuse was exist.

The bully takes to the Internet, initiates posts, trolls feeds, and engages a campaign of hate against the business and its owner.

This is the face of business cyberbullying. Sometimes the cyberbully is known to the target. Other times, the actual face may be hidden behind an anonymous avatar.

In the case of the Sweet Ambrosia Bake Shoppe, the campaign of hate has been at least two years in the making.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Canada's New Cyberbullying Law


On March 9, 2015, a new law will come into affect that will give law enforcement more teeth to charge cyberbullies in Canada. Bill C-13's controversy is that it will also give the government more surveillance powers.

+Allan Oziel describes the law: it will be an offence to knowingly publish, distribute, transmit, sell, make available or advertise an “intimate image” of a person without that person’s consent, where there was a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Under the new law, an +iPredator can be forced to remove content and stay off the Internet AND have their devices confiscated. Offenders can receive up to five years imprisonment.

The law only applies to images broadcast on all forms of media, whether it be photograph, print, or video. So if, say a cloud server was hacked and private unpublished nude photographs were shared publicly and subsequently reshared, the individuals posting and resharing could be prosecuted under this law.

There does not appear to be a statute of limitations with this act as there are with the other cyberbullying crimes, which fall under libel, harassment, and collection laws.

Here is a legislative summary of C-13.

In order to prosecute under any law, important for businesses and individuals to document their bully's trail of toxin.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Definition of an Adult Cyberbully

When cyberbullying happens to adults, it does more than affect a person's psyche. It seriously harms or destroys a business. Business cyberbullying is bigger than you might know.

+Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. describes a cyberbully as an +iPredator, someone engaging in cyber terrorism. If you think that is too harsh a description, try being on the receiving end.

Online predators can be anyone: a disgruntled client, someone who didn't get the job you advertised, a former employee, a family member, or someone you have never met who just decided that you would be their target for no reason whatsoever.

The Bullying Statistics website lists five character traits of an adult bully:

1. Narcissistic: lacks empathy and relishes in knowing they have caused you pain.
2. Impulsive: lacks impulse control and will troll on the fly when something sticks in their craw. Sometimes their behavior may be unintentional, but they are driven by their emotions.
3. Physical: they may physically harm their target or someone related to their target, or just the threat of physical harm lands them in this category.
4. Verbal: the predator demeans, humiliates, or uses verbal language to disparage their target. This form of bullying can be more devastating than physical bullying.
5. Secondary: the ones who do the piling on. They didn't initiate the post, but they keep it going with fervor.

Dr. Nuccitelli also lists 42 examples of cyberbullying.

If you are an adult who is the target, both personally and business, of an adult cyberbully, you are not alone and there are resources you can access for help.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Celebrity Phonegate

Did she or didn't she?

After a volatile episode of The Celebrity Apprentice, the question on viewer's lips is: Did Kenya steal Vivica's phone?

To fill you in, there has been tension between the women from the get-go. Suspicion comes in when before the team hits the boardroom to learn their fate in episode six. Circumstantial evidence was broadcast by Kenya herself when she looked into the camera and boasted, "Little do they know I have some tricks up my sleeve."

Is this tweet also an admission of guilt?

Sure, this all makes for good television drama on one of network television's most popular show. But seriously? If your coworker stole your phone and hinted about it in a boast, then suddenly a derogatory tweet showed up as seemingly posted by you, wouldn't you call your lawyer?

Kenya may not have stolen Vivica's phone and perhaps it's just a strange coincidence. But if she did, there is a term for this type of behavior and it does also come in the form of a hack: cyberbullying.

It is a crime. It may not be named as such in your state, provincial, or federal legislation. It will be dressed up as theft, harassment, and defamation libel, but it is still a crime.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Debt, Collections, Economy, and Unemployment Can Lead to Cyberbullying


When the economy plummeted into the financial abyss in 2008, for some, it took a year or so for the real impact to show its ugly face.

There may have been a slight upturn after 2012, but the damage was so great that many North Americans have yet to recover.

It's more than about losing a job or taking a bath in the stock market. Whole industries nosedived off a cliff. The economic tank coincided with digital technology forcing the world to rethink how it does business and to reshape its ways of communicating.

People didn't just lose their jobs, those positions became obsolete. 

What happens when as a business person, your expenses exceed your income because your industry is either dying or reinventing itself? You lay off your staff, but you're still drowning in a world of debt you incurred during the year the floor collapsed. There is no unemployment insurance, no cushion for small businesses. Even a bankruptcy costs money.

If the employee was lucky enough to collect unemployment insurance, by the time the insurance ran out or when two years were up, most still had trouble finding a position for numerous reasons: ageism, those jobs they were qualified for no longer existed, too many candidates for the same job, logistics, lack of training.

With only part-time and piecemeal contract work available, the underemployed's household bills pile up and food and rent begins to take priority over all other bills. People will use their credit cards to pay for their utility bills until the juggling from here to there catches up with them. 

A third to one half of the U.S. population has debt in collections, according to +USA TODAY+The Economist reports that student debt is 7% of the U.S. GDP. In Canada, the +The Globe and Mail reports "On a per-capita basis, household net worth rose to a record $232,200."

One industry that has grown in this environment is debt collections. While the business may be a necessary evil to our society, some of the individuals working the files may be practicing illegal behavior in their desperate attempt to close a case file.

They may use abusive tactics by phone and email, but there are some who take it a step further and publicly try to shame a debtor by disclosing their debt across the Internet. The laws are similar in both Canada and the United States when it comes to prohibitive debt collection practices. It is laid out in both countries' debt collection acts.

The piling on by collections when a person is down and out is bad enough. Abusive behavior is inexcusable. Know your rights.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

5 Tips to Manage Your Trolls


Here are five steps to manage your Internet trolls:

1. Post a policy on all of your social media sites that you will not tolerate bullying, spammers, and abusive trolls that hijack your feeds. Warn them that their comments will be deleted and they may be blocked.

2. Set up notifications for the comments on your feeds so that you can address an abusive or spam post once it hits your social media.

3. Assess if the post is hateful, spam, or just an adverse opinion and warrants being deleted or kept.

4. Delete the post if it doesn't serve a meaningful discussion.

5. If the user shows up again to hijack your feed in the same way, take them out of your media. If you suspect they are not a real person (a phisher) or if they've been abusive in any way, then don't hesitate to block and report them.