Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Weaponized Code

Cross-site scripting is used to find weak spots in your Wordpress website. It may come in the comment section dressed up as spam, where the owner inadvertently opens the door to let the robbers in. Here is how easily it can happen.

Wordpress upgrades include patches for weaponized code vulnerabilities. It's important to be up-to-date. The Askimet plugin also helps keep your Wordpress spam in place. It adds another security layer to your website. I can attest to that first-hand.

The +Our Movie Talk blog wasn't just getting hundreds of spam comments a day, it was getting thousands. One time I opened up the Dashboard and there were over 20,000 comments. I nearly cried. As soon as I downloaded Askimet (it comes with a nominal fee), it all came to a screeching halt. Spam was captured in the spam folder, where I could look through to see if there was a legitimate comment (not going to happen when there are thousands). Instead, I just empty the spam folder with one click.

Weaponized code can be used many different ways. Hacking is one. Cyber-trolling is another.

Cyber bots are set up to spam, create fake websites, and set up an all-out assault on Internet users. Code is programmed into a weapon and will hunt for certain terms. For instance, on Twitter, it might seek out the word "feminism," which will trigger a troll post that says something disparaging about women.

There are savvy individuals who create counter bots. So if a troll bot posts that they want to assault you, the counter bot might reply with statistics on violence and how to improve legislation on crime. For every cyber-troll, there is a cyber-hero.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cyberbullying = Mental Rape

Candace Cameron Bure said it. She said what many, if not all, targets feel: cyberbullying feels like rape.

Digging deeper, Karma of the Poodle describes mental rape in a Yahoo discussion board as: "... where you are raped of your common knowledge or knowledge of your current life and have it taken from you and replaced with someone else's information done out of fear and abuse without your consent and willing participation."

Mental rape is being raped by words and images, which is the quintessential behavior of a cyberbully. A person is psychologically traumatized and it is not uncommon for depression and post-traumatic stress to set in as a result.

When someone has their digital footprint vandalized and destroyed, they experience mental rape. There is no other way to more accurately define it.

So what do rape victims have to do in order to start the healing process? The very same things a victim of cyberbullying must do.

Pandora's Project offers some advice in this post: What do do if you have been raped.

  1. Find a safe environment to decompress and share your experience.
  2. Solicit help from someone who has been through it or an expert who can guide you.
  3. Do what you need to do to document, block, and delete your cyberbully and his or her friends from your life.
  4. Report it (backed up by your physical screenshots and documentation) to the proper authorities, such as Facebook, Twitter, the police.
  5. Find your way back to going about your business through empowerment. Surround yourself with positive and supporting people, find links and sites to help you expel the toxins.
  6. Know that you are not alone. It doesn't matter what you've done, it does not give another person license to cyberbully or post trash about you. You are not responsible for other people's behavior.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Griefing disrupts more than the video game player's environment, it wreaks havoc on administrators. 

Game developers are forced to activate wasteful resources to combat trolls in the online gaming world. It's not something they can ignore if they want to keep their players happy and safe, or bottom line, keep their players.

In its page resource to tutor players about griefing, Minecraft admits there are drama lovers who think it is okay. The fact one or two people like it shouldn't mean the game experience has to be miserable for the rest.

The griefer chief aim is to destroy, vandalize, spam chat, abuse, corrupt, and hack the user environment. 

A player can minimize their impact by:
  • Installing available plugins created to help combat them. 
  • Not handing out your password and seriously vet anyone you plan to assign administration duties and access permission to.
  • Use common sense when interacting.

Here is another link from World of Warcraft about griefing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Political Malfunction

Political season seems to bring out the worst in good people. It turns them into trolls and bullies. 

You see them every day in your Facebook and Twitter feeds, among other places. They mirror what the pundits say on the puffed up political mantra being spewed across the airwaves. 

Regardless of facts, truth, or intentional slander, regardless of political affiliation, it is emotions that drive the home feed and comment sections. His truth may not be her truth, but that doesn't matter. Any truth, other than their own, is wrong and must be destroyed. 

If someone finds a positive story about a political candidate, such as legislation that levels the playing field for workers, moves the needle forward for trade -- thus jobs, or hell, even if they saved a damn life, watch the haters find something to post trash about. If they have nothing, they take it personal -- to the candidate's looks, their great great great great grandfather's indiscretion, or they wore the wrong colored suit.

It's like an elementary playground for adults. Politics seems to give liberty for adults to behave badly, to set a terrible example, and contradict the line they always feed their kids: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Some of the examples coming from posts of people who are otherwise well behaved, who work at all ends of the economic scale: 
  • Liar
  • Bitch
  • Ugly wife
  • Dishonest
  • Muslim (trying to connect the candidate to terrorism) 
  • Sellout
  • Traitor
  • Cow-wacky, heifer-donkey shit
  • Piece of shit
  • Joke
  • Babbling clown 

You get the picture. 

It doesn't matter if the candidates get ugly on the campaign trail. We don't have to follow their lead. 

Here's a good reason why you should remember that line you try to teach your kids about saying something nice. Jobs and opportunities come in bipartisan work environments. Whether you work freelance, contract, or are looking for full- or part-time work, employers and contractors WILL be checking your social feeds to see what kind of a person you are. They want to see if you play nice with others or if you're a digital toxin fertilizer.

So what do your political posts say about you? It isn't about backing the right candidate, but rather it is how tolerant you are of other's right to back theirs.