.................with apologies to Alistair Cook

Monday, 30 November 2009

The Psychology of Being Scammed

The Psychology of Being Scammed: "

This is a very interesting paper: 'Understanding scam victims: seven principles for systems security," by Frank Stajano and Paul Wilson. Paul Wilson produces and stars in the British television show The Real Hustle, which does hidden camera demonstrations of con games. (There's no DVD of the show available, but there are bits of it on YouTube.) Frank Stajano is at the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge.

The paper describes a dozen different con scenarios -- entertaining in itself -- and then lists and explains six general psychological principles that con artists use:

The distraction principle. While you are distracted by what retains your interest, hustlers can do anything to you and you won't notice.

The social compliance principle. Society trains people not to question authority. Hustlers exploit this "suspension of suspiciousness" to make you do what they want.

The herd principle. Even suspicious marks will let their guard down when everyone next to them appears to share the same risks. Safety in numbers? Not if they're all conspiring against you.

The dishonesty principle. Anything illegal you do will be used against you by the fraudster, making it harder for you to seek help once you realize you've been had.

The deception principle. Thing and people are not what they seem. Hustlers know how to manipulate you to make you believe that they are.

The need and greed principle. Your needs and desires make you vulnerable. Once hustlers know what you really want, they can easily manipulate you.

It all makes for very good reading.

Two previous posts on the psychology of conning and being conned.


(Via Schneier on Security.)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Ex-Blue Peter presenter launches Linux based computer for 50+ market

For those of us "of a certain age", this is a change from sticky back plastic and straws. It's probably "one she made earlier":

The computer runs the Linux Mint operating system, powered by Vegan Solutions's Eldy software

Legendary Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton has launched a new computer range specifically designed for older users and technophobes.

(Via Macworld UK.)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

ACTA terms may force ISP anti-piracy, 3 strikes rules

ACTA terms may force ISP anti-piracy, 3 strikes rules: "A leaked set of proposals for the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) suggests the international deal will require harsh online anti-piracy measures. The draft will reportedly force Internet providers in all member states to actively police copyright on their networks. To qualify for safe harbor and reduce their liability, the ISPs would also have to implement 'gradual response' rules like France's three-strike law that initially warn and eventually punish those said pirating content, likely forcing them offline....

The full detail is here: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4510/125/

(Via MacNN | The Macintosh News Network.)

One problem with the internet...

...is that it can be the equivalent of handing a sharp instrument to a 4-year old and then hoping against hope, that they don't run around, fall over and cut themselves or damage something or somebody as they flail wildly about.

I remember the annual influx of new members to AOL back in the dial-up days and the collective resigned sighs on Usenet from the older veterans as the same old questions were re-cycled, the same mistakes made, the same flame wars started, until eventually, the newcomers "got it" and stopped being a PITA.

And now every man and his dog, irrespective of sanity levels or lack of access to their medication can blog, Tweet, IM and generally annoy reasonable people.

And do these people have any clue about how the Internet works? From the look of a great number of pointers "out there"; apparently not.

I was amused, for at least a second, to see a poorly edited and frankly illiterate attack [an "attack" in that "being savaged by a dead sheep" sense] from a very small blog recently (the normal "I have an axe to grind and just watch me, boy am I going to grind it and because I'm anonymous, I can say what I like" type - unlike say, those people putting their heads above the parapet in Iran, Tweating, blogging and using FB, at great personal risk to life and liberty in an attempt to secure same), where the anonymous owner "confused" my personal blog on which are personal writings with something that was being said by me as part of my day job elsewhere on the web.

An easy mistake to make I suppose. If that is, you're an idiot. Or have forgotten to take your tablets.

[As a side-bar, it's funny to read here that "anonymous" shows one definition given as "lacking individuality, distinction, or recognizability"]

But there you go; there's just no class "out there" anymore, so we have the modern day equivalent of those new AOL-ers I described earlier, coming on-line now, trying to play in the big league and cutting themselves in the process. Democracy (or evolution?) in action I suppose and that's always a good thing, no? One just has to accept with a resigned sigh, that people are people and that they'll say and do the most stupid things.

Feel free to email me at chris[dot]bulow[at]gmail.com, as my blog makes clear, if you disagree.

And I will add finally, that my many American friends find the slang terms to which this person objected (and when "helpfully" defining them, he/she/it almost managed to raise their writings to a believable level of righteous indignation) hilarious when used by a Brit to describe them - they have far worse to say about me. It's Cockney "rhyming slang" and they're fascinated by that stuff.

But that's another story. And another day.