Website Search
Research Papers
Easy Profile - Search plugin
Courses & Exams
Specialized Search Engines
Events Calender
Upcoming Events
Jennifer Levin

Jennifer Levin

 Source: This article was published - Contributed by Member: Jennifer Levin

Google tends to be a giant gorilla in the room during all SEO discussion. The reason behind this is its dominating market share – according to netmarketshare, Google holds more than 90% of mobile and tablet and around 80% of desktop global search engine market share.

However, it isn’t the only option. There are literally tons of search engines on the web. Some of them focus on tech news or research paper, while some provide a single line answer instead of listing millions of pages.

We would like to present you some of the most advanced alternatives to Google that will help you find what Google might not. We are not saying they are better than Google, but some of them are good at performing specific searches. Because our aim is to uncover the things you might not aware of, we haven’t included some big players like Bing, Baidu and Yahoo search.

18. StartPage


StartPage was the first search engine to allow users to search privately. None of your details are recorded and no cookies are used, unless you allow it to remember your preferences. It also provides a proxy for those who want to not just search, but browse the internet with full privacy.

In 2014, the company released a privacy-protecting email service, called StartMail. As of 2015, the search engine reached its record daily direct queries of 5.7 million (28-day average).

17. BoardReader

BoardReader is a very useful resource for any type of community research, as it searches forums and message boards. Users can either look for content on the forums or for forums related to the specific topic.

The front-end looks quite simple, exactly what forum search engine should look like, but on the back-end, they run a robust data business by selling off user’s data to advertising companies.

16. Yippy

Founded in 2009, Yippy is a metasearch engine that offers a cluster of results. It’s search technology is used in IBM Watson Explorer (a cognitive exploration and content analysis platform).

With Yippy, you can search different types of content, including news, images, blogs, government data, etc., and filter the results category wise or flag any inappropriate content. Like Google, it lets you view cached web pages and filter results by sources or tag clouds. Also, there is a preview link on each result that shows how content looks like, on the same page.

15. FindSounds

FindSounds is the perfect search engine for finding sound effects for personal or commercial use. Just filter the results before you begin, using the suitable checkboxes. You can search anything by category, from animal to vehicle sound effects, and the search engine will return you detailed results, along with file format, length, and bit-rate information.

Overall, searching sound effects using google is always an option, but FindSounds is the perfect sound engine to speed up your search and get the specific element you are looking for.

14. SearchCode

SearchCode is a free source code and documentation search engine that finds code snippets from open source repositories. It has indexed more than 20 billion lines of code, from projects on Google code, Github, Sourceforge, GitLab, Bitbucket, Codeplex and more.

Most web crawlers face difficulties while searching for special characters used in the code. SearchCode overcomes this issue and lets you search for code by method name, variable name, operations, usage, security flaws and by special characters much faster than other code search engines.

13. GigaBlast

GigaBlast is an open source search engine, written in C and C++ programming language. As of 2015, they had indexed more than 12 billion web pages and received billions of queries per month. It provides search results to other companies like Zuula, Blingo, Clusty, and Snap.

GigaBlast allows you to search with certain customizations and optional parameters, for instance, searching by exact phrase, terms, filetypes, languages and much more.

12. KidRex and Kiddle

KidRex and Kiddle are both child-safe search engine that keeps out age-inappropriate content unfit for consumption for children. Although they are powered by Google Custom Search (utilize Google SafeSearch), they maintain their own database of inappropriate keywords and websites.

The interface of KidRex features hand-drawn crayon and colored marker design, whereas, Kiddle is written in the characteristic colorful Google Style, with a red droid alien on the top waiting to answer your queries.

Also, you will find search results are slightly modified. For instance, if you search Narendra Modi, the search engine would return web pages from sites like,, instead of Wikipedia and news websites. The aim is to provide the simple and easy-to-read content that kids could understand without putting a lot of effort.

11. MetaGer

MetaGer is German-based metasearch engine, developed on 24 small-scale web crawlers. It focuses on user’s privacy and makes searches untraceable by leaving no footprint behind. Also, it integrates a proxy server so that users can open any link anonymously from the search results while keeping their IP address hidden from the destination server. This eliminates the chances of advertisers to target you for ads.

The results are obtained from 50 different search engines. Before presenting final results of the query, they are filtered, compiled an sorted.


This is an open source search engine for finding software development project, including new frameworks, libraries, and tools. It monitors more than 2.5 million open source libraries across 34 different package managers.

In order to collect the library information, the website uses the dominant package manager for each supported programming language. Then, it organizes them by the package manager, programming language, license (MIT or GPL), and by keyword.

9. Creative Commons Search

This search engine is extremely useful for bloggers and authors who need content that could be reused in a blog post or commercial applications. It allows users to search for images and contents that are released under the creative commons license.

The website provides social features, allowing users to build and share lists, as well as add tags to the objects in the commons and save their searches. It also offers some useful filters such as, find images that can be used for commercial purpose or images that can be modified and reused, or search within tags, title and creator.

8. IxQuick

IxQuick is the metasearch engine that provides the top 10 results from different search engines. In order to rank the results, it uses a ‘star system’ that awards one star to each result that has been returned from a search engine. Therefore, results returned from the most search engines would be at the top.

IxQuick doesn’t store your private details – no history, no query is collected. However, it uses only one cookie, known as ‘preference’, to remember your search preferences for future searches, which automatically gets deleted if you don’t use visit IxQuick for 90 days. Moreover, with around 5.7 million searches per day, the network is growing very fast and currently supports 17 languages.

7. Dogpile

Yet another metasearch engine that gets results from multiple search engines (including Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and directories and then presents them combined to the user. There is an advanced search option that lets you narrow down searches by exact phrase, date, language, and adult content. Also, you can set your own preference and customize default search settings.

In addition to that, Dogpile recommends related content based on the original search term, keeps track of the 15 most recent searches, and shows recent popular searches from the other users.

6. Internet Archive

It’s a nonprofit digital library that aims to provide universal access to all knowledge. Internet Archive consists of websites, music, images, videos, software applications and games, and around 3 million books that fall under public domain.

As of 2016, Internet archive had 15 petabytes of data, advocating for a free and open Internet. Its web archive, known as Wayback Machine, allows users to search for iterations of a website in the past. It contains more than 308 billion web captures, making it one of the world’s largest digitization projects.

5. Yandex

Yandex is the largest search engine in Russia with nearly 65% of Russian market share. According to the Comscore, it is the fourth largest search engine in the world with over 150 million searches per day as of 2012.

Yandex features a parallel search that shows results from main web index as well as specialized information resources, including blogs, news, image and video webpages, and eCommerce sites. In addition, the search engine provides supplementary information (like sports results), and contains spell checkers, autocomplete functionality and antivirus that detects malicious content on web pages.

4. WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha is a computational knowledge engine that answers factual questions from externally sourced curated data. It does not provide a list of web pages or documents that might contain the specific answer you are looking for. Instead, you get a one-word or one-line, and to-the-point answer.

It is written in Wolfram programming language (contains over 15 million lines of code) and runs on more than 10,000 CPUs. It is based on a computational platform known as Wolfram Mathematica that encompasses numerical computation, computer algebra, statistics and visualization capabilities.


Launched in 1996, is a question answering-focused web search engine. Despite its age, Ask is still very active. They have coupled their search-system with robust questions and answer system with billions of online content.

As of 2014, the website had 180 million global users per month (with a larger user base in the US), and to date, its mobile app has been downloaded over 40 million times. They acquired a social networking site,, where people can ask questions with the option of anonymity. ASKfm handles around 20,000 questions every minute.

2. Ecosia

Ecosia donates 80% of its profit to plant trees and supports full financial transparency. As of October 2017, the website has reached the milestone of 15 million trees planted. In 2015, the company was shortlisted for the European Tech Startups Awards under the ‘Best European Startup Aimed at Improving Society’ category.

The search result(s) of Ecosia is powered by Bing and Ecosia’s own search algorithms. The company claims that it takes 45 searches to fund the planting of the single tree, and they assure that algorithms can easily detect fake clicks and invalidate them. Currently, it’s the default search engine of Vivaldi, Waterfox, and Polarity web browser.

1. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is the best alternative option available out there. The search engine doesn’t collect any of your personal information or store your history. They don’t follow around you with ads because they have nothing to sell to advertisers.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t provide personalized results – all users will see the same results for a given search query. Rather than returning thousands of results, it emphasizes on returning the best results and extracts those results from more than 400 sources. It’s a smart search engine (uses semantic search technique like Google) that depends on a highly evolved contextual library for intuiting the user’s intent.

Searching for a different perspective

Unless we specifically disable them, trackers are constantly watching us move around the web, building up a picture of our interests and biases. Then, algorithms reflect these opinions back at us, presenting us with news, articles, and answers that support what we already think.

We're more likely to click things that fit our existing thoughts and interests – but wouldn't objectivity be better?

Jordi Ribas, corporate vice president of AI products at Bing, thinks so Ribas manages Microsoft's search engine from its headquarters in the US, but lived in the UK for three and a half years while he established the Bing team in Europe.

"Obviously as a search engine, our mission is the provide results that are as comprehensive, as objective and as trustworthy as possible," Ribas told TechRadar. "If anything, in a world of fake news and misinformation on the web, I think objectivity in search couldn’t be more important."

Identifying multi-perspective questions

To that end, Bing has launched a new feature called Intelligent Answers. When you enter a question with several valid answers, the search engine summarizes them all in a carousel to give a balanced overview.

Intelligent Answer result in Bing
Ask it whether coffee is good for you and Bing will realize there are two main sentiments – both expressed by authoritative sources – and present them both as Intelligent Answers

"Sometimes there's a single answer for a query, but sometimes we’re able to understand and identify that there are multiple perspectives," said Ribas. "We use advanced AI techniques based on deep learning that essentially read the entire web, then try to find which passage or set of passages are most relevant to that question. With machine reading comprehension or MRC, we are sometimes able to identify multiple perspectives, where multiple sources converge into the same answer."

Identifying questions with multiple answers involves several techniques, including sentiment analysis, which identifies the opinions expressed in a piece of text – positive, negative or neutral.

Our mission is the provide results that are as comprehensive, as objective and as trustworthy as possible

Jordi Ribas

"Take a simple query like ‘Is coffee good for you?’" said Ribas. "There are plenty of reputable sources that tell you that there are good reasons for drinking coffee, but there are also some very reputable ones that say the opposite. Deep learning allows us to project multiple queries in the passages to what we call the semantic space and find the matches.

"Then we find that there are documents that cluster separately when you apply the sentiment analysis technique. There’s a set of documents that cluster towards positive reasons for coffee and some that cluster around negative reasons for coffee. If we find that there are authoritative sources on both, then we realise that this question really deserves a multi-perspective answer. And that’s what we call it."

Bursting the bubble

Although the Intelligent Answers might challenge our expectations, Ribas says the response so far has been very positive.

"I think what’s happening today – because of a lot of the personalized feeds on the web, social media, trying to reinforce some of the same articles and the same information that users click on, people end up living in a bit of a bubble.

I feel like search engines have a responsibility to be more objective

Jordi Ribas

And so if you have certain political views, or you have certain biases, you interact with technology in a certain way, and then the algorithms learn that, and they end up reinforcing the same biases that you have. That’s what’s making society a little bit further apart these days, and it’s helping polarize society. I feel like search engines have a responsibility to be more objective, and ultimately our goal is to provide as trustworthy and objective information as we can."

Ribas says industry professionals are pleased with the results as well. "A lot of the feedback we got from analysts in the US was ‘Aha, finally someone is taking responsibility and taking a step forward, and not just saying the answer is negative because that’s what the algorithm tells us.’

"No, we need to work harder and invest in these more advanced algorithms that help us understand that a given question has multiple perspectives. We do feel that it is our responsibility to provide those perspectives, and kind of get people out of their bubble."

Intelligent Answers aren't influenced by your browsing history either, and don't contain any ads or 'sponsored' articles.

"The ads follow a different process," Ribas said. "In fact, even our ads team is separate from what we call the algorithmic team, and we have a specific location for ads. Usually it’s at the top of the page, as you can see, sometimes on the right rail, and we label them as ads. This part has no signal from ads whatsoever."

Feedback and the future

Intelligent Answers only form a small percentage of search results at the moment, but Ribas and his team are plans to build it up – though not too fast.

The danger of any algorithm that uses AI is that it will make mistakes sometimes.

Jordi Ribas

"We’re still learning a lot, and we’re still trying to improve it, and we also want to be cautious not to go overboard," he said. "We want to make sure that precision is high, because the danger of any algorithm that uses AI, since it’s a machine learning algorithm, is that it will make mistakes sometimes.

"We want to make sure that users have a quick way to tell us. We can take a look at what happened and how we can improve the algorithm. And so that’s why we started small, but you will see more coverage as time goes on."

You can offer feedback on Intelligent Answers (and any other aspect of Bing) using the link at the bottom of the results page, and the option might be made more prominent in future, appearing up alongside the answers themselves.

Intelligent Answers feedback

Bing is soliciting feedback on Intelligent Answers, and you can give your thoughts via a link at the bottom of the results page. The option might be made more prominent as IA rolls out more widely

You might soon see Intelligent Answers in other places too – including Cortana. "If you ask Cortana whether coffee is good for you, I think today Cortana probably doesn’t have an answer because there isn’t just one," Ribas said. "But every time you have a single answer at the top in Bing, that actually flows through Cortana, and so we’re working now so that Cortana would say ‘Actually, there are different perspectives on this. According to this source there a few things that coffee is good for, but according to this other source, if you drink too much coffee it can be harmful for you.’ And so that is definitely is in the works."

Hopefully the slow-but-steady approach means the team won't need too much caffeine to see them through late shifts.

 Source: This article was published By Cat Ellis

An academic search engine is a must for every student or researcher, and now there’s an alternative to Google Scholar: Semantic Scholar, a new academic search engine that caters to researchers.

While Google Scholar is best for deep web research, Semantic Scholar runs on a sophisticated technology that will only improve with every year it runs: artificial intelligence.

The AI-Based Search Engine

Semantic Scholar caters to neurology and computer science research for now. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his non-profit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence are behind the development.

How to Find High-Quality Academic Papers With One Search Semantic Scholar

Google Scholar has a far broader base and more than 200 million papers in its index. The Google Search sibling uses keywords to trawl through the index created with these articles. It works like a traditional search engine that ranks sources according to relevance. The full text of each source is considered as well as the source’s author, the publication of the paper, and how often it has been cited in the academic literature.

Semantic Scholar uses machine learning rather than keywords to improve its “understanding” of a research paper. The search program extracts important features with the help of advanced technologies like semantic analysis, natural-language processing, and computer vision. It also goes beyond text by extracting information from images, tables, and captions.

One of the crucial tasks in academic search is to identify key citations. It is a direct indicator of the quality of a research paper. Not all citations have the same weight. Semantic Scholar makes an intelligent judgment and checks which cited paper is more relevant or how has the paper contributed to further research. Artificial intelligence works like a high-quality filter and helps avoid citation clutter.

Use Both Google Scholar and Semantic Scholar

Semantic Scholar is still in the shadows of Google Scholar. A little more than 10 million research papers restricted to computer science and neuroscience pales in comparison. Plus, Google Scholar can also search in multiple languages across broad subject areas.

But its goal is to be a good alternative to Google Scholar and expand its reach even further soon.

 Source: This article was published By Saikat Basu

Pretty much everyone uses Google to conduct online searches these days, but there are a few search operators that can be of great help for entrepreneurs. Use these simple Google search operators to boost your business’ exposure online.

Find Specific Document Types

The filetype operator helps you search for documents of a certain file type format. Simply place the desired keyword or phrase in front of the operator, and Google will only return results that match the specified file format.

Syntax: “keyword(s)” filetype:extension

The extension can be anything you need: doc, pdf, xls, ppt, and so on.

Example: “self-publishing tips” filetype:pdf

google filetype operator

How can the filetype operator help your business?

Businesses can promote themselves effectively by producing helpful reports and e-books that address their customers’ problems. These reports and e-books can then be distributed through a wide range of websites and online file upload sites like,, and so on.

Often times, the download links to these reports can also be sent to niche-specific influencers through social media and email; if your reports are really good, they may choose to share them with their blog readers, fans and followers, significantly boosting your website’s exposure.

When people download your e-book or report, they should get the information that they were looking for; however, the report should be written in such a way that the reader is enticed to click your website link for more information, a free trial, or further assistance.

When properly written, a free e-book or report helps build your online business’ niche credibility, and can quickly help you become an authority in your industry.

Since most online niches are highly competitive, you need all the help you can get. By creating high quality, niche related e-books and guides, you will rise above your competition.

These reports help you engage your customers and message them directly; you will have their undivided attention while they are reading the e-book.

Power Tip: Make a list with your top competitors’ reports. Use the filetype Google search operator to find authoritative websites that have published those reports, and then contact their webmasters, asking them to publish your free reports as well.

Use Explicit Phrases

Surrounding a word or a group of words with quotation marks helps you find explicit mentions of the word(s).

Syntax: “keyword(s)”

Example: “self-publishing guide”

The Google search in the example above will return pages that explicitly contain the “self-publishing guide” group of words in their title or in the article body.

google explicit phrases

How does this operator help entrepreneurs?

You work hard to get your online business noticed. You have probably written some good quality articles, in an effort to spread the word about your business.

You might have even established social media accounts at the top sites, in an effort to engage your site visitors and potential audience members.

You might have even gone so far as to contact other websites in your niche, asking them to publish your fantastic articles, or content that mentions your website and links back to your website.

You might have even sent out lots of targeted press releases.

All your promotional efforts might have resulted in a few backlinks and a few website visits. However, some of the mentions your brand has gotten online are not linking back to your website.

This is a wasted website traffic opportunity.

You can use the explicit phrase Google search operator to RECLAIM all mentions of your brand online.

Whether people are talking about your brand in a blog post or on a forum somewhere, when you use this search operator, you will find the mention, and then you can ask the bloggers that have mentioned your company to also include a link to your site.

This helps your website get better rankings and receive more targeted visitors, boosting your online business’ profits.

It is important to understand that search engines rank your site based on the quality and quantity of backlinks. Use the explicit phrase search operator to turn those brand mentions into backlinks to your website, so that you can get more website traffic from search engines.

Since people are already mentioning your brand, you should make these mentions work for you by reclaiming them and turning them into live links.

Perform Site-Specific Searches

This operator searches a particular website for content that mentions a specific word or a group of words.

Syntax: “keyword(s)” site:domain

Example: “guest post”

site specific searches

Why use this?

One of the most effective ways to get search engine traffic for your online business is through guest posts on authoritative sites in your niche.

While it is fairly easy to come up with a list of websites that are respected and / or authoritative in your niche, it can be harder to find out if they are interested in posting other people’s content.

The site Google search operator will help you determine if a particular website is interested in guest posts, for example.

The same operator will help you identify if that particular website has already covered certain topics; you want to focus your energy on creating 100% unique content. It’s a simple method that allows you to increase the chances of getting your guest post article accepted and published.

Get Creative with the Wildcard Operator

This operator helps you find content that includes the specified keyword(s) and other words or phrases. In a nutshell, the wildcard operator helps you find content that is related to your keyword(s).

Syntax: keyword(s) * keyword(s)

Example: small business * report

In this case, the wildcard operator symbol will be replaced with various words or groups of words. For laser-targeted results, combine the wildcard and the explicit phrases (quotes) operators.

Example: “small business * report”

google wildcard operator

But how can this Google search operator help?

First of all, it allows you to come up with various ideas for your own reports, and can even provide new product ideas.

Then, it will help you discover the competitors’ top website pages that address a certain topic. Go through each page, writing down their great ideas, and then write even better content pieces, which provide even more value for the reader.

top competitor topics

Search Results Exclusions

This operator prevents the pages that contain the excluded words (specified by you) from showing up in Google’s search results. It allows you to find content pages that include your target keywords or phrases, but don’t contain the unwanted keywords or phrases.

Syntax: keyword(s) –unwanted word(s)

Let us pretend that you plan to write and publish a book, but you aren’t interested in publishing for Kindle; in this case, you would use a search string like the one below:

“self-publishing guide” –kindle

search exclusions

How does this Google search operator help entrepreneurs?

The example above shows how easily it is to exclude a specific brand, product or service from the search results pages. Use this search operator to determine which national or international suppliers haven’t signed contracts with your local competitors, for example. Then, get in touch with them and become their reseller.

As an example, if your competitor’s name is Kemykals, Inc. and you are a paint importer, you would use a search string like this:

“paint suppliers” -kemykals

The Cached Content Operator

This operator helps you view unavailable content using Google’s caching technology. It is a well-known fact that many sites ‘disappear’ for days, weeks or even months due to domain or hosting fee non-payments, legal issues, and a wide variety of other problems.

Often times, the website you are interested in is just temporarily offline, but you need to access its content right now. The good news is that Google’s cache operator makes all of this possible.

Syntax: cache:domain


google cache operator

List Your Business on Wikipedia

This combination of operators finds pages on Wikipedia which have citations that go to a dead link.

Syntax: keyword(s) “dead link”

Example: self-publishing “dead link”

wikipedia links

Explore Google’s search results, find a relevant, niche related dead link on the page, and then create a fantastic resource page that can serve as a replacement for the dead link.

wikipedia broken link building

Use WayBackMachine to see an actual copy of the dead resource page, and then update and improve it. Add more content, videos, infographics, etc to make it better.

Resist the temptation to simply copy / paste the content of the dead resource on your website; this may get you into trouble.

Don’t forget that your resource shouldn’t be promotional at all; if it adds value to the Wikipedia page, you can add its link to the target page using a free Wikipedia account and it will stick.

Bonus Tip for SEOs: input the dead link url into a backlinks discovery tool, and then notify the webmasters that were linking to it that the old resource is dead, but you have got the perfect replacement for them – your great resource page. It’s a quick, and yet very effective way of getting niche related, powerful backlinks.

Remove Results from Specific Domains

This minus operator removes results from a specific website.

Syntax: keyword(s) -domain

Example: kindle

google exclusion operator

Why use the search exclusion operator?

First of all, you want to keep an eye on your competitors. What are people saying about them? How often do they send out press releases?

A Google search like the one below will reveal all your competitor’s brand mentions, excluding the ones that come from their own site.

kemykals –

Here’s another idea: if you are doing research for your blog posts, reports, and so on, the last thing you want to do is waste your time manually filtering results from low-quality sites with tons of junk pages.

If you know that a particular website publishes useless, low quality articles, for example, you can exclude it from the search results pages right off the bat.

Find Highly Targeted Web Pages

This allintitle operator returns website pages that include all the specified keywords in their titles.

Syntax: allintitle:keywords(s)

Example: allintitle:self-publishing tips

allintitle operator

How to use the allintitle operator?

The web is constantly growing, and this means that the number of search results is growing each day. How can business owners keep up with the latest industry news, for example, when they have to go through tens or hundreds of search results in order to find the good stuff?

Fortunately, allintitle allows you to find highly relevant resources; if a blogger has taken the time to name his or her page “Self-Publishing Tips and Resources”, then that page should contain self-publishing tips and resources, right?

You are probably running a business in an industry where people maintain niche-specific directories, which are extremely valuable, because they can send qualified website traffic. Here is an example that allows you to find directories in the self-publishing niche:

allintitle:self publishing directory

Discover Related Websites

The related operator helps you find websites that are related to the specified domain.



related operator

How to use this search operator?

If you have a tough time finding industry-related websites for partnerships, outreach and backlink building purposes, this search operator will help you tap into Google’s ability of discovering related sites.

Use this operator to find websites that are in the same niche or content category, starting with a website that you already know is relevant.

Basically, you will only need to start with one ‘seed’ website; the related search operator will help you discover dozens of similar sites. Then, use the operator again, in conjunction with each one of the newly discovered sites, and you will quickly end up having a list of hundreds of industry-related websites.

Use these related sites to boost website traffic and build backlinks. Contact their owners, asking them if they are interested in posting your high quality content, or even asking to interview them on your blog.

When you interview site owners, they will often times link back to your website, or at least mention the interview url on Twitter or other social media platforms.

These are the most important Google search operators that can boost your business’ profitability. Use them creatively and you will quickly be able to learn from, and then dominate your competitors.

 Source: This article was published

With over one billion and two hundred websites online now, the Internet is rapidly transforming into an overcrowded place where people can basically find everything they need if they learn how to search. It’s brimming with a huge quantity of information and services that could be of use to literally all types of searchers.

According to SmartInsights, Google now processes more than 4,464,000,000 searches per day worldwide, which is almost four and a half billion, to put it in words.

And that’s just Google alone.

What about the other engines? What about Bing and Baidu?

The above-mentioned statistics underline modern society’s dependence on the World Wide Web. The number of internet users is continuously increasing, at an unfathomable rate. But despite these impressive findings, things still aren’t all that great for either engines or users.

Most of these recorded searches lead nowhere.

Dead End.jpg

Finding what and whom they’re searching for via Google is still difficult for most users. Even for more experienced ones, when their queries are more specific.

Even though the world’s most popular search engine is working hard on improving its search algorithm, the general public is still struggling with their searches. Personalization, location, customization, and depth of data has helped Google understand the basic intent of average users. But, despite these improvements, people still seem to be losing their ability to conduct advanced searches.

Navigating the Web efficiently and effectively is critical for most business professions today.

Especially for search marketers who do a lot of link building.

Link building is a crucial part of every intelligent SEO strategy. It’s a continuous process that just cannot be avoided. If you want to drive some traffic to your site or improve its exposure in search – you’ll need to create a lot of contextual backlinks to the site, relevant to your brand and business.

Having in mind that the Internet is such a big place, you cannot just type in the words “marketing blog” and expect the engine to provide an infinite and neatly organized list of all the relevant sites from which you could get links. Even though Google’s Hummingbird update has helped a lot of users with complex searches, it’s still not magic. If you want to succeed in this department, you need to do a lot of digging from various angles.

what can do.jpg

So What Can You Do?

First and foremost, you can automate the entire process by using a tool like Dibz. This prospecting utility can help you crawl the entire Web and find relevant prospects in record time, which you can later implement in your growth strategy. Secondly, you can actually learn how search works and what tricks can help you find specific results without being forced to dig through all the pages in Google’s SERP for broader keywords.

Google now has the ability to understand the context and provide power-searchers with exactly what they need from it. Becoming a power-searcher is of great importance for everyone who works in marketing because locating quality targets and following up on what your competitors are doing is the cornerstone of every successful digital marketing strategy.

Becoming a power-searcher is not really that hard. All you need to do is learn how to successfully communicate the intent of your searches to the engine.


Types of Google Search Parameters

While most experienced prospectors are probably already comfortable with advanced search operators, there is yet another way you can specify your queries, ensuring you’ll reach your desired results in as few steps as possible. Details on the particular You can find a list of Google Search parameters here,you can add to the search query string are to follow,  this section post is just supposed to illustrate how they can save you time; what syntax they use, and which can be combined.

Before we get into all of this, you might want to know what you stand to gain; what it is that you can do this way by directly manipulating the Google search URL string and that you couldn’tachieve through advanced search, search tools, or operator enhanced queries.

The truth is, it depends.

Performing a search this way can be more complicated than simply relying on an advanced operator. Sure, it does come with its benefits, most of them having to do with instances when you have to perform a similar, operator modified search numerous times, with only slight variations, but it also has its drawbacks.

For instance, you can’t get Omnibox suggestions with a custom Google search engine. A lot of people rely on those suggestions for keyword or topic research – you provide a couple of terms and Google itself tells you what they are most commonly combined with, i.e. you get a general idea regarding the current popularity of queries containing them, as well as terms frequently accompanying them.

So, if you begin typing “link prospecting” into the Omnibox, which is using a search engine you’ve specified, you won’t get the drop-down displaying popular related searches (in our case, link prospecting services, link prospecting tools, link prospecting methods).

The only way to objectively assess whether taking the time to compose strings of this kind is worth it, is to actually try and do it for specific tasks.


You need to search a particular site for a wide set of terms, and you only want results from the previous week. A combination of site:operator and an adjustment in the “Search tools” section should get you what you need for one term, but if you need to do this often, you’re likely to run into at least two problems:

  • You’ll have to specify search details when performing one on a later date.
  • Google gets defensive when they register too much interest on your part, especially interest involving advanced operators, which results in the beloved captcha, requiring you to prove your humanity by performing a simple, repetitive, and ironically mechanical action of checking the box.


By composing query search strings with relevant Google search parameters and adding them as a new search engine into Chrome (the only browser we have tested this with), you can avoid the first problem and at least alleviate the second, making prospecting faster and simpler, but at the same time more precise. The modified Google search engine URL string will serve as a template detailed query that you only need a moment to invoke.  

Here’s a brief guide on how to do this:

Chrome gives you the option to manage the search engines you are using. You can do so either from Chrome settings or by right-clicking the address bar and selecting “Edit search engines”.

More likely than not, Google is your current default search engine. What you want to do is create a new Google search URL string that will already include all your specifiers, and that you can either designate as the new default search engine (some of the search strings won’t respond properly if you do it this way, but it’s a great time-saver with those that do); or invoke the shortcut you’ve specified when adding this SE (the ‘keyword’ segment in the ‘Add search engine’ interface) by typing it in the search bar, and hitting ‘Tab’. For simplicity’s sake, make this keyword as short and easy to type as possible.


The first segment of this window is reserved for the SE name you want to use, and is of no importance, so you may just as well make it descriptive enough not to have to rummage around looking for the appropriate one every time you do this. This only leaves the final, and trickiest part, the search string itself.

So, let’s assume you want to use (you could use any of the alternative TLDs, but with the recent changes in how results are served, this might not make too much of a difference).

The most basic Google search URL string looks like this: with the “%s” part serving as a placeholder for the query to come. Most search parameters can be affixed to this string simply by adding ‘&’ after the basic string, followed by the desired parameter. 


For instance, you want to be able to search Wikipedia for pages that are less than a week old and that contain your desired keywords. Normally you would do this through a combination of site: operator and specify the date in search tools, however, by adding the parameters:


 to limit the search to Wikipedia, and


to limit the results to the previous week, and adding the finalized string:

as a search engine, you can perform this complex search in no time.

Google-search-parameter-link-prospecting-dibz-1 (1).png

When it comes to how you can combine the Google search parameters into viable strings, the rules are pretty much the same as with their equivalent operators.

So, just like you can use inurl:,site:and other similar operators together, you can also combine their parameter equivalents.

Using the same analogy, operators like link:requested:allintitle: that need to stand alone can’t be joined in the string by other parameters, except those that have to do more with the way results are displayed than the way they are selected.

In plain English – while you can combine the allintitle: parameter with the one determining the number of results shown in SERP, you can’t combine it with those that would result in you being shown a different set of results, like, for instance inurl:.

Closing Words

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Knowing how to build and edit your own search strings can be very useful when digging for specific information on the Web. Mastering these parameters will surely take your link prospecting game to the next level, so it’s best that you read this article at least a few more times and test every one of these strings yourself.

Source: This article was published

It’s powerful, it’s shiny, and everyone wants one, including thieves and hackers. Your MacBook holds your world: work files, music, photos, videos, and a lot of other stuff you care about, but is your MacBook safe and protected from harm?  Let’s take a look at 5 MacBook Security Tips you use to make your MacBook an impenetrable and unstealable mobile data fortress:

1. LoJack Your Mac Now So You Can Recover it After it’s Been Stolen

We’ve all heard about the iPhone and the Find My iPhone app, where users of Apple’s MobileMe service can track down their lost or stolen iPhone via a website by leveraging the iPhone’s location awareness capabilities.

 That’s great for iPhones, but what about your MacBook? Is there an app for that? Yes, there is! 

For a yearly subscription fee, Absolute Software’s LoJack for Laptops software will provide both data security and theft recovery services for your MacBook.  The software starts at $35.99 and is available in 1-3 year subscription plans.  LoJack integrates at the BIOS firmware level, so a thief who thinks that just wiping the hard drive of your stolen computer will make it untraceable is in for a real surprise when he connects to the net and LoJack starts broadcasting the location of your MacBook, without him even knowing it.  Knock, knock!  Who’s there?  It’s not housekeeping!

There is no guarantee that you will get your shiny MacBook back, but the odds are greatly improved if you have LoJack installed versus if you don’t.  According to their website, Absolute Software’s Theft Recovery Team averages about 90 laptop recoveries per week.

2. Enable your MacBook’s OS X Security Features (Because Apple Didn’t)

The Mac operating system, known as OS X, has some great security features that are available to the user. The main problem is that while the features are installed, they are not usually enabled by default. Users must enable these security features on their own.

 Here are the basic settings that you should configure to make your MacBook more secure:

Disable Automatic Login and Set a System Password

While it’s convenient not to have to enter your password every time you boot up your computer, or when the screensaver kicks in, you might as well leave the front door to your house wide open because your MacBook is now an all-you-can-eat data buffet for the guy who just stole it. With one click of a checkbox and the creation of a strong password, you can enable this feature and put another roadblock in the hacker or thief’s path.

Enable OS X’s FileVault Encryption

Your MacBook just got stolen but you put a password on your account so your data is safe, right? Wrong!

Most hackers and data thieves will just pull the hard drive out of your MacBook and hook it to another computer using an IDE/SATA to USB cable. Their computer will read your MacBook’s drive just like any other DVD or USB drive plugged into it. They won’t need an account or password to access your data because they have bypassed the operating system’s built-in file security. They now have direct access to your files regardless of who is logged in. 

The easiest way to prevent this is to enable file encryption using OSX’s built-in FileVault tool.

FileVault encrypts and decrypts files associated with your profile on the fly using a password that you set. It sounds complicated, but everything happens in the background so you don’t even know anything is going on. Meanwhile, your data is being protected so unless they have the password the data is unreadable and useless to thieves even if they take the drive out and hook it to another computer.

For stronger, whole disk encryption with advanced features, check out TrueCrypt, a free, open source file, and disk encryption tool.

Turn on Your Mac’s Built-in Firewall

The built-in OS X Firewall will thwart most hacker’s attempts to break into your MacBook from the Internet.

It’s very easy to setup. Once enabled, the Firewall will block malicious inbound network connections and regulates outbound traffic as well. Applications must ask permission from you (via a pop-up box) before they attempt an outbound connection. You can grant or deny access on a temporary or permanent basis as you see fit.  

We have detailed, step--by-step guidance on how to Enable OS X's Security Features

All of the security features mentioned here can be accessed by clicking on the Security icon in the OS X System Preferences window

3. Install Patches? We Don’t Need no Stinking Patches! (yes we do)

The exploit/patch cat and mouse game are alive and well. Hackers find a weakness in an application and develop an exploit. The application’s developer addresses the vulnerability and releases a patch to fix it.  Users install the patch and the circle of life continues.

Mac OS X will automatically check for Apple-branded software updates on a regular basis and will often prompt you to download and install them. Many 3rd party software packages such as Microsoft Office have their own software update app that will periodically check to see if there are any patches available. Other applications have a manual “Check for Updates” feature often located in the Help menu. It is a good idea to perform or schedule an update check on at least a weekly basis for your most used applications so that you aren’t as vulnerable to software-based exploits.

4. Lock it Down. Literally. 

If someone wants to steal your computer bad enough they are going to, no matter how many layers of defense you put up.

 Your goal should be to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to steal your MacBook.  You want them to become discouraged enough to move on to easier targets. 

The Kensington Lock, which has been around for decades, is a security device for physically connecting your laptop with a steel cable loop to a large piece of furniture or some other object that is not easily moved.  Every MacBook has a Kensington Security Slot, also know as a K-Slot.  The K-Slot will accept a Kensington-type lock. On newer MacBooks, the K-Slot is located to the right of the headphone jack on the left side of the device.  

Can these locks be picked?  Yes.  Can the cable be cut with the right tools?  Yes. The important thing is that the lock will deter the casual theft of opportunity.  A would-be thief who breaks out his lock picking kit and Jaws of Life wire cutters in the Library to steal your MacBook will likely arouse more suspicion than if he just walked away with the laptop sitting next to yours that wasn’t tethered to a magazine rack. 

The basic Kensington Lock comes in many varieties, costs about $25, and is widely available at most office supply stores.

5. Protect Your Mac’s Gooey Center With a Hard-shell Configuration

If you are really serious about security and want to delve way down deep into your settings to make sure your Mac’s security is as bulletproof as possible, then surf on over to the Apple support website and download the OS X security configuration guides. These well put together documents detail all the settings that are available to lock down every aspect of the OS to make it as secure as possible.

Just be careful that you balance security with usability. You don’t want to lock your MacBook up so tight that you can’t get into it yourself.

Source: This article was published By Andy O'Donnell

One tool shows how a site stacks up against the competition on mobile. The other aims to drive home the impact mobile speed can have on the bottom line.

Google has focused on getting marketers and site owners to improve mobile site experiences for many years now. On Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the search giant announced the release of two new mobile benchmarking resources to help in this effort: a new Mobile Scorecard and a conversion Impact Calculator.

Both tools aim to give marketers clear visuals to help them get buy-in from stakeholders for investments in mobile site speed.

The Mobile Scorecard taps Chrome User Experience Report data to compare the speed of multiple sites on mobile. That’s the same database of latency data from Chrome users that Google started using in its PageSpeed Insights Tool in January. Google says the Mobile Scorecard can report on thousands of sites from 12 countries.

As a guideline, Google recommends that a site loads and becomes usable within five seconds on mid-range mobile devices with 3G connections and within three seconds on 4G connections.

To put the Mobile Scorecard data into monetary perspective for stakeholders, the new Impact Calculator is designed to show just how much conversion revenue a site is missing out on because of its slow loading speed.

The conversion Impact Calculator is based on data from The State of Online Retail Performance report from April 2017 that showed each second of delay in page load on a retail site can hurt conversions by up to 20 percent.

The calculator shows how a change in page load can drive revenue up or down after marketers put in their average monthly visitors, average order value and conversion rate. Google created a similar tool for publishers called DoubleClick Publisher Revenue Calculator.

Source: This article was published By Ginny Marvin

Researchers have trained computers to spot social media users who pose as somebody else - a practice known as catfishing.

They say their algorithms can identify users who lie about their gender, with more than 90% accuracy.

Most dating website users say they have encountered at least one fake profile, according to consumer group Which?

And the number of people defrauded by dating scams reached a record high in 2016.

Analysing data from 5,000 verified public profiles manually checked by employees on adult content site Pornhub, the algorithms learned how men and women of different ages interacted with others, how they commented on posts and their style of writing.

That allowed them to trawl the rest of the website in search of those lying about their gender and their age.

Testing ground

The study suggested almost 40% of the site's users lied about their age and 25% lied about their gender, with women more likely to deceive than men.

Dr. Walid Magdy, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics, said: "Adult websites are populated by users who claim to be other than who they are, so these are a perfect testing ground for techniques that identify catfishes."

"What was interesting was that it seems that for many the reason for lying was to get more friends and subscribers."

Dr. Magdy said the algorithms, developed by computer scientists at Edinburgh University, in collaboration with Lancaster University, Queen Mary University, London and King's College, London, could "lead to useful tools to flag dishonest users and keep social networks of all kinds safe".

"It has many applications such as people who fake accounts on Twitter for political reasons or for children who fake accounts to access adult websites," he said.

The study will be presented at a conference in Australia on the future of social networks.

Source: This article was published

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 12:16

Internet Security Threats Predictions for 2018

Cyber-crime has become one of the greatest threats to businesses, government institutions, and individuals, as hackers are constantly finding new targets and advanced tools to break through cyber defenses. As technology improves, new vulnerabilities are discovered and new obstacles challenge security professionals.

The past year was followed by a number of high-impact cyber-attacks. Namely, a number of devastating, high-impact cyber-attacks like rumors that the US election was hacked, marked 2017. Apart from the rumors regarding the hacked US election, there were ransomware attacks all over the world, and of course, the Equifax breach.

Unfortunately, as challenging as it is today, cyber-security threats will likely get worse in the future, as attacks get more sophisticated. As the years pass, the global security threat outlook keeps on developing. In order to fight this threat, all business entities must understand and learn how to cope with these global cyber threats.

In 2018, these cyber threats are expected to grow at a constant rate, as more complex challenges continue to surface, and cyber criminals keep coming up with new ways of attacking secure IT systems. The following are some of the biggest internet security threats that can impact the operations of IT-powered organizations in the year 2018.


Over the past 12 months, we saw a huge number of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is, in fact, a relatively simple form of malware that breaches defenses and locks down computer files using strong encryption. Then, hackers demand money in exchange for digital keys, needed to unlock the data. Quite often, especially if the encrypted data hasn’t been backed up, victims pay. This has made ransomware popular with criminal hackers, who have recently started demanding payment in cryptocurrencies which are extremely hard to trace.

Google, Amazon, IBM and other big cloud operators, have hired the best digital security that will protect them from such attacks. However, smaller companies can’t afford such thing, which makes them more vulnerable. For a small-scale local business, even a single tiny breach could lead to a big payday for the hackers involved. To prevent your computer from getting hijacked, avoid clicking on unknown links, keep security software up to date, and backup everything on an external hard drive.

Attacks on Cryptocurrencies

According to the latest research, currently there are 1324 cryptocurrencies in total, and this number is expected to increase. The rapid increase in the value of some cryptocurrencies has pushed thieves into massive criminal activities against virtual currency scheme. As more people mine cryptocurrencies on their computers, cybercriminals will organize more attacks designed to steal crypto coins from users, using malware to steal funds from victims’ computers or to deploy hidden mining tools on machines.

Threats to IoT (Internet of Things)

As the value of real-time data collection advances, day-by-day, individuals and business entities are increasingly making use of IoT devices. But, unlike our traditional devices, the IoT devices pose a significant challenge and a sense of less control, simply because they are not the best protected entities, and are susceptible to hacking. That’s why protecting them is so important and will continue to do so in 2018. Millions of connected devices have little or no defense against hackers who want to gain control of them and use them to enter into a network or access valuable data. The number of cyber-attacks powered by compromised IoT devices has become a great concern of the IT security industry, which is why IoT vendors are already putting more time and effort into securing their devices.

Source: This article was published By VIVENNE CARDENASS

The Internet of Things explained: What the IoT is, and where it's going next.

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. Thanks to cheap processors and wireless networks, it's possible to turn anything, from a pill to an aeroplane, into part of the IoT. This adds a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate without a human being involved, and merging the digital and physical worlds.

What is an example of an Internet of Things device?

Pretty much any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the internet and controlled that way.

A lightbulb that can be switched on using a smartphone app is an IoT device, as is a motion sensor or a smart thermostat in your office or a connected streetlight. An IoT device could be as fluffy as a child's toy or as serious as a driverless truck, or as complicated as a jet engine that's now filled with thousands of sensors collecting and transmitting data. At an even bigger scale, smart cities projects are filling entire regions with sensors to help us understand and control the environment.

The term 'IoT' is mainly used for devices that wouldn't usually be generally expected to have an internet connection, that can communicate with the network independently of human action. For this reason, a PC isn't generally considered an IoT device and neither is a smartphone -- even though the latter is crammed with sensors. A smartwatch or a fitness band might be counted as an IoT device, however.

What is the history of the Internet of Things?

The idea of adding sensor and intelligence to basic objects was discussed throughout the 1980s and 1990s (and there are arguably some much earlier ancestors), but apart from some early projects -- including an internet-connected vending machine -- progress was slow simply because the technology wasn't in place.

Processors that were cheap and power-frugal enough to be all but disposable were required before it became cost-effective to connect up billions of devices. The adoption of RFID tags-- low-power chips that can communicate wirelessly -- solved some of this issue, along with the increasing availability of broadband internet and cellular and wireless networking. The adoption of IPv6 -- which, among other things, should provide enough IP addresses for every device the world (or indeed this galaxy) is ever likely to need -- was also a necessary step for the IoT to scale. Kevin Ashton coined the phrase 'Internet of Things' in 1999, although it took at least another decade for the technology to catch up with the vision.


"The IoT integrates the interconnectedness of human culture -- our 'things' -- with the interconnectedness of our digital information system -- 'the internet.' That's the IoT," Ashton told ZDNet.

Adding RFID tags to expensive pieces of equipment to help track their location was one of the first IoT applications. But since then, the cost of adding sensors and an internet connection to objects has continued to fall, and experts predict that this basic functionality could one day cost as little as 10 cents, making it possible to connect nearly everything to the internet.

The IoT was initially most interesting to business and manufacturing, where its application is sometimes known as machine-to-machine (M2M), but the emphasis is now on filling our homes and offices with smart devices, transforming it into something that's relevant to almost everyone. Early suggestions for internet-connected devices included 'blogjects' (objects that blog and record data about themselves to the internet), ubiquitous computing (or 'ubicomp'), invisible computing, and pervasive computing. However, it was Internet of Things and IoT that stuck.

How big is the Internet of Things?

Big and getting bigger -- there are already more connected things than people in the world. Analyst Gartner calculates that around 8.4 billion IoT devices were in use in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and this will likely reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Total spending on IoT endpoints and services will reach almost $2tn in 2017, with two-thirds of those devices found in China, North America, and Western Europe, said Gartner.

Out of that 8.4 billion devices, more than half will be consumer products like smart TVs and smart speakers. The most-used enterprise IoT devices will be smart electric meters and commercial security cameras, according to Gartner.

Another analyst, IDC, puts worldwide spending on IoT at $772.5bn in 2018 -- up nearly 15 percent on the $674bn that will be spent in 2017. IDC predicts that total spending will hit $1tn in 2020 and $1.1tn in 2021.

According to IDC, hardware will be the largest technology category in 2018 with $239bn going on modules and sensors, with some spending on infrastructure and security. Services will be the second largest technology category, followed by software and connectivity.

What are the benefits of the Internet of Things for business?

Occasionally known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the benefits of the IoT for business depend on the particular implementation, but the key is that enterprises should have access to more data about their own products and their own internal systems, and a greater ability to make changes as a result.

Manufacturers are adding sensors to the components of their products so that they can transmit back data about how they are performing. This can help companies spot when a component is likely to fail and to swap it out before it causes damage. Companies can also use the data generated by these sensors to make their systems and their supply chains more efficient, because they will have much more accurate data about what's really going on.

"With the introduction of comprehensive, real-time data collection and analysis, production systems can become dramatically more responsive," say consultants McKinsey.

Enterprise use of the IoT can be divided into two segments: industry-specific offerings like sensors in a generating plant or real-time location devices for healthcare; and IoT devices that can be used in all industries, like smart air conditioning or security systems.

While industry-specific products will make the early running, by 2020 Gartner predicts that cross-industry devices will reach 4.4 billion units, while vertical-specific devices will amount to 3.2 billion units. Consumers purchase more devices, but businesses spend more: the analyst group said that while consumer spending on IoT devices was around $725bn last year, businesses spending on IoT hit $964bn. By 2020, business and consumer spending on IoT hardware will hit nearly $3tn.

The Internet of Things, broken down by industry.

For IDC the three industries that are expected to spend the most on IoT in 2018 are manufacturing ($189bn), transportation ($85bn), and utilities ($73bn). Manufacturers will largely focus on improving the efficiency of their processes and asset tracking, while two-thirds of IoT spending by transport will go toward freight monitoring, followed by fleet management.

IoT spending in the utility industry will be dominated by smart grids for electricity, gas, and water. IDC puts spending on cross-industry IoT areas like connected vehicles and smart buildings, at nearly $92bn in 2018.

What are the benefits of the Internet of Things for consumers?

The IoT promises to make our environment -- our homes and offices and vehicles -- smarter, more measurable, and chattier. Smart speakers like Amazon's Echo and Google Home make it easier to play music, set timers or get information. Home security systems make it easier to monitor what's going on inside and outside or to see and talk to visitors. Meanwhile, smart thermostats can help us heat our homes before we arrive back, and smart lightbulbs can make it look like we're home even when we're out.

Looking beyond the home, sensors can help us to understand how noisy or polluted our environment might be. Autonomous cars and smart cities could change how we build and manage our public spaces.

However, many of these innovations could have major implications for our personal privacy.

The Internet of Things and smart homes


The House that Alexa Built: An Amazon showcase in London in 2017.

For consumers, the smart home is probably where they are likely to come into contact with Internet-enabled things, and it's one area where the big tech companies (in particular Amazon, Google, and Apple) are competing hard.

The most obvious of these are smart speakers like Amazon's Echo, but there are also smart plugs, light bulbs, cameras, thermostats, and the much-mocked smart fridge. But as well as showing off your enthusiasm for shiny new gadgets, there's a more serious side to smart home applications. They may be able to help keep older people independent and in their own homes longer by making easier for family and carers to communicate with them and monitor how they are getting on. A better understanding of how our homes operate, and the ability to tweak those settings, could help save energy -- by cutting heating costs, for example.

What about the Internet of Things security?

Security is one the biggest issues with the IoT. These sensors are collecting in many cases extremely sensitive data -- what you say and do in your own home, for example. Keeping that security is vital to consumer trust, but so far the IoT's security track record has been extremely poor. Too many IoT devices give little thought to basics of security, like encrypting data in transit and at rest.

Flaws in software -- even old and well-used code -- are discovered on a regular basis, but many IoT devices lack the capability to be patched, which means they are permanently at risk. Hackers are now actively targeting IoT devices such as routers and webcams because their inherent lack of security makes them easy to compromise and roll up into giant botnets.

Flaws have left smart home devices like refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers open to hackers. Researchers found 100,000 webcams that could be hacked with ease, while some internet-connected smartwatches for children have been found to contain security vulnerabilities that allow hackers to track the wearer's location, eavesdrop on conversations, or even communicate with the user.

When the cost of making a device smart becomes negligible, these problems will only become more widespread and intractable.

The IoT bridges the gap between the digital world and the physical world, which means that hacking into devices can have dangerous real-world consequences. Hacking into the sensors controlling the temperature in a power station could trick the operators into making a catastrophic decision; taking control of a driverless car could also end in disaster.

What about privacy and the Internet of Things?

With all those sensors collecting data on everything you do, the IoT is a potentially vast privacy headache. Take the smart home: it can tell when you wake up (when the smart coffee machine is activated) and how well you brush your teeth (thanks to your smart toothbrush), what radio station you listen to (thanks to your smart speaker), what type of food you eat (thanks to your smart oven or fridge), what your children think (thanks to their smart toys), and who visits you and passes by your house (thanks to your smart doorbell).

What happens to that data is a vitally important privacy matter. Not all smart home companies build their business model around harvesting and selling your data, but some do. It's surprisingly easy to find out a lot about a person from a few different sensor readings. In one project, a researcher found that by analysing data charting just the home's energy consumption, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels, temperature, and humidity throughout the day they could work out what someone was having for dinner.

Consumers need to understand the exchange they are making and whether they are happy with that. Some of the same issues apply to business: would your executive team be happy to discuss a merger in a meeting room equipped with smart speakers and cameras, for example? One recent survey found that four out of five companies would be unable to identify all the IoT devices on their network.

The Internet of Things and cyberwarfare

The IoT makes computing physical. So if things go wrong with IoT devices, there can be major real-world consequences -- something that nations planning their cyber warfare strategies are now taking into account.

Last year, a US intelligence community briefing warned that the country's adversaries already have the ability to threaten its critical infrastructure as well "as the broader ecosystem of connected consumer and industrial devices known as the Internet of Things". US intelligence has also warned that connected thermostats, cameras, and cookers could all be used either to spy on citizens of another country or to cause havoc if they were hacked. Adding key elements of national critical infrastructure (like dams, bridges, and elements of the electricity grid) to the IoT makes it even more vital that security is as tight as possible.

Internet of Things and big data

The IoT generates vast amounts of data: from sensors attached to machine parts or environmental sensors, or the words we shout at our smart speakers. That means the IoT is a significant driver of big data projects because it allows companies to create vast data sets and analyse them. Giving a manufacturer vast amounts of data about how its components behave in real-world situations can help them to make improvements much more rapidly, while data culled from sensors around a city could help planners make traffic flow more efficiently.

In particular, the IoT will deliver large amounts of real-time data. Cisco calculates that machine-to-machine connections that support IoT applications will account for more than half of the total 27.1 billion devices and connections, and will account for five percent of global IP traffic by 2021.

Internet of Things and the cloud

The huge amount of data that IoT applications generate means that many companies will choose to do their data processing in the cloud rather than build huge amounts of in-house capacity. Cloud computing giants are already courting these companies: Microsoft has its Azure IoT suite, while Amazon Web Services provides a range of IoT services, as does Google Cloud.

The Internet of Things and smart cities

By spreading a vast number of sensors over a town or city, planners can get a better idea of what's really happening, in real time. As a result, smart cities projects are a key feature of the IoT. Cities already generate large amounts of data (from security cameras and environmental sensors) and already contain big infrastructure networks (like those controlling traffic lights). IoT projects aim to connect these up, and then add further intelligence into the system.

There are plans to blanket Spain's Balearic Islands with half a million sensors and turn it into a lab for IoT projects, for example. One scheme could involve the regional social-services department using the sensors to help the elderly, while another could identify if a beach has become too crowded and offer alternatives to swimmers. In another example, AT&T is launching a service to monitor infrastructures such as bridges, roadways, and railways with LTE-enabled sensors to monitor structural changes such as cracks and tilts.

The ability to better understand how a city is functioning should allow planners to make changes and monitor how this improves residents' lives.

Big tech companies see smart cities projects as a potentially huge area, and many -- including mobile operators and networking companies -- are now positioning themselves to get involved.

How does Internet of Things devices connect?

IoT devices use a variety of methods to connect and share data: homes and offices will use standard wi-fi or Bluetooth Low Energy (or even Ethernet if they aren't especially mobile); other devices will use LTE or even satellite connections to communicate. However, the vast number of different options has already led some to argue that IoT communications standards need to be as accepted and interoperable as wi-fi is today.

One likely trend is that, as the IoT develops, it could be that less data will be sent for processing in the cloud. To keep costs down, more processing could be done on-device with only the useful data sent back to the cloud -- a strategy known as 'edge computing'.

Where does the Internet of Things go next?

As the price of sensors and communications continue to drop, it becomes cost-effective to add more devices to the IoT -- even if in some cases there's little obvious benefit to consumers. As the number of connected devices continues to rise, our living and working environments will become filled with smart products -- assuming we are willing to accept the security and privacy trade-offs. Some will welcome the new era of smart things. Others will pine for the days when a chair was simply a chair.

Source: This article was published By Steve Ranger 

Page 1 of 13

Upcoming Events

There are no up-coming events

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait
online research banner

airs logo

AIRS is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Subscribe to AIRS Newsletter

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait

Follow Us on Social Media