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There is no boundary in online learning, you are allowed to explore almost all the knowledge available on the internet. Web research tools help us to find the correct thing and research on it. There is a huge variety of courses to choose from, all you need to have is time and a desire to learn.

Learning online is not even costly, most of the learning sources are free. Few websites have paid courses, although those are excellent! Online learners can get access to a lot of university libraries for data collection. In online learning, you don’t need to reach a particular place, your research can be run from anywhere. So, it provides you a better opportunity to concentrate on your research as you can customize your learning environment. There are chances to participate in online tests and exams, some of them provide certificates also. Online schools and Online colleges have been helping this generation a lot. You can google for knowing how online classes work.

 

For an easy and perfect online learning, your web research technique should be correct. There are some web research tools that would help if you know the perfect usage. Students, traders, industries, researchers, professors all over the world are the users of those web research tools. They make use of these in order to learn, innovate and make things. Let’s take a look at the helpful tools for online research:

1. Reliable Search Engines

For web research, It would be the primary step to enter on a search engine. Google is the largest search engine on the web. Also, other search engines are popular with online learners. Some of them are specialized in certain research subjects also.

Google
Bing
Yahoo
Baidu
Ask.com

Search engines show results on the keywords that a user searches for. As search results, millions of pages, video links, website links are shown. Not only search results but these web research tools also provide other services like email, instant messaging, business apps, academic apps, etc. There are question & answer communities in the search engines that sometimes help more than a search engine. Overall, search engines are a great way of web research for online learners.

2. Online Encyclopedias

Digital encyclopedias have a great collection of information about things. Academic disciplines to spiritual practices, business knowledge to technical knowledge, you will find detailed information about everything in the encyclopedia. If it is used efficiently, online encyclopedias can be used as web research tools. An encyclopedia is designed with thousands of information sources using universities, news publishers, governments, research industries and so on.

Wikipedia
The Canadian Encyclopedia
Digital Universe
Everipedia
New World Encyclopedia

Online learners love to explore these encyclopedias. Especially, university students need them so much because they get detailed research information about any matter. They need data collection for their study, projects, and research. Ph.D. students always visit the worldwide encyclopedias for researching on their required field of study.

3. Books and Thesis Sources

These sources are also considered as great web research tools. Online learners choose books and thesis sources as their field of research. One of the most significant advantages of searching these sources is, you can read millions of books that are available in universities, research centers and libraries around the world. It is amazing to get the chance of reading the best writers’ books from home.

Google Books
The US Library of Congress
National Library of Australia
Open Thesis
Stanford University Libraries

Web research sources are the ultimate collections of data, internet users explore these and get their needed knowledge, news and information. Those knowledge are applied in new innovation, product design, business strategies, chemical research, scientific research, market research, academic innovation and so on.

 

[Source: This article was published in vaeveryday.com By SALMAN SUNNY - Uploaded by the Association Member: Logan Hochstetler]

Categorized in Online Research

Google gives a beginner-friendly explanation of how it improves search results in a new video published to the company’s YouTube channel.

How does Google improve Search? In this video, a look at how we research, test, experiment and seek scalable solutions, if issues arise: youtube.com/watch?v=DcKEPl Also learn more at our How Search Works site: google.com/search/howsear

The video is clearly aimed at an audience that’s less familiar with Google Search than the average SEO or website owner.

Google tends to publish this level of content on ‘Google’ YouTube channel, whereas more advanced content resides on the ‘Google Webmasters’ channel.

 

Maybe it’s the search geek in me, but I always find it interesting to see how Google explains search to a general audience.

If you’re anything like me then you may find it interesting as well.

Here’s a recap of different points that are touched on in the video.

Video recap: How Google Search continues to improve results

Contrary to what some people might think, Google cannot make changes to individual search results pages.

Rather, it implements systems that improve search results as a whole.

“No system is perfect, and sometimes ours may miss the mark and show you content that isn’t really that relevant or doesn’t come from the most reliable sources.

You might think that we can just fix the results for that specific search, but with billions of searches per day there’s no way that anyone can manually decide which pieces of content should be ranked above others.

Here’s what we do instead: make search better.

We do that by coming up with improvements to our systems that we think might help not just those queries that turn up unreliable or irrelevant results, but a broad range of similar searches.”

Thousands of improvements per year

The video goes on to reveal that, in 2019 alone, Google made around 3,620 improvements to search results.

That’s an average of nearly 10 improvements a day.

“These changes help us with ranking our blue link web results, and our search features like autocomplete, knowledge panels, and featured snippets.”

To be sure, not all of those 3,000+ improvements are algorithm updates.

Improvements can also involve editing information within search features.

Although Google cannot make changes to individual SERPs, it can make changes to specific search features.

Google gives an example of incorrect information appearing in a recipe card in search results.

8cfb17c1-196d-44c8-97cb-c24a73c24971-5f35a98200ae6-680x326.jpeg

Google can manually edit these search features at will, which is usually what happens when it’s alerted to the mistakes by users.

“Every now and then we do have to remove incorrect or policy violating information from search features ourselves.

Sometimes we’re alerted to issues based on feedback from our users. Then we look into what caused the issue, take what we’ve learned, and keep improving our systems with the goal of preventing this kind of thing from happening again.”

Google concludes the video by acknowledging that no system is perfect. But the company is committed to making improvements every day to help people find what they’re looking for.

See the full video below:

 

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff]

Categorized in Search Engine

Market research plays a key role in helping businesses to better understand their customers and marketplace, to help them make more strategic decisions.

This week’s blog explores the topic of market research.

Marketing team discussing a marketing strategy

What is Market Research?

Market research is the organized effort of planning, gathering, recording and analysing information to better understand a target market. This includes factors such as market size, the competition and customer types.

“Information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues…” (American Marketing Association, 2004)

Research is a key component to guide businesses with important strategy decisions, such as changing elements of their marketing mix and how this is likely to impact customer behaviours.

The research process first identifies and formulates the problem, then determines the research design such as the research method and collection of data and the final stage is the analysis and providing recommendations based on the research findings.

Why is market research so valuable?

There are many strategic and tactical decisions that businesses make in the process of identifying satisfying customer needs. There are many uncontrollable environmental factors such as economic conditions, politics, and social changes that complicate marketplaces. Analytics can show a business what is happening, but you can only learn so much. Market Research helps a business discover the ‘why’.

Research provides relevant, accurate and up to date information to understand a marketplace at a current point in time. This new knowledge of relevant information informs decision-making by reducing uncertainty. Often bad decisions in business are the result of guessing instead of putting any time and effort into researching what the customer would think or how the market would react.

You will never think on behalf of your customers or experience a product or service in the same way. Testing your assumptions means you will not waste time and money on a bad idea.

Research helps businesses improve decision making to create better products, improve the customer experience and improve their marketing to attract and convert more leads. This leads to three broad goals for market research. First is to better understand the marketplace; second, to better understand your customers; third, to monitor performance.

Gain a better understanding of your market

Without understanding a market, a business is just throwing something out there, hoping it will work. Do not learn from mistakes, look for the opportunities first and then tailor your products to suit.

A market analysis is a powerful tool to study the dynamics of a specific market, whether it is online, or localised. This analysis helps a business understand market trends to discover opportunities and guide strategy. A business needs to identify internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. This is a SWOT analysis.

Part of understanding a market is knowing what your competition is doing better than you, to improve. A similar analysis a business can use through research is a PESTEL analysis, which investigates Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors in a marketplace.

Some of the broad goals business have for market research are:

  • planning and implementing marketing strategies
  • a competitor analysis
  • risk analysis
  • identifying market trends and opportunities
  • learning the potential for a market
  • target market selection and market segmentation
  • product testing and refinement
  • business planning
  • understanding social, technical, and political aspects of a market

Young woman shopping at a hardware store

Getting to know your customers better

Research helps businesses understand their customers wants, needs, desires, beliefs and actions. Only then, a business can recognise whether their offerings meet those needs.

When you understand your customers better, you learn to learn how they think. You learn what they value, how they make a purchase decision, and what they think of your competitors. Once the behaviours and preferences of your target customers are better understood, you can modify your offering and accordingly the marketing to better meet their needs. This is crucial for planning a marketing strategy that aligns with not only who you are, but also what the customer is looking for.

 

Define your buyer persona

If your business does not already have buyer personas or understand your market segment and target customers well, this is a good place for your research to start.

Buyer Personas are fictional and generalised representations of ideal customers, created by a business to better understand them and therefore more effectively target marketing to communicate with them. Personas include characteristics such as age, gender, family, location, income and challenges.

Your research participants should then match the characteristics of your buyer personas. If you have more than one persona, focus your research on your most important personas and recruit a separate sample group for each.

Sales forecast

Monitoring performance

Market research can also help a business to monitor and evaluate their marketing or product’s performance. Large companies invest millions of dollars into product development, to ensure all that effort is worth it. Provide the right solution for a customer’s problem, at the right price, with the right marketing. There is a lot to get right… or wrong.

Ways you can test consumer opinions of new products or products in development is through focus groups and beta-testing. Companies can also analyse their existing data, such as analytics, to better understand the demand for their current products and services, to then make tweaks and improvements.

Research methods

Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyses the results, and communicates the findings and their implications.

There are two major types of market research: primary research and secondary research. Primary research is sub-divided into two research methodologies, quantitative and qualitative research; although it can be a combination of the two, called mixed methods.

One general research question guides the research; for example: How should we segment our market for product x. Or, who is the most profitable region for product y. More specific research questions follow to guide the research process and what information to gather.

Primary Research

Primary research is the design, collection and analysis of your personal data through methods such as talking to customers or observing behaviours. Primary research can be exploratory or specific. Exploratory is when research is trying to understand a certain scenario and is better suited to qualitative research such as open-ended questions with a small sample.

Specific research usually follows exploratory research and delves into more specific research queries a company may have. It is more direct towards asking certain customer segment-specific questions.

Two methodologies guide the design of primary research — qualitative and quantitative research techniques.

Qualitative research

Qualitative research aims to explore feelings, behaviours and experiences — things we cannot measure with numbers and statistics. Common qualitative research methods include in-depth interviews, focus groups, and observation. The idea is to gain deeper knowledge about your customers and/or target market, to find out the why behind their decision-making process.

“Qualitative research encompasses a family of approaches, methods and techniques for understanding and thoroughly documenting attitudes a behaviour… Qualitative research seeks the meanings and motivations behind behaviour as well as a thorough account of behavioural facts and implications via a researcher’s encounter will people’s own actions, words and ideas.” (Mariampolski, 2001)

Instead of asking specific questions to get an objective answer, qualitative research does not follow a scripted approach. The researcher is facilitating a conversation rather than trying to lead it. Do not ask yes/any questions, as this style of questioning can bias the outcome, through unintentionally swaying participants’ thoughts.

There should be a general focus for the session, outlining the topics you want to explore, but it should be natural and conversational with open-ended questions. You might include one scripted question such as “take me back to the day when you first decided that you needed to solve this x problem”

 

From this point, you guide the participants which “can you tell more about that?”, and “how…?”, “who…?”, “where…”, “what…?” Just delve deeper into topics that the participant thinks are important to discuss. Get them to go deeper into their experiences.

Qualitative research goes deeper than quantitative to explore the ‘why’ instead of just the ‘what’. The general demographic information is not as important in qualitative research, as we want to understand the consumption experience itself rather than customer characteristics. Just find out a little bit of background information to give context to the participant, such as their career and family life.

market research team

Quantitative research

Quantitative research aims to describe and explain a situation or problem (attitudes, opinions, behaviours), through generating numerical data or data that can be easily transformed into statistical data. The aim is to be as objective as possible to be able to generalise the results for a larger population.

“Quantitative research… explaining phenomena by collecting numerical data that are analysed using mathematically based methods (in particular statistics).” (Creswell, 1994)

Common methods of quantitative research are customer surveys, polls, questionnaires, and analysing digital analytics or secondary data. With the rise of digital technologies, mobile surveys have become increasingly popular making it far cheaper and easier to compile this kind of research.

Quantitative research typically begins with asking demographic questions to form an accurate picture of who the participants or ‘sample’ for the study are. Demographic questions are those such as gender, age and education. For example, a male under the age of 20 is going to have many differences to a woman over the age of 65. Because quantitative research focuses on numbers and statistics, a larger sample increases the validity of the results whereas qualitative research has a much smaller sample.

A substantial portion of the questions is closed-ended, meaning participants have set responses to choose from that best fit their situation. This makes large datasets fast and easy to analyse, but the data is generalised and cannot delve into the nuances that qualitative research can.

  • Some examples of quantitative survey questions are:
  • Demographic questions: Gender, age, religion, ethnicity, occupation
  • How often do you use the product: Every day, once a week, once a month, very rarely
  • What price do you think is fair for the product: $80, $100, $120, $150

How to find research participants

Once you have decided to conduct market research and choose a suitable method, you need to find participants. Research participants should be a representative sample of your target customers, as well as some of your actual customers. This will help you to understand their characteristics, challenges, and buying habits.

Ideally, your sample will also include people that researched your business but decided not to purchase. If they have chosen a competitor, you want to know why.

Finding customers is the easy part. Anybody who made a recent purchase should be in your CRM. You want to ask recent customers, as their experience will still be fresh in their minds. If you do not have a CRM, ask people when they purchase if they would like to do a brief survey.

CRM will hold information such as an email for potential customers who enquired or evaluated your services but did not make a purchase. You can also find participants through social media or online forums and other communities. Find out where your target audience spends time together. You can even create a Facebook group specifically for the study. Use your network to find participants, but they must be relevant. Stay away from friends and family, but they might know somebody. A post on Facebook and LinkedIn can be fruitful.

It might help to offer an incentive for participants to be involved in the study. You could offer something like a $50 or $100 voucher to spend 30–60 minutes to be a part of a focus group or complete a survey.

Secondary research

Also known as desk research, secondary research is a research method that uses pre-existing data. No fieldwork (e.g. no observations or surveys required), hence the term desk research. This existing data is summarised to strengthen the findings of primary research. If your data matches the findings of previous studies, it is solid evidence.

Secondary research is far quicker to compile and cost-effective than primary research as data collection is not first-hand. The kind of data you can find helps paint the ‘big picture’, such as industry trends or geographic factors.

Common sources of secondary research include:

  • Academic journals, market research, industry reports or trade publications
  • Online sources — websites, databases, publications, government data
  • In-house company data and analytics — e.g. CRM, social media

[Source: This article was published in business2community.com By Daniel Hopper - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

Mobile Monkey CEO Larry Kim shares his tips for staying productive while working remotely.

It can be hard to make the most of your time when you’re working from home, especially when you're wearing a lot of different hats and trying to complete a lot of different tasks. There are others who have been there, and they've found some methods to improve productivity.

Keep reading for tips on how you can up your productivity while working from home.

1. Have a single focus

If you're someone who wears a lot of different hats at work, multitasking might seem like a good idea. Whether you're doing multiple things at once or switching back and forth between tasks, chances are, none of the projects you're working on are getting the attention they deserve. It might feel like you're being more productive, but in reality, you're diminishing your productivity and stressing yourself out. Research suggests that multitasking actually negatively affects productivity and brain health. Being "in the zone," so to speak, has a psychological term associated with it—flow. A flow state is simply a mental state in which you perform whatever activity you are doing while extremely focused; you are fully involved in the process and completely immersed. You want to reach your flow state at work. So, drop one (or two, or three...) of those tasks, and just focus on one at a time. It'll improve the quality of your work and help you manage stress.

2. Block out distractions

We're all guilty of this—after all, distractions are everywhere. Sure, breaks are a necessity, but sometimes we let these things get in the way of our productivity. It's far easier to block out distractions than it is to pull yourself back to the task at hand after getting sidetracked.

Here are my tips to stay on task while working from home:

  • Take breaks as necessary
  • Close the chat windows
  • Put your phone on silent
  • Put in some headphones
  • Move to a quieter location

It can be easy to become distracted when you're not sure what tasks you have to complete. Using the Action Method by Behance is a good way to block out distractions and make sure you're getting projects done by organizing all of your ideas on paper. There are templates available that can be used in whatever method is most helpful to you. Eliminating distractions will make your productivity skyrocket, and you'll be able to get more done quicker in the end.

3. Set a time limit

Do you have a lot of tasks to complete, and no idea how to manage them all? We already discussed working on one thing at a time, but the reality is we sometimes have too much to do. It can be almost impossible to do only one thing from start to finish when we are incredibly busy at work. Here’s another solution: Set a time limit for each task you work on.

A great example of this can be found in the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique is when you break up your tasks into 25-minute focused blocks of time. After each block, you take a five or 10 minute break, but after four blocks (equaling one hour total of focused work time), you take a longer break, around 15 to 30 minutes. With the Pomodoro Technique you can eliminate multitasking while getting more done. This will help those of us who are wearing multiple hats at work to manage our various responsibilities, while keeping up the quality without getting overwhelmed.

4. Set up productivity rituals

What are productivity rituals? They are whatever you want them to be. As a busy worker, you know what does and does not work for you. So why not make a ritual out of it?

Rituals aren't quite like routines. While routines are typically a specific set of things done at the same time every day, rituals are more like malleable versions of routines that you can do any time of day to help boost you forward. They don't have to be specific to work, either; you can have rituals for all parts of your day and week.

Here are some examples of rituals that you can use to increase your productivity at work:

  • Have a breakfast that you enjoy and that energizes you
  • Write down your most important To-Dos
  • Meditate as a break from projects
  • Go for a quick walk
  • Brew a cup of coffee or tea

One way you can incorporate rituals into your work week is by following the lead of David Allen's book, “Getting Things Done.” This method involves moving tasks and projects out of the mind by recording them in a physical list and then breaking them into actionable work items. List making in the GTD method can be a ritual that you do when you need to consider which tasks need completing. Rituals help us shift our focus from task to task and improve productivity through an element of magical comfort.

 

"Rituals aren't quite like routines. While routines are typically a specific set of things done at the same time every day, rituals are more like malleable versions of routines that you can do any time of day to help boost you forward."

-Larry Kim

(Photo credit): Gettyimages.com/agrobacter

5. Get up early

It might not be what any of us want to hear, but it's true: Waking up early can improve productivity. Aside from the simple fact that waking up early gives you more time to accomplish more tasks, it also gives you more time to care for the most important part of your day: you.

Some very busy people might be tempted to wake up early and finish up some work tasks that they didn't have time for the day before. And, sure, this will make you productive—to an extent. What will make you more productive during your actual work day, however, is taking the extra time in the morning to unwind, prepare for the day, maybe exercise and eat a nutritious breakfast.

6. Group your interruptions

We spoke already about blocking out distractions to increase your productivity at work. But sometimes blocking out distractions until you finish the task at hand simply isn't realistic. You've got a phone that's gathering notifications, you've got a grumbling stomach, and you've got coworkers that want your attention, either because they need something, want to ask a question, or simply want to chat. You can't just block all of these out all the time; we're not robots. What you can do, however, is group your interruptions so you deal with all of them at the same time.

For example, dedicate a portion of your day to checking your phone for messages and notifications, checking your personal email and dealing with coworkers' requests. If a coworker interrupts you while you're working on something, kindly ask if they can send you an email or speak to you during whatever time you allocate to your interruptions and distractions. Then, take that chunk of time during the day to deal with all of it at once. This will allow you a break from your work and a chance to catch up on non-work-related tasks or issues.

7. Outsource chores

If you're someone who's running a business, you're just starting a business, or you're simply very busy all the time, you might want to consider outsourcing some of your tasks. Outsourcing isn't reserved for huge corporations that can afford to hire people overseas or send jobs elsewhere. Realistically, outsourcing is paying someone to do a task that you can't or don't want to do yourself. And if you don't have enough time in the day for all of your to-do's, it's a great option to boost productivity.

 

There are a number of tasks that would be good to delegate, such as design work, research, managing phones and setting up appointments. The most common method of outsourcing is, of course, hiring people to do these tasks. But sometimes, busy entrepreneurs don't have the means to hire straight away. Consider using a chatbot as a virtual assistant to outsource tasks that would normally be done by a personal assistant or office manager, such as answering client questions, booking appointments, giving you reminders, and more.

8. Set up email rules

Email eats up a lot of time, especially when you have hundreds of emails coming in a day. But there are solutions to help you increase your productivity. Email rules will help you manage the beast that is work email and allow you to get more important projects done with your time. To start, consider scheduling a couple times each day to check your email.

For example, you could check in in the morning, just after lunch and before leaving for the day. You can also turn off your email alerts, so the constant noise notifications don't create distractions.

Consider setting up rules in whatever email service you use; this will help by flagging emails and automatically moving certain emails to various folders.

Finally, don't send emails that you don't have to send! Could it be sent in an instant message if your company uses something like Slack? If you're sending emails, think through the process and make sure that the emails you're sending are straightforward, necessary, and serving a purpose without simply decreasing your productivity level.

9. Learn from others

The best thing that anyone can do for their productivity is to try new things and see if they work. Not everyone is the same, so these tips might not work equally across the board. But there are people that have been there already; there are people that have started businesses, grown businesses and worked their way up the ladder. Those people have been through it all, and they likely have different insights as to what works and what doesn't. Learning new productivity tips from others is a great step towards increasing your own productivity.

10. Gamify productivity

People perform best when there is instant gratification, rewards, or feedback—that's why people enjoy video games so much. You complete a task in a game, and you're instantly rewarded for your efforts. How great would it be if that was what happened while you were at work? Gamification at work isn't necessarily about turning work into a game, but more about creating an environment of fun and enjoyment at the job. It builds bonds between employees and gets them having fun—and employees who have fun on the job are more likely to perform better.

There are a number of existing apps that are used to boost productivity through gamification; consider exploring some options to make work fun for your employees and improve overall productivity.

Perfect productivity takes practice

Nothing good comes straight away. Like anything else, managing your time and improving your productivity takes practice. You'll likely need to try a number of different things before you find the methods that work for you and help you boost your own productivity. Just keep practicing. Finding the tools to work with will benefit you for the rest of your life.

 

[Source: This article was published in eastwestbank.com By Larry Kim - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander] 

Categorized in Work from Home

The civility debate sidesteps how false assumptions about harm online, coupled with the affordances of digital media, encourage toxicity

Whitney Phillips is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University and is the author of This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture and co-author of The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity and Antagonism Online.

Ryan M Milner is an Associate Professor of Communication at the College of Charleston and is author of The World Made Meme: Public Conversations and Participatory Media and co-author of The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity and Antagonism Online.


A common lamentation online, one that spans the political divide and is forwarded by politicians and editorial boards alike, is that civility in American politics has died. It’s such a pressing concern that 80 percent of respondents to a recent NPR survey fear that uncivil speech will lead to physical violence. If only people would lower their voices, stop posting rude memes, and quit with the name-calling, we could start having meaningful conversations. We could unite around our shared experiences. We could come together as a nation.

 

In the current media environment, in which Twitter and Instagram are inundated with harassment, journalists are routinely threatened, and YouTube algorithms prop up reactionary extremists, we find it difficult to argue with that sentiment.

As idyllic as it might sound, however, the call to restore civility isn’t as straightforward as it appears. Civility alone isn’t enough to fix what’s broken. It might actually make the underlying problems worse. We need, instead, to consider the full range of behaviors that facilitate harm online. Yes this includes extreme, explicitly damaging cases. But it also includes the kinds of behaviors that many of us do without thinking, in fact, that many of us have already done today. These things might seem small. When we use them to connect with others, build communities, and express support, they might seem downright civil. But the little things we do every day, even when we have no intention of causing harm, quickly accumulate. Not only do these everyday actions normalize an ever-present toxicity online, they pave the way for the worst kinds of abuses to flourish.

The Civility Trap

When used as a political rallying point, appeals to civility are often a trap, particularly when forwarded in response to critical, dissenting speech. Sidestepping the content of a critique in order to police the tone of that critique—a strategy employed with particular vigor during the Kavanaugh hearings, and which frequently factors into hand-wringing over anti-racist activism—serves to falsey equate civility with politeness, and politeness with the democratic ideal. In short: you are being civil when you don’t ruffle my feathers, which is to say, when I don’t have to hear your grievance.

Besides their tendency to be adopted as bad faith, rhetorical sleights-of-hand, calls for civility have another, perhaps more insidious, consequence: deflecting blame. It’s everybody else’s behavior, they’re the ones who need to start acting right. They’re the ones who need to control themselves. In these instances, “We need to restore civility” becomes an exercise in finger pointing. You’re the one who isn’t being civil. Indeed, the above NPR survey explicitly asked respondents to identify who was to blame for the lack of civility in Washington, with four possible choices: President Trump, Republicans in Congress, Democrats in Congress, or the media. Whose fault is it: this is how the civility question tends to be framed.

Ethics do not mean keeping your voice down. Ethics do not mean keeping feathers unruffled. Ethics mean taking full and unqualified responsibility for the things you choose to do and say.

We certainly maintain that the behavior of others can be a problem, or outright dangerous. We certainly maintain that some people need to control themselves, particularly given the increasingly glaring link between violent political rhetoric and violent action. Those who trade in antagonism, in manipulation, in symbolic violence and physical violence, warrant special, unflinching condemnation.

But few of us are truly blameless. In order to mitigate political toxicity and cultivate healthier communities, we must be willing to consider how, when, and to what effect blame whips around and points the finger squarely at our own chests.

We do this not by focusing merely on what’s civil, certainly when civility is used as a euphemism for tone-policing, or when it’s employed to pathologize and silence social justice activists (as if loudly calling out injustice and bigotry is an equivalent sin to that injustice and bigotry). We do this by focusing on what’s ethical. A more robust civility will stem from that shift in emphasis. Civility without solid ethical foundations, in contrast, will be as useful as a bandaid slapped over a broken bone.

 

As we conceive of them, online ethics foreground the full political, historical, and technological context of online communication; contend with the repercussions of everyday online behaviors; and avoid harming others. Ethics do not mean keeping your voice down. Ethics do not mean keeping feathers unruffled. Ethics mean taking full and unqualified responsibility for the things you choose to do and say.

The Ethics of the Biomass

It’s not just that online ethics help facilitate more reflective, more empathetic, and indeed, more civil online interactions. Online ethics do even heavier lifting than that. Decisions guided by efforts to contextualize information, foreground stakes, preempt harm, and accept consequences also help combat information disorder, a term Claire Wardle and Hossein Derakhshan use to describe the process by which misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation contaminate public discourse. Ethics are a critical, if underutilized, bulwark against the spread of such information. Without strong ethical foundations, everyday communication functions, instead, as an information sort target.

The fact that unethical—or merely ethically unmoored—behaviors contribute to information disorder is a structural weakness that abusers, bigots, and media manipulators have exploited again and again. Phillips underscores this point in a Data & Society report on the ways extremists and manipulators launder toxic messaging through mainstream journalism. The same point holds for everyday social media users. Extremists need signal boosting. They get it when non-extremists serve as links in the amplification chain, whatever a person’s motives might be for amplifying that content.

When considering how ethical reflection can cultivate civility and help stymie information disorder, biomass pyramids provide a helpful, if unexpected, entry point.

In biology, biomass pyramids chart the relative number or weight of one class of organism compared to another organism within the same ecosystem. For a habitat to support one lion, the biomass pyramid shows, it needs a whole lot of insects. When applied to questions of online toxicity, biomass pyramids speak to the fact that there are far more everyday, relatively low-level cases of harmful behavior than there are apex predator cases—the kinds of actions that are explicitly and wilfully harmful, from coordinated hate and harassment campaigns to media manipulation tactics designed to sow chaos and confusion.

 

When people talk about online toxicity, they tend to focus on these apex predator cases. With good reason: these attacks have profound personal and professional implications for those targeted.

But apex predators aren’t the only creatures worth considering. The bottom strata is just as responsible for the rancor, negativity, and mis-, dis- and mal- information that clog online spaces, causing a great deal of cumulative harm.

Even when a person’s motives are perfectly innocent, low-level behaviors can still be harmful. They can still flatten others into abstract avatars.

This bottom strata includes posting snarky jokes about an unfolding news story, tragedy, or controversy; retweeting hoaxes and other misleading narratives ironically, to condemn them, make fun of the people involved, or otherwise assert superiority over those who take the narratives seriously; making ambivalent inside jokes because your friends will know what you mean (and for white people in particular, that your friends will know you’re not a real racist); @mentioning the butts of jokes, critiques, or collective mocking, thus looping the target of the conversation into the discussion; and easiest of all, jumping into conversations mid-thread without knowing what the issues are. Regarding visual media, impactive everyday behaviors include responding to a thread with a GIF or reaction image featuring random everyday strangers, or posting (and/or remixing) the latest meme to comment on the news of the day.

Here is one example: recently, one of us published something on, let's say, internet stuff. Other people have written lots of things on the same general subject. One day, a stranger @-mentioned us to say that what we published was better than what someone else had published, and proceeded to explain how the other author fell short. The stranger @-mentioned the other author in the tweet. This was, we suppose, meant as a compliment to us. At the same time, it made us party to something we didn't want any part of, since just saying "thank you" would have cosigned, or seemed to cosign, the underlying insult. The other author, of course, fared much worse; the stranger didn't seem to give them the slightest passing thought.

It was a handle on Twitter to link to, not a person with feelings to consider. But of course, that stranger was wrong—no person on Twitter is just a handle to link to. And no person wants to be told in public that they are less than, for any reason. But that was the conversation, suddenly, this other author had been thrust into. One we were thrust into as well, even as the stranger thought they were saying something nice.

This strata of behavior receives far less attention than apex predator cases. Most basically, this is because each of the above behaviors, taken on their own, pales in comparison to extreme abuses. Whether emanating from platforms like YouTube, white supremacist spaces like The Daily Stormer, or even the White House, the damage done by the proverbial lions is clear, present, and often intractable. From a biomass perspective, insects seem tiny in comparison—and therefore not worth much consideration.

Less obviously, the lower strata of the biomass pyramid receives less fanfare because of assumptions about harm online. In cases of explicit abuse, bigotry, and manipulation, harm is almost always tethered to the criterion of intentionality: the idea that someone meant to hurt another person, meant to sow chaos and confusion, meant to ruin someone’s life.

 

In terms of classification, and of course interventionist triaging, it makes good sense to use the criterion of intentionality. Coordinated campaigns of hate, harassment, and manipulation, particularly those involving multiple participants, don’t just happen accidentally. Abusers and manipulators choose to abuse and manipulate; this is what makes them apex predators.

At the same time, however, reliance on the criterion of intentionality has some unintended consequences.

First, the criterion of intentionality discourages self-reflection in those who aren’t apex predators. If someone doesn’t set out to harm another person, that person is almost guaranteed not to spend much time reflecting on whether their behavior has or could harm others. Harm is something lions do. If you are not a lion, carry on.

But just because you’re not a lion doesn’t mean you can’t leave a nasty bite. Even when a person’s motives are perfectly innocent, low-level behaviors can still be harmful. They can still flatten others into abstract avatars. They can still weaponize what someone else said, or result in the weaponization of something you said. They can still strip a person of their ability to decide if, for example, they want a picture of themselves to be used as part of some stranger’s snarky Twitter commentary, or to be included in a conversation in which they are being publicly mocked.

From an information disorder perspective, these low-level behaviors can also be of great benefit to the lions. Retweeting false or misleading stories, even if the point is to make fun of how stupid they are, making ironic statements that, taken out of context, look like actual examples of actual hate, and generally opening the floodgates for polluted information to flow through, is what allows apex predators to cause as much damage as they do.

These actions also feed into, and are fed by, issues of journalistic amplification. The greater the social media reaction to a story, the more reason journalists have to cover it, or at least tweet about it. And the greater the journalistic response to a story, the more social media reaction it will generate. And then there are the trending topics algorithms, which do not care why people share things, just that they share things, as polluted information cyclones across platforms, accruing strength as it travels.

Because of these overlapping forces, whether or not someone means to sow discord, or spread hate, or propagate false and misleading information, discord can be sown, hate can be spread, and false and misleading information can be propagated by behaviors that otherwise don’t create a blip on the political radar.

Stacking the Deck with Digital Tools

Focusing on intentionality obscures the collective damage everyday people can do when they use social media in socially and technologically-prescribed ways. The affordances of digital media make this problem even worse by further cloaking the stakes of everyday communication.

 

We describe these affordances in our book The Ambivalent Internet. They include modularity, the ability to manipulate, rearrange, and/or substitute digitized parts of a larger whole without disrupting or destroying that whole; modifiability, the ability to repurpose and reappropriate aspects of an existing project toward some new end; archivability, the ability to replicate and store existing data; and accessibility, the ability to categorize and search for tagged content.

These tools don’t just allow, they outright encourage participants to flatten contexts into highly shareable, highly remixable, texts: specific images, specific GIFs, specific memes.

All creative play online owes its existence to these affordances. They are what make the internet the internet. They also make it enormously easy to sever social media avatar from offline body, and to mistake one tiny sliver of a story for an entire narrative, or to never even think about what the entire narrative might be. As a result, even the most well-intentioned among us can overlook the consequences of our actions, and never even know whose toes we might be stepping on.

In such an environment, the first step towards making more ethical choices is acknowledging how the deck has been stacked against making more ethical choices.

The second is to anticipate and try and preempt unethical outcomes. This means contending with the fact that your own contextualizing information, including your underlying motivations, become moot once tossed to the internet’s winds. You might know what you meant, or why you did what you did, particularly in cases where you’re relying on “I was just joking” excuses. But others can’t know any of that. Not due to oversensitivity, not due to them not being able to take a joke. But because they can’t read your mind, and shouldn’t be expected to try.

Another critical question to ask is what you don’t know about the content you’re sharing. How and where was something sourced? What happened to the people involved? Did they ever give consent? Who was the initial intended audience? Each of these unknowns shapes the implications, and of course the ethics, of further amplifying that content. The devil, in these cases, isn’t in the details, the devil is in the unseen, unknown, unsolicited narratives.

Finally, we must all remember that the issues we discuss online, the stories we share, the media we play with—all can be traced back to bodies. Fully-fleshed out human beings who have friends, feelings, and a family—just like each of us.

This point is particularly important for middle-class, able-bodied, cisgendered white people to reflect on (a point we make as middle-class, able-bodied, cisgendered white people ourselves). When your body—your skin color, the resources you have access to, your gender identity, your ability—has never been the source of threats, abuse, and dehumanization, it is very easy to downplay the seriousness of threats, abuse, and dehumanization. To approach them abstractly, as just words, on just the internet. The behaviors in question might not seem like a big deal to you, because they’ve never needed to be a big deal for you. Because you’ve always, more or less, been safe. This might help explain why you react the way you do, but it’s not an excuse to keep reacting that way.

So when in doubt, when you do not understand: remember that what might look like an insect to one person can act like a lion to others. Particularly when those insects are everywhere, always, clogging a person’s experience, weighing down their bodies.

Environmental Protections

The biomass pyramid shows that the distinction between big harm and small harm is, in fact, highly permeable. The big harms perpetrated by apex predators are exactly that: big and dangerous. Smaller harms are, by definition, smaller, and on their own, less dangerous. But the harm at that lower strata can still be harmful. It is also cumulative; it adds up to something massive. So massive, in fact, that these smaller harms implicate all of us—not just as potential victims, but as potential perpetrators. Just as it does in nature, this omnipresent lower strata in turn supports all the strata above, including the largest, most dangerous animals at the top of the food chain. Directly and indirectly, insects feed the lions.

Robust online ethics provide the tools for minimizing all this harm. By using ethical tools, we minimize the environmental support apex predators depend on. We also have in our own hands the ability to cultivate civility that is not superficial, that is not a trap, but that has the potential to fundamentally alter what the online environment is like for the everyday people who call it home.

[Source: This article was published in vice.com By Whitney Phillips & Ryan M Milner - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon] 

Categorized in Internet Ethics

Brands need to be active on social media – but having your own voice doesn't mean you can post recklessly. Know 25 things NOT to do on social media.

Social media has the power to grow your brand into a massive empire.

But if you aren’t careful, it can do just the opposite.

Take Snapchat, for example.

In 2018, Snapchat ran an ad game called “Would You Rather?”

One of the questions asked was if users would rather “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown.”

 

The result?

Worldwide outrage and an $800 million loss for Snapchat.

Sure, the ad’s bad taste is pretty obvious. No one wants to play a game based on domestic violence.

But did you know there are other less-noticeable social media blunders that lead to a bad reputation and failure to grow your brand?

Here are some you should never do.

25 Social Media Blunders You Should Stay Away From

Stay away from these 25 mistakes, and your social media campaign will flourish.

1. Not Being Up-to-Date with Current Trends

In 2016, Wendy’s posted a meme of Pepe the Frog dressed up as their mascot.

What they didn’t know was that the cute cartoon frog had recently become an image of racism and white supremacy.

It’s not hard to imagine the response.

To avoid a mistake like Wendy’s, do a little research before posting anything on social media.

2. Posting Insensitive Content

Be humorous, but stay away from insensitive jokes.

We all remember the Yanny vs. Laurel audio clip that tore the web apart.

To jump into this trend, the U.S. Air Force’s Twitter manager posted this social media gaffe.

usa-air-force-5de12ac9d5c96.png

3. Confusing Your Business Account with Your Personal Account

It’s important to be entertaining and engaging, but don’t forget to distinguish between business posts and personal posts.

For instance, don’t post a photo of what you had for lunch on your business account (unless you run an organic diet-in-a-box food service).

 

4. Getting Angry When You Get Negative Comments

As your brand grows, you’ll get both positive and negative comments.

Remember, negative comments are there to help you improve.

Deal with them open-mindedly and try to solve the problem instead of lashing back.

Here’s an example from a buyer who complained at Toblerone’s Facebook Page.

toblerone-complaint-.png

Toblerone’s response?

25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

When you put genuine effort into helping customers with their problems, you both appease customers and gain input for your brand’s improvement.

5. Skipping the Editing Process

Before posting anything on social media, edit it viciously.

Typos and grammar mistakes will be noticed, and they won’t do your brand any good.

 

6. Failing to Address Mistakes

No matter how strict you are with your rules and guidelines, mistakes will pop up now and then (because we’re all human, right?).

When they do, address them tactfully. You can even be a little humorous.

Take this example from The Red Cross addressing their social media specialist Gloria Huang’s mistake as inspiration.

7. Posting Only When Inspiration Strikes

On your personal social media account, you can post any time the mood strikes you. Or not at all.

Not so with your business account. In fact, the more you post, the more exposure you’ll gain.

Here’s a quick guideline from Volusion on how often to post on different social media platforms.

  • Facebook and Instagram: Once or twice daily.
  • Twitter: 5-10 tweets daily.
  • Pinterest: 5-30 pins daily.
  • Linkedin: 20 posts a month.

8. Forgetting Your Mission to Enrich Your Followers’ Lives

Starting a business isn’t all about boosting your earning potential. It’s about developing a product or service that’ll enrich people’s lives.

So when you take to social media, make it your goal to reflect that mission.

Share content that’s useful, relevant, and helpful to people. Enrich their lives.

Look how Great Escape Publishing does it on their Facebook page.

great-escape-publishing.png

9. Sounding Too Salesy

While it’s a good practice to promote new products on social media, don’t overdo it.

No one will keep following a brand that constantly pushes them to buy something.

10. Ignoring Comments on Your Posts

Engagement is of top priority on social media. So when your followers comment on your posts, comment back.

Here are some tips on responding to comments:

Read More...

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Julia McCoy - Uploaded by the Association Member: Logan Hochstetler]

Categorized in Social

There are more than 15 billion stolen account credentials circulating on criminal forums within the dark web, a new study has revealed.

Researchers at cyber security firm Digital Shadows discovered usernames, passwords and other login information for everything from online bank accounts, to music and video streaming services.

The majority of exposed credentials belong to consumers rather than businesses, the researchers found, resulting from hundreds of thousands of data breaches.

Unsurprisingly, the most expensive credentials for sale were those for bank and financial services. The average listing for these was £56 on the dark web – a section of the internet notorious for criminal activity that is only accessible using specialist software.

 

“The sheer number of credentials available is staggering,” said Rick Holland, CISO at Digital Shadows.

“Some of these exposed accounts can have (or have access to) incredibly sensitive information. Details exposed from one breach could be re-used to compromise accounts used elsewhere.”

Mr Holland said that his firm had alerted its customers to around 27 million credentials over the past one-and-a-half years that could directly affect them.

The number of stolen credentials has risen by more than 300 per cent since 2018, due to a surge in data breaches. An estimated 100,000 separate breaches have taken place over the last two years.

Among the credentials for sale were those that granted access to accounts within organisations, with usernames containing the word "invoice" or "invoices" among the most popular listings.

Digital Shadows said it was unable to confirm the validity of the data that the vendors purport to own without purchasing it. The researchers said that listings included those for large corporations and government organisations in multiple countries.

Security experts advise internet users to use individual passwords for each online service that they use, while also adopting measures like two-factor authentication where possible.

 

Online tools like HaveIBeenPwned can also indicate whether a person's email address has been compromised in a major data breach.

 [Source: This article was published in independent.co.uk By Brien Posey - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Cuthbertson]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

An EPFL laboratory has developed DataShare Network, a decentralized search engine paired with a secure messaging system that allows investigative journalists to exchange information securely and anonymously. An scientific article on this subject will be presented during the Usenix Security Symposium which will be held online from August 12 to 14.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has over 200 members in 70 countries, has broken a number of important stories, particularly ones that expose medical fraud and tax evasion. One of its most famous investigations was the Panama Papers, a trove of millions of documents that revealed the existence of several hundred thousand shell companies whose owners included cultural figures, politicians, businesspeople and sports personalities. To complete an investigation of this size is only possible through international cooperation between journalists. When sharing such sensitive files, however, a leak can jeopardize not only the story’s publication, but also the safety of the journalists and sources involved. At the ICIJ’s behest, EPFL’s Security and Privacy Engineering (SPRING) Lab recently developed DataShare Network, a fully anonymous, decentralized system for searching and exchanging information. A paper about it will be presented during the Usenix Security Symposium, a worldwide reference for specialists, which will be held online from 12 to 14 August.

 

Anonymity at every stage

Anonymity is the backbone of the system. Users can search and exchange information without revealing their identity, or the content of their queries, either to colleagues or to the ICIJ. The Consortium ensures that the system is running properly but remains unaware of any information exchange. It issues virtual secure tokens that journalists can attach to their messages and documents to prove to others that they are Consortium members. A centralized file management system would be too conspicuous a target for hackers; since the ICIJ does not have servers in various jurisdictions, documents are typically stored on its members’ servers or computers. Users provide only the elements that enable others to link to their investigation.

 

[Source: This article was published in miragenews.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

Categorized in Search Engine

Ohio and Washington emerged as new hotspots for internet crime in 2019, though California continues to lead with the largest online fraud victim losses and number of victims, according to research from the Center for Forensic Accounting in Florida Atlantic University's College of Business.

California online victim losses increased 27 percent from 2018 to $573.6 million in 2019. The number of victims in California increased by 2 percent to 50,000.

Florida ranked second in victim losses ($293 million) and also posted the largest annual increase in both victim losses and number of victims over the past five years. The average loss per victim in the Sunshine State grew from $4,700 in 2015 to $10,800 in 2019, while the average victim loss jumped 46 percent from 2018.

 

When victim losses are adjusted for population, Ohio had the largest loss rate in 2019 at $22.6 million per 1 million in population, rising sharply from $8.4 million in 2018. Washington had the highest victim rate at 1,720 per 1 million in population.

Ohio and Washington replaced North Carolina and Virginia, which ranked among the top states in 2018.

The other top states in the latest   report were New York and Texas. The report is based on statistics from the FBI, which collects data from victims reporting alleged internet crimes.

"Fraudsters are getting more efficient at going after where the money is," said Michael Crain, DBA, director of FAU's Center for Forensic Accounting. "There doesn't seem to be any mitigation of the growing trend of online crime. The first line of defense from online fraud is not a technology solution or even law enforcement; it's user awareness. From a policy perspective, governments and other institutions should get the word out more so that individuals and organizations are more sensitive to online threats."

Crimes such as extortion, government impersonation and spoofing became more noticeable last year for their increases in victim losses and number of victims, according to the report. Business email compromise/email account compromise (BEC/EAC) remains the top internet crime in 2019 with reported losses of $1.8 billion, followed by confidence fraud/romance ($475 million) and spoofing ($300 million) schemes.

Spoofing, the falsifying of email contact information to make it appear to have been originated by a trustworthy source, was the crime with the largest percentage increase in victim losses (330 percent) of the top states during 2019.

 

BEC/EAC, in which business or personal email accounts are hacked or spoofed to request wire transfers, accounted for 30 percent to 90 percent of all victim losses last year in the top states and has grown significantly since 2015.

In confidence fraud/romance, an online swindler pretends to be in a friendly, romantic or family relationship to win the trust of the victim to obtain money or possessions.

For online investment fraud, in which scammers often lure seniors with promises of high returns, California leads the top states with $37.8 million in victim losses, but Florida's population-adjusted loss rate of $1.1 million makes it the state where victims are likely to lose the most money.

A major problem is that most internet crime appears to originate outside the United States and the jurisdiction of U.S. authorities.

"Foreign sources of internet crimes on U.S. residents and businesses make it challenging for whether  levels can be reduced as the public becomes more connected and dependent on the internet," the report states.

 

[Source: This article was published in phys.org By Paul - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill]

Categorized in Online Research

“Kilos." A new dark web search engine that has quickly become the “Google” for cybercriminal marketplaces, forums and illicit products. Why is this new cybercriminal engine quickly becoming popular and what are the threats that security researchers and operations team face with Kilos? 

After the recent indictment of Larry Harmon, alleged operator of the Bitcoin tumbling service Helix and darknet search engine Grams, Digital Shadows decided to profile Kilos. According to the firm, in November 2019, "Kilos" emerged from the cybercriminal underground and has become one of the most sophisticated dark web search engines to date, having indexed more platforms and added more search functionalities than other search engines while introducing updates, new features, and services that ensure more security and anonymity for its users. Kilos also maintains a stronger human element not previously seen on other prominent dark web-based search engines, says a new Digital Shadows blog

"Kilos possibly evolved from the well-known dark web search engine “Grams”, which ceased operations in 2017. Both Grams and Kilos are dark web search engines that clearly imitate the well-known design and functionalities of the Google search engine and, in a clever play on words, both follow a naming convention inspired by units of measure," writes the firm. 

 

Grams was launched in early April 2014 and back in the day, says Digital Shadows, "Grams was a revolutionary tool that allowed users to explore the darker corners of the Internet with relative ease. However, its index was somewhat limited. According to its administrator—whom Wired interviewed anonymously in April 2014—the team behind Grams did not “have the capabilities yet to spider all of the darknet” and had instead resolved to work on “making an automated site submitter for people to submit their sites and get listed” on the search engine."

Now, Kilos enters the cybercriminal sphere. "Though it can’t be conclusively confirmed whether Kilos has pivoted directly from Grams or whether the same administrator is behind both projects, the initial similarities are uncanny. The same popular search engine-like aesthetics have been applied and the naming convention has remained," says the blog. 

Why is Kilos more threatening than Grams? It is allowing users to perform even more specific searches from a larger index than Grams did, enabling users to search across six of the top dark web marketplaces for vendors, listings and reviews. These marketplaces include CannaHome, Cannazon, Cryptonia, Empire, Samsara and Versus.

 According to Digital Shadows, Kilos has already indexed the following from a total of seven marketplaces and six forums:

  • 553,994 forum posts
  • 68,860 listings
  • 2,844 vendors
  • 248,159 reviews

Since the site's creation in November 2019, the Digital Shadows team writes that the unprecendented amount of dark web content found in Kilos appears to increase by the day, providing invaluable insight into the contents, products, and vendors of current prominent cybercriminal markets and forums - thus adding "a human element to the site not previously seen on dark web-based search engines, by allowing direct communication between the administrator and the users, and also between the users themselves," claims the blog. 

New updates to the site include:

  1. A new type of CAPTCHA that prompts users to rank randomized product and vendor feedback by their level of positive or negative sentiment for added security. 
  2. A new Bitcoin mixer service called “Krumble”, which is now available in Beta mode, to ensure user anonymity compared with other Bitcoin mixers.
  3. Added features that allow for more direct communication, both between the users themselves and between users and the administrator. 
  4. A live chat function to allow users to discuss a variety of topics with each other. 

Digital Shadows warns that Kilos’ growing index, new features and additional services combined could allow Kilos to continue to grow and position itself as a natural first stop for an increasingly large user base - further increasing the amount of data readily available for threat actors and security researchers alike.

Harrison Van Riper, Threat Research, Team Lead at Digital Shadows, tells Security Magazine that, "Dark web search engines bring more visibility to criminal platforms which, in turn, direct more traffic and lead to more sales from marketplaces or forums, which could increase the risk to organizations. Criminals looking to find sensitive documents or credentials for sale on the dark web can use Kilos to search across different marketplaces to find their goods, increasing the likelihood of account takeovers or the impact of a data leakage, for example."

Van Riper notes that search engines have "transformed the way everyday people use the internet when they were introduced, giving users freedom to search for the exact information they were looking for. That same innovation translates to cybercriminals as well, a topic Digital Shadows heavily covered in our blog detailing the similarities between the real world and cybercriminal underground https://www.digitalshadows.com/blog-and-research/how-the-cybercriminal-underground-mirrors-the-real-world.  These sites were made intentionally difficult to find unless you already had an idea of where you were going to begin with, however, a search engine with the ability to look across multiple sources could give more malicious actors opportunity to conduct more attacks," he says. 

 

[Source: This article was published in securitymagazine.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Search Engine
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