Craigslist Inc.

For those who have not heard of it, is an advertising website mostly operating on local basis. The idea started in San Francisco Bay in 1995, by now over 700 cities in 70 countries have a cragslist page. The special thing about craigslist is that you can advertise pretty much anything, from housing and resale to personal adds such as “man looking for woman” ect. The website is the most popular in America where it originated, however it also has a large following in Latin American countries in particular. What I find particularly intriguing is that this website has taken the web to it’s original purpose, connecting people within a community.Whilst many websites of this nature are focused on connecting people over long distances craigslist limits this to city-specific parameters and it still works. Craigslist users are themselves often described as a community effectively making them a community within a community. I find it fascinating how that proves that we are always looking for ways to make is easier to communicate with each other.This makes me consider that perhaps the internet is in fact a natural evolutionary development for human beings as a species.

The website has inspired the media industry too, being the leading theme of two documentaries ‘Craigslist Joe’ and ’24 hours on Craigslist’ as well as a song by Wierd Al Yankovic titled Craigslist.




Can there be another ME out there?


Identity theft is becoming an increasingly common problem in the United Kingdom, as fraudsters discover more and more ways to get hold of the information which is required to steal someone’s identity.

Identity theft rarely involves the unauthorised taking of a victim’s personal possessions, however it does involve the perpetrator of the crime taking the victim’s personal information and then using this in an unauthorised way for their own personal gain.

So, if before the Internet era the most awful thing somebody could steal from a person was the wallet with some money, ID and another bunch of random stuff, now it is more damaging to steal one’s identity. This means personal information about cards, passwords and the ability of becoming somebody else in the online community.

Identity thieves can also use your identity when they commit other crimes, such as entering (or exiting) a country illegally, trafficking drugs, smuggling other substances, committing cyber crimes, laundering money and much more. In fact, they can use your identity to commit almost any crime imaginable in your name.

Some techniques that people use in identity theft are:

  • Recovering personal data from dismissed or returned IT equipment and storage media including PCs, servers, PDAs, mobile phones, USB memory sticks and hard drives that have been disposed of carelessly at public dump sites, given away or sold on without having been properly sanitized
  • Using public records about individual citizens, published in official registers such as electoral rolls
  • Stealing bank or credit cards, identification cards, passports, authentication tokens
  • Common-knowledge questioning schemes that offer account verification and compromise: “What’s your mother’s maiden name?”, “what was your first car model?”, or “What was your first pet’s name?”, etc.
  • Using ‘contactless’ credit card readers to acquire data wirelessly from RFID-enabled passports
  • Stealing personal information from computers using breaches in browser security or malware such as Trojan horse keystroke logging programs or other forms of spyware
  • Hacking computer networks, systems and databases to obtain personal data, often in large quantities
  • Using false pretences to trick individuals, customer service representatives and help desk workers into disclosing personal information and login details or changing user passwords/access rights (pretexting)
  • Guessing Social Security numbers by using information found on Internet social networks such as Facebook or Twitter
  • Low security/privacy protection on photos that are easily clickable and downloaded on social networking sites.
  • Befriending strangers on social networks and taking advantage of their trust until private information is given.

Most of these problems are a result of low privacy settings on social media platforms and surfing websites that are not trustworthy.

By the time you realise that someone out there is buying things, obtaining a credit from a bank or committing crimes in your name, there is so little left to be done.

Protect your accounts! Better safe than sorry!

“How to leave Facebook”

One of the topics we discussed in this module that really allowed for self reflection and real life application was: online visibility. Having grown up with social media and experienced the rise and fall of several platforms (RIP myspace) I think that my generation has a unique handle on the internet. In some ways we have control over what stays and what goes, we decide what we want in the online sphere and what we don’t want. However, what I have come to realize, with a greater understanding of the “networked self,” is that we usually only get this at a cost. This price comes in many shapes and forms – sacrificing privacy, or risking falling victim to the chilling effect, and countless other regulatory consequences.

As the policies, terms and conditions, and algorithms that dictate our FaceBook activity change at a rapid pace we are no longer in control of the image of ourself that we aim to shape online – defeating the purpose of partaking in social media and having a sense of control over your identity and your networked self.

The video below, by Nick Briz, a new media artist, educator and activist, is a personal essay of sorts and tutorial on how to leave FaceBook because of these costs. As someone who has only had a FaceBook for a few months (but plans of deleting it once I get back the U.S.) I definitely understand the convenience and the entertainment value associated with the platform. But I strongly encourage you to watch the full video and take into consideration what you are giving to Facebook (and more importantly what they are doing with it) in exchange for online visibility. Is it worth it?


The power of Google Drive


Technological convergence is described as a process which merges existing technologies in order to create a new form of media or applications. My technological convergence discovery of the year was Google Drive. Google drive is an online tool that was created by Google back in 2012. It allows users to store their data, share files, as well as edit documents, spreadsheets and create presentations with other users. Google Drive is a very useful synchronization service which has allowed me and other students to work on the same file at the same time, which means we could all be making changes and editing a presentation or a document instantly. Personally, I now use Google Docs, for every assignment that I receive, this is due to the fact that Google Docs allows me to edit my work on the go, with the use of my email and any smart device including mobile phone. When using smart devices it is possible to make the file available offline, therefore you will be able to work on your document whilst on the tube, where there is usually no internet connection.

So, have you heard about these application before and have you ever used them?

Referencing list:

Webcam hacking.

cr:ZBros Productions

This short film was inspired by a true story and even though this movie was obviously set up in the most self-evident way, the issue of webcam hacking  through malware is a real problem that a lot of people deal with or are paranoid on. To the level that they install tools such as ‘Camera lock’, ‘Microphone lock’ and many others, in order to feel protected.

I believe this relates to Week 6’s post on Online visibility as it relates to privacy. If we were to think about it, it’s common to think that since it is our personal item, nobody should have access to any information it contains without our permission. But programs to hack into any computer are available everywhere on the Internet, from tutorials to people that would do it in seconds.

In the last few years it aggravated substantially and it does not show any sign of stopping as we are advancing in technology, all we can do it try and protect ourselves the best we can.

Personally, even if I have been aware of this problem for quite some time, I never put a sticker or a post-it on my laptop’s webcam, but I do have a lot of friends that do so.

So what can you do to protect yourself? If you have a PC and an external camera you need to set the firewall properly, always scan your computer for malwares and the easiest of them all, put something over it.

Others cases here and  here.




The Online Community of Trusting Travelers

For this week’s post I would like to focus on the discussion of online communities, a topic which I found myself drawing back upon for nearly every topic we discussed in the following weeks. From the space known as The Well, widely considered the earliest onset of community within the internet, to the modern forms of online communities we have today, the internet has always relied upon internet users coming together to create a space for themselves and each other.

I have noticed an increase in the development of many internet communities as of late. However one type of community which I have noticed to be growing is the travel community. All over the internet, websites which allow people to rate, book, and discuss travel products and services are quickly becoming booming communities with millions of members and contributors; notably, well known sites such as TripAdvisor, and the relatively new but rapidly expanding AirBnB.

Even before TripAdvisor’s inception in 2000, internet users have been referring to the online community in order to receive travel advice. This community has grown to become the most relied upon travel website on the internet, which is discussed in one of my passed blogs. People refer to the community to get advice and give advice about their own travel experiences, with full trust in the words of the strangers who are advising them.

AirBnB, however, has taken the trusting online travel community to a whole new level. Through AirBnB, online users offer their homes, and private rooms inside the homes they reside, for people to stay in as they travel. The site was revered as a strange and possibly dangerous idea at first, however the site now has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries, according to Wikipedia. Users of the site can review the places which they have stayed in, remarking on the cleanliness of the home, location in relation to the major sites within the city, and reliability of the homeowner.

This unique online community is considered by many to be revolutionizing the way we travel. However, I believe it also reflects upon the amount of trust people place in the members of their communities within the internet. Enough so to enter the home of someone they have never met in real life, relying on the recommendation of people they have never met in real life, and rely on the hospitality of that person while travel. This also applies to the home owners, who invite people they have never met to stay inside their home, which they may currently be living in, and trust that they will not harm them or their home.

They travel community on the internet, hosted through popular sites such as TripAdvisor and AirBnB, is one of the best examples of trust that internet users place within the relative strangers, or fellow members of their online communities.

AirBnB relies heavily upon themes of community and trust in their advertisements, often using the hashtag, #OneLessStranger:


Stolen privacy

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the online privacy. I did some researches after that and what I found freaked the **** out of me!

Basically there are some hackers that are able to hack your computer sending you an email or adding you on Skype or on some social-online-chats-whatever. Once they got into your personal laptop, they can have access to your webcam and your microphone, seeing every thing you do in front of your computer and listening to every word you say (in the area where the microphone can reach your voice of course).

I know it sounds like the plot of a horror movie, but unfortunately it is for real. The problem is that once they get into one computer, they can easily gain access to all the other computer that have something in common with that one (for example, if my computer is hacked, and a friend of mine comes over to my place and she connects with the same wifi I used, they can hack her computer as well passing through mine).                              Personally I don’t use online chats, nor I accept people that I don’t know on Skype, but who knows if someone in my University (so it is very likely that we’ve been connected to the same wifi line at least once) use those websites or accept people they don’t on some social networks?

Have you ever heard about it before? In the US there have been lots of cases like this. I got so scared that I sticked a piece of tape over my camera, I swear, and I’m not gonna take it off. No way.