Scam Alert #13 — Despacito hacked & digital “Beanie Babies”
Online attackers have hit a range of targets, from one of the smallest countries in the world to the most popular song video on the planet.
We have the latest scams and trends for you, as well as a look at the hot digital collectibles — crypto cards.
Cyber attackers shut down an entire country’s government for a week.
It was, however, one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population between 30,000 and 50,000, according to reports.
Sint Maarten is the Dutch side of the island of Saint Marten in the Caribbean and is its own country.
It’s also known for an airport that is very, very close to the beach.
The country’s Daily Herald reports that online crooks took out the government’s computer system last week — with all departments that serve the public shut down.
Sint Maarten’s government announces the reopening of government departments on Facebook. Image credit: Sint Maarten government Facebook page
The Sint Maarten government’s Facebook page says it’s just now opening up again.
The Daly Herald says this is the third such attack in two years.
Cyber vandals also hit the world’s most popular song on YouTube — Despacito by Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee.
They changed the song’s YouTube thumbnail to an image of armed robbers with the note “Free Palestine” below, according to security company WeLiveSecurity.
Hackers replaced the “Despacito” thumbnail with an image of armed robbers, according to Graham Cluley of WeLiveSecurity. Image credit: WeLiveSecurity
The hackers, “Prosox” and “Kuroi’SH,” reportedly also hit videos by Maroon 5, Shakira, Drake and others.
A tweet on a Prosox Twitter account says the hack is “just for fun” and he loves YouTube.
“Despacito” has racked up more than five billion views.
Can you tell which faces are real and which are edited?
Real and edited images from researchers in Europe. Image credit: FaceForensics: A Large-scale Video Dataset for Forgery Detection in Human Faces
The answer — the ones on the top are real.
The ones on the bottom are fakes, created with special software to make people in videos say things they didn’t really say.
Researchers from three universities in Europe say they have found a way to track these “face swap” edits with a special system that can detect the fakes.
Video forgery is a growing problem, especially with “deepfakes” — where people take images of celebrities, friends or enemies and superimpose them on porn videos to make it look like real videos.
But as MIT Technology Review points out, this new technique could also be used to make fakes better — and the researchers know it.
“…(W)e believe that this interplay between tampering and detection is not only an extremely exciting avenue for follow-up work but also of utmost importance,” the researchers say in their paper.
No more signing?
Still signing on the dotted line when you buy with a credit card?
That may be going the way of the dinosaurs.
The New York Times reports that online shopping and microchip cards apparently make your signature worth little these days and the four big credit card companies will start dropping signatures soon, though in different ways.
A chip card in a credit card terminal. Image credit: Oliver22
Walmart has stopped using them on many transactions, the paper reports, and Target plans to stop using them this month.
Visa will make signatures optional for chip cards in the U.S. and Canada if the store’s equipment can read chip cards, according to the New York Times.
Mastercard is stopping signatures in North America as well.
And American Express says soon there will be no autograph needed world-wide.
Forget baseball cards.
Crypto cards are the new collectible.
One of the most famous — the CryptoKitties, some selling for more than $300,000 worth of cryptocurrency, according to Motherboard’s research.
Now you can also find CryptoDogs, CryptoPuppies, CryptoBots, CryptoBunnies and more.
A collectible, blockchain-based CryptoPuppy. Image credit: CryptoPuppies
Motherboard says the top CryptoPuppy right now is going for about $400 in cryptocurrency, and the top CryptoDog more than $18,000.
If the crypto collectible craze continues, you may see fakes just like the Beanie Baby counterfeiters of the nineties who cashed in on one of the biggest toy fads in the world.
World’s smallest park
Curious about the world smallest park?
Here are the details on Mill Ends Park in Portland, Oregon.
The founder told a tale that the median-based park is home to a colony of leprechauns few can see.
It became an official city park on St. Patrick’s Day, 1976.
Mill Ends Park, recognized as the world’s smallest park. Image credit: PortlandOregon.gov
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