More on Technology
1 month ago
The brand-new USB Rubber Ducky is much riskier than before.
The brand-new USB Rubber Ducky is much riskier than before.
With its own programming language, the well-liked hacking tool may now pwn you.
With a vengeance, the USB Rubber Ducky is back.
This year's Def Con hacking conference saw the release of a new version of the well-liked hacking tool, and its author, Darren Kitchen, was on hand to explain it. We put a few of the new features to the test and discovered that the most recent version is riskier than ever.
WHAT IS IT?
The USB Rubber Ducky seems to the untrained eye to be an ordinary USB flash drive. However, when you connect it to a computer, the computer recognizes it as a USB keyboard and will accept keystroke commands from the device exactly like a person would type them in.
Kitchen explained to me, "It takes use of the trust model built in, where computers have been taught to trust a human, in that anything it types is trusted to the same degree as the user is trusted. And a computer is aware that clicks and keystrokes are how people generally connect with it.
Over ten years ago, the first Rubber Ducky was published, quickly becoming a hacker favorite (it was even featured in a Mr. Robot scene). Since then, there have been a number of small upgrades, but the most recent Rubber Ducky takes a giant step ahead with a number of new features that significantly increase its flexibility and capability.
WHERE IS ITS USE?
The options are nearly unlimited with the proper strategy.
The Rubber Ducky has already been used to launch attacks including making a phony Windows pop-up window to collect a user's login information or tricking Chrome into sending all saved passwords to an attacker's web server. However, these attacks lacked the adaptability to operate across platforms and had to be specifically designed for particular operating systems and software versions.
The nuances of DuckyScript 3.0 are described in a new manual.
The most recent Rubber Ducky seeks to get around these restrictions. The DuckyScript programming language, which is used to construct the commands that the Rubber Ducky will enter into a target machine, receives a significant improvement with it. DuckyScript 3.0 is a feature-rich language that allows users to write functions, store variables, and apply logic flow controls, in contrast to earlier versions that were primarily limited to scripting keystroke sequences (i.e., if this... then that).
This implies that, for instance, the new Ducky can check to see if it is hooked into a Windows or Mac computer and then conditionally run code specific to each one, or it can disable itself if it has been attached to the incorrect target. In order to provide a more human effect, it can also generate pseudorandom numbers and utilize them to add a configurable delay between keystrokes.
The ability to steal data from a target computer by encoding it in binary code and transferring it through the signals intended to instruct a keyboard when the CapsLock or NumLock LEDs should light up is perhaps its most astounding feature. By using this technique, a hacker may plug it in for a brief period of time, excuse themselves by saying, "Sorry, I think that USB drive is faulty," and then take it away with all the credentials stored on it.
HOW SERIOUS IS THE RISK?
In other words, it may be a significant one, but because physical device access is required, the majority of people aren't at risk of being a target.
The 500 or so new Rubber Duckies that Hak5 brought to Def Con, according to Kitchen, were his company's most popular item at the convention, and they were all gone on the first day. It's safe to suppose that hundreds of hackers already possess one, and demand is likely to persist for some time.
Additionally, it has an online development toolkit that can be used to create attack payloads, compile them, and then load them onto the target device. A "payload hub" part of the website makes it simple for hackers to share what they've generated, and the Hak5 Discord is also busy with conversation and helpful advice. This makes it simple for users of the product to connect with a larger community.
It's too expensive for most individuals to distribute in volume, so unless your favorite cafe is renowned for being a hangout among vulnerable targets, it's doubtful that someone will leave a few of them there. To that end, if you intend to plug in a USB device that you discovered outside in a public area, pause to consider your decision.
WOULD IT WORK FOR ME?
Although the device is quite straightforward to use, there are a few things that could cause you trouble if you have no prior expertise writing or debugging code. For a while, during testing on a Mac, I was unable to get the Ducky to press the F4 key to activate the launchpad, but after forcing it to identify itself using an alternative Apple keyboard device ID, the problem was resolved.
From there, I was able to create a script that, when the Ducky was plugged in, would instantly run Chrome, open a new browser tab, and then immediately close it once more without requiring any action from the laptop user. Not bad for only a few hours of testing, and something that could be readily changed to perform duties other than reading technology news.
2 months ago
Here is why 90.63% of Pages Get No Traffic From Google.
The web adds millions or billions of pages per day.
How much Google traffic does this content get?
In 2017, we studied 2 million randomly-published pages to answer this question. Only 5.7% of them ranked in Google's top 10 search results within a year of being published.
94.3 percent of roughly two million pages got no Google traffic.
Two million pages is a small sample compared to the entire web. We did another study.
We analyzed over a billion pages to see how many get organic search traffic and why.
How many pages get search traffic?
90% of pages in our index get no Google traffic, and 5.2% get ten visits or less.
90% of google pages get no organic traffic
How can you join the minority that gets Google organic search traffic?
There are hundreds of SEO problems that can hurt your Google rankings. If we only consider common scenarios, there are only four.
Reason #1: No backlinks
I hate to repeat what most SEO articles say, but it's true:
Backlinks boost Google rankings.
Google's "top 3 ranking factors" include them.
Why don't we divide our studied pages by the number of referring domains?
66.31 percent of pages have no backlinks, and 26.29 percent have three or fewer.
Did you notice the trend already?
Most pages lack search traffic and backlinks.
But are these the same pages?
Let's compare monthly organic search traffic to backlinks from unique websites (referring domains):
More backlinks equals more Google organic traffic.
Referring domains and keyword rankings are correlated.
It's important to note that correlation does not imply causation, and none of these graphs prove backlinks boost Google rankings. Most SEO professionals agree that it's nearly impossible to rank on the first page without backlinks.
You'll need high-quality backlinks to rank in Google and get search traffic.
Is organic traffic possible without links?
Here are the numbers:
Four million pages get organic search traffic without backlinks. Only one in 20 pages without backlinks has traffic, which is 5% of our sample.
Most get 300 or fewer organic visits per month.
What happens if we exclude high-Domain-Rating pages?
The numbers worsen. Less than 4% of our sample (1.4 million pages) receive organic traffic. Only 320,000 get over 300 monthly organic visits, or 0.1% of our sample.
This suggests high-authority pages without backlinks are more likely to get organic traffic than low-authority pages.
Internal links likely pass PageRank to new pages.
Two other reasons:
Our crawler's blocked. Most shady SEOs block backlinks from us. This prevents competitors from seeing (and reporting) PBNs.
They choose low-competition subjects. Low-volume queries are less competitive, requiring fewer backlinks to rank.
If the idea of getting search traffic without building backlinks excites you, learn about Keyword Difficulty and how to find keywords/topics with decent traffic potential and low competition.
Reason #2: The page has no long-term traffic potential.
Some pages with many backlinks get no Google traffic.
Why? I filtered Content Explorer for pages with no organic search traffic and divided them into four buckets by linking domains.
Almost 70k pages have backlinks from over 200 domains, but no search traffic.
By manually reviewing these (and other) pages, I noticed two general trends that explain why they get no traffic:
They overdid "shady link building" and got penalized by Google;
They're not targeting a Google-searched topic.
I won't elaborate on point one because I hope you don't engage in "shady link building"
#2 is self-explanatory:
If nobody searches for what you write, you won't get search traffic.
Consider one of our blog posts' metrics:
No organic traffic despite 337 backlinks from 132 sites.
The page is about "organic traffic research," which nobody searches for.
News articles often have this. They get many links from around the web but little Google traffic.
People can't search for things they don't know about, and most don't care about old events and don't search for them.
Some news articles rank in the "Top stories" block for relevant, high-volume search queries, generating short-term organic search traffic.
The Guardian's top "Donald Trump" story:
Ahrefs caught on quickly:
"Donald Trump" gets 5.6M monthly searches, so this page got a lot of "Top stories" traffic.
I bet traffic has dropped if you check now.
One of the quickest and most effective SEO wins is:
Find your website's pages with the most referring domains;
Do keyword research to re-optimize them for relevant topics with good search traffic potential.
Bryan Harris shared this "quick SEO win" during a course interview:
He suggested using Ahrefs' Site Explorer's "Best by links" report to find your site's most-linked pages and analyzing their search traffic. This finds pages with lots of links but little organic search traffic.
The guide has 67 backlinks but no organic traffic.
We could fix this by re-optimizing the page for "SERP"
A similar guide with 26 backlinks gets 3,400 monthly organic visits, so we should easily increase our traffic.
Don't do this with all low-traffic pages with backlinks. Choose your battles wisely; some pages shouldn't be ranked.
Reason #3: Search intent isn't met
Google returns the most relevant search results.
That's why blog posts with recommendations rank highest for "best yoga mat."
Google knows that most searchers aren't buying.
It's also why this yoga mats page doesn't rank, despite having seven times more backlinks than the top 10 pages:
The page ranks for thousands of other keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. Not being the "best yoga mat" isn't a big deal.
If you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic, re-optimizing them for search intent can be a quick SEO win.
It was originally a boring landing page describing our product's benefits and offering a 7-day trial.
We realized the problem after analyzing search intent.
People wanted a free tool, not a landing page.
In September 2018, we published a free tool at the same URL. Organic traffic and rankings skyrocketed.
Reason #4: Unindexed page
Google can’t rank pages that aren’t indexed.
If you think this is the case, search Google for site:[url]. You should see at least one result; otherwise, it’s not indexed.
A rogue noindex meta tag is usually to blame. This tells search engines not to index a URL.
Rogue canonicals, redirects, and robots.txt blocks prevent indexing.
Check the "Excluded" tab in Google Search Console's "Coverage" report to see excluded pages.
Google doesn't index broken pages, even with backlinks.
In Ahrefs' Site Explorer, the Best by Links report for a popular content marketing blog shows many broken pages.
One dead page has 131 backlinks:
According to the URL, the page defined content marketing. —a keyword with a monthly search volume of 5,900 in the US.
Luckily, another page ranks for this keyword. Not a huge loss.
At least redirect the dead page's backlinks to a working page on the same topic. This may increase long-tail keyword traffic.
This post is a summary. See the original post here
1 month ago
Leaked pitch deck for Metas' new influencer-focused live-streaming service
As part of Meta's endeavor to establish an interactive live-streaming platform, the company is testing with influencers.
The NPE (new product experimentation team) has been testing Super since late 2020.
Bloomberg defined Super as a Cameo-inspired FaceTime-like gadget in 2020. The tool has evolved into a Twitch-like live streaming application.
Less than 100 creators have utilized Super: Creators can request access on Meta's website. Super isn't an Instagram, Facebook, or Meta extension.
“It’s a standalone project,” the spokesperson said about Super. “Right now, it’s web only. They have been testing it very quietly for about two years. The end goal [of NPE projects] is ultimately creating the next standalone project that could be part of the Meta family of products.” The spokesperson said the outreach this week was part of a drive to get more creators to test Super.
A 2021 pitch deck from Super reveals the inner workings of Meta.
The deck gathered feedback on possible sponsorship models, with mockups of brand deals & features. Meta reportedly paid creators $200 to $3,000 to test Super for 30 minutes.
Meta's pitch deck for Super live streaming was leaked.
What were the slides in the pitch deck for Metas Super?
Embed not supported: see full deck & article here →
View examples of Meta's pitch deck for Super:
Product Slides, first
The pitch deck begins with Super's mission:
Super is a Facebook-incubated platform which helps content creators connect with their fans digitally, and for super fans to meet and support their favorite creators. In the spirit of Late Night talk shows, we feature creators (“Superstars”), who are guests at a live, hosted conversation moderated by a Host.
This slide (and most of the deck) is text-heavy, with few icons, bullets, and illustrations to break up the content. Super's online app status (which requires no download or installation) might be used as a callout (rather than paragraph-form).
Meta's Super platform focuses on brand sponsorships and native placements, as shown in the slide above.
One of our theses is the idea that creators should benefit monetarily from their Super experiences, and we believe that offering a menu of different monetization strategies will enable the right experience for each creator. Our current focus is exploring sponsorship opportunities for creators, to better understand what types of sponsor placements will facilitate the best experience for all Super customers (viewers, creators, and advertisers).
Colorful mockups help bring Metas vision for Super to life.
2. Slide Features
Super's pitch deck focuses on the platform's features. The deck covers pre-show, pre-roll, and post-event for a Sponsored Experience.
Pre-show: active 30 minutes before the show's start
Pre-roll: Play a 15-minute commercial for the sponsor before the event (auto-plays once)
Meet and Greet: This event can have a branding, such as Meet & Greet presented by [Snickers]
Super Selfies: Makers and followers get a digital souvenir to post on social media.
Post-Event: Possibility to draw viewers' attention to sponsored content/links during the after-show
Almost every screen displays the Sponsor logo, link, and/or branded background. Viewers can watch sponsor video while waiting for the event to start.
Slide 3: Business Model
Meta's presentation for Super is incomplete without numbers. Super's first slide outlines the creator, sponsor, and Super's obligations. Super does not charge creators any fees or commissions on sponsorship earnings.
How to make a great pitch deck
We hope you can use the Super pitch deck to improve your business. Bestpitchdeck.com/super-meta is a bookmarkable link.
You can also use one of our expert-designed templates to generate a pitch deck.
Our team has helped close $100M+ in agreements and funding for premier companies and VC firms. Use our presentation templates, one-pagers, or financial models to launch your pitch.
Every pitch must be audience-specific. Our team has prepared pitch decks for various sectors and fundraising phases.
Pitch Deck Software VIP.graphics produced a popular SaaS & Software Pitch Deck based on decks that closed millions in transactions & investments for orgs of all sizes, from high-growth startups to Fortune 100 enterprises. This easy-to-customize PowerPoint template includes ready-made features and key slides for your software firm.
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M&A Pitch Deck Perfect Pitch Deck is a template for later-stage enterprises engaging more sophisticated conversations like M&A, late-stage investment (Series C+), or partnerships & funding. Our team prepared this presentation to help creators confidently pitch to investment banks, PE firms, and hedge funds (and vice versa).
Browse our growing variety of industry-specific pitch decks.
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Isobel Asher Hamilton
2 months ago
$181 million in bitcoin buried in a dump. $11 million to get them back
James Howells lost 8,000 bitcoins. He has $11 million to get them back.
His life altered when he threw out an iPhone-sized hard drive.
Howells, from the city of Newport in southern Wales, had two identical laptop hard drives squirreled away in a drawer in 2013. One was blank; the other had 8,000 bitcoins, currently worth around $181 million.
He wanted to toss out the blank one, but the drive containing the Bitcoin went to the dump.
He's determined to reclaim his 2009 stash.
Howells, 36, wants to arrange a high-tech treasure hunt for bitcoins. He can't enter the landfill.
Newport's city council has rebuffed Howells' requests to dig for his hard drive for almost a decade, stating it would be expensive and environmentally destructive.
I got an early look at his $11 million idea to search 110,000 tons of trash. He expects submitting it to the council would convince it to let him recover the hard disk.
110,000 tons of trash, 1 hard drive
Finding a hard disk among heaps of trash may seem Herculean.
Former IT worker Howells claims it's possible with human sorters, robot dogs, and an AI-powered computer taught to find hard drives on a conveyor belt.
His idea has two versions, depending on how much of the landfill he can search.
His most elaborate solution would take three years and cost $11 million to sort 100,000 metric tons of waste. Scaled-down version costs $6 million and takes 18 months.
He's created a team of eight professionals in AI-powered sorting, landfill excavation, garbage management, and data extraction, including one who recovered Columbia's black box data.
The specialists and their companies would be paid a bonus if they successfully recovered the bitcoin stash.
Howells: "We're trying to commercialize this project."
Howells claimed rubbish would be dug up by machines and sorted near the landfill.
Human pickers and a Max-AI machine would sort it. The machine resembles a scanner on a conveyor belt.
Remi Le Grand of Max-AI told us it will train AI to recognize Howells-like hard drives. A robot arm would select candidates.
Howells has added security charges to his scheme because he fears people would steal the hard drive.
He's budgeted for 24-hour CCTV cameras and two robotic "Spot" canines from Boston Dynamics that would patrol at night and look for his hard drive by day.
Howells said his crew met in May at the Celtic Manor Resort outside Newport for a pitch rehearsal.
Richard Hammond's narrative swings from banal to epic.
Richard Hammond filmed the meeting and created a YouTube documentary on Howells.
Hammond said of Howells' squad, "They're committed and believe in him and the idea."
Hammond: "It goes from banal to gigantic." "If I were in his position, I wouldn't have the strength to answer the door."
Howells said trash would be cleaned and repurposed after excavation. Reburying the rest.
"We won't pollute," he declared. "We aim to make everything better."
After the project is finished, he hopes to develop a solar or wind farm on the dump site. The council is unlikely to accept his vision soon.
A council representative told us, "Mr. Howells can't convince us of anything." "His suggestions constitute a significant ecological danger, which we can't tolerate and are forbidden by our permit."
Will the recovered hard drive work?
The "platter" is a glass or metal disc that holds the hard drive's data. Howells estimates 80% to 90% of the data will be recoverable if the platter isn't damaged.
Phil Bridge, a data-recovery expert who consulted Howells, confirmed these numbers.
If the platter is broken, Bridge adds, data recovery is unlikely.
Bridge says he was intrigued by the proposal. "It's an intriguing case," he added. Helping him get it back and proving everyone incorrect would be a great success story.
Swiss and German venture investors Hanspeter Jaberg and Karl Wendeborn told us they would fund the project if Howells received council permission.
Jaberg: "It's a needle in a haystack and a high-risk investment."
Howells said he had no contract with potential backers but had discussed the proposal in Zoom meetings. "Until Newport City Council gives me something in writing, I can't commit," he added.
Suppose he finds the bitcoins.
Howells said he would keep 30% of the data, worth $54 million, if he could retrieve it.
A third would go to the recovery team, 30% to investors, and the remainder to local purposes, including gifting £50 ($61) in bitcoin to each of Newport's 150,000 citizens.
Howells said he opted to spend extra money on "professional firms" to help convince the council.
What if the council doesn't approve?
If Howells can't win the council's support, he'll sue, claiming its actions constitute a "illegal embargo" on the hard drive. "I've avoided that path because I didn't want to cause complications," he stated. I wanted to cooperate with Newport's council.
Howells never met with the council face-to-face. He mentioned he had a 20-minute Zoom meeting in May 2021 but thought his new business strategy would help.
He met with Jessica Morden on June 24. Morden's office confirmed meeting.
After telling the council about his proposal, he can only wait. "I've never been happier," he said. This is our most professional operation, with the best employees.
The "crypto proponent" buys bitcoin every month and sells it for cash.
Howells tries not to think about what he'd do with his part of the money if the hard disk is found functional. "Otherwise, you'll go mad," he added.
This post is a summary. Read the full article here.
20 days ago
Do You Have Focus Issues? Use These 5 Simple Habits
Many can't concentrate. The first 20% of the day isn't optimized.
Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates share something:
A repeatable morning ritual saves time.
Time for hobbies.
I'll discuss 5 easy morning routines you can use.
1. Stop pressing snooze
Waking up starts the day. You disrupt your routine by hitting snooze.
One sleep becomes three. Your morning routine gets derailed.
Hide your phone. This disables snooze and wakes you up.
Once awake, staying awake is 10x easier. Simple trick, big results.
2. Drink water
Chronic dehydration is common. Mostly urban, air-conditioned workers/residents.
2% cerebral dehydration causes short-term memory loss.
Dehydration shrinks brain cells.
Drink 3-4 liters of water daily to avoid this.
3. Improve your focus
How to focus better?
Improve your mood
Enhance your memory
increase mental clarity
Reduce blood pressure and stress
Headspace helps with the habit.
Here's a meditation guide.
Shut your eyes.
Concentrate on your breathing
Breathe in through your nose
Breathe out your mouth.
5 in, 5 out.
Repeat for 1 to 20 minutes.
Here's a beginner's video:
focus and memory
15-60 minutes of fun:
Stretching and yoga
This helps you now and later.
5. Keep a journal
You have countless thoughts daily. Many quietly steal your focus.
Here’s how to clear these:
Write for 5-10 minutes.
You'll gain 2x more mental clarity.
5 morning practices for 5x more productivity:
Say no to snoozing
Improve your focus
One step starts a thousand-mile journey. Try these easy yet effective behaviors if you have trouble concentrating or have too many thoughts.
Start with one of these behaviors, then add the others. Its astonishing results are instant.
2 months ago
A month after freezing customer withdrawals, Celsius files for bankruptcy.
Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius, speaks at Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon.
Celsius Network filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a month after freezing customer withdrawals, joining other crypto casualties.
Celsius took the step to stabilize its business and restructure for all stakeholders. The filing was done in the Southern District of New York.
The company, which amassed more than $20 billion by offering 18% interest on cryptocurrency deposits, paused withdrawals and other functions in mid-June, citing "extreme market conditions."
As the Fed raises interest rates aggressively, it hurts risk sentiment and squeezes funding costs. Voyager Digital Ltd. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month, and Three Arrows Capital has called in liquidators.
Celsius called the pause "difficult but necessary." Without the halt, "the acceleration of withdrawals would have allowed certain customers to be paid in full while leaving others to wait for Celsius to harvest value from illiquid or longer-term asset deployment activities," it said.
Celsius declined to comment. CEO Alex Mashinsky said the move will strengthen the company's future.
The company wants to keep operating. It's not requesting permission to allow customer withdrawals right now; Chapter 11 will handle customer claims. The filing estimates assets and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion.
Celsius is advised by Kirkland & Ellis, Centerview Partners, and Alvarez & Marsal.
Celsius promised 18% returns on crypto loans. It lent those coins to institutional investors and participated in decentralized-finance apps.
When TerraUSD (UST) and Luna collapsed in May, Celsius pulled its funds from Terra's Anchor Protocol, which offered 20% returns on UST deposits. Recently, another large holding, staked ETH, or stETH, which is tied to Ether, became illiquid and discounted to Ether.
The lender is one of many crypto companies hurt by risky bets in the bear market. Also, Babel halted withdrawals. Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy, and crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy.
According to blockchain data and tracker Zapper, Celsius repaid all of its debt in Aave, Compound, and MakerDAO last month.
Celsius charged Symbolic Capital Partners Ltd. 2,000 Ether as collateral for a cash loan on June 13. According to company filings, Symbolic was charged 2,545.25 Ether on June 11.
In July 6 filings, it said it reshuffled its board, appointing two new members and firing others.