The Scariest Stuff Online

Computer Security (Photo credit: Don Hankins
By Carl Weiss

Want to see something really scary? Well you don't have to prowl the streets on Halloween in order to see the kind of things that give you goose bumps. All you have to do is trawl the Internet's back-channels for an hour. Once there you will discover creepy crawlies galore, including a search engine designed for and by hackers, a black hat (not cat) convention in Las Vegas, and ghost sites that will creep you out. Below is our list of the top ten scariest sites on line.

10. What Happens in Vegas

Around since 1997, the Black Hat Convention held yearly at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas is the place where hackers hang their hat. Interested in learning how to carry out cyber-spying on cellphones? No problem. Want to know what it takes to bypass traditional malware detection measures. Piece of cake. This convention is a veritable candy store where everyone from security experts to nerds looking to take down a small government come to hone their skills. After the now defunct Silk Road website the black hat convention is one of the scariest in-your-face threats to national security that is not only officially sanctioned but wildly popular. To quote the BlackHat.com site,

Courtesy of  blackhat.com
Black Hat USA is the show that sets the benchmark for all other security conferences. As Black Hat returns for its 16th year to Las Vegas, we bring together the brightest in the world for six days of learning, networking, and skill building. Join us for four intense days of Training and two jam-packed filled days of Briefings.”

9. Don’t Want to Wait for the Movie?

Then read the book, Hacking for Dummies, now in its 4th edition. Why travel to Vegas when everything you need to start hacking can be found online? This book is designed to show you the ins and outs of what it takes to get started as a hacker.
As an information security professional, your toolkit is the most critical item you can possess — other than hands-on experience and common sense. Your hacking tools should consist of the following (and make sure you're never on the job without them):
Courtesy of  amazon.com/Hacking-For-Dummies

  • Password cracking software, such as ophcrack and Proactive Password Auditor
  • Network scanning software, such as Nmap and NetScanTools Pro
  • Network vulnerability scanning software, such as GFI LanGuard and QualysGuard
  • Network analyzer software, such as Cain & Abel and OmniPeek
  • Wireless network analyzer and software, such as Aircrack-ng and CommView for WiFi
  • File search software, such as FileLocator Pro and Identity Finder
  • Web application vulnerability scanning software, such as Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner and WebInspect
  • Database security scanning software, such as SQLPing3 and AppDetectivePro
  • Exploit software, such as Metasploit
8. Want to Know How the World Will End?
Just in case the specter of cyber terrorism doesn’t put the fear of God into you there’s a website called Exit Mundi, that catalogs dozens of ways in which the world as we know it could meet its end.  Everything from asteroid strikes to gamma ray bursts, to nuclear terrorism, to a drug that would render the human population certifiably insane (too late) is described in detail on this site.  So if there isn’t enough stress in your daily grind, here’s the place to help you ring the bell the next time you get your blood pressure tested.

7. Like Alien Abduction Sites
Alien Abduction
Alien Abduction (Photo credit: Eric Leslie)
As if we don’t have enough problems on Earth, there are sites that show you how to deal with threats from beyond the solar system.  We’re talking alien abduction here and there are a number of websites devoted to this phenomenon.  Googling “Alien Abduction Sites,” returned 7,580,000 results.  So despite government denials, this is a hot topic.  Scanning the first few pages of the results I noted everything from a wiki where you could share your abduction recollections(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_abduction) to the 
International Center for Abduction Research, http://www.ufoabduction.com/ which offers information that offers "Straight Talk About UFO Abductions" 
If the threat of being abducted by aliens causes you to lose sleep at night, fear not, because there is a website called http://www.stopabductions.com/ that shows you how to make a “Thought Screen Helmet,” designed to foil those insidious intergalactic interlopers.
6. Ghost Sites
Wikipedia defines a ghost site as “A Web site that remains live but is no longer updated or maintained or only done so very infrequently.”  However, if you Google the term you will find tons of sites more inclined to Ghost Busters than webmasters.  Included is everything from http://topparanormalsites.com/ that lists everything from ghost hunter sites to occult and paranormal investigation sites.  There was also listed on the first page of the search a spooky website that hit close to home, literally.  JAXHistory.com listed a number of spooky things such as UFOs over Jacksonville to something called the Florida Skunk Ape, which is purportedly “The Southernmost Bigfoot in the USA.”

5. The 20 Scariest Street View Sightings
Mashable collected the 20 scariest sightings posted on Google’s Street View that includes everything from what looks to be the climactic scene from the Alfred Hitchcock blockbuster “The Birds,” to a bizarre group of Japanese citizens who were spotted as they walked down the street sporting pigeon heads. (Don’t ask.) https://www.google.com/#q=scary+sites+on+google+maps

4. Seeing is Believing
If you think that Google Street View has cornered the market on weird things that happen every day you’re wrong. There are literally millions of websites and videos that show everyone just how weird the world really is. One site called http://www.abovetopsecret.com is a collection point for bizarre-but-true stories that get little attention from the media. A recent headline includes, “Melting Starfish and Odd Orca Behavior in the Pacific Ocean,” that quotes a Seattle biologist that describes some of the bizarre changes in the sea life in the area that alludes to the fact that since the Fukushima Reactor meltdown in 2012 that the environmental impact to the Pacific Ocean has been nothing short of catastrophic. The blog also states that, “There are other reports of seals with what appears to be radiation burns on their skin and Polar Bears showing signs of large hair loss.”

Conspiracy Theory Overlap Diagram (Photo credit: Vince_Lamb)
3. Conspiracy Theory Sites

Of course, conspiracy theory sites thrive online. This can make it tough to weed out the chaff from the wheat. For every site that purportedly sheds light on some facet of society that could turn around and bite us, such as the recent revelation that the NSA has been spying on the phone calls, internet searches  and financial transactions of millions of American citizens, there are also sites that purport that the top 3 conspiracy websites crashed at the same time that the government shutdown took place, thus proving that they are owned and operated by either the CIA or the NSA. Love them or laugh at them, there are conspiracy theory sites that claim to prove or disprove everything from government mind control to the New World Order. So if you want to go there, here are a few hot tips. But I’ll deny I sent you this if questioned by the authorities.

2.  Cooking Show Gone Bad
The Halloween episode of Man CaveMunchies purports to show viewers how to prepare “a dish that’s so easy it’s scary.”  However the intro to the show depicts the host as a meat cleaver wielding ghoul that could put you right off your diet. Check it out if you dare. 

You think that a meat cleaver wielding zombie chef is scary?  This is nothing when compared to a site that has put the fear of God into hundreds of millions of citizens of the USA.  This government owned and operated site starts off with the innocuous motto, “Find Health Care Coverage that Works for You.”  Then it stubbornly refuses to let the majority of people sign up, much less find coverage of any kind.  Worse yet, for those who either refuse to sign up or just plain can’t sing up, there is the threat of a stiff monetary penalty.  While the press refers to this system as Obamacare, I think a more appropriate term would be "ObamaScare."

In this article I discussed an eclectic variety of scary subject found on the internet. I have covered the gamut from cyber security to critical government website that just don't work (plus they cost us hundreds of millions of dollars). This article contains all manner of creepy, scary and treating topics take the reader on a very wild ride. If you liked this article, pass it along to your friends. If you have, a comment or other ideas leave them in the comment section. If you want to contact me, my contact information is listed below.
If you like this article, you can find more by typing “scary” in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below. If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.

Birth of the Bionic Man


Lee Majors
Cover of Lee Majors

By Carl Weiss

“Astronaut Steve Austin, a man barely alive.  But we can rebuild him.  We have the technology.”

Or so the story goes in the TV series starring Lee Majors that ran from 1974-1978.  The stuff of fiction in the 20th century, during the past few years many of the innovations portrayed in the original series have gone from science fiction to science fact.  There are now such things as prosthetic arms and hands with tactile
sense, rudimentary bionic eyes that help the blind see, and cochlear implants that help the deaf hear.  While we don’t yet have the ability to equip amputees with fully functional legs that can go from zero to sixty in five seconds, we can offer robotic exoskeletons that can help paraplegics regain the ability to walk on their own.  Plus there are other man/machine concepts that are either in the prototype phase or on the drawing board that can amp up the capabilities of us mere mortals.  In this week’s blog, we will take a look at these technologies, as well as the ramifications of enhanced human beings who will soon make Colonel Austin seem as antiquated as much of the technology of the 1970s.

Hummingbird is Nothing to Hum About!


Black-chinned Hummingbird -- Moab, Utah, USA
Black-chinned Hummingbird -- Moab, Utah, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may have heard that Google recently released its latest algorithm update named Hummingbird.  This new algorithm hasn’t brought any smiles to advertisers faces. I haven’t seen anyone singing (or humming) Google’s praises since they announced the change. What I find interesting is that Google always seems to name its updates after cute little animals like pandas, penguins and now a hummingbird.  Meanwhile their effect on many websites is more like being attacked by lions and tigers.  That being said, what I have brought you today is a cold, hard look at when, why and how search engines of all kinds insist on playing games with all website owners and what you can do to keep ahead of changes that can leave you in the darkest regions of cyberspace.

How Did it All Start?


Having worked the web professionally since 1995, I have seen a lot of changes over the past 18 years.  Back in the beginning, all you needed to get on page one of any search engine was a website.  This was in the days before blogs and social networks, before online video too, since there wasn't enough bandwidth to stream video.  Search engine algorithms were pretty simple back then too.  In fact one of the easiest ways to get on page one in the 90’s was to research sites already on page one, since their code could be dissected and bested.  In fact, this is one of the reasons that virtually
Courtesy of www.uslanmam.com

every search engine was forced to start changing their algorithms on a regular basis.  You see it wasn't long before everybody started to realize that you could beat the other site owners by stuffing more of the keywords you were after onto the page.  The crowd also realized that while the sentence, “online casino, online casino, online casino, online casino, online casino,” might get your site to the top of the heap, it wasn’t going to please most readers.  This is when sharp operators started making these stuffed sentences the same color as the background, which meant that only the search engine spiders could read them.

Of course, so could the webmasters of the search engines.  So they decided to up the ante by having owners begin soliciting backlinks, figuring that this was one way of showing the popularity of a website.  Within six months of this edict, entrepreneurs started spawning backlink farms where any site owner could acquire hundreds or even thousands of backlinks overnight.  This rankled the powers that be at the search engines since their spiders were not yet intelligent enough
AltaVista
AltaVista (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
to detect farmed backlinks from the real McCoy.  However, in the tit for tat world of search engine operators, it wasn't long before the spiders became ever more sophisticated. 

Bear in mind that before Google came onto the scene there were dozens of search engines that could provide viable traffic to business owners.  Even though there were a number of well entrenched operators, no one yet held anything like a monopoly.  What this meant is that if your site didn’t fare well on one search engine, you could always move your operation to another, many of which could be cracked in 24 hours.  Once the 800 lb gorilla in the room called Google went public, the game was changed and not for the better.
English: a chart to describe the search engine...
English: a chart to describe the search engine market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Top Search Engine Shares in 1999
AltaVista: 15.5%
HotBot: 11.3%
MSN Search: 8.5%
Infoseek: 8.0% Google: 7.8%
Yahoo: 7.4%

Excite: 5.6%
Lycos: 2.5%

Google Gains Dominance


On August 19, 2004 Google went public.  By July of 2005, its market share had grown to 30.5 percent of search.  A year after that, it control raised to 41.4 percent of search.  By 2010 Google controlled 71 percent of search, Yahoo controlled less than 15 percent and Bing came in third
Google Chrome
Google Chrome (Photo credit: thms.nl)
with 9.3 percent.  What this meant to site owners was that they were now forced to answer the question, “What do you feed an 800 lb gorilla?  Anything it wants.”

How to Make Google Happy?

What Google wants today is content and lots of it.  Today it isn't enough to have links to your blogs, videos and social sites on your homepage.  Now you are actually expected to feed them regularly.

In a blog entitled, “What Hummingbird Means for Small Business SEO,” searchenginewatch.com posted:
Websites can't grow their entrance pages without introducing new content regularly. While hard to believe, there are many webmasters who don't update their websites, have no blog, and refuse any assistance.  While introducing new pages of helpful, high-quality content is a great start, Webmasters and small business owners need to be very creative to be noticed.
·         Newsjack hot stories in their areas of expertise.
·         Create infographics.
·         Make videos to post on YouTube.
·         Utilize staff to promote in social media.”


Hummingbird was a Sneak Attack Algorithm Update

Worst of all for many website owners was the fact that Hummingbird was launched as a kind of sneak attack, with Google dropping the bomb without warning taking many website owners by surprise. Newswire.net reported that,

“In the past, Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have struck fear in the hearts of SEOs as they watched their clients’ rankings plummet. While Panda and Penguin affected 1% or 2% and still caused panic, this new update is reported to affect the majority of search results and no one noticed until the announcement was made a month later.  The last Google update that replaced this much of the search engine was in 2010 with the ‘Caffeine’ update. Caffeine introduced the ‘live search’ and keyword suggestion tools, and many people seem to have forgotten the huge emphasis that it placed on social signals. This new update is possibly even more dramatic since it appears Google now understands the intentions of the words carried in these social signals.” http://www.newswire.net/newsroom/pr/00077509-google-hummingbird-favors-human-speech.html

In the last two years, my partner and I have written no less than 20 articles covering the constant changes that Google and other search engines keep initiating. We often see the devastated looks on prospects faces when they tell us they are nowhere to be found in Google search. What is amazing to me is that our strategy of providing Google what it asks for just works! Our strategy of providing lots of relevant, timely and quality content, delivered through multiple multimedia, from many different sites, all back linked to your desired target always gets the job done.  Having said that I want to provide you a list of our articles that explain what we do so that you too can benefit from using our strategy.

Here's the List


What it boils down to is that Google is only going to give high ranking to websites that provide a complete multi-media experience to visitors.  This means the age of “set it and forget it” websites is at an end. Using trickery to garner a high position is no longer going to be possible.  It also means that what was traditionally considered to be SEO-friendly will become as obsolete as many of the search engines that used to rule cyberspace.  (AltaVista, the titan of the search engine world back in 1999 went dark for good in 2010 after seeing its share of the market reduced to two tenths of one percent.)

So if you don’t want to wind up relegated to the bone heap online, you need to create a corporate culture that is designed to feed a world wide web that is hungry for content, before Google’s next cute critter decides to take a bite out of your web presence. If you found this article useful, please pass it on to your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment, please place it in the comment section below.   I hope you have found useful information in this article. If so use it.  Until next time. Keep Working the Web to Win!

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.




Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.



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