Monday, June 8, 2015

Fake ATM Skimmers

While I usually write about tech based or open sourced based material here, I felt this had to be covered. (I guess they are kind of tech based...??)

I didn't even know these things existed before yesterday. Shows you how naive a person can be.

And I consider myself pretty hip to most of this stuff. I am forever checking my security before I do anything banking or sensitive wise.

Instead of recreating the wheel, I am going to talk about three articles here that I think cover all of the points I would have.

These three articles are:

PCMag's: How to Spot and Avoid Credit Card Skimmers,2817,2469560,00.asp

Consumerist's: Here's What A Card Skimmer Looks Like On An ATM


Krebs on Security's: Spike in Malware Attacks on Aging ATMs

Why these three articles?

The PCMag article is very clean and tidy. It almost sensationalizes the whole affair, but PCMag did include some very, very good info. Mostly step by step actions you can take at the ATM to make sure you are not being scammed.

Consumerist shows a much dirtier, grittier truth to it all. You get to see the guts of the ATM skimmers in their wonderful article.

And Krebs on Security shows the latest in nasty behavior from these people, including a ATM lookalike shell that fits over a real ATM! Also they cover people actually hacking the ATM, and changing the software!

I want the world to know about these people so you won't be too-ken in by these crooks. Please though, if you see one, leave it be and call the cops. These people watch their equipment and will attack you.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Meet Qwant, and interesting new search engine

While looking for something unique and new to monk with, I found Qwant. (

The first thing I liked about it is that like, Qwant doesn't track you or put you in a filter bubble.

I also like that upon searching for something you get a 3 pane window, in column form.

In the first pane is a regular Google or DuckDuckGo web relevance type search.

In the second pane is any news that may be relevant to your search.

And the third pane covers social conversations that may be relevant.

Here is a screenshot of the info gathered in this three pane setup. I used the rather uninteresting search term of shoes, but you get the point. (Yes I am a white male from the middle of Wisconsin, for me shoes are uninteresting.)

Media type search results such as images and videos have a banner on the top of the three pane search area.

Here is what the Qwant team has to say about their software:

"Qwant was launched in France in February 2013 after two years of research and development. The European search engine continues to grow, innovate and the entire Qwant team is proud to present its new "Beta" version which includes:

A modern and clutter-free design
Ergonomically designed while keeping user experience in mind
New in-depth search functions
An interface adapted to mobile and tablet" -

Qwant has a strange mixture of DuckDuckGo privacy sensibilities, Google search feel, and covers all the relevant fields of today's modern internet in one view.

Here is what the Qwant team has to say about their privacy philosophy:

"What is a cookie?

Cookies are the information stored by your browser, such as your session ID or your preferences.
Qwant's philosophy is based on two principles: no user tracking and no filter bubble.
We make every effort to respect the privacy of our online visitors while providing a safe environment and relevant results.

What is tracking?

Tracking is used to create a user profile, most often for commercial purposes. There are different methods of doing this, including what we call cookies. Advertising networks and other organizations seeking publicity want to collect as much user information as possible in order to provide them with targeted advertisements.

Rest assured, there's no advertising on Qwant, and we don't use those types of cookies!" -

Check it out if you have the notion.