Phys.org: Terahertz spectroscopy—the new tool to detect art fraud. “When we look at a painting, how do we know it’s a genuine piece of art? Everything we see with the unaided eye in a painting – from the Australian outback images of Albert Namatjira or Russell Drysdale, to the vibrant works of Pro Hart – is thanks to the mix of colours that form part of the visible spectrum. But if we look at the painting in a different way, at a part of the spectrum that is invisible to our eyes, then we can see something very different. As our recently published research shows, it could even help us detect art fraud.”
FTC: FTC and Federal, State and International Partners Announce Major Crackdown on Tech Support Scams. “The Federal Trade Commission, along with federal, state and international law enforcement partners, today announced ‘Operation Tech Trap,’ a nationwide and international crackdown on tech support scams that trick consumers into believing their computers are infected with viruses and malware, and then charge them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs. As part of this coordinated effort, the FTC and its partners are announcing 16 new actions, including complaints, settlements, indictments, and guilty pleas, against deceptive tech support operations. This brings to 29 the number of law enforcement actions brought by Operation Tech Trap partners in the last year to stop tech support scams.”
TechCrunch: Facebook downranks News Feed links to crappy sites smothered in ads. “Facebook will bury links to low-quality websites and refuse to carry ads pointing to them in a News Feed algorithm change announced today. Facebook defines a ‘low-quality site’ as one ‘containing little substantive content, and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads.’ This includes hosting pop-up and interstitial ads, adult ads or eye-catching but disgusting ads for products that fight fat or foot fungus.”
Fortune: Exclusive: Facebook and Google Were Victims of $100M Payment Scam. “When the Justice Department announced the arrest last month of a man who allegedly swindled more than $100 million from two U.S. tech giants, the news came wrapped in a mystery. The agency didn’t say who was robbed, and nor did it identify the Asian supplier the crook impersonated to pull off the scheme. The mystery is now unraveled. A Fortune investigation, which involved interviews with sources close to law enforcement and other figures, has unearthed the identities of the three unnamed companies plus other details of the case.”
Artnet News: Company Launches Tool for Weeding Out Fake Artworks Sold on the Dark Web. “As online sales grow, so too do the chances of being conned. But fraudsters beware: a new tool launched by the Washington, DC-based consultancy Art Fraud Insights has been developed to spot fake artworks sold on the dark web, as well as identify those behind the spurious transactions.”
TorrentFreak: Spammers Populate Google Maps With Pirate Links. “Spammers are using Google Maps to promote pirated content. Thousands of links to pirate sites have appeared on the platform in recent months. Copyright holders are not happy with this unintended use and are targeting the pages with various takedown notices. Whether Google Maps search results will be downranked is doubtful though.”
Bloomberg Quint: Google Rewrites Its Powerful Search Rankings to Bury Fake News. “Google isn’t planning to rid fake news from its search results — but it’s trying to purge it from the top. The Alphabet Inc. company is making a rare, sweeping change to the algorithm behind its powerful search engine to demote misleading, false and offensive articles online. Google is also setting new rules encouraging its “raters” — the 10,000-plus staff that assess search results — to flag web pages that host hoaxes, conspiracy theories and what the company calls ‘low-quality’ content.” I hope they’re better at filtering this stuff than Facebook’s ads team.