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Fact vs Fiction: Facebook Friend Request Is A Hacker
Posted by Meredith Bardsley on 12 August 2019 11:19 am

We’ve all seen them, in fact I saw one yesterday. !!!!!! Do not accept friend request from XXXXXX XXXXX she’s a hacker!!!!! But is it true? What will really happen if you accept a friend request from someone you don’t know? They will have access to your personal information (which you shouldn’t allow anyway), but if someone tells you a Facebook friend request is a hacker, does thaty really mean they will hack your computer and all of your Facebook friends’ computers? Let’s find out.

Facebook Friend Request is a Hacker

What’s mentioned above is actually a hoax and it has been running around Facebook for quite a bit of time. And while it is true that there are people out there copying profile images and names, posing as an individual, in effect creating a duplicate account, going through and requesting all of your friends again, they aren’t hackers.

Snopes provides several examples of what this hoax look like below:

  • Do not {read / open / respond to / join}
  • an {e-mail / text message / friend request / }
  • Sent by {real name / e-mail address / screen name}!
  • If you do, {you / your computer / your Facebook account / everyone on your contact list / your children}
  • Will be in danger of falling victim to a {serial killer / computer virus / hacker / predator}.


These messages are circulated around and around with names swapped out randomly. And with names you would know, making you more likely to believe the hoax.

One of the most widely used hoaxes is to not accept friend requests from hackers named Christopher XXXXXX and Jessica XXXXX or they will somehow figure out your computer’s ID and address.

If you open a message that contains a link, NEVER click on it. This goes for anything, a message, an email message, even if it isn’t coming from a hoax like this. Always go to the source. Links can contain a virus which can infect your computer, and can gain access to bank accounts and so much more.

There was another hoax involving all the major internet email players like Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo and others. Microsoft and Norton sent users an email warning them they might receive an email titled “Mail Server Report”. Advising them that when they opened it, they would get a disturbing message stating that “It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful.” Users would lose everything in their computer. They were asked to pass it on immediately.

Subsequently there were different variations of this in Italy, West Africa, and again in the United States.

The bottom line is that this will continue, these are hoaxes, they’re scare tactics. Don’t spread the fire. Don’t open anything suspicious, and especially, don’t click on any links!

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Why Flash is Bad for Business Websites
Posted by Didier Bizimungu on 09 August 2019 08:48 am

adobe is badAdobe Flash had a great run. It was the most popular way to insert animations, games, videos, and other rich features into a website for a significant part of the Internet’s existence. For a substantial amount of time, it was the only option website creators had to create a dynamic, visually pleasing website. However, that time has passed. Adobe Flash is bad for not only websites but business. So what brought us here? What are the causes of Flash’s fall from grace? Webtivity Marketing & Design will delve into the myriad of reasons why Flash is bad for business.

Adobe Flash’s Background

The now deprecated Adobe Flash produced rich media internet applications such as mobile games, mobile applications, animations, audio, and even video applications. The main difference between Flash and its predecessors was the ability of the user to interact with the animations. Website visitors could click, type, and manipulate the Flash window creating an amalgam of results that drew users into the website. That level of interactivity was previously unknown to the World Wide Web that led it to be one of the most popular applications to include in a website.

Why Flash is Bad for Business

Flash has been on the decline for years now. Alternatives such as HTML5, WebGL, and Web Assembly have been the go-to methods for animating content for going on a decade now. Major browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer have not been loading Flash applications automatically for years! It is known for causing an innumerable amount of security flaws that place users at risk of being taken advantage of by unscrupulous websites. Search engines now penalize you for having flash applications, mobile devices can now barely load it, and most mobile devices have done away with it completely. Flash is now outdated to the point where Google Chrome will now no longer load it starting in 2020 regardless of user preference.

Flash is Bad for Business, But Now What?

It’s time to update your website if you still have Flash applications on it. You are losing rankings against your competitors in search engines by the minute. You’re losing business from users who visit your website and run into the error you see below. Would you do business with a business whose website presents you that error? Most importantly, are you going to go through all of those actions just to see the rest of the website?








The Bad Flash Solution

An updated website does NOT have to break the bank. Thanks to Webtivity’s revamped website design packages, you can now have the best of both worlds: a brand new website, at an affordable price.

Reach out to Tim at (941) 753-7574 or send us a quick message for a swift rundown of your options.

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Do I Need an SSL Certificate for My Website?
Posted by Didier Bizimungu on 06 April 2017 09:09 am

Webtivity Designs recommends that ALL webmasters or site owners upgrade their websites with an SSL certificate.

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology.

SSL CertificateSSL is essential for protecting your website, even if it doesn’t handle sensitive information like credit cards. It provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your websites and your users’ personal information.

This increased protection has not gone unnoticed by search engines. Starting in 2015 Google has slowly but surely increased the importance of having an SSL certificate to its search rankings. We fully expect the rest of the big three, Yahoo and Bing, to follow Google’s lead.

This is outlined on the Google Webmaster Blog.

This is a rare but incredible break in normal Google practices of never commenting on search ranking factors. They did not stop there with their pursuit of a more secure user experience. Recently the Google Chrome browser began showing a “Not Secure” warning on any webpage without an SSL that collects user data.

Where can you get an SSL Certificate? Webtivity currently offers SSL Certificates as well as installation and maintenance for a nominal fee. Certificates must be renewed every year to remain valid. We can provide a free estimate on the cost of the whole process.

If you do not go through us GoDaddy also offers SSL Certificates. Please note however that they do not offer installation or renewal services, just a certificate.

https webtivityA key requirement of an SSL Certificate is a dedicated IP. This means a website has its own IP address. Typing in the URL of the website or its IP address would bring you to the same website. This has the added benefit of speeding up the loading time of your website further positively influencing SEO rankings.

Webtivity is here to guide you through this process regardless of which provider you use. We highly recommend that ALL of our clients upgrade their websites to this security level. This goes double for current SEO clients.

Please feel free to send any questions or concerns our way via email or phone call at: (941) 753-7574

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The Snapchat Discussion We Should Be Having
Posted by Troy Newport on 21 October 2014 11:11 am

Since “The Snappening” happened last week and tens of thousands of photos and videos leaked onto the internet several people have asked my opinion about it.  During conversations some have said things like, “Don’t take naked pictures of yourself and send them to people if you don’t want them going public!”  Others have exclaimed, “We entrust these companies with our stuff, they should be sued out of existence when this happens!”  No matter which side of the issue you come down on there are larger discussions we should be having about technology and the perceived safety of our information.

Your Information Is Not Safe
Before going any further, understand this truth: Your information is never completely safe once it hits the internet.  Emails, banking information, credit card information, healthcare information, family photos, nude photos.  None of it.  Hopefully that isn’t a revelation?  Any information you send or share over the internet has a chance of being seen by someone you didn’t intend to see it.  Sometimes things you don’t think are being stored are being saved by web browsers, search engines, Internet Service Providers, mobile devices, and the applications you use.

Corporate and Industry Responsibility
not responsibleSomehow it seems the public forgets that technology is subject to all the same human paradigms as any other product or service we use.  There are people who develop apps who make mistakes.  People maintaining hosting infrastructure who simply aren’t very good at their job.  People responsible for penetration testing who are distracted because of strained relationships with their significant others.  People who work as Chief Technology Officers at major corporations who are lazy.  Corporate decision-makers who determine it’s “cheaper” to keep older, vulnerable technical infrastructure rather than invest in newer and better technologies.  People in other positions of importance who do wrong on purpose for whatever reason.  Unfortunately on top of all these possible failure points are arguments and power struggles in our industry over best practice standards.  Also factor in that newer technologies are often adopted in their infancy without significant testing.   And in the midst of all that criminals are waiting for the perfect storm of human conditions to come together and provide a golden opportunity to score big. 

Who knows how many of the possible failure points listed above contributed to The Snappening, the Target breach, Home Depot breach, Dairy Queen breach, Jimmy Johns breach…  but hackers have been sending a crystal clear message there are gaping holes in our systems.  So what steps are we taking to put better systems in place?  To insure better quality control?  To test newer technologies before introducing them to the mainstream ecosystem?  We know that costs money.  Are companies willing to make the investments?  Are consumers willing to bear some of that cost that will inevitably trickle down to us?  Only if consumers get concerned, involved and demand it will meaningful change happen.  We could hope that Washington would get their shit together and begin passing meaningful legislation in this area, but the unfortunate truth is that our federal government is typically years behind the technology curve, and of course highly susceptible to lobbying efforts.

Education and Personal Responsibility
It’s not in my place to make moral judgements here about people sending naked pictures of themselves, and that’s not the purpose of this article.  I do however believe just as it is an app developer’s responsibility to use best practices, thoroughly test their products, and clearly communicate best practice security measures to their users (not bury them in the T’s and C’s), it is also the responsibility of users to become educated and responsible technology consumers.  Most people should be aware by now you should have anti-virus software installed on your devices, and you should use strong passwords.  But yet there are so many people out there who don’t!  If you don’t use anti-virus and you’re still using passwords like “password”, then I have a hard time feeling sorry for you if someone breaks into your computer or cloud storage account and steals your stuff.  For the cost of a week’s worth of latte’s at your favorite coffee shop you can have a trusted anti-virus program on your computer.  For a fraction of that you can also buy a password keeper program to help you generate and store secure passwords for every website you use.  These programs are crucial to practicing safe surfing habits online, and they are not expensive.  What you decide to send and share from there is up to you, just understand the risks involved.

Risk Versus Reward
No matter how many best practices you and the services you use follow, there are still failure points in all the technologies we use.  As with anything else in our lives we need to weigh the risks versus the rewards, do our best to educate ourselves, try not to make bad decisions, and then hold on tight!  In my opinion the benefits of the internet and technology far outweigh the risks when developed and used responsibly by all parties involved.  Unfortunately right now WWW is still the Wild Wild West, and it’s going to keep getting uglier until everyone involved commits to a safer, more secure web.  How we achieve that is the real discussion we should be having.


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World’s Worst Passwords
Posted by Troy Newport on 05 February 2014 06:03 am

At the beginning of the year, Mashable released a list of the worst passwords in 2013.  The big news is that the password “password” has finally been dethroned. The usurper to # 1 Worst Password was “123456” which is arguably a somewhat lateral move.

Password security is a topic we’ve discussed before, but the following are some dos and don’ts regarding the password security:password


  • Create unique passwords that use numbers, symbols (*&!$%), upper-and-lower-case letters
  • Make your password 8 – 10 characters long, the longer the better
  • Try using PasswordSafe ( or other similar software to store your passwords on your computer.
  • Change your password every 3 months
  • Change your password after a security breach
  • Make your password easy to type (this makes it harder for someone looking over your shoulder to steal it!)


  • Use your birth date, social security number or phone number
  • Use the same password for multiple web sites | especially not your email password
  • Store your passwords on your computer
  • Choose your username as your password
  • Use all letters or all numbers
  • Use sample passwords

The following is the list of the 25 worst passwords of 2013. If yours is on here, you should probably change it. IMMEDIATELY.
1. 123456
2. password
3. 12345678
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. 123456789
7. 111111
8. 1234567
9. iloveyou
10. adobe123
11. 123123
12. admin
13. 1234567890
14. letmein
15. photoshop
16. 1234
17. monkey
18. shadow
19. sunshine
20. 12345
21. password1
22. princess
23. azerty
24. trustno1
25. 000000

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What To Do If Your Email Account Gets Hacked
Posted by Troy Newport on 09 January 2014 07:36 am

I’m sure it’s happened to many of you.  Your friend calls and says, “Hey did you mean to send me that strange email?” 

“What strange email?” you inquire.

“The one with the link to a weird website,” your friend replies.

It’s at about that time you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you realize your email was hacked.  So what should you do if your email gets hacked?  Here are just a few of the things you need to do:

1) Evaluate how much damage could be done
If this was a trash email account that you barely use and don’t have any sensitive information sent to, then the impact could be nominal.  UNLESS you use the same password on other accounts!   If that is the case (Tisk Tisk!), then assume all those other accounts have been compromised as well and start changing passwords.   If you fear sensitive accounts could have been compromised (such as your online banking account) you should immediately contact those institutions and think about putting some credit monitoring in place.

2) Run your anti-virus
This has become trickier as we continue to increase the number of devices we have in our lives.  We have a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone… and don’t forget the computers at work where you’ve accessed your email.   If you don’t have anti-virus on every single one of your devices now is the time to get them protected.  It’s possible one of your devices was compromised by malware, and if you change your email password the bad guys will have your new password.  If you’re using a “free” anti-virus program it probably isn’t protecting you as much as you need.  Anti-virus is a very small investment to protect some of the most important aspects of your life.  If you’re not comfortable with your ability to install anti-virus or run a thorough scan, take your computer to a computer store and have them give you a hand.

3) Change your password
As mentioned above, if you have malware on your computer and don’t remove it before changing your password the hackers could obtain the new password.  Once you are sure all potentially infected devices are free of malware and are properly protected, change your password to something secure and isn’t used anywhere else.  (If you want more advice on creating strong passwords and using password managers refer to a previous blog post.)

4) Check your email settings
Sometimes hackers will setup automatic forwards in your account, or will add a signature to your email.  Comb through your email settings and make sure everything is set the way you left it. 

5) Tell your friends
Your friends will be unwilling beneficiaries of your hacked account because they will start receiving emails that contain links to websites they don’t want to visit.  If they click the links it’s possible they will be taken to a website that contains malware and they may get a case of the nasties on their computer as well.

At this point all you can do is monitor your online accounts and your credit and keep your fingers crossed that the issue has been taken care of.   Now is also the time to be more diligent about your online practices.   If you’re the type of person who responds to spam emails that are sent to you about winning the lotto in some foreign country, click links in emails and/or open attachments from people you don’t know, and send your social security and credit card information to people in email, then be ready to continue to have problems co-existing with the web. 

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