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Microsoft Researchers Slash Skype Fraud By 68%

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the fraudsters-respond-with-fraud-bots dept.

AI 114

mask.of.sanity writes "Life could become more difficult for fraudsters on Skype thanks to new research by Microsoft boffins that promises to cut down on fake accounts across the platform. The research (PDF) combined information from diverse sources including a user's profile, activities, and social connections into a supervised machine learning environment that could automate the presently manual tasks of fraud detection. The results show the framework boosted fraud detection rates for particular account types by 68 per cent with a 5 per cent false positive rate."

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Lovely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020005)

So, I don't use ANY so called "social networks". I often create new email accounts. I wonder if that means that I'm suddenly considered a fraudster just because I don't like to be tracked and logged everywhere.

Re:Lovely (-1, Flamebait)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#46020031)

You're a minority. No one cares about you.

Re:Lovely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020677)

You're part of the mass herd. Noone doubts your gullibility. You're already bought so in fact its you noone cares about. You're consolidated.

Re:Lovely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021483)

No one cares about you.

The NSA does, and they've been helping Microsoft researchers slash Skype fraud By 68%, just to keep "social networks" safe for the OP.

Re:Lovely (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 months ago | (#46025123)

Maybe so...but the 'smart' minority, and hopefully, after all the NSA scandal, and news about how corporations are vacuuming up personal info, and sometimes losing it (Target), perhaps more people are more inclined to start being a little more anonymous.

And wow...I didn't know you were required on Skype to give real, honest, personally identifying information?!?! My account is under a pseudonym under a throw away email account...

Sure it is traceable, but not readily without some decent effort.

Re:Lovely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020043)

Solutions:

1) Go through a proxy to create and use a Skype account using a pseudonym. Keep that account instead of making a million temporary ones.

2) Use a different service, such as Bittorrent Chat.

Re:Lovely (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020273)

Eventually you will graduate from college and grow up.

Re:Lovely (1)

allaunjsiIverfox2 (3506701) | about 6 months ago | (#46020353)

Just hit 46. Guess I still haven't grown up.

Re:Lovely (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46020453)

Don't fall for it. Growing up is a Pyrrhic Victory.

Re:Lovely (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 6 months ago | (#46020567)

Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young.

Re:Lovely (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about 6 months ago | (#46020305)

Don't kid yourself.
Just because you post AC and switch email accounts often doesn't mean they aren't tracking you. If anything actively trying to avoid being tracked probably draws more attention.

Re:Lovely (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 6 months ago | (#46021143)

It's the people who deliberately make it seem that they are not avoiding tracking in order to cover that they're avoiding tracking that are the ones to watch for.

Re:Lovely (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 6 months ago | (#46020599)

Me neither.

Here's my take. Microsoft got some data back from the NSA and are
now busy doing some parallel contruction to a) make that data operational
and b) make the operationalization optimal (effective use, good PR, etc.).

Microsoft fart creates 100% genuine fart (1, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 6 months ago | (#46020009)

toad burp float peel

Re:Microsoft fart creates 100% genuine fart (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46022029)

Your father has a very loose anus. Feces is constantly just sliding right out of it against his will. My huge penis being inside of him for hours at a time is probably not helping.

Arms Race Tips Toward Skype (2)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 6 months ago | (#46020021)

So the arms race may be tilted in favor of Skype for now, but in 6 months we'll have an article "Fake profiles up 200% on Skype".

Re:Arms Race Tips Toward Skype (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020057)

Not if the boffins have anything to say about it. Don't mess with the muthafukin boffins yo!

Re:Arms Race Tips Toward Skype (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020143)

absolutely not. 5% false positive is terrible, and will create a lot of negative feelings for the platform.
imagine a teacher trying to use skype with a class of 20 or more. it would be very rare if someone
didn't get falsely flagged as a bot.

Re:Arms Race Tips Toward Skype (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 6 months ago | (#46020761)

absolutely not. 5% false positive is terrible, and will create a lot of negative feelings for the platform.
imagine a teacher trying to use skype with a class of 20 or more. it would be very rare if someone
didn't get falsely flagged as a bot.

That's assuming they are evenly distributed. My guess is that they are using usage patterns away from the norm so
a classroom would be fine while a tech user who is using skype for some atypical use might have a 50% chance of
getting zapped. This is unfortunately the way it is. Noone cares about the outliers unless there is money in it.
Walmart sells to the 80%. if you are trying to buy swimsuits in august good luck, it might be prime swimming season
but 80% of people have already bought swimsuits so walmart has already liquidated their selection.
Also, if you are an atypical user, an atypical shopper, an atypical traveller, or even an atypical dresser expect to be
harrassed by TSA, your credit card fraud department, school security, etc... Everyone must conform to the norm. :-P

Re:Arms Race Tips Toward Skype (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 6 months ago | (#46022247)

absolutely not. 5% false positive is terrible, and will create a lot of negative feelings for the platform.
imagine a teacher trying to use skype with a class of 20 or more. it would be very rare if someone
didn't get falsely flagged as a bot.

If we are to abstain from the use of any detection technology that has false positives we'd never use any of them at all since every detection technology has false positives and just for the record 5% is pretty good for any algorithm trying to detect complex patterns in large amounts of data. The effect that this will likely have is that Skype will hand much of the fraud detection over to the automated tools so that the case workers assigned to the fraud division can concentrate more on investigating individual cases rather than manually weeding through mountains of data trying to ferret out fraudsters like they are doing now (at least that's what I'd do). The fraudsters' main adversary will no longer be the investigators, they'll be playing cat and mouse with detection algorithm design team. As long as Skype filters any hit generated by this thing through humans I won't be very worried.

They weren't doing that already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020049)

Seriously, that's elementary level abuse fighting. I was doing something similar 6 years ago to fight abuse on my small website.

I guess everyone at MS with any talent left long ago to work at Google.

Re:They weren't doing that already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021991)

Have you tried Windows 8.1 yet?

Misleading headline. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020069)

The headline implies that the fraud has already been slashed.

But the story says it's just a research project where they were looking into techniques to combat fraud.

No fraud has been slashed yet.

Aha, coming soon: slash user base by 68% (0)

osiaq (2495684) | about 6 months ago | (#46020107)

* Stolen money from the accounts (you didnt use it before expiration) * Centralize the traffic (no more P2P) * Screwed client for Linux * Removed "Now Llstening to..." status ...Go go Power Rangers, this year will be the year of Jabber on the desktop

Re:Aha, coming soon: slash user base by 68% (2)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46021561)

* Stolen money from the accounts (you didnt use it before expiration)
* Centralize the traffic (no more P2P)
* Screwed client for Linux
* Removed "Now Llstening to..." status ...Go go Power Rangers, this year will be the year of Jabber on the desktop

Its not clear just what Microsoft did with the traffic.
Their page still insists [skype.com] they are using P2P for traffic but a centralized directory. I don't know how much I believe that.

The centralized directory is probably forced on them for CALEA [wikipedia.org] compliance, so that the NSA can track who calls who.
The Business Case for Microsoft to buy Skype never made any sense at all, and especially not at the price they paid. I suspect the NSA paid the entire bill to get Skype into someone's hands that could impose a level of tracking on it that met their needs. They had to get it out of Ebay's hand, because they were incompetent. Microsoft was the only company willing to play ball, add the tracking, preserve an appearance of security and fake encryption, and in return for doing that, they get a platform for free, bought by government funds, washed through Microsoft's opaque accounting.

There still exist Skype clients for Linux [skype.com] , but I don't know a single self respecting knowledgeable Linux user who would put that crap on their machine.

But seriously, Now Listening to? Do you really think anyone cares what you are listening to?
Once you get past your Narcissism, you'll get over scrobbling addiction.

Re:Aha, coming soon: slash user base by 68% (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 6 months ago | (#46023077)

Its a miracle Skype still works on my Nokia N900 (Linux phone, much better than the Windows Phone crap Nokia are doing now and still with functional Skype or at least as functional as Skype on a phone can get)

In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020127)

....Microsoft Researchers Slash Skype Users By 68%

More Evil From Microsloth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020133)

Oh, but Microsoft is "evil", so there must be some "evil" down-side here. Are they charging for this "reduction"?

Re:More Evil From Microsloth (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 6 months ago | (#46020241)

You forgot to write "Micro$oft."

O_O (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020135)

Five percent false positive? What happens to them? Can they get their shit back by going through the proper channels?

Re:O_O (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020439)

Proper channels? Microsoft? Bwahahahaha.

Find me a link for any Microsoft product ever where you can get support from people other than other frustrated users.

Re:O_O (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020507)

Oh, so they're just like google then.

Re:O_O (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46022069)

Have you been Scroogled today?

So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020167)

And Microsoft considers that a success? I guess that's why their activation for Windows and Office is so horrific and loses its activation so damn often. They have a very low quality bar.

Of course, I'm just bitter since I'm having to call Microsoft to reactivate 35 Windows 7 desktops tonight that lost their activation again. The last time I did this, it took me about twenty hours on the phone.

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020237)

Wow, I've never had Windows 7 suddenly lose its activation, and I pirated it. Perhaps I have something you don't? Something like a... genuine advantage!

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020731)

HAHAHA! I pirated Windows too, but I still get to have Genuine... funny how cracks don't have to play by the rules and all.
Lovin' my free updates too :) Windows Update thinks I bought Windows 7.

Oh, and for OP, remember: it isn't illegal to run a crack on software that you legitimately bought. Unless you are doing it to get more copies running than you paid for. (not that I give a shit but you might)

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020699)

In my entire professional career, spanning to well before software required activation, I have never, ever had a legitimate copy of Windows "lose" its activation. Ever. Over literally tens of thousands of desktops in various organizations. What's more, a Google search does not show this happening to anyone else either. The only results for lost activations are a result of a system restore, WGA crack or something other obvious activity.

I would suggest you stop pirating your software or stop making up bullshit lies. They're both pretty sad.

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020841)

I love how the Microsoft fanbois spew so many lies to defend the dishonest actions by Microsoft.

Every single desktop in my company had to be reactivated after we added RAM, a new SSD drive, and a Gigabyte Ethernet card over Labor Day weekend. It most certainly happens pretty often. It's not just a problem with Windows. My personal desktop has a red title bar with the error "(Product Activation Failed)" for Microsoft Office. That happened after I changed my clock from PSTDT to UTC because I got tired of converting timezones when reading log entries.

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (2)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46021647)

Yeah, I've seen the request for re-authorization pop up after expanding ram too.
The first time, I groaned, because it meant a trip through the closet of despair looking for the original Cert Tag.
And further, I go through this every time I increase the memory on one of my virtual windows machines.

But you know what? Nothing needed entering. It found everything by itself. It was literally a "click through."
Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020981)

In my entire career, I've never seen an ECC RAM parity error.

Therefore anyone talking about this and its possible advantages and disadvantages is just making stuff up.

Right?

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021257)

Comprehension fail The anecdote was only part of the post. The total lack of anyone else sharing the same problem was the rest. I can find countless examples of people having trouble with ECC RAM. I could not find a single example in the first few pages of results of anyone "losing" activation without an underlying cause. That paucity of results leads me to believe that if it happens, it is an incredibly rare event.

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021809)

In my entire professional career, spanning to well before software required activation, I have never, ever had a legitimate copy of Windows "lose" its activation. Ever.

Oh, really? lucky you..

In the past week I've had a copy of 64bit Win7 professional suddenly go 'counterfeit'. Which was somewhat weird as I'm sitting looking at the damned install disks with their product key stickers as I type this. Yes, I finally got it reactivated, but it was a bit embarrassing when this sort of thing happens in front of a consultant we're paying silly money per day to debug some software-talking-to-hardware issues we were having..
(In this case, no hardware changes had been made to the machine since the OS install, but a package was installed which required a hardware key, once the software for that was installed, all the fun apparently began..)

Let's not forget the old XP 'hey, I see you've just changed a {insert-some-random-bit-of-hardware-here}, let's reactivate!' tango, where, for some reason, not every time, not in a predictable manner (that would be too frigging easy), legitimate XP becomes counterfeit. even though you've all the relevant license documentation in front of you,

In fact, I got so fucking pissed off dealing with that one I regularly pre-hack the 'product activation' on our legitimate XP machines that I know I'll be doing a lot of hardware changes on, and, for the record, I'm sitting here with a surplus of 15 unused XP pro licenses (c/w install DVDs, all nicely shrink wrapped).

Maybe in a nice environment where your machines are all running with the same hardware they''re supplied with, you've no issues with product activation, but, alas, yes, we regularly change the hardware config of our machines (nature of the beast, apropos their role), so we run into machines losing their 'activation' on a fairly regular basis.

The last phone call to the Microsoft product activation phone line was early December, went through the procedure, plonked in the numbers given, still no joy..again, even though I've got the damn original install disk and product sticker prominently displayed on the PC sitting in front of me, so guess what I ended up doing on that machine?.

Again, I stress, these are all legitimate copies of the OS, some supplied by Dell, some by HP, some OEM.

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021849)

yes, we regularly change the hardware config of our machines (nature of the beast, apropos their role), so we run into machines losing their 'activation' on a fairly regular basis.

Well no fucking shit if you change the hardware it's going to need to be reactivated. That's not "losing activation". That's how the fucking system works. Maybe it's an irritating system, but you DO know how it works up front.

I seriously doubt the competency and/or honesty of people who claim Windows just mysteriously "loses activation" then when you ask a few basic questions it turns out that it's their own damn doing. If you need to change hardware a lot, use a VLK or get an in house KMS. This isn't rocket science, this is a basic level of competence at your job.

Losing activation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46022833)

So, you admit it does happen, possibly even often, it's just that you refuse to consider it a failing of Microsoft, because Microsoft is perfect, and no matter how broken by design their products are, their products must be perfect, because they are made by Microsoft.

You sound like the guy who claimed that he had never seen a Windows machine crash, because he doesn't consider anything that can be fixed with a reboot a crash.

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46022149)

You are incredibly lucky. A cursory Google search returns pages upon PAGES of IT admins, college students, and help desks randomly losing their activation. One of my best friends runs a strictly Microsoft only shop, and he has yet to have a client that hasn't had some hiccup with licensing (they fasttrack him through desktops, it's still a pain for Exchange and SBS apparently).

If you log into Skype today, the gambler's fallacy predicts you have a very good chance of losing your account.

Re:So they mistakenly tell 1:20 people to fuck off (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 6 months ago | (#46021189)

The 5% figure makes me suspect that they are modeling behavior with a gaussian distribution, and looking for values in their metrics that deviate more than 2 standard deviations from the mean: the classic "95% confidence interval." With this criterion, one would expect, by chance, that 5% of all non-fraud situations to be caught in the net.

I don't think it's uncommon for fraud-detection businesses to live with a moderate false-positive rate like this. Increasing the confidence interval to, say, 99% (3 standard deviations) results in fewer false positives but also more false negatives. The "sweet spot" balances losses from missing the false negatives against the cost of the false positives. Of course that's not very comforting if you're in the false positives, but I don't think that's a reason to discard probability-modeling for fraud-detection.

That's nice. (4, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 6 months ago | (#46020171)

So let me get this straight...

Your new filter works better than today's filter...against today's spam

But today's spam is designed to circumvent today's filter, and spammers will change their techniques as soon as you switch to the new filter.

This is the classic Antivirus problem, where new and unusual AV programs get great ratings until they become popular and virus developers start coding with them in mind.

And now you've also published how your new filter works, to make it even easier for spammers to circumvent your new filter. Great.

BAD MATH! (5, Insightful)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about 6 months ago | (#46020207)

Improving detection by 68% != Reducing fraud by 68%

Imagine that previous methods caught 10% of the fraudulent accounts. New tech improves that to 16.8%. It's a 68% improvement in the fraud detection rate, but only a 6.8% "slashing" of the fraudulent accounts.

(And 5% false positives is pretty horrific)

Re:BAD MATH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020415)

The 5% could be very bad depending on how many fraudulent vs good accounts there are. My guess there are still vastly more real accounts than fraudulent ones, which would mean 5% is extremely bad and will easily make it that they detect more good accounts as bad than the total number of bad accounts, detected or not.

Re:BAD MATH! (3, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 6 months ago | (#46020577)

TFS (and TFA, actually) are poorly phrased: the actual research article (the linked PDF) specifies (and I quote):

The aim of our work is to go beyond the present, sophis-ticated defenses, and to detect "stealthy" fraudulent users, namely, those that manage to fool those defenses for a relatively long period of time. Our concrete objective is to catch these stealthy fraudulent users within the first 4 months of activity. Our results indicate that, with our methods, we are able to detect 68% of these users with a 5% false positive rate; and we are able to reduce by 2:3 times the number of these users active for over 10 months.

So they didn't increase their detection rate by 68%, they increased it to 68%. And 5% false positive is pretty good: 95% confidence interval is standard in scientific research (outside things like physics which is able to achieve much much higher confidence by means of vastly larger data sets), which means a 5% false positive is exactly what you'd expect with proper scientific methodology ( based on a quick scan that seems to be exactly what they were aiming for). And of course higher false positive is actually better in the case of fraud detection than lower detection rate (since little is harmed by a false positive, while false negatives can directly result in people losing money).

Re:BAD MATH! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021557)

5% false positive rate is horrible unless you assume there they are a sizable percentage of the total number of accounts.

With a 32% false negative rate, if there are more than ~13X more real accounts than fraudulent accounts, you'll ban more legitimate people than fraudulent accounts.

Re:BAD MATH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46022145)

And of course higher false positive is actually better in the case of fraud detection than lower detection rate (since little is harmed by a false positive, while false negatives can directly result in people losing money).

Little is harmed? Well, I suppose missing your flight and ending up on the second level watchlist for years on end is "little harmed", so ending up unable to use skype is small fry in comparison.

Re:BAD MATH! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 months ago | (#46025333)

A 5% false positive rate is far too high for any broad screening application. For example if 5% of all Skype accounts are scam accounts, then when you lump those in with the 5% false positives, you're no more likely than chance to correctly label someone as a scammer.

Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020217)

Now how about fixing the IP exploit where you can find someone's IP just by knowing their username?
This makes DDoS very easy to do and ruins many livestreams where the livestreamer doesn't even know what is going on, thinking it's his ISP shitting out on him.

validate email addresses... (1)

junk (33527) | about 6 months ago | (#46020233)

Hopefully their research concluded that they should validate email addresses. I have about a dozen Skype accounts (though I never use the service) because of fraudulent account sign ups. The simple act of validating email addresses prior to issuing an account would fix this. Hell, even a product targeted at the lowest common denominator (Facebook) has managed to figure that out.

Don't want a legitimate account (5, Insightful)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 6 months ago | (#46020297)

90% of my online accounts are fake, even this one. I create new accounts with new names to preserve my privacy, I have multiple hotmail, gmail and Facebook accounts specifically for this purpose. Sure the NSA types might see through this, but the average marketing agency won't. In real life, you can separate your worlds. My wife's circle of friends know me, but they don't know my friends, same goes for work 'mates', extended family etc. I have the power to keep things separate. It seems this choice is being slowly removed in online life as every web service demands you use your real name. Who wants to live in a world where everyone knows everything? We need a right to anonymity online.

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (1, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 6 months ago | (#46020667)

Pretty soon people will correlate creditworthiness etc to the distribution of known friends and their credit scores.That algo will mark you as loner, possibly a loser.

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (2)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 6 months ago | (#46020755)

I'm fine with that, I have enough money/credit for my lifetime, I'm just wondering if our children will have the same luxury?

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46021019)

I'm a loner and a loser and my credit score is 830. So I don't think your reasoning will hold out.

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (2)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46021773)

Pretty soon people will correlate creditworthiness etc to the distribution of known friends and their credit scores.That algo will mark you as loner, possibly a loser.

Too late. That ship has sailed.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/2... [cnn.com]
http://www.pcworld.com/article... [pcworld.com]

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020919)

I've got a simple question for Google that I've never found a good answer for:

What is my "Real Name?"

I suffer from MPD (mutlipe personality disorder) and I want to know which of me is the real one and yes, I'm as serious as a heart attack folks yet Google has never been able to answer this question to my satisfaction.

What I use here and on other forums are "Real Names" to me even if they have absolutely no relationship to my legal name.

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021501)

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (1)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46021875)

I suffer from MPD (mutlipe personality disorder) and I want to know which of me is the real one and yes, I'm as serious as a heart attack folks yet Google has never been able to answer this question to my satisfaction.

Google is polite enough not to answer that question. Believe me they already know.

They simply don't want to become the arbiter of your internal problems.

But here's a good solution: Move to the EU, or even South America. MPD(DID) is largely a creation of the North American psychiatric professionals, and is openly scoffed at in other parts of the world. Even the majority of psychiatrists are beginning to doubt the whole thing [muohio.edu] .

Should be the first rule of internet safety. (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 6 months ago | (#46021065)

90% of my online accounts are fake, even this one.

That's exactly what all parents should teach kids to do: Don't talk to strangers (whether online or in the real world. And especially don't give them true real-life information. And remember - to your kids, Zuckerberg and the Google kids giving out "free" internet services are just as much strangers as a guy in an unmarked van handing out free candy to kids. I thought that's just basic parenting skills; and one of the first rules anyone teaches kids.

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021451)

90% of my online accounts are fake, even this one.

I do the same, but I'm not under any illusions that I'm tricking Google.

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (2)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46021759)

90% of my online accounts are fake, even this one. I create new accounts with new names to preserve my privacy,

First, let me point out that anyone who has even one facebook account, let alone multiple, is probably staring at an empty barn and marveling at how clean it smells after all the horses have run away.

I too use multiple accounts, but not to preserve my privacy, simply my sanity. Gmail/Hotmail/Yandex are all smart enough to figure out that its all the same person. (Something about the fact that they come from the same IP addresses, I suppose)...

Its not a privacy issue, its a preserve my sanity issue. Last thing I need to do is have my brokerage accounts mixed in with my work accounts and my /. account. I don't really care that each of these companies know I'm the same dude.

But I never allow myself to believe I'm pulling any wool over anyone's eyes.

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#46024523)

Its not a privacy issue, its a preserve my sanity issue. Last thing I need to do is have my brokerage accounts mixed in with my work accounts and my /. account. I don't really care that each of these companies know I'm the same dude.

But I never allow myself to believe I'm pulling any wool over anyone's eyes.

I think you may have missed the point of the GP a bit. Yes, I agree that his strategies for "privacy" may be a little flawed, depending on how much "privacy" he is actually expecting.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that he's trying to "pull any wool over anyone's eyes." This seems to be a common accusation whenever anyone says they want to have multiple online identities -- it's as if there's something "false" or "lying" or "hypocritical" or "fake" about this. (Zuckerberg, in particular, is on record for saying that people who want multiple online identities have some sort of fundamental "lack of integrity.")

But, come on. In real life, people always have "multiple identities." They talk differently to their kids than they do to the people at work. And they say different things to the guys at the bar than they do to the old ladies at church. There is nothing hypocritical or dishonest about this -- it just reflects different social conventions for different circumstances.

It makes sense to try to replicate this experience in an online environment, but many companies like Facebook and Google and others are making it increasingly difficult. I talk to people all the time who complain about how their boss friended them on Facebook or something, and now they have to be increasingly careful about what they say. It's not like they want to actually "hide" anything from their boss -- but being under constant surveillance by someone from work means that misunderstandings can happen or things could be misinterpreted... so it makes people nervous. This trend also sees to be leading teens away from Facebook, since they don't want their parents seeing what they do. (And yes, there are ways to manage posts and things so they aren't visible to everyone, but when you have the number of "multiple identities" to different people that a normal person does in real life, it can be unwieldy.)

Anyhow, the point is that keeping different parts of your life separate IS a "privacy issue." This is NOT about having secure walls around your private data -- just about keeping things reasonably separate, so your work and your home and your social life don't all necessarily have to blend into one thing. Or so you can have a "professional online presence," but also a place where you are slightly less formal. Some people may like having only one online identity; others may find it more convenient to have more than one. (Some actually find it necessary for their safety.)

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 6 months ago | (#46025625)

I too use multiple accounts, but not to preserve my privacy, simply my sanity. Gmail/Hotmail/Yandex are all smart enough to figure out that its all the same person. (Something about the fact that they come from the same IP addresses, I suppose)...

Actually, no. IP addresses (at least IPv4 ones) are completely useless for detecting this because there are many legitimate reasons why one IP address may log into multiple acconts simultaneously.

The most common reason? Multiple people!

With families on facebook, Hotmail, yahoo, whatever, thanks to NAT, all their traffic comes from 1 IP address, whether it's Susie checking facebook on her smartphone, John checking his on his tablet, Mom on the PC, and Dad on the other PC.

There you go - 4 legitimate logins for 4 different people on 1 IP address.

Fear not, however, for IPv6 will save the day, so you can differentiate between all their traffic, and also tell if one PC is used by multiple people.

(Or another reason why NAT for IPv6 may not be such a bad idea - it's not like the average family will have direct connectivity anyways thanks to firewalls. At best, they will appear to have it, but it won't work).

Re:Don't want a legitimate account (1)

Threni (635302) | about 6 months ago | (#46022525)

Just use a fake `real name`. These companies have no way of knowing what your real name is. In real life, your real name is whatever you decide it is.

They sell minor's details to advertisers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020313)

It's impossible to make a Skype profile that has all fields hidden.

99% of the fraud perpetrated by Skype is due to their allowing of ads for scam sites.

Conclusion: They are 68% full of bullshit and still selling minor's details to advertisers.

5% of false positive (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 6 months ago | (#46020341)

What happens if you get caught in 5% fake positive? An e-mail asking for confirmation or a SWAT RAID?

Re:5% of false positive (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46021033)

I really doubt they're going to send a SWAT team in for an Internet post... hold on, someones at the door.

You see... (3, Informative)

Chompjil (2746865) | about 6 months ago | (#46020505)

Hangouts is doing wonders for me now so I dont mind if my skype account is shut down

Re:You see... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020653)

Google Hangouts is a den of villainy for faggots and ne'er-do-wells.
 
Keep sucking that Google dick, bitch.

In other news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020509)

Microsoft has made it possible to now record 100% of all conversations and store them indefinitely for the nsa

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | about 6 months ago | (#46020525)

Hmmm I seem to recall a complaint that the NSA (and others) couldn't break Skypes' encryption and wanted help.

https://www.schneier.com/blog/... [schneier.com]

It was popular with the crooks.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2... [theregister.co.uk]

Then an investment group Silver Lake Partners gained controlling interest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org] (interesting crew there)

Then no more complaints or request for help by the NSA.

A couple years later Skype was acquired by Microsoft,

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us... [microsoft.com]

It's a fascinating coincidence.

Innit.

Re:Laugh (1)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46022181)

Nope.
I've often suspected we, the US tax payer indirectly purchased Skype to get it into cooperative hands. EBay couldn't handle the task.
Microsoft played ball. They got Skype for free, a platform they didn't need, haven't a clue what to do with, and haven't improved.
But they did add tracking of meta data by routing all directory services through their servers.
And any call they are interested in, surprise, gets special routing, because Microsoft controls all the directory nodes.

Someday the Edward Snowden of Microsoft will step forward and we will all be wiser.

Re:Laugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46025623)

Except you're wrong.

"Boffins" - This is an American site (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020535)

Don't use British slang. TIA

Re:"Boffins" - This is an American site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021581)

Careful, mate. Don' wanna end up in the boot of some bloke's lorry, now do yer?...

mo8d up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020601)

No, the fraud is Skype itself (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about 6 months ago | (#46020701)

Skype charged my credit card $60 a year after I cancelled my phone number. It somehow got un-cancelled. They gave no warning and just charged it, and won't respond to any of my requests for a refund. I've cancelled it again, but who's to say they won't do it again next year? I never agreed to recurring charges. (I never do for any service.)

Re:No, the fraud is Skype itself (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 6 months ago | (#46020721)

Talk to your credit card company?

Re:No, the fraud is Skype itself (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about 6 months ago | (#46020737)

The charge just cleared today and I'll be disputing it tomorrow.

5% false positive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020809)

One in twenty legitimate accounts are going to get closed?

That's going to hurt the bottom line.

What is skype fraud? (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 6 months ago | (#46020905)

I've only used skype a few times. What is skype fraud?

My understanding of skype is it's basically a video phone using your general purpose computer.

I read some of TFA looking for what types of fraud they are talking about, but didn't see any detail. They mention credit card fraud, but that's not a feature of skype. I mean, if some stranger knocks on your door, and when you answer, asks for your credit card number, and you give your credit card number, that's not a weakness in your door or lock, that's a weakness in you.

What I do with my landline is never answer if I don't recognize the number or name in the caller ID. Couldn't I do the same with skype, never answer if I don't know who is calling? There you go, 100% fraud prevention.

Re:What is skype fraud? (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 6 months ago | (#46021091)

Couldn't I do the same with skype, never answer if I don't know who is calling?

Even better, you can block all calls from people who are not already on your contact list. And by setting your privacy options appropriately, you can reduce the messages you get asking to be added to your contact list to a handful of spammers a year who explicitly search for you by email or mobile phone number. Apparently not enough people do this.

Re:What is skype fraud? (2)

tgv (254536) | about 6 months ago | (#46022373)

I also don't get what this fraud is. People robbing other people's Skype credit?

Slashdot editors are supposed to fill in such details, isn't it?

Re:What is skype fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46022807)

http://www.cso.com.au/article/536286/new_research_signals_trouble_skype_fraudsters/

"Accounts of fraud committed over Skype were easy to find online ranging from spam voicemails and instant messages to blackmail and phishing."

Re:What is skype fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46024111)

Don't trust your caller ID. Anyone with a SIP account with a business class can set their own Caller ID to anything. This is used by business to use a regular SIP out accont to call clients and have the company 1-800 number and Business ID show on your ID box. This can be abused easly.

My bank calls me, I tell them I need to get the info and I'll call right back.. But only call the bank's real customer service number, not the caller ID number. Learn about caller ID spoofing before trusting caller ID.

Re:What is skype fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46025891)

It's specifically for the end of the bell curve where the users are that don't understand you can set any chat client to only accept incoming calls from people on your friends list.

The issue is non-existent. If you allow anyone to message you, then by definition it is not spam, nor unwanted. This is a solution looking for a problem.

damn Microsoft . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020911)

Oh . . . wait . . .

Fake accounts are everywhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46020973)

...so tell me why again people feel Skype is suddenly more important than every other service on the internet today that is also infested with fake accounts?

And Skype of all things? You're looking at the damn caller on the screen. If you're stupid enough to be fooled by video and not know who you're communicating with, you should just box up that computer now...if you can figure that out.

Jesus, talk about making something out of nothing. Are we sure this story isn't fake...

"Many [boffins] died to bring us this information. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46021363)

I heard Mon Mothma is Microsoft's new CEO.

The collaterial cost of wadging unwinnable wars (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 6 months ago | (#46022041)

Yep, I'm sure everyone who a machine deems to be undesirable is just going to sit quietly on the sidelines and take no further action like any self respecting fraudster/scammer/spammer always does.

Unless algorithms are smarter than humans and you have a monopoly on such algorithms expect humans to adopt and continue with their bullshit only now they will be much harder to systematically "classify". All the while during this unwinnable evolution of war real people continue to be flagged and collateral damage accrues... but don't take my word for it ... try to send an email and have any assurance if it being delivered and not silently ignored by a "machine learning" algorithm answerable to nobody.

The only people I know use Skype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46022073)

Are all shady and/or flaky... it's like the cornhole of the internet that isn't even fun to play with or look at.

Skype Email (1)

Sarkie (836366) | about 6 months ago | (#46022277)

They say this, but someone signed up for Skype on my email account. They just put my email in, (they were Arabic) and for the next 2 weeks I got Skype spam, so I reset this persons account, logged in then I emailed their support, they said sorry, but I asked how they allowed it without verifying it, "just the way it is and it'll probably take 2 weeks for the batch processes to delete your info"

don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46022349)

"fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud"

it keeps talking about fraud and stopping it, but what KIND of fraud? I don't get it. Are we talking about Skype users tricking other Skype users to deposit money in Nigerian prince bank accounts? What? Or are they saying they don't want non-real Skype users? In which case this is an anti-privacy measure yes?

Fixed it by breaking Skype (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46023865)

I've seen a bunch of reports that Skype is asploding ten minutes into a call since the last update. Perhaps they fixed the problem of fraud by making it impossible to successfully complete a call. It's the Microsoft way!

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