Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Potential T-Mobile Fraud Security Problem

A very interesting thing happened today which I want to make other T-Mobile account holders aware of.
I received a voicemail mesage from T-Mobile last night telling me that someone had tried to order additional lines on my account and they thought it was an imposter. I phoned them back and they said it had been an order for four lines, that the person had identified themself as "Gordon" and had my correct account password. As the password has not been used for anything else and I have never written it down this means that either someone was able to get it out of my head without me knowing or T-Mobile has a security problem. I have definitely not been caught in any phishing scam. T-Mobile, of course, deny there could be any problem with their security but for someone to have my name, mobile number and account password is very suspicious.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Youtube needs to change its rating system to improve the quality of ratings and prevent votebotting

YouTube needs to change its rating system as it is currently not doing the job it was intended for.
Firstly, its not clear what you are rating as one to five stars. Is it picture quality or content quality or whether you disagree with whats in the video? Users seem to use ratings for all of these purposes. Secondly, there is the problem of "votebotting", where automated scripts fire off one star ratings to a selected group of videos to reduce where they appear in Youtube's search reults. This seems to be most common by religious fundamentalists against the various atheist channels. Often these videos get many more votes than they actually get viewings which makes an illogical nonsense of the ratings system.
I want YouTube to make their ratings system more like Ebay's with specific one to five star ratings  for picture quality, content and like/dislike or agree/disagree.  This will stop the general confusion over what is being rated. If this is combined with captcha or a similar technology then it will prevent votebotting. I am not convinced that votebotting is that difficult to stop as I have written online applications which prevent multiple attacks for things like the testing of credit card numbers or blocking password slamming. I am no expert, so the people at Youtube should be able to come up with something much better than I could.
This way we can have a ratings system which adds to the accuracy of search on the site and makes it a level playing field that does not favour the dishonest.