Playstore and AppStore Take Down To Tok Messenger App in Light of Espionage Allegations

Google’s Playstore and Apple’s AppStore have taken down the To Tok Messenger social messaging app after reports from the New York Times (NYT) revealed indications that the messaging app is being used as a spy tool by the United Arabl Emirates (UAE).

According to the NYT, To Tok app publisher, Breej Holding Ltd, is directly affiliated with DarkMatter. The DarkMatter Group on the other hand, is an Abu Dhabi-based intelligence and hacking entity that is currently the subject of ongoing FBI investigation for alleged cyber-crimes.

Claiming that much of their information comes from American officials, NYT also reported that DarkMatter Group’s workforce comprise mostly of UAE intelligence officials, former employees of the U.S. National Security Agency, and former operatives of the Israeli Military Intelligence.

In the course of the NYT’s investigation of the To Tok messaging app, they also found that China’s leading telecommunications company Huawei carries an endorsement of the To Tok app in its app gallery. Huawei after all, has been blacklisted in the U.S.likewise for allegations of spying activities.

Google and Apple Report that Millions are Already Using the To Tok Messaging App

Both Google and Apple reported that To Tok easily became the most downloaded messaging app despite its being only a few months old. Google Playstore reported that the app has been downloaded and installed by around 5 million users of Android supported devices coming from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Apple’s App Annie simply reported that the To Tok messaging app, which was somehow similar to What’sApp and Tik Tok, easily became the most downloaded app in recent weeks.

Google says those who have already installed the app on their mobile device can still use it in sending social messages. However, in light of recent reports that the app is currently under investigation for being a spy tool used in tracking every message, photo image, geolocation movement, appointments, relationships and music preferences of users for the UAE government, Google decided to remove the To tok app from its PlayStore.

Web Scraper Chrome Extension : Making Web Data Collection an Easy Task to Accomplish

Data has become a big word,  as any type of industry or Internet denizen with established Internet presence, or with browsing imprints, furnish data that are usable to others. In its simplest meaning, data is just the same as information. Data may come from news publications, or be about a web visitor’s personal information regarding location, email address, age, gender, race and other factors that describe the demography of the population to which a visitor belongs. Transactions carried out via online facilities also furnish data that is usable for a particular point of interest.

Although not many are aware that their data are being collected and compiled, a site that gathers and stores information about its visitors has to ask permission before a reader proceeds with site interaction. On the other hand, other entities may scrape data from the pages of a website, which they may use for a number of reasons; such as that of developing marketing strategies, or as components of medical, business, legal, or scientific studies.

However, for scraped data to be useful, it must be analyzed in ways that are relevant to the purpose for which information was gathered.

About Chrome’s Web Scraper Extension

Web Scraper Chrome Extension is a free tool that allows Chrome users to collect data that can be readily transferred to a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file. This denotes that data scraped or gathered from the worldwide web, can be converted into machine-readable information for a computer software to read and process, usually for comprehensive analysis.

Installing the Web Scraper tool as extension to the Google Chrome browser is already a great help because it allows a user to build a sitemap. That particular feature can be used for planning on how and what to scrape as data from specific pages of a website. This Chrome plugin is capàble of handling pages with JavaScript and Ajax. Although many consider the lack of automation as a downside, this free tool is powerful enough to serve the web scraping purpose for which it was intended.

Understanding Your Website’s Need for a Backlink Audit Tool

Backlinks to your websites can do wonders in pushing your domain to the top hierarchy of Google’s page ranking system. That is very true, but only if the pages carrying the backlinks to your website are placed in related contents published by reliable sources. Know that Google Penguin can analyze if your backlinks are good or bad.

That being the case, monitoring and auditing them as a standard operating procedure will give you a chance to have bad backlinks removed before your domain gets penalized for dubious backlinking activities. The fastest and easiest way to do this is to find yourself a banklink audit application that you can integrate with Google’s engines for Search Console and Analytics.

A backlink audit application can help you sort links in order to identify those that you need to weed out and disassociate from your website. After which, the next important step to do is to request owners of the websites to remove the links, as they can potentially harm your website.

If in case your request is ignored, you can send a notice to Google to express your disavowal of the spammy backlinks. A good backlink audit tool is one that integrates an emailing system and a monitoring tool that can keep track not only of fresh backlinks but also those that were lost over time.

When is a Backlink Good, When is It Bad?

A backlink is good if it appears in a website that is ranked high in terms of Domain Authority, whilst containing contents that are similar, as well as relevant to those found in your site. Still, this may still seem vague to you if you are not clear on what the term Domain Authority means.

Domain Authority (DA) is a ranking system that delineates how your website will rank in terms of search page results. Ranking is on a scale of 1 to 100, to which getting a score near 100 or a full 100, earns your website a high ranking in terms of Domain Authority.

DA basically consists of ranking indicators such as the number of backlinks directed to your website, including multiple backlinks coming from one unique domain, grouped and counted as a single linking root domain. Keep in mind that Domain Authority sizes up the authority on a website level, and not on page ranking level.

The DA metrics is only one of two aspects that makes a backlink good. It must also go hand in hand with the relevancy of a linked domain to your website’s topic niche.

After citing the main qualities of a good backlink, any link therefore that comes from sources with low DA scores, or from a website that in itself has been penalized for carrying spammy backlinks, has the makings of a bad link. Even more damaging are backlinks carried by web pages that are completely irrelevant to your domain.

GIMP : The Best Free Alternative Image Editing Software

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is the most recommended alternative image editing software, mainly because it comes free. The program  has been around as far back as 1998, starting at version 1.0, whilst receiving continuous updates through the years.

The most recent GIMP release is Version 2.10 which comes with a new Dark Theme as default user interface. An image set for editing will appear on a somewhat dim background, in order to direct greater focus on the content.  Actually, the Dark Theme brings the number of user interface to four (4); the three (3) others being the System, the Gray and the Light.

Although Adobe Photoshop also offers a free downloadable software of the latest version, the offer is available only as a free-trial for 7 days. Now if you are looking for an image editing software that is nearly as good as Adobe Photoshop and at the same time free for lifetime, there is always an updated version of GIMP.

A Cursory Look at What GIMP Users Can Do, Free of Charge

GIMP users have expressed great satisfaction for having a graphic editing program that allows them to transform images with excellent results, sans the need to pay for monthly subscriptions. Images for business cards, banners, brochures and web pages have been created using robust tools that allow for dabbling, editing or converting formats of graphic files coming from Windows or Linux.

Similar to the proprietary Photoshop PSD file that enables modifiers to work on individual layers of the image, GIMP also has layer editing features. Version 2.10 now includes a Layer Attributes Dialog box, showing all setting options related to layer-related tasks. Awesome even are the color labels available to use  as tags for layers, channels and paths, which make project organization more efficient.

The great news is that while Version 3.00 is currently in the works, GIMP users do not have to wait long to acquire the newest features and tools. Currently new stuffs, along with bug fixes are released as a series of stable releases every 1 to 2 months.