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2023-06-02 04:54:11| Between the Hedges

Category: Investing

Stocks Rising into Afternoon on US Economic "Soft-Landing" Optimism, China Stimulus Hopes, Short-Covering, Tech/Commodity Sector Strength

2023-06-01 20:54:19| Between the Hedges

Category: Investing

Bear Radar

2023-06-01 20:54:19| Between the Hedges

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Marketing and Advertising

Everyone is selling VPNs, and that's a problem for security

2023-06-02 17:30:46| Engadget

Whatever YouTube rabbit hole youve spiraled down lately gaming playthroughs, political commentary, niche eight-hour video essays youve encountered an ad for virtual private network, or VPN, services. The influencers promise military grade encryption and streaming content from anywhere as long as you use code FOLLOWME10 at checkout so that they get their cut.Its not just anecdotal that VPN ads are everywhere on YouTube. Since the beginning of 2016, VPN companies have collectively sponsored about 247,000 YouTube videos, according to Daniel Conn, co-founder of influencer marketing consulting firm ThoughtLeaders. Almost none came up before then, signaling rapid growth as both influencer marketing and VPN companies took off.For the YouTubers, its a lucrative and consistent way to fund their aspirations; for VPN providers, its helping to bring the obscure security product into the mainstream. But for the casual viewer, the sharp spike in VPN ads adds to the confusion and jargon around cybersecurity and it could be misleading us on how secure we really are.If you do think of it like education, it might be the most pervasive form of security education out there, said Dave Levin, assistant professor in computer science at the University of Maryland.Researchers at the University of Maryland took a random sample of those hundreds of thousands of ads to better understand what these influencers are saying about security. While not explicitly inaccurate, most of the ads featured vague or exaggerated claims on what VPNs could do, according to Michelle Mazurek, also an associate professor in computer science at the university.All a VPN can really do is mask your IP address and the identity of your computer on the network by creating an encrypted "tunnel" that prevents your internet service provider from accessing data about your browsing history. They cant keep your identity secret, protect from financial exploitation, offer military-grade encryption or other marketing terms these companies use. Military-grade encryption refers to AES-256, but thats become an industry standard, and wont protect you from security threats like phishing attacks. Still, its sold as a one-step security solution, when its really just the start of what you can do to protect yourself online. The companies and the ads are overselling what a functional one could do, Omer Akgul, the PhD student at University of Maryland who led the research paper on VPN advertising, said. It's problematic that users think they're getting protections where they really aren't.Most advertising comes with these caveats, but in a field as high risk and difficult to understand as security, the exaggerated claims can be damaging. If a YouTuber sells you on a new electric toothbrush, you can get first-hand experience deciding whether its worth your money. You can feel whether it leaves your teeth feeling clean, see real results when you go in for your next dentist appointment and easily compare it to other options on the market. But security isnt tangible. One VPN service might be more user friendly than the next, but we rely on recommendations from others to tell us whether or not one is more secure.The power behind influencer marketing lies in those recommendations. We trust the people we follow as we build parasocial relationships and see them advertise the same services over and over again. According to the UMD research, influencers use this to tailor their approaches to VPN ads. A far-right conspiracy channel will tout a VPNs privacy protections from government snooping because, while a movie reviewer will say the VPN can help you access streaming platforms in different countries, Akgul said, because YouTubers know who their audiences are, they can frame it in such a way that their audience would be interested or understand.Influencers tend to be tight-lipped about these advertising relationships because it can put future earnings in jeopardy. But according to Conn, the influencers hes encountered generally like working with VPN providers because they can be so lucrative. And for VPNs, the competition is fierce to secure top converters, and includes exclusivity periods to prevent top YouTubers from working with competitors. Theyre also actively recruiting with companies like Surfshark, NordVPN and ExpressVPN all touting open calls for influencers to sell their services.It's a battleground, Conn said. Because of these exclusivity causes, it's a race between them to scoop up in inventory because effectively you're blocking your competitor from the advertising space as well with those clauses. Its a very aggressive market for VPNs.If youre looking to hide your internet data from your ISP, want to stream Netflix abroad or are connecting to an untrusted public network, a VPN would be a worthwhile investment. But just because youve seen more ads online, doesnt mean the use cases for VPNs have changed. Plus, as it becomes a more lucrative way for influencers to make money online, it probably means you should be even more skeptical of both the advertisements and the provider themselves.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/youtube-influencer-selling-vpns-security-problems-153046206.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

8BitDos Xbox-licensed arcade stick is wireless and customizable

2023-06-02 17:00:58| Engadget

Alongside todays Street Fighter VI launch, 8BitDo has announced a new Xbox-licensed arcade stick. The wireless accessory, which has moddable controls and supports swappable arcade buttons, arrives later this month.The Arcade Stick for Xbox is far from the first arcade-style joystick accessory and it isnt even 8BitDos first in that category but if the quality of the companys previous controllers is any indication, it could be worth a look. For starters, its highly customizable: You can remap its buttons (including profile support) with 8BitDo Ultimate Software or swap out the physical buttons, choosing between standard 30mm and 24mm sizes. In addition, the company says the joysticks mounting plate is compatible with virtually every arcade stick ever made.8BitDoThe wireless accessory connects with a bundled 2.4G dongle adapter or wired via the included (nearly 10 ft.) USB-C cable. The accessory also has a 3.5mm audio jack for plugging in headphones. 8BitDo rates its battery life at 30 hours of playtime without headphones and 20 hours with them. Its estimated charging time is around four hours.The 8BitDo Arcade Stick is compatible with Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One and Windows 10. It ships in black and white color options and costs $120 undercutting its highest-profile competitor, the Hori Fighting Stick alpha for Xbox, by $80. The 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox officially launches on June 30th and will be available for pre-order on Amazon.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/8bitdos-xbox-licensed-arcade-stick-is-wireless-and-customizable-150058244.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

Google Nest WiFi Pro 6E router packs are up to 17 percent off on Amazon

2023-06-02 16:45:42| Engadget

A single WiFi router just doesnt cut it for many people. Thankfully, there are better options than having to rely on a sole connectivity point for an entire home, and a mesh system is one of them. Google Nest has one of the best-known mesh systems, and packs of its WiFi Pro 6E routers are currently on sale. A three-pack will run you $340, which is 15 percent off the regular price and close to a record low.The routers will blanket up to 6,600 square feet with WiFi connectivity over the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands. If you have devices that are compatible with the 6 GHz band, that's the way to go, since it should provide sturdier connectivity and mitigate interference from your neighbors' networks.Google claims the Nest WiFi Pro 6E system can adjust the performance and activity of your network automatically. For one thing, it will prioritize video calls. The company says the system can monitor itself, diagnose issues and even resolve certain common problems without your input.You'll be able to see everything that's connected to your network and pause access for devices that you don't want using your WiFi. In addition, you can set up a guest network with its own password. Unfortunately, Nest WiFi Pro 6E isn't compatible with older generations of Google WiFi or Nest WiFi.Those who don't have to cover quite such a large area may want to opt for a two-pack of the Nest WiFi Pro 6E instead. Dual routers will provide up to 4,400 square feet of WiFi coverage. For the time being, the two-pack is $50 off at $250.Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-nest-wifi-pro-6e-router-packs-are-up-to-17-percent-off-on-amazon-144542649.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
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