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Sneaky teen texting codes: what they mean, when to worry

If your teen has a smartphone, chances are they spend several hours a day on the text and social media. If you ever look at what they’re actually doing on there, you’ll likely see a lot of innocent “Snapstreaking,” some funny Buzzfeed videos, and a bunch of letters and numbers that look like some kind of modern-day shorthand.

You probably use some of these yourself:

LOL = laugh(ing) out loud

GR8 = great

IRL = in real life

TYVM = thank you very much

IMHO = in my humble opinion

BRB = be right back

J/K = just kidding

L8R = later

NP = no problem

WYD= what you doing?

While most of these terms are completely innocent, some child safety experts warn there can be more than meets the eye with texting codes. Some strange texting lingo might double as code for suicidal thoughts, bullying, sex and drugs.

“The stakes are high, and today’s parents need new ways to safeguard their teens from the harmful side effects of online interaction,” says Brian Bason, CEO of Bark, a safety app parents and teens download that monitors sites and services teens use for red flag words and the context they’re using them in.

Sneaky teen texting codes: what they mean, when to worry
Sneaky teen texting codes: what they mean, when to worry

The Bark safety app uses machine learning to help red flag worrisome codes or language.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of deaths for young adults and adults ages 15 to 34. In recent years, the problem of teen suicide has taken on a new dimension in part due to the proliferation of technology. “We teach our kids to look both ways when they cross the street. Don’t talk to strangers. We need to do the same thing for children with digital uses,” Bason says.

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Bark analyzes some 10-million teen messages per month across 21 different platforms including text, email, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Here’s the most recent list of the top “sneaky” terms that teens use, according to Bark’s data:

53X = sneaky way to type “sex”

KMS = kill myself

LH6 = let’s have sex

KYS = kill yourself

MOS = mom over the shoulder

POS = parent over shoulder

CD9 = code 9, parents around

GNOC = get naked on camera.

99 = parents are gone

WTTP = want to trade photos?

LMIRL = let’s meet in real life

1174 = meet at a party spot

IWSN = I want sex now

CU46 = see you for sex

FWB = friends with benefits

ADR = what’s your address

MPFB = my personal f*** buddy

PAL= parents are listening

TWD = texting while driving

GYPO = get your pants off

I ran a bunch of these by own teenage daughter, who I’ve also tested the Bark service on recently, along with Netsanity,Net Nanny, TeenSafe, Limitly, and many “watchdog” apps over the years. (The perks of being the child of a tech reporter…) In her experience, teens use terms like KMS and KYS mainly to describe embarrassment — “I just spilled soda all over my jeans, I want to KMS” — most of the time it’s totally sarcastic and nothing for anyone to worry about.

One former data scientist agrees. “GNOC was typed a massive 4,384 times on Android phones in the U.S. in 2016,” says Brandon Wirtz, now the CEO of artificial intelligence and machine-learning service Recognant. “In 1,986 of those times the next word was ‘means,” — suggesting people were curious about the lingo but not acting on it.

Bark’s Bason says that’s why it’s so important to add context and conversation to the shorthand teens use. He says spying on kids’ conversations simply does not work, but a mix of education, communication, and modern tools, often can. “We’re not just flagging known texting code though, we’re using keywords, data science, and machine learning. If it detects potential issues, the app sends an alert to your phone via email or text, and then offers solutions to help with the presented issues.”

Bark app notifications.

Whether you plan to monitor your kids or are want help deciphering the latest text codes, online website Netlingo is a great resource. It even hosts a curated list of “the top 50 acronyms parents need to know.”

7 things you can hire a hacker to do and how much it will (generally) cost

A hacker can do everything from hijacking a corporate email account to draining millions of dollars from an online bank account.

Though many hackers may have malicious intent, some wear white hats and help companies find security holes and protect sensitive content.

Below we explore some of many jobs a hacker can do for you.

Some parts of the web are the online equivalent of dark alleys where shady characters lurk in the shadows.

Afraid your girlfriend is cheating on you? There’s a hacker on the dark web who can get you into her email and social media accounts; that is, if you don’t mind sliding past legal or ethical boundaries.

These days you don’t have to delve too deeply into the recesses of the dark web to find hackers — they’re actually quite easy to find.

For instance, you can easily hire an ethical hacker on Fiverr for as little as $5. These so-called “white hats” help protect your website from malicious attacks by identifying security holes and plugging them.

Other hacking sites openly advertise services of questionable legality, offering illicit access to everything from Skype and Gmail to your college grades. InsideHackers’ warns in its Terms of Service that hacking is a “dangerous industry” and “very, very risky business.”

In a 2016 report, Dell’s SecureWorks found that the underground marketplace is “booming” because hackers are “extending their hours, guaranteeing their work, and expanding their offerings” to lure in customers.

Whether you’re in need of a hacker or just curious about the industry, here are seven hacks for sale right now and what they may cost, according to the SecureWorks report and other advertisements on the web.

Note: Prices are listed in US dollars, but some hackers prefer to be paid in Bitcoin.

1. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack: $5 – $25 per hour

computer server

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Kaspersky Labs reports that the average price for a DDoS attack is $25 per hour.

According to Kaspersky, you can pay just $5 for a five-minute attack and $400 to overwhelm a server, blocking legitimate users, for a whole day. The SecureWorks report quotes a slightly lower price of $5 an hour or $30 per day.

2. Online bank heist: $40 and up

bank account

David McNew/Getty

According to the SecureWorks report, you’ll pay a hacker 1% to 5% of the money you drain from an online bank account in return for their getting you into it.

To hack a US-based account and steal $1,000, for example, you would have to pay a hacker around $40, and accounts with smaller balances actually result in higher fees, according to the report.

3. Rewards points transfer: $10 to $450

airport

Adam Berry/Getty Images

To siphon loyalty program credits from someone’s account, the price depends on the number of points in the account.

The SecureWorks report lists hacks for hotel rewards points starting at $10 for 50,000 points, up to $200 for 1,000,000 miles.

Frequent flyer miles on US airlines start at $60 for 200,000 miles. $450 will buy you 1,500,000 miles and, most likely, a trip around the world (perhaps to a country without an extradition treaty).

4. Infiltrate Instagram: $129

Instagram

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

To get unauthorized access to an account on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media platforms, SecureWorks pegs the average hacker fee at $129.

5. Hijack corporate email: $500 and up

working late email laptop

SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock.com

While the price to hack a Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail account is $129, according to SecureWorks, the report pegs the fee for corporate email hacking at $500 per mailbox.

Scams of corporate employees generally involve phishing, which requires sending phony emails masquerading as a known partner to steal usernames, password, financial data, or other sensitive information.

Corporate email hacking drained over $676 million from company coffers in 2017, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report.

6. Break into a cell phone: $21.60/month or more

phone

Reuters

If you’re looking to monitor an Android device (version 4.0 or later), you can use the Copy9 app to hack and monitor the phone. The app has a paid version starting at $21.60 per month.

Copy9 comes with 18 different features, including GPS tracking and sound recording. The app tracks the hacked phone’s information even when the phone’s offline, and once it’s connected to the internet, all tracked info is uploaded right into your account.

A downside of the app is that you need to have the target phone in your hand to install the spyware app onto it. When you hire a hacker, he or she can access the phone remotely, which, according to one Quora user, could cost between $500 and $5,000.

7. Hack into Facebook with permission, for rewards of up to $40,000

Facebook

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hacking Facebook is allowed, only if you alert the platform as to what you find. Facebook has a Bug Bounty program that pays hackers for finding bugs, so the company can patch them.

A recent Bug Bounty promotion offered a trip to the DEFCON conference for the best bug report in June. The company said in June that it gives out prizes between $500 and $3,000. But in 2017, Fortune reported that Facebook paid Russian researcher Andrew Leonov a whopping $40,000 for uncovering a glitch that allowed malware to hide in digital photos.

Laura McCamy is a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Innovative Ideas Transforming Their Industries

Are you good at spotting innovation within your industry, or are you constantly playing catch-up? Executives spend a lot of time talking about innovation and creativity in company pitches, but studies show that more often than not, it’s all talk and little follow-through. Executives and managers frequently shoot down creative ideas that would help a company grow in a new direction or capture an existing marketplace, reports Inc. Creating a workplace culture that drives innovation is tricky.

Case in point: Kodak. Back in 1989, the company’s engineers built the first DSLR camera. Executives panicked. Bringing the camera to the marketplace would cannibalize film sales and undermine business. Executives failed to realize the importance of a first-mover advantage and seize the marketplace first. Of course, their plan to delay the inevitable was a fail. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012, the same year that sales for the four major camera makers (Olympus, Sony, Nikon, and Canon) topped $31.6 billion, despite continued competition from smartphones.

Every day, it seems like a new product or service launches with a truly “WOW!” impact. As a solopreneur focused on digital marketing, I keep a close eye on innovation within the digital marketing space. But sometimes it’s nice to step away from the chatter over the latest social media network or local mobile SEO tactic and check in on what other industries are doing, too. These four ideas are poised to transform their respective industries and are worth watching in 2016:

Industry: eCommerce and banking

Idea: digital gold with BitGold

Canadian startup BitGold is advancing the digital payment revolution with a simple mission: help people securely acquire, store and spend gold. This includes offering customers a prepaid card for spending their gold or converting gold payments into currency at any ATM machine. While BitCoin has failed to take off partly because consumers don’t fully understand the product’s value, BitGold’s founders are optimistic their product will find a broader mass-market appeal. They’ve got one thing already going in their favor: as an elemental unit of accounting for the past, present, and future, gold is a natural unit for online savings in the age of global trade and currency fluctuations.

Industry: technology

Idea: parent-friendly smartphone monitoring with Pumpic App

Today’s teenagers live online: 92% use their phones to go online daily and, shockingly, more than half of all children report being a victim of cyberbullying. Worse, the majority of cyberbully victims never inform their parents. Constant, unrestricted access to chat apps is correlated with an uptick in everything from teenage sexting to cyberbullying. Tragic cases like the recent death of a 13-year old Virginia girl who allegedly met her abductor online are a reminder that parents must step up to protect their teens. Pumpic app is a multi-feature parental control app that allows parents to monitor text messages, call history, contacts, emails, and popular messaging apps including Kik, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. A remote control panel allows parents to set restrictions and unobtrusively check in on their children.

Industry: healthcare

Idea: child-friendly thermometers with Fever Scout

VivaLNK’s Fever Scout is a flexible patch that provides continuous temperature monitoring. For young children, the soft patch is barely noticeable. For busy parents, it’s a lifesaver. The patch sends continuous data directly to a smartphone app that tracks and alerts parents to a change in the child’s temperature. Customizable notifications alert parents when a child needs attention. The flexible patch will start shipping in Spring 2016.

Industry: auto

Idea: In-vehicle diagnostics and car-to-car communication with the telematics

Telematics – defined as the blending of computer and wireless telecommunications technologies – is transforming cars into smarter, safer, and better-connected vehicles. While most of us are already familiar with basic telematics features like GPS and infotainment, new telematics services like in-vehicle diagnostics and vehicle-to-vehicle communication are poised to transform driving as we know it. Get ready for pay-per-use and premium subscription services that control everything from content streaming to maintenance diagnostics, reports Robert Prime, the founder of Telematics.com.

Got a Big Idea? How to Evaluate Your Innovation for Success

While we can’t see into the future (yet), we can use a set of metrics to evaluate which ideas are likely to be game-changers and which will just fizzle away into the world of 8-track tapes,

(remember those?) and Segways. Take a page from the late Ohio State University Professor Everett Rodgers (who coined the term “early adopter”) and consider these questions:

What is the product’s relative advantage compared with the marketplace? If your idea has a clear positive advantage over the existing marketplace, people will try it.

How compatible is the product with the status quo? Being too ahead of our time or current infrastructure will hinder marketplace adoption.

How complex is the idea? If a layman can’t understand its value or grasp a new paradigm, you may struggle to achieve mass adoption.

How easy is it to test your product? If you can’t test out your idea on a small scale without the resources of Elon Musk or Apple, it’s less likely to be adopted on a larger scale.

How observable are the product’s benefits? If your product is easy to use with an immediate quality-of-life benefit, your innovation is more likely to be viable.

Bottom line:

Don’t get stuck inside the box. Keep a close eye on emerging technology and industry trends so your business will be prepared to innovate and stake out first-mover advantage in the marketplace.

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