The MIDASearch Trawler

November 2019

 

Introducing BERT – Google’s latest enhancement to improve search results.

The name ‘Bert’ makes me think of Bert from Sesame Street ……..

…… however to the web giant Google BERT is an acromion for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers and is their biggest update to impact search results in almost five years. According to Google BERT is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) – or to put it another way – it allows Google to understand language in a similar way that humans do.

The example below shows the difference in the results for the query ‘Can you get medicine for someone pharmacy’.

BERT is now live for English language searches and Google say it will impact 1 in 10 queries in terms of changing the results that rank for those queries. Other languages are to be rolled out in the near future.

Fraudsters used a popular video game to launder money.

 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive a multiplayer first person shooter video game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation, have disabled players ability to trade container keys between accounts due to Money Laundering concerns.

Players earned cases within the game that contain weapons and cosmetic upgrades. The player would then need to purchase ‘keys’ to open the case. Through the developers Stream Powered Marketplace players could trade cases and keys from each other.

On October 28th the developers released the following statement along with a patch to the game to resolve the issue:

“In the past, most key trades we observed were between legitimate customers. However, worldwide fraud networks have recently shifted to using CS:GO keys to liquidate their gains. At this point, nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced. As a result we have decided that newly purchased keys will not be tradeable or marketable.”

Data Protection (and lack of) around the world

Freedom on the net has published a handy document on how data is stored in different countries. It is worth remembering that when accessing a website the location of the website server is not necessarily in the same country as the website owner and as such could be subject to very different data laws.