Saturday 27 February 2010

How Trustworthy are Comparison Websites?

As you may or may not know, an affiliate website is a site that directs traffic to another site and earns commission whenever the visitor then makes a purchase.

A breakdown to help understand is this:

1) You own a bank, let's just say HSBC and in order to promote your products to a wider audience, you make an agreement with an affiliate network operator, ie. Commission Junction, Affiliate Window, etc, that anyone signing up to them and advertising HSBC's products, makes a commission if someone goes to the HSBC site from their site and starts a new account or gets a credit card etc.  This is the same for anything.  It could be you clicked through to Amazon and bought a Nintendo Wii.

2) The owner of the site then signs up to the affiliate network operator and sees HSBC as one of the registered companies.  They then sign up to them.

3) HSBC see that Moneysupermarket want to promote their product.  They decide it's a good thing that will drive traffic to their site, so they accept.

4) Upon acceptance via an automated e-mail.  Moneysupermarket then get a special link / URL, or banners to add to their site that are unique to Moneysupermarket

5) Moneysupermarket then do the same for all of the other banks.

6) You, as a customer then go to Moneysupermarket, search for the best credit card and when you find the one that suits you, you click on the link to go to the HSBC site.  Now the link you just clicked is unique to Moneysupermarket, so the affiliate network operator Commission Junction or whoever can track you registering for the credit card.

7) Once you've signed up / registered for the new card, HSBC now pays commission to the affiliate network operator, who take a minimal cut and then pass the rest of the commission onto Moneysupermarket.

That's how it works and hopefully it's understandable.  Basically, when you go to another site from a comparison site and then buy something, the comparison site gets commission.  This is fair enough, unless the comparison was unfair.  Anyway, that explanation is just to lead me onto the next bit.

How trustworthy are comparison websites?  Not bloody very!  Why?  I'll tell you (doesn't apply to all).

If you are signed up to one company that pays 0.4% commission on a sale, ie the customer buys a £1000 washing machine and the commission earnt for the comparison engine is £4, but another company is paying 2% commission therefore paying out £20, who would the comparison engine want to promote?

Comparison engines generally list and compare items in a way that looks like the top one is the best, but it may not be.  They sometimes also show the ones that are signed up as affiliates at the top of the list with links to their site, but all other sites that aren't affiliates are listed below with no links.

Fear not though as the wonderful and brilliant Martin Lewis is on hand with his moneysavingexpert site.  He is the real deal and has a wealth of information that will save you herd loads of money.  The budget calculator is bloody brilliant as well.................  Yes, he does make his money, how else would he be able to make a living.  Sometimes this is through commissions from other sites that have signed up as affiliates, but he does not do this directly as he wants to have a site that compares fairly and gives the best possible info for consumers (you and me), and he does this perfectly.

So you can see, and it is my personal opinion only, comparison websites are rubbish and unfair.  If you really want to save money, go to

How To Hack a Sky Router

Do you want to find out how to hack the WPA key of a Sky router?

This guide is for informational purposes only and applies to routers that are still using the default WPA key that came with the router.

If you turn on your wireless scanner and see wireless networks starting with SKY followed by numbers, then the chances are that the person has a default installation.

First things first, you need scanning software.  The best I've found is a full linux operating system that when booted has a host of hacking tools on it.  For details on downloading, installing, booting and using the tools, go to the Backtrack Network Security Suite site, for anyone that used to hack several years ago, this is the installation that replaced the Auditor.

There are others however, but I'm not going to list them here and I'm not going to explain how to use them either.  I may do in the future if I decide to do a step by step hacking wireless networks by collecting keys etc etc, but there are many other resources out there that can do this for you.  This is a good site and 'yes' you can hack a WEP network in around 10 mins.

So, here is a quick and easy way to hack a Sky network:
1) Start Kismet
2) Record the name and mac address of a wireless network in your area with the SSID SKY***
3) Go to
4) Select the router, you may need to try more than one
5) Type in the mac address and click generate
6) As if by magic, you now have the key

If this doesn't work or you want to learn how to hack a wireless network properly, then use the links above.  The Backtrack site also has tutorials and if you go to the remote-exploit site, then there is more there also.

As with any post that I'll do in the future, it is more a reference for me to look back on, that you're free to use.  If you are using the above for free broadband though, don't be such a tight a**e and buy your own.

For anyone reading this that hasn't encrypted their router or changed it from the default, and this includes the default username and password for logging into the admin section of your router - CHANGE IT AND SECURE IT.  You never know who is using your broadband.  If this doesn't worry you, then just imagine that the person using your broadband is downloading illegal software, movies, music, or even worse, looking at illegal sexually explicit material.  Do you want the police busting down your door for something you haven't been looking at?????  Try to prove it wasn't you!  SECURE YOUR WIRELESS NETWORK.