Tag Archives: security

BREAKING NEWS: Facebook Uncovers Political Influence Campaign

Facebook Uncovers Political Influence Campaign Ahead of Midterms.

San Francisco (AFP) – Facebook said Tuesday it shut down more than 30 fake pages and accounts involved in what appeared to be a "coordinated" effort to stoke hot-button social issues ahead of November midterm US elections, but cannot identify the source despite hints Russia was involved.

It said the "bad actor" accounts on the world's biggest social network and its photo-sharing site Instagram could not be tied to Russian actors, who US officials say used the platform to spread disinformation ahead of the 2016 presidential election in the United States.

But the tech giant did say "some of the activity is consistent" with that of the Saint Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) — the Russian troll farm that managed many false Facebook accounts used to influence the 2016 vote.

"We have found evidence of connections between these accounts and previously identified IRA accounts, but we don't believe the evidence is strong enough at this time to make public attribution to the IRA," Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos said during a conference call with reporters.

"We can't say for sure if this is the IRA with improved capabilities or a different organization."

The investigation is at an early stage, revealed now because one of the pages being covertly operated was orchestrating a real-world counter-protest to a "Unite the Right" event in Washington, DC, on August 10.

Facebook is sharing information about the pages and accounts with intelligence officials, and planned to notify members of the social network who expressed interest in attending the counter-protest.

Facebook said it is shutting down 32 pages and accounts "engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior" even though it may never be known for certain what group or country was behind them.

"Attribution is not necessary for us to find and stop this behavior," Stamos said.

– Russian Trolls Eyed –

Facebook has briefed US law enforcement agencies, Congress and other tech companies about its findings.

"Today's disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation, and I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity," US Senator Mark Warner, the Senate intelligence committee's ranking Democrat, said in a statement.

"I also expect Facebook, along with other platform companies, will continue to identify Russian troll activity and to work with Congress on updating our laws to better protect our democracy in the future."

The company said those behind the campaign had been "more careful to cover their tracks, adding: "We've found evidence of some connections between these accounts and IRA accounts we disabled last year (…) but there are differences too."

Some of the most-followed pages that were shut down included "Resisters" and "Aztlan Warriors."

The "Resisters" page enlisted support from real followers for an August protest in Washington against the far-right "Unite the Right" group.

Stamos confirmed that pages also played into immigration issues with references to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Inauthentic pages dating back more than a year organized an array of real world events, all but two of which have taken place, according to Facebook.

The news comes just days after Facebook suffered the worst single-day evaporation of market value for any company, after missing revenue forecasts for the second quarter and offering soft growth projections.

Mark Zuckerberg's firm says the slowdown will come in part due to its new approach to privacy and security — one which helped experts uncover these so-called "bad actors."

"We face determined, well-funded adversaries who will never give up and are constantly changing tactics. It's an arms race and we need to constantly improve too," Facebook said.

"It's why we're investing heavily in more people and better technology to prevent bad actors misusing Facebook — as well as working much more closely with law enforcement and other tech companies to better understand the threats we face."
 

From article:
https://www.yahoo.com/news/facebook-uncovers-political-influence-campaign-ahead-midterms-173305780.html

By Author:
  Glenn CHAPMAN, AFP • July 31, 2018

TP

Is Privacy Even Possible

… In This Golden Age of Data Breaches?

Privacy seems like a pipe dream when everyone’s data seems vulnerable.

Do we just give up on it though?

In 2018 the number of internet users, worldwide, rose to 3.6 billion. If you’re a collector of anecdotes or technology milestones, that’s more than half the world’s population to be specific. Make no mistake, that’s a lot of users, a lot of data being bandied about the ether and, if you’ve been following any of the data breaches making headlines in recent months, your next deduction must surely be that that’s a lot of potential vulnerability.

The Privacy Paradox

With so many internet users consuming online products that require increasing amounts of personal data in order to provide better, more innovative and personal experiences for these consumers (not to mention vendor monetization of personal data), we increasingly have a “privacy paradox,” as Mary Meeker, of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, reminded us in her highly-anticipated 2018 Internet Trends Report, released in May.

The term, which has been bandied about the tech industry for some years, refers to the conundrum arising from the idea that tech companies must use more data to enrich their customers’ experiences without betraying their trust and how consumers, in turn, must give up their privacy in exchange for services like Gmail, Facebook and so on.

There is no comfort zone for consumers when it comes to online privacy. Every nugget of personal information we hand out is a source of concern, and data privacy scandals like the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica calamity, the Equifax breach and more recently the eFail debacle do little to make us feel any safer or more comfortable online.

Off the grid, ostrich approach, or another solution?

You might argue that the answer is to simply get offline completely, and undoubtedly many folks have done exactly that in the wake of the aforementioned data privacy fails. Others advocate, by example, the ostrich approach of burying your head in the sand – if you can’t see it, it can’t be real. Neither are viable options for anyone who intends to live, work and contribute to society in any meaningful way. The future is a connected one, and the challenge is to make it a secure one.

Yet, as recently as May 14, 2018, a team of Belgian and German researchers upended the world as we know it with their disclosure of vulnerabilities in the ubiquitous email encryption schemes PGP and S/MIME. Dubbed eFail, this revelation spread like wildfire across the inter-webs, sowing fear and doubt and spawning such ill-considered solutions as disabling email encryption altogether – a bit like leaving your front door open because there as so many burglaries happening, so why bother?

The timing of eFail couldn’t have been worse either, coming just 11 days before the May 25 GDPR deadline and exposing a data privacy fail that, as email security innovator Cryptshare, reveals is not a quick fix because it requires action from software vendors, standardization bodies and end-users and will therefore take months to achieve the required sum of necessary measures.

"In today’s business world, fast and reliable electronic communications are key factors for success. Messages and files regardless of size need to be exchanged with contacts around the globe with speed, security and auditability. Business users, like consumers, don't want to give up their privacy or fall victim to criminal activity when using technology tools as ubiquitous as email. They want simple, reliable security solutions that don't get in the way and that all of their staff can use" shares Mark Forrest, CEO of Cryptshare.

By , CSO from IDG Contributor Network (ICN)* …
https://www.csoonline.com/article/3290393/privacy/is-privacy-even-possible-in-this-golden-age-of-data-breaches.html#tk.rss_all

*Opinions expressed by ICN authors are their own.

TP

Jack Ma amp Ant Financial Implementing Blockchain Technology

Jack Ma-led Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s fintech conglomerate Ant Financial considers blockchain technology as one of the five key technologies that will dominate every industry in the long-term.

Ant Financial Hopes to Use Blockchain in its Core Businesses

At the TechCrunch International City Event held in Hangzhou this week, Zhang Hui, the director of Blockchain Department at Ant Financial, stated that alongside AI, Security, IoT, and computing, blockchain is a key technology the company is actively developing and testing to implement it at a large commercial scale.

Zhang noted that in terms of immutability and decentralization, blockchain technology in its current form is impeccable. Using blockchain enables the ability to process sensitive data and personal information in a peer-to-peer manner without the involvement of intermediaries. However, Zhang emphasized that scalability is a major issue of blockchain technology that needs to be addressed to bring in conglomerates and industry leaders into the blockchain sector.

In the long-term, Zhang and the rest of his team at Ant Financial believe the company will implement blockchain technology onto its core businesses and platforms, as Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma suggested in 2017. However, for the technology to have significant impact on existing financial infrastructures, its capacity will need to be improved exponentially to handle tens of thousands of transactions per second.

TechCrunch partner Technode, a technology publication in China, reported:

“Looking forward, Zhang hopes that blockchain will create new business models for the company and not just provide value-added services. Zhang also hopes to expand their blockchain-based cross-border payment services globally and explore more B2C use cases.”

Influence of Ant Financial in the Asian Market

In Asia, even outside of China, Ant Financial’s core platform Alipay is widely utilized as an alternative payment method to cash. By mainstream adoption, Alipay is ahead of Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Apple Pay in most Asian countries including Japan, China, Thailand, and Taiwan.

In May, due to the rapid growth of Alipay, Ant Financial raised a staggering $10 billion from a group of global and local investors, valuing the company at $150 billion. One of the investors in Ant Financial is Khazanah Nasional, a sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Malaysia, which holds commercial assets of the government.

The interest towards digital assets and their underlying technology by Ant Financial may lead to the adoption of the technology by Alipay, which remains as the biggest fintech platform in the world as of July 2018, without major competitors.

Earlier in June, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma described the meteoric rise of digital assets and their exponential increase in value since 2017 a “bubble,” but noted that the blockchain is a revolutionary technology.

“It is…not right to become rich overnight by betting on blockchain. Technology itself isn’t the bubble, but bitcoin likely is,” Ma said.

As a controlling shareholder of Ant Financial, Ma also said that the technology should be used to solve data privacy, security, and sustainability issues, and not finance tools and concepts for making money, referring to ICOs and newly emerging tokens.

CREDITS: The post $150 Billion-Valued Ant Financial Makes a Bit Bet on Blockchain Technology appeared first on CCN:
https://www.ccn.com/150-billion-valued-ant-financial-makes-a-bit-bet-on-blockchain-technology

TP

Problem: Creator of Web Realizes It’s Gone Way Wrong

Solution: Decentralization of data, giving individual users unprecedented power over their data and how it's used. 

The need for radical change is evident as it pertains to privacy and security, which will result in true data ownership as well as improved privacy.

Enter the New Sheriff in town: Markethive, whose mission is clear. Creation of a decentralized, autonomous social market network ecosystem that is controlled by its entrepreneurial members worldwide. The days of social media platforms using your data, tracking your activites, content and conversations for what turns out to be their financial gain and the loss of your privacy is OVER!

It's also important to note, that with this entirely new approach is the ability for subscribers/members to "earn while learning" and to generate a truly universal income, thereby placing the power, privacy, security and revenues back into the hands of individuals.

From the moment he decided to share the web with the world, Tim Berners-Lee knew his invention could be dangerous.

That became especially obvious when Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal broke — a moment that "devastated" the father of the world wide web, he recently told Vanity Fair in an interview. 

People have been Berners-Lee's top priority since he envisioned the web nearly 30 years ago. That's why he released the internet as an open-source platform and never profited off its invention. And he knew it would reshape the world, both for better and worse.

The worse came when Facebook revealed it had improperly shared as many as 87 million users' data with Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm tied to President Trump's campaign. "We demonstrated that the web had failed instead of served humanity," Berners-Lee tells Vanity Fair. But Berners-Lee knew the web was faulty long before that, and he's been examining ways to fix it since the 2016 election. Since this initial discovery, it would seem this is just the tip of a very large iceberg lurking beneath the surface and is now being revealed.

Repairing the internet means ensuring billionaires like Elon Musk don't have better web access than, say, everyone in Ethiopia, Berners-Lee says. His first step is a platform called Solid, which gives individual users unprecedented power over their data and how it's used. Anyone can log in to help build Solid, but Berners-Lee suggests those without coding skills "go out on the streets" and advocate to change what the internet has become.

Read more at Vanity FairKathryn Krawczyk

 

TP

Facebook: More API Restrictions and Shutdowns

It feels as if we are witnessing a very slow, painful, debilitating demise.

Seems every day there is more news that Facebook is spinning out-of-control without a parachute. The downward spiral Facebook is on has turned into more of a slide that is picking up speed and momentum as it goes.

Following the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal and the more recent discovery of a Facebook app that had been leaking data on 120 million users, Facebook is today announcing a number of API changes aimed at better protecting user information. The changes will impact multiple developer-facing APIs, including those used to create social experiences on the site, as well as those for media partners, and more.

Some of the APIs are being shuttered for low adoption, while others will require app reviews going forward, Facebook said.

The company said the following API restrictions were now being put into place:

  • Graph API Explorer App: Facebook will deprecate its test app today. Developers will need to use their own apps' access tokens to test their queries on the Graph API Explorer going forward.
  • Profile Expression Kit: This let developers build apps that allowed people to decorate their profile photos or create profile videos. This one seems to be lumped in the group of shutdowns not because of misuse potential, but because it had low adoption. It will shut down October 1st.
  • Media Solutions APIs: On August 1, Facebook is shutting down Topic Search, Topic Insights and Topic Feed and Public Figure APIs due to low usage. It already deprecated the Trending API and Signal tool for journalists, the Trending Topics product, and the Hashtag Voting for interactive TV experiences. Going forward, Facebook says public content discovery APIs will be limited to page content and public posts on certain verified profiles.
  • Pages API: Developers can search using the Pages API again, but will need feature permissions to Page Public Content Access, which can only be obtained through the app review process.
  • Marketing API: Developers will have to go through an app review before they can use this API.
  • Leads Ads Retrieval: Facebook is introducing new app review permissions for this, too.
  • Live Video APIs: Will also have new app review permissions.

The changes were detailed in a post published the Facebook Newsroom, which hinted they would not be the last.

Credits and for more on this article. Originally appeared in TechCrunch: https://tcrn.ch/2IKza9A

STAY TUNED!

TP

What Next? Over 800000 Facebook Users BE AFRAID

… they accidentally unblocked previously blocked people!

This is a significant error from Facebook. Victims of harassment or of abusive ex-partners will sometimes use the block feature to prevent aggressors from contacting them or viewing their online activities. This bug could have given these bad actors an avenue back into their victims' online lives that shouldn't have been open to them.

The news is yet another misstep from Facebook as it attempts to recover from a string of bruising scandals. The company has come under intense criticism over its role in the spread of Russian propaganda and misinformation. And more recently it was revealed that political research firm Cambridge Analytica misappropriated the personal data of tens of millions of users.

For further details: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/facebook-warns-800-000-users-180255208.html

TP