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  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: data breach, , ,   

    Google+ shutting even earlier due to more massive breach 

    Google+ shutting even earlier due to more massive breach

    If you’ll recall, back in October, Google announced that it would be shuttering its underused social network Google+ in August of 2019 due to a security breach that left 500,000 user accounts vulnerable. This was after the Wall Street Journal discovered a flaw in the comically underused platform. In a world where Facebook is continually exposing millions of accounts to third parties in an almost regular basis, 500,000 users seemed like a thimble of water in the ocean in comparison. Now, a new breach has put Google in very similar company with Facebook.

    During internal testing by Google, it was recently discovered that Google+ had another bug in it that left 100 times the amount of accounts exposed than the last breach. Over 52 million accounts could have been potentially exposed with such information as a user’s name, email address, occupation, and age to third-party developers. Google has stated that there’s no evidence that any of the exposed information was used by bad actors but this latest breach has caused Google to move up the timetable for the demise Google+. Now Google has scheduled the shutdown for April of 2019.

    Besides being in amazement that Google+ actually had that many users at one point, this bug could not have come at a worse time. Maybe Google will be able to weather this storm since Google+ was nowhere near as popular as its competitors but when you add it to the multitudes of other security breaches in similar spaces this could invite even more governmental eyes looking to regulate companies like Google and Facebook. And as we’ve mentioned before, in today’s highly partisan climate it might not be the best time for any kind of sweeping legislative change.

     
  • Geebo 9:22 am on November 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: data breach, ,   

    Your Facebook account and messages could be sold for just ten cents 

    Your Facebook account and messages could be sold for just ten cents

    Ever since the major security breaches happened at Facebook, the social media titan has been trying to assure us that no sensitive user information has fallen into the hands of bad actors. However, it may be just now that we’re starting to see the veracity of those claims. When the accounts of hundreds of millions of users have been exposed, you have to expect at least some fallout from the exposure. Let’s revisit Facebook’s most recent hack that exposed somewhere between 30 and 50 million users.

    Now, the BBC is reporting that the private messages from over 80,000 Facebook accounts are being sold on the open market. While the majority of the accounts belong to users in the Ukraine and Russia, there are US and UK accounts listed among them. The bad actors in possession of this information were trying to sell each account for ten cents a piece. The BBC claims to have verified with some of the exposed users that the messages are in fact genuine. The hackers also claim that the 81,000 accounts are just a small sample of a larger cache that contains 120 million accounts.

    Not surprisingly, Facebook is trying to deflect blame from themselves, instead blaming the compromised accounts on malicious third-party browser extensions. That may be all well and good but when you put the words Facebook and hacked together it’s still Facebook who is going to take a lion’s share of the blame no matter how you look at it. Considering they’ve allowed close to 350 million accounts to be exposed in the past year is laying blame at their feet really that much of a stretch?

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: data breach, ,   

    Latest Facebook hack was not politically motivated. The real explanation is worse. 

    Latest Facebook hack was not politically motivated. The real explanation is worse.

    It was back in late September, which was not all that long ago, when it was announced that Facebook was hacked to the tune of 50 million accounts. The hack not only exposed user information but allowed the hackers access to what’s been referred to as ‘access tokens’, which theoretically would allow the hackers to gain access to other platforms which use Facebook as a login. While Facebook is now claiming the number of accounts hacked was closer to 30 million, it was believed the attack was carried out by state-sponsored agents. Now, Facebook is walking back on that claim and the new claim isn’t much better.

    According to yesterday’s report from the Wall Street Journal, brought here via Business Insider, an anonymous Facebook insider has said that the hack was conducted by your run of the mill spam hackers. These hackers are the type who are in it for the money rather than any political ideal. Among some of the information that was taken from Facebook were birthdates, phone numbers, search history of Facebook users.

    In my opinion, it’s worse that Facebook was hacked by a group of spam hackers rather than a foreign power. To me, this means that Facebook’s security is lacking in a basic way since they can’t keep out the hackers who sell your information to email spammers and phone scammers. An attack from a world power can almost be understood against a platform that is as massive as Facebook. However, Facebook’s security should be above nickel and dime attacks like this that are more akin to the stereotypical hacker who lives in their parents’ basement.

    A saying that’s been going around in tech circles lately is that the only safe Facebook account is a deleted Facebook account.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: data breach, , ,   

    Security breach claims Google+ 

    Security breach claims Google+

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A major social network run by a major tech corporation exposes a good size chunk of its user data which the company chooses not to disclose until it’s investigated by the media. Normally, you probably wouldn’t be wrong if you thought that this was another story about Facebook but for once you’d be mistaken. This time it’s Google’s failed attempt at a social network known as Google Plus or Google+ as the search engine behemoth has branded it.

    The Wall Street Journal recently uncovered that a flaw in Google+ allowed user data to be exposed for 500,000 users. While this would be a drop in the bucket for Facebook, this is a massive breach for Google+ users. After the Journal report was released, Google almost immediately announced it was shuttering Google+ within the next ten months. So by August of 2019, Google+ will be no more. In a very Facebook-like move. Google reportedly knew of the breach back in Spring of this year but remained silent on it in order to avoid the controversy that Facebook was undergoing after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

    Now, we can all joke about how barely anyone we know used Google+ but its impending demise shows a greater problem among the tech giants whose services we all use. Whether it’s Facebook, Google, Twitter or whomever, we use their services in exchange for a certain amount of trust that our personal information will be handled with a modicum of responsibility. Many of these companies have betrayed that trust especially in 2018. If these data breaches continue then these companies are just begging for governmental regulation and considering how divisive and partisan the current governmental scene is, it would make it the worst time for any kind of sweeping legislative change.

     
  • Geebo 10:15 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: data breach, ,   

    Another day, another Facebook leak. 50m users this time. 

    Another day, another Facebook leak. 50m users this time.

    It must be a day ending in Y because once again, a security breach in Facebook has exposed the user information of some 50 million accounts. It was reported this past Friday, that there was a flaw in Facebook security that potentially could have led hackers to have access to these millions of accounts. What makes matters worse with this latest Facebook security breach is that the information could have led to the hijacking of other accounts outside of Facebook.

    The information exposed is called an access token. Access tokens allow you to login to other services using your Facebook account. Facebook is so entrenched in our lives that our Facebook accounts now act as our logins to a multitude of other platforms including those not owned by Facebook. So potentially, not only could your Facebook account have been taken over but most of your online life could have been assumed if you’re that reliant on your Facebook login.

    Facebook has said they have fixed the problem but once again this is Facebook closing the barn door after the horses have already gotten out. The data breaches are becoming so prevalent that we’ve just accepted them as inevitable. Is this really the platform we want to be trusting with our personal information? We share so much on Facebook that even without access bad actors could determine so much about us that they could use to our advantage. With Facebook leaking our information on top of that it shows that we’ve clearly given up on security for convenience.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Crimson Hexagon, data breach, , ,   

    Facebook is facing yet another privacy problem 

    Facebook is facing yet another privacy problem

    Once again Facebook finds itself embroiled in controversy over the possible abuse of user data. If you’ll recall, Facebook was admonished by both the US and UK governments when it was discovered that analytics firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users. Now, Facebook has suspended a research firm from accessing its data over surveillance concerns.

    Over the weekend, Facebook suspended its contract with research and marketing firm Crimson Hexagon. This was in response to a Wall Street Journal article that claims Crimson Hexagon has contracts with entities that have ties to US and Russian government agencies. Facebook has suspended Crimson Hexagon’s access to user data over fears that the data is being used to conduct government surveillance on Facebook users. Crimson Hexagon denies this claim and says they only get their information from public Facebook posts. However, it is a bit disconcerting that Crimson Hexagon has over 1 trillion of these posts in their databases.

    Besides the fact that this may be another case of Facebook being unable to keep track of who has its data, there’s another concern here. Facebook is only reacting to these potential breaches only after its brought to their attention by the media. By the time Facebook becomes aware of the problem, the data is already in questionable hands. Is Facebook not properly vetting these data collectors, or does Facebook just not really care about our privacy as long as they’re being paid for our information? Then again, the Cambridge Analytica scandal didn’t seem to hurt Facebook so it’s unlikely this latest kerfuffle will either. What will it really take before the American public realizes that Facebook’s only interest is in itself?

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , data breach, ,   

    Facebook facing fine from UK government 

    Facebook facing fine from UK government

    Yesterday, it was announced that the British government plans on fining Facebook for their role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office claims Facebook failed to ensure another company had deleted users’ data. Because of this, the ICO is looking to fine Facebook the maximum amount allowed by British law. While that may sound impressive, the actual amount is paltry compared to Facebook’s net worth.

    The ICO is planning on levying a fine of £500,000 against the social media juggernaut. That equates to around $663,000 in US figures. If this fine is imposed it will no doubt have little to no impact on Facebook since the house that Mark built probably makes this amount in less than a minute. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could probably pay this fine just from the change cup in his Acura.

    Fines probably mean nothing to Facebook. Even if they were to be fined $1 billion, they could recoup that loss in a matter of days. Facebook won’t enact any real change until governments start threatening to regulate. It doesn’t even have to be the US government as the EU famously got both Microsoft and Google to curtail some of their more questionable business practices. Until then, Facebook will shake off any fine like so many fleas from a dog.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on June 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: data breach, ,   

    Facebook can’t keep track of where your data went 

    Facebook can't keep track of where your data went

    You’ll have to forgive us for constantly railing on Facebook for its sieve-like tendencies when it comes to its users’ personal data. I can’t speak for everyone at Geebo, but I come from a time on the internet when you didn’t share a bunch of personal information online. Then almost overnight with the advent of social media, we started sharing almost every intimate detail of our personal lives. Even if you post the most innocuous statuses on Facebook, the social media giant can determine so many things about you as this video demonstrates.

    According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has so much of our data that they can’t keep track of it all. We’re all familiar with the Cambridge Analytica scandal by now but as the WSJ points out, Facebook has also given a lot of our data to companies that are no longer in business and because of that our personal information could be anywhere out in the wild. Once something is out on the internet it’s next to impossible to get it back.

    Again it needs to be said that this is too much information for one entity like Facebook to have. It’s now gotten to the point where Facebook apparently seems to be the proverbial submarine with a screen door when it comes to our personal data. This data can be abused in so many ways by bad actors and Facebook treats it like so much junk mail that it just throws on a table and forgets about it. Unfortunately, the only true way to stop Facebook from abusing our private data is to stop giving it to them, but in a society that’s driven by how many likes you can get for your vacation photos that won’t be happening any time soon.

     
  • Geebo 9:16 am on June 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: data breach, , Huawei,   

    Did Facebook share data with the Chinese government? 

    Did Facebook share data with the Chinese government?

    I’ve mentioned previously that I don’t normally feel inclined to post about the same subject in the same week. For example, if Facebook makes the news for one of its many alleged data leaks, I try to only post about that once a week. I do this to try to avoid reader burnout on any particular topic. However, Facebook seems to be the gift that keeps on giving with its reported mishandling of user data when it comes to third parties. Now, there are concerns that Facebook may have inadvertently shared user data with a foreign government.

    In an update to our previous post about Facebook sharing user data with device manufacturers, one of those manufacturers has questionable ties with the Chinese government. China-based Huawei is the third largest manufacturers of cell phones in the world. Many within the US government believe that Huawei could allow access to their devices by the government of China which could lead to espionage in the US. This is nothing new either as these concerns have been around since the last two previous administrations. Huawei is one of those manufacturers that Facebook had an agreement with to share user data leading some to assume that Facebook may have exposed user data to the government of China.

    Once again, Facebook is playing catch-up with their possible data breaches as they say that they’re ending their relationship with Huawei even though Huawei claims they never exposed any user information.

    How many more potential data breaches will it take before the public decides to limit the personal information they voluntarily give to Facebook who then gives it to multiple third parties? The US government already seems poised to regulate or break up Facebook, yet the Facebook users continue to sacrifice privacy for the sake of convenience.

     
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