Latest Security News: What’s Cracking?

Search: Facebook

Facebook announced a major upgrade to the social network’s search engine.

The search feature, which until now would show groups, events, and posts linked to your friends, is going to show trending posts and other content which “people are talking about”. Suggestions will be personalized to users, based on groups they are in, friends posts, and accounts connected to them.  The new search capabilities balance two elements really important to making facebook what it is: the relevance of the post itself, and the relevance of the person who posted it. This ensures that user’s search results will be as close and relevant to the things they are interested in and the people they know.

While this revolutionizes searching on Facebook, it raises a new slew of privacy concerns. Facebook even warns users to review their new security settings. Tom Stocky, VP of the search department at Facebook, said in an interview that they have been “proactively reminding” users about the importance of checking their security settings. The permissions granted are being broadened, and the audience that can view each post on the network is becoming wider and wider.

The easiest way to protect yourself and your posts is to constantly be updating your security settings. additionally, each post has a dropdown menu on the right side where you can manually select who may view the post (“public” or “friends only”, for example). Awareness of the changing security environment in a network as powerful as Facebook, and acute attention to your current settings is key for protecting yourself and yourposts.

Speaking of which..

AmsterdamPC2015-logo-431x100

University of Amsterdam hosted “Amsterdam Privacy Week”, a conference dedicated to scholarship and panels featuring the top privacy and data protection specialists from around the world. And who were some of their biggest spons

Activists were pretty pissed about this; quite laughable to make the two companies who have the most control over their consumers information in the world, the front sponsors of a convention dedicated to security and privacy. Aral Balkan, a rights and democracy activist, compared it to a convention dedicated to cancer research and cure sponsored by Marlboro. He claims we don’t yet understand how Google and Facebook are to privacy as what smoking is to cancer. Food for thought, indeed.ors of this prestigious conference? the “privacy moguls” themselves, Google and Facebook. Ha.

Social Engineering

social engineering

Cyber criminals are more creative and sneaky than ever in their quest to get to your sensitive data. Cybercriminals today fabricate clever and relevant stories, based on information the consumer has scattered across the internet. They use psychological manipulation in order to commit fraud against you and/or your company.  By simply intervening your communication with others, without you noticing their presence, they can get you and your correspondents to share your information with them. It’s as simple as fabricating a fictional story, sent from your boss’s email, for example, asking you to send them sensitive materials after their computer was “stolen” and describing it as a timepressing matter. You, after reading such an email, without second guessing immediately send them the necessary files, and thereby disclose sensitive company information that could cost the company a heavy price later on.

MyPermissions raises awareness of the sly behaviour and tactics of the hackers, and how threatening cybersecurity really is to each individual consumer. MyPermissions helps prevent cases like this from happening by heightening sensitivity to the potential dangers lurking around our every click.

Snapchat Snapthat
You’ll never believe what Snapchat updated. In addition to new filters users can choose from to design their snaps, the new terms of service include some pretty startling clause.

“While we’re not required to do so, we may access, review, screen and delete your content at any time and for any reason […] exhibit, and publicly display that content in any form and in any all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)”.
The company also says that it may share information with third parties.snapchat

Snapchat allows users to send multimedia messages that delete themselves after ten seconds.  After updating their app last week and adding a bunch of new filters, manyusers wouldn’t even be made aware of these updates and how exposed their snaps are.

Although for people who want to keep using snapchat, honestly there isn’t much you can do to change that reality- as of now. However, if we are more aware of those terms we will be more careful what information we expose over snapchat and be more mindful that probably more people are watching us than just the recipients we have selected.

Android: As Risky as the Track Record?

Although Android is notoriously less secure than iOS, is it really as unsafe and malware prone as some make it seem? AndroidHeadlines took a closer look at some of the biggest Android breaches of the last few months, and found that although the vulnerabilities exposed could have had detrimental effects on millions of devices across the globe, Android has patched them relatively quickly and accurately.

For example, Stagefright (a vulnerability discovered in July which gave hackers the ability to access and remotely control a device by sending a simple MMS), although jeopardized nearly a billion devices worldwide, still was patched almost immediately and laid to rest almost entirely.
Although the Android environment is far from perfect and still has what to aspire to in its security capabilities, most are uncovered relatively fast by security researchers and are fixed quickly by their teams.

Apple on the other hand:

Apple has been off the infected list for about as long as we can remember, however that seems to be changing. For the first time, they are the top of the vulnerability list! Didn’t think that could happen to them now, did ya? seems that success can be deceiving if you let it get the best of your A game. For a long time Java was leading in most exposed programs, and for the first time Apple has taken the lead.

Stay in the loop on the top security news and how you can stay protected!

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