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Showing posts with label Security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Security. Show all posts

Facebook investigated for the acquisitions of WhatsApp, Instagram and other companies

If you can't beat them, allies or, better yet, buy them . It is an extreme synthesis, but it gives an idea of ​​the suspicions about the anticompetitive practices that led the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to the decision to investigate the work of Facebook in relation to the numerous acquisitions made over the years. Those of WhatsApp (in 2014) and Instagram (in 2012) are the best known, but are placed in a more articulated strategy through which the company of Mark Zuckerberg has incorporated about 90 companies in the last 15 years.

The purpose of the investigation, which is now brought to the media's attention by The Wall Street Journal , is to establish the exact motivation that prompted Facebook to start such a massive '' buying campaign ' ': it was motivated by the legitimate desire to strengthen the resources at its disposal and to expand business activities or the desire to eliminate potential competitors?

Facebook obviously favors the first hypothesis: during the convening at the United States Congress on 16 July as part of the important Antitrust investigation against web giants , Matt Perault , head of Global Policy Development at Facebook, said that these operations they gave an impulse to innovation and allowed to bring together companies with peculiarities and complementary strengths. The startups and companies that joined Facebook, according to Perault:

as part of Facebook they had more chances to innovate than they would have had on their own.

Among the acquisitions that could be passed under the magnifying glass of the FTC is that of 2013 by Onavo Mobile : as recalled by the US daily, Facebook has used its technology to collect data in order to identify promising companies or new product categories /services. The acquisition of WhatsApp would have been decided precisely by analyzing the data collected by the Onavo Protect app, removed in recent months from the Play Store .

We will have to wait for the outcome of the investigations conducted by the FTC to establish whether the Facebook strategy violates the competition rules. If the social network giant were found guilty, various scenarios would open up: from the cancellation of some of the acquisitions - it is an idea supported by a certain part of the US political class , and not only in relation to Facebook - to the application of limits to the use of acquired resources.

A new difficult period is on the horizon for Facebook, after the record $ 5 billion fine that the FTC ordered last July . 

New ransomware on Android uses SMS to spread

Android is suffering from new ransomware that is spreading using SMS, thus trying to reach as many people as possible.

The latest threats are using a variety of methods to contaminate many phones with the Android system, so be careful when you want to stay protected.

The latest threat to the system is ransomware, which uses SMS to propagate, thus spreading quickly and efficiently to other devices.

Ransomware is malware that is intended to encrypt the files and data of infected phones and computers and to request an amount of money to release this data back to the user.

Android / Filecoder.C is the latest ransomware for the Android system, it started appearing in the middle of this month, and proving to be very efficient in propagating.

Unlike other ransomware, Android / Filecoder.C has an almost unique way of working.

When infecting an Android device, the first thing it does is start encrypting files, but at the same time it starts sending SMS to contacts stored in the phone book, thus trying to trick others by sending text and a malicious link to the phone. ransomware installation on the phone.

So far it has been discovered that there are over 42 different types of messages that have been sent, the intention being that the messages are unique and can really mislead who is receiving.

In addition to sending messages, Android / Filecoder.C has a very different operating mode, it does not encrypt files of less than 150KB nor above 50MB, the basic Android items continue to function normally, including unlocking the phone. no major problems

Files affected and blocked by ransomware are only released when users pay a predefined amount, usually somewhere between 0.01 or 0.02 Bitcoins .

So the best thing to do is not to press links on any unfamiliar pages or SMS, even if they are sent by your friends, before clicking, ask your friend if the message really is true and if it was sent by himself.


U.S. Justice Deptartment is opening an antitrust investigation on big tech companies

There have been many antitrust mishaps in the technology world recently, be it due to poor protection of private user data or anti-competitive practices, which have resulted in investigations and fines the show up every now and then. Now, the United States Justice Department is opening up another investigation, but this one is broader than the ones we usually see.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the Department will be conducting a review of the biggest companies in technology, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. The review can result in additional fines and measures against those companies, on top of the potential consequences of investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, for example.

Unlike the antitrust investigations we usually get, the Justice Department's goal isn't completely clear - instead, it's more of a general review to find any problems that may need addressing. The Department will be looking at how these companies have grown and expanded into additional businesses. What's more, the investigation won't be just about potential antitrust issues. Officials have said that they will be paying attention to any practices that might conflict with other laws, potentially resulting in even more penalties for these companies.

Makan Delrahim, antitrust chief of the Justice Department, said:

“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands (...). The department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”

Big tech companies have been in the sights of many politicians as of late. Some Democratic candidates have called for companies to be broken up, and President Donald Trump has hinted at the possibility of suing them over potential anti-conservative bias. It seems like the threat of some kind of investigation was bound to materialize at some point, and it seems to be happening now.


Google and YouTube are reportedly being fined millions for collecting data on children

A report by The Washington Post suggests the FTC has found Google and YouTube to be in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits websites from collecting data on children under 13 years of age without the consent of their parents.

The investigation was the result of complaints to the agency going as far back as 2015, and the investigation was revealed to the public back in June due to reporting by The Washington Post. Now, it seems the agency has come to a settlement with Google.

The agency will be charging Google a multimillion-dollar fine, though the exact amount of the fine was not disclosed by The Washington Post's sources. The committee adjudicating on the matter was seemingly divided on the subject, with three Republicans in favour of the settlement and two Democrats opposed to it.

While the amount of the fine may not be much of an inconvenience for the tech giant with its billion-dollar revenues, it could potentially set a precedent that would lead the company into more legal trouble in the future. It could also be quite precarious for other tech companies, who may also find themselves in the FTC's crosshairs over the same concerns.

Perhaps in an attempt to avert any future legal action against it, Google has been in the process of making changes to its policies pertaining to kids' usage of its services for a while now. It has started disabling comments on videos featuring young kids and is also actively considering moving all kid-oriented videos from main YouTube app to the Kids app, which is designed for use by children.


German cybersecurity agency identifies critical flaw in VLC Media Player

A German cybersecurity agency, CERT-Bund, which is responsible for organising the country's response to any computer emergencies, has recently discovered what it describes as a critical flaw in the popular VLC Media Player.

VLC is known to be a highly compatible media player, and thus boasts an impressive total downloads of over 3 billion, making this vulnerability all the more dangerous. CERT-Bund classified the vulnerability, officially logged as CVE-2019-13615, to be a "High" (Level 4) exploit, which is the second-highest risk assessment level by the agency.

The exploit is rather nasty and allows attackers to not only execute code remotely but also allows for unauthorised disclosure of information, unauthorised modification of files and disruption of service.

VLC is currently in the process of creating a fix, which can be seen on its website here. However, the ticket shows work on the fix is only 60% complete and there's no ETA on when it might be complete. CERT-Bund says there are no known cases where the exploit has actually been used by attackers, but it might be a good idea to steer clear of VLC for the time being, until the exploit is officially patched. We've reached out to Videolan for more information about the matter, and for an estimate of when a fix might become available.