Tag Archives: Facebook

October 24th AVIEN updates

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

The Register: Facebook, Google sued for ‘secretly’ slurping people’s whereabouts – while Feds lap it up – “Facebook and Google are being sued in two proposed class-action lawsuits for allegedly deceptively gathering location data on netizens who thought they had opted out of such cyber-stalking.”


Graham Cluley: Twitter thought Elon Musk’s bizarre tweets were evidence he’d been hacked – “It’s an odd state of affairs when the bogus Elon Musk accounts offering bitcoin giveaways appear more legitimate than the real Elon’s tweets.”

Since there’s been a spate of Bitcoin fraud tweets spoofing his account, offering to sell someone some Bitcoin may have been a tweet too far.

Updates to Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

Graham Cluley: Twitter thought Elon Musk’s bizarre tweets were evidence he’d been hacked – “It’s an odd state of affairs when the bogus Elon Musk accounts offering bitcoin giveaways appear more legitimate than the real Elon’s tweets.”

Since there’s been a spate of Bitcoin fraud tweets spoofing his account, offering to sell someone some Bitcoin may have been a tweet too far.

Updates to Specific Ransomware Families and Types

BitDefender: Gamma ransomware compromises data on 16,000 patients at California hernia institute – “The attack was tied to the email address Glynnaddey@aol.com which, according to databreaches.net, is associated with Gamma ransomware (part of the Crysis ransomware family). ”

Updates to Mac Virus

 for ESET: Banking Trojans continue to surface on Google Play
The malicious apps have all been removed from the official Android store but not before the apps were installed by almost 30,000 users


Buzzfeed: Apps Installed On Millions Of Android Phones Tracked User Behavior To Execute A Multimillion-Dollar Ad Fraud Scheme – “A BuzzFeed News investigation uncovered a sophisticated ad fraud scheme involving more than 125 Android apps and websites, some of which were targeted at kids.”

David Harley

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Anti-social media part umpteen

BBC: Children ‘blackmailed’ for sexual images in online video chats. “A surge in the use of video chats and live-streaming among children is leaving them vulnerable to abuse, the NSPCC has warned, calling for a social network regulator to be introduced.”


Graham Cluley: Facebook Portal isn’t designed to be as private as you might hope – Graham says “I doubt I’m alone in the world in thinking that allowing Facebook, of all companies, into your home with a microphone and a video camera is a pretty terrible idea.” Indeed he isn’t… And this story is not reassuring, with FB’s weaselly partial backtracking on the assertion that it would not collect data for targeted advertising.


I’m not the biggest fan of SANS and its newsletters. (That would be SANS…) But the Top Of The News section in its October 19th 2018 Newsbites newsletter includes a number of links relevant to election interference and social media that you might find worth reading.

David Harley

Updates to Anti-Social Media October 17th 2018

Sophos: Donald Daters app for pro-Trump singles exposes users’ data at launch – “Donald Daters, a new dating app that promises to “make dating great again” has instead leaked its users’ data.”

The Mercury News: Facebook lured advertisers by inflating ad-watch times up to 900 percent: lawsuit – “A group of small advertisers … alleged in the filing that Facebook “induced” advertisers to buy video ads on its platform because advertisers believed Facebook users were watching video ads for longer than they actually were.”

David Harley

Anti-Social Media updates

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

Lisa Vaas for Sophos: Years on, third party apps still exposing Grindr users’ locations – “Grindr, the premium gay dating app, is exposing the precise location of its more than 3.6 million active users, in addition to their body types, sexual preferences, relationship status, and HIV status…

…Still.”


Nathan Gleicher for Facebook: Expanding Security Tools to Protect Political Campaigns – “Over the past year, we have invested in new technology and more people to stay ahead of bad actors who are determined to use Facebook to disrupt elections. Today we’re introducing additional tools to further secure candidates and campaign staff who may be particularly vulnerable to targeting by hackers and foreign adversaries. This pilot program is an addition to our existing security tools and procedures, and we will apply what we learn to other elections in the US and around the world.”

Commentary by Danny Bradbury for Sophos: How Facebook wants to protect political campaigners from hacking – “Facebook is making the extra protections available to a select class of political operatives, namely candidates for federal or statewide office, and staff members and representatives from federal and state political party committees.”


Also by Lisa Vaas for Sophos: Facebook faces sanctions if it drags its feet on data transparency – Vera Jourova, the European Commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, is evidently not in the least impressed.

David Harley

Facebook takedown of influence operations

I was a little late spotting this New York Times article from August 21st: Sheera Frenkel and Nicholas Fandos: Facebook Identifies New Influence Operations Spanning Globe – “We know that trolls on social media are trying to sow discord on contentious subjects like race, guns and abortion, but how do they do it? Here is a visual guide to their strategy.”

It’s starting point is this article from Facebook – Taking Down More Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior – regarding how it has taken down 652 pages, groups and accounts for ‘inauthentic behavior’ after receiving information from FireEye about ‘Liberty Front Press’. FireEye’s analysis is summarized here – Suspected Iranian Influence Operation Leverages Network of Inauthentic News Sites & Social Media Targeting Audiences in U.S., UK, Latin America, Middle East – linking to a 38-page report.

Fascinating stuff.

David Harley

How being online influences real-world behaviour

An article in the New York Times focuses on a paper by Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz of the University of Warwick that made a startling assertion: “Wherever per-person Facebook use rose to one standard deviation above the national average, attacks on refugees increased by about 50 percent.” I don’t think they mean to imply that Facebook directly or intentionally encourages the negative traits that such attacks represent: more that it “isolates us from moderating voices or authority figures, siphons us into like-minded groups and, through its algorithm, promotes content that engages our base emotions.” Or to put it another way, our tendency to group ourselves into like-minded ‘bubbles’ inclines us to make distorted assumptions about how widespread our pet beliefs are, assumptions reinforced by ‘superposters’ who energetically promulgate those same beliefs.

While it’s not exactly the same thing,, being more focused on anonymity and pseudonymity,  I was reminded of an older paper by Mich Kabay that has influenced my own thinking significantly over the years: Anonymity and Pseudonymity in Cyberspace: Deindividuation, Incivility and Lawlessness Versus Freedom and Privacy. The similarity is in the examination of the ways in which online behaviour can differ (for the worse) from behaviour in the real world. The difference is the way in which the Warwick study suggests that behaviour in the real world can be redirected into unacceptable channels by perceptions moulded by social media.


And here are a trio of further items about ‘anti-social media’….


A paper by Professor Douglas C. Schmidt on Google Data Collection makes clear just how much information Google is collecting about its users and the purposes for which it can be used. It is … disquieting …


Rebecca Hill for The Register: Bloke hurls sueball over Google’s ‘is it off yet?’ location data slurping – “…a lawsuit has accused the search-cum-ads biz of unlawfully invading users’ privates and intentionally complicating the opt-out process…after last week’s Associated Press probe into location data slurping.”


Lisa Vaas for Sophos: Social networks to be fined for hosting terrorist content – “On Sunday, the Financial Times reported that the EC’s going to follow through on threats to fine companies like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for not deleting flagged content post-haste.”

David Harley

Anti-Social Media: bumper bundle

[I’ve been catching up after a week out of office, so there’s quite a lot to be depressed about this time.]

Zeljka Zorz for Help Net: Turning off Location History doesn’t prevent Google from knowing your location  – “If you believe that by turning off Location History on your Android device or iPhone means that Google won’t be able to know your location, think again: Princeton University researchers have confirmed Google services store users’ location regardless of those settings.”

Help Net is quoting research performed on behalf of Associated Press…”  AP says “Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored…That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.”


Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu for Gizmodo: Facebook Wanted Us to Kill This Investigative Tool  – “Last year, we launched an investigation into how Facebook’s People You May Know tool makes its creepily accurate recommendations….In order to help conduct this investigation, we built a tool to keep track of the people Facebook thinks you know. …. In January, after hiring a third party to do a security review of the tool, we released it publicly on Github for users who wanted to study their own People You May Know recommendations.”

Facebook, it seems, wasn’t happy about the release of the tool, for more than one reason. I can actually understand that the terms of service that it might violate are at least in part imposed for reasons of security (or should be). Yet Gizmodo points out that “Journalists need to probe technological platforms in order to understand how unseen and little understood algorithms influence the experiences of hundreds of millions of people”: Facebook’s apparent distrust of this assertion may tell us something about its PR worries, and even about the intrusive nature of the algorithms it prefers to keep secret.


Graham Cluley: Twitter CEO says they’re taking no action against InfoWars and Alex Jones
IT’S THE SAME CONTENT THAT FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, SPOTIFY, AND APPLE BANNED.
If you’re unaware of the fuss about Jones, you might like to check out this article in the New York Times: Alex Jones, Pursued Over Infowars Falsehoods, Faces a Legal Crossroads


Teiss: Facebook denies it asked banks to share customers’ financial information –  Summarizes a story from the Wall Street Journal which I haven’t read because I’m not a subscriber.


Pierluigi Paganini: Social Mapper – Correlate social media profiles with facial recognition
“Security experts at Trustwave have released Social Mapper, a new open-source tool that allows finding a person of interest across social media platform using facial recognition technology…Experts from Trustwave warn of potential abuses of Social Mapper that are limited “only by your imagination.””

Which is unfortunate in that it’s easily found for free…

David Harley

AVIEN resource updates 3rd August 2018

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

A fascinating article for Quartz by Nikhil SonnadEverything bad about Facebook is bad for the same reason – “Facebook only does the right thing when it’s forced to. Instead, it needs to be willing to sacrifice the goal of total connectedness and growth when this goal has a human cost; to create a decision-making process that requires Facebook leaders to check their instinctive technological optimism against the realities of human life.” Recommended. (Hat tip to Daring Fireball.)

The Next Web: Telegram Passport is already drawing fire for not being secure enough – “Its password encryption could be cracked for just $5”

Updates to Internet of (not necessarily necessary) Things

[Many of the Things that crop up on this page are indeed necessary. But that doesn’t mean that connecting them to the Internet of Things (or even the Internet of Everything) is necessary, or even desirable, given how often that connectivity widens the attack surface.]

US-CERT advised that the FBI published an article on securing the internet of things. US-CERT also flagged the NCCIC Tip Securing the Internet of Things.

David Harley

Anti-social media updates: 27th July 2018

Reuters: Facebook’s grim forecast: privacy push will erode profits for years “The plummeting stock price wiped out as much as $150 billion in market capitalization and erased the stock’s gains since April when Facebook announced a surprisingly strong 63 percent rise in profit and an increase in users.” John Gruber offers terse but to-the-point commentary.

Graham Cluley: Mind your company’s old Twitter accounts, rather than allowing them to be hijacked by hackers  – “DEFUNCT FOX TV SHOW HAS ITS TWITTER ACCOUNT COMPROMISED BY CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAMMERS.” “…it appears that hackers seized control of the moribund Twitter account and gave it a new lease of life promoting cryptocurrency scams.

Lisa Vaas for Sophos: Hidden camera Uber driver fired after live streaming passenger journeys The story concerns “Jason Gargac, a (now former) driver for Lyft and Uber who decided to start livestreaming his passengers, and himself as a narrator when they weren’t there, as he drove around St. Louis…Most of those rides were streamed to Gargac’s channel on Twitch: a live-video website that’s popular with video gamers”. Original story: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Also from Lisa Vaas: Crimson Hexagon banned by Facebook over user data concern – “The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Facebook is investigating whether the firm’s contracts with the US government and a Russian nonprofit tied to the Kremlin violated its policies.”

Yet another article from the prolific Ms Vaas: Names and photos of Venmo ‘drug buyers’ published on Twitter – she offers another example of data scraped from publicly available data and used inappropriately and misleadingly. A recent article by John E. Dunn describes a rather more responsible use of Venmo’s open privacy settings: Venmo users: time to hide your drug deals and excessive pizza consumption.

And another. Maybe you should just shoot over to the Naked Security site while I get on with some other work… WhatsApp limits message forwarding in response to lynchings – an indication that fake news is no joke, and can be a matter of life or (more to the point) death. In recent months, “India …  has seen dozens of mob lynchings sparked by rumors that have spread virally on social media.”

David Harley

Anti-Social Media Updates

Nick Statt for The Verge: Undercover Facebook moderator was instructed not to remove fringe groups or hate speech – “A new documentary details how third-party Facebook moderators ignore the company’s rules … The accusation is a damning one, undermining Facebook’s claims that it is actively trying to cut down on fake news, propaganda, hate speech, and other harmful content that may have significant real-world impact.” The investigation focuses on CPL Resources, which provides a third-party content moderation service.

In an interview with Kara Swisher, Zuckerberg tries to explain why Facebook hasn’t simply taken down InfoWars presence on the platform, but simply moved them ‘down the line’ by reducing distribution. Hmm.  Good interview, though, and lots of glimpses into the man’s head.

The Register: ‘Elders of the Internet’ apologise for social media, recommend Trump filters to fix it – “‘USENET was a pretty clear warning’ of things to come, says new draft IETF standard” I don’t think this IETF draft is entirely serious, but perhaps it should be. IT security remains fixated on technical security and has tended to fight shy of the psychosocial aspects of Internet interaction. Certainly the anti-malware industry in general could have paid more attention to the psychology of the victim than it has. And yes, USENET was a pretty good indication of how awful social media might (and did) turn out to be. And yes, abstention from social media and whisky do both have some appeal… A joke with teeth.

David Harley