Tag Archives: Youtube

Thoughts on Sophos commentary on FB and YouTube

Here are a couple of Sophos articles that caught my eye, and which I felt compelled to comment on at more length.

  • For Sophos, Paul Ducklin picked up on Facebook’s page How can I tell if my info was shared with Cambridge Analytica? Useful, I suppose, if you can’t remember whether you might have clicked on Cambridge Analytica’s This is your digital life app. And of limited use if it tells you that one or more of your friends clicked on it and so may have shared your profile data. Limited in that it won’t tell you which of your friends did so. Well, I suppose you should be grateful that Facebook is preserving somebody’s privacy, even if it’s not yours.  And it may be useful in that it prompts you to check your privacy settings.
  • Another Sophos article by Lisa Vaas notes that YouTube illegally collects data from kids, group claims. The group of privacy advocates in question asserts that ‘a study … found that 96% of children aged 6-12 are aware of YouTube and … 83% of children that know the brand use it daily … The group is urging the FTC to investigate the matter as it is illegal to collect data from kids younger than 13 under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).’ YouTube’s fallback position would presumably be that it isn’t intentionally contravening COPPA because ‘YouTube is not for children’. Hence the creation of the separate YouTube Kids app.

David Harley

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Virus Proofing

Randy Abrams put up a blog yesterday at http://www.eset.com/threat-center/blog/2009/11/20/what-if-your-virusproof-computer-catches-a-virus about “Virus Proof Computers”: I guess he was referring to the PCs and laptops being marketed  by an Australian company called Setup Complete , a merry band of PC techs based in Sydney.

After reading Randy’s article, I thought I’d take a look myself.

The page at http://virusproofcomputers.com.au/how_it_works.htm tells me that I don’t need to know “HOW it works, just that it DOES work!” Nice. Old time antivirus marketing hype in a nutshell. “Trust me, I’m a vendor.” No wonder Randy was a little acerbic. (No, it isn’t true that ESET personnel are required to take a course in advanced sarcasm before they’re allowed to blog, but it might not be a bad idea.)

There is a little information there including, it turns out, a brief Youtube video that gives you a bit of an idea of what’s happening. It seems to be a dual boot arrangement, where you boot into zone 1 (Virus Proof Surfing) or zone 2, which is “just computing that we can’t sort out with the virus proof [settings?]”. The zone 1 desktop as shown in the video is nearly unreadable on my screen, but appears to be based on the use of Foxpro for surfing and, by the look, an open-source office package for other jobs like editing Word documents.

The five-year warranty as “additional protection” is mentioned  in the press release here: http://www.seekingmedia.com.au/news.php?newsid=857&g=-1

Despite the statement that “We know that our computers are totally virus proof, but as an added protection we are offering any customers who buy the computers a full five-year warranty that they will not contract a virus within that time” it seems that restitution is limited to restoring the machine to the condition it was in when originally shipped.

Does this sound as if I’m less than impressed? Not at all. It appears from http://www.setupcomplete.com/spyware.html that the company were not only able to clean spyware from an infected computer (heck, we can do that and we’re only an anti-malware company), but also to get the owner’s bank to restore $3,700 that was stolen from him. (Not, presumably by the bank, and not, presumably, from a Virus Proof PC.) 

Now getting that sort of banking service is impressive. 😉

David Harley FBCS CITP CISSP
Chief Operations Officer, AVIEN
Director of Malware Intelligence, ESET

Also blogging at:
http://www.eset.com/threat-center/blog
http://dharley.wordpress.com/
http://blogs.securiteam.com
http://blog.isc2.org/