Source: This article was published nytimes.com By GABRIEL J.X. DANCE, NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, and MICHAEL LaFORGIA - Contributed by Member: Linda Manly

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information.

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.

But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

[Here’s what we know about Facebook’s partnerships with device makers.]

Most of the partnerships remain in effect, though Facebook began winding them down in April. The company came under intensifying scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators after news reports in March that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, misused the private information of tens of millions of Facebook users.

In the furor that followed, Facebook’s leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users’ friends. But the company officials did not disclose that Facebook had exempted the makers of cellphones, tablets and other hardware from such restrictions.

“You might think that Facebook or the device manufacturer is trustworthy,” said Serge Egelman, a privacy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies the security of mobile apps. “But the problem is that as more and more data is collected on the device — and if it can be accessed by apps on the device — it creates serious privacy and security risks.”

In interviews, Facebook officials defended the data sharing as consistent with its privacy policies, the F.T.C. agreement and pledges to users. They said its partnerships were governed by contracts that strictly limited use of the data, including any stored on partners’ servers. The officials added that they knew of no cases where the information had been misused.

The company views its device partners as extensions of Facebook, serving its more than two billion users, the officials said.

“These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform,” said Ime Archibong, a Facebook vice president. Unlike developers that provide games and services to Facebook users, the device partners can use Facebook data only to provide versions of “the Facebook experience,” the officials said.

Some device partners can retrieve Facebook users’ relationship status, religion, political leaning and upcoming events, among other data. Tests by The Times showed that the partners requested and received data in the same way other third parties did.

Facebook’s view that the device makers are not outsiders lets the partners go even further, The Times found: They can obtain data about a user’s Facebook friends, even those who have denied Facebook permission to share information with any third parties.

In interviews, several former Facebook software engineers and security experts said they were surprised at the ability to override sharing restrictions.

“It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said Ashkan Soltani, a research and privacy consultant who formerly served as the F.T.C.’s chief technologist.

How One Phone Gains Access to Hundreds of Thousands of Facebook Accounts

After connecting to Facebook, the BlackBerry Hub app was able to retrieve detailed data on 556 of Mr. LaForgia's friends, including relationship status, religious and political leanings and events they planned to attend. Facebook has said that it cut off third parties' access to this type of information in 2015, but that it does not consider BlackBerry a third party in this case.

The Hub app was also able to access information — including unique identifiers — on 294,258 friends of Mr. LaForgia's friends.

By Rich Harris and Gabriel J.X. Dance

Details of Facebook’s partnerships have emerged amid a reckoning in Silicon Valley over the volume of personal information collected on the internet and monetized by the tech industry. The pervasive collection of data, while largely unregulated in the United States, has come under growing criticism from elected officials at home and overseas and provoked concern among consumers about how freely their information is shared.

In a tense appearance before Congress in March, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, emphasized what he said was a company priority for Facebook users.“Every piece of content that you share on Facebook you own,” he testified. ”You have complete control over who sees it and how you share it.”

But the device partnerships provoked discussion even within Facebook as early as 2012, according to Sandy Parakilas, who at the time led third-party advertising and privacy compliance for Facebook’s platform.

“This was flagged internally as a privacy issue,” said Mr. Parakilas, who left Facebook that year and has recently emerged as a harsh critic of the company. “It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook’s testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled.”

The partnerships were briefly mentioned in documents submitted to German lawmakers investigating the social media giant’s privacy practices and released by Facebook in mid-May. But Facebook provided the lawmakers with the name of only one partner — BlackBerry, maker of the once-ubiquitous mobile device — and little information about how the agreements worked.

The submission followed testimony by Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy, during a closed-door German parliamentary hearing in April. Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, one of the lawmakers who questioned Mr. Kaplan, said in an interview that she believed the data partnerships disclosed by Facebook violated users’ privacy rights.

“What we have been trying to determine is whether Facebook has knowingly handed over user data elsewhere without explicit consent,” Ms. Winkelmeier-Becker said. “I would never have imagined that this might even be happening secretly via deals with device makers. BlackBerry users seem to have been turned into data dealers, unknowingly and unwillingly.”

In interviews with The Times, Facebook identified other partners: Apple and Samsung, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, and Amazon, which sells tablets.

An Apple spokesman said the company relied on private access to Facebook data for features that enabled users to post photos to the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things. Apple said its phones no longer had such access to Facebook as of last September.

Samsung declined to respond to questions about whether it had any data-sharing partnerships with Facebook. Amazon also declined to respond to questions.

Usher Lieberman, a BlackBerry spokesman, said in a statement that the company used Facebook data only to give its own customers access to their Facebook networks and messages. Mr. Lieberman said that the company “did not collect or mine the Facebook data of our customers,” adding that “BlackBerry has always been in the business of protecting, not monetizing, customer data.”

Microsoft entered a partnership with Facebook in 2008 that allowed Microsoft-powered devices to do things like add contacts and friends and receive notifications, according to a spokesman. He added that the data was stored locally on the phone and was not synced to Microsoft’s servers.

Facebook acknowledged that some partners did store users’ data — including friends’ data — on their own servers. A Facebook official said that regardless of where the data was kept, it was governed by strict agreements between the companies.

“I am dumbfounded by the attitude that anybody in Facebook’s corporate office would think allowing third parties access to data would be a good idea,” said Henning Schulzrinne, a computer science professor at Columbia University who specializes in network security and mobile systems.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how loosely Facebook had policed the bustling ecosystem of developers building apps on its platform. They ranged from well-known players like Zynga, the maker of the FarmVille game, to smaller ones, like a Cambridge contractor who used a quiz taken by about 300,000 Facebook users to gain access to the profiles of as many as 87 million of their friends.

Those developers relied on Facebook’s public data channels, known as application programming interfaces, or APIs. But starting in 2007, the company also established private data channels for device manufacturers.

At the time, mobile phones were less powerful, and relatively few of them could run stand-alone Facebook apps like those now common on smartphones. The company continued to build new private APIs for device makers through 2014, spreading user data through tens of millions of mobile devices, game consoles, televisions and other systems outside Facebook’s direct control.

Facebook began moving to wind down the partnerships in April, after assessing its privacy and data practices in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Mr. Archibong said the company had concluded that the partnerships were no longer needed to serve Facebook users. About 22 of them have been shut down.

The broad access Facebook provided to device makers raises questions about its compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the F.T.C.

The decree barred Facebook from overriding users’ privacy settings without first getting explicit consent. That agreement stemmed from an investigation that found Facebook had allowed app developers and other third parties to collect personal details about users’ friends, even when those friends had asked that their information remain private.

After the Cambridge Analytica revelations, the F.T.C. began an investigation into whether Facebook’s continued sharing of data after 2011 violated the decree, potentially exposing the company to fines.

Facebook officials said the private data channels did not violate the decree because the company viewed its hardware partners as “service providers,” akin to a cloud computing service paid to store Facebook data or a company contracted to process credit card transactions. According to the consent decree, Facebook does not need to seek additional permission to share friend data with service providers.

“These contracts and partnerships are entirely consistent with Facebook’s F.T.C. consent decree,” Mr. Archibong, the Facebook official, said.

But Jessica Rich, a former F.T.C. official who helped lead the commission’s earlier Facebook investigation, disagreed with that assessment.

“Under Facebook’s interpretation, the exception swallows the rule,” said Ms. Rich, now with the Consumers Union. “They could argue that any sharing of data with third parties is part of the Facebook experience. And this is not at all how the public interpreted their 2014 announcement that they would limit third-party app access to friend data.”

To test one partner’s access to Facebook’s private data channels, The Times used a reporter’s Facebook account — with about 550 friends — and a 2013 BlackBerry device, monitoring what data the device requested and received. (More recent BlackBerry devices, which run Google’s Android operating system, do not use the same private channels, BlackBerry officials said.)

Immediately after the reporter connected the device to his Facebook account, it requested some of his profile data, including user ID, name, picture, “about” information, location, email, and cell phone number. The device then retrieved the reporter’s private messages and the responses to them, along with the name and user ID of each person with whom he was communicating.

The data flowed to a BlackBerry app known as the Hub, which was designed to let BlackBerry users view all of their messages and social media accounts in one place.

The Hub also requested — and received — data that Facebook’s policy appears to prohibit. Since 2015, Facebook has said that apps can request only the names of friends using the same app. But the BlackBerry app had access to all of the reporter’s Facebook friends and, for most of them, returned information such as user ID, birthday, work and education history and whether they were currently online.

The BlackBerry device was also able to retrieve identifying information for nearly 295,000 Facebook users. Most of them were second-degree Facebook friends of the reporter, or friends of friends.

In all, Facebook empowers BlackBerry devices to access more than 50 types of information about users and their friends, The Times found.

Categorized in Social

Source: This article was published entrepreneur.com By Brian Byer - Contributed by Member: Clara Johnson

Consumers do enjoy the convenience of the apps they use but are individually overwhelmed when it comes to defending their privacy.

When it comes to our collective sense of internet privacy, 2018 is definitely the year of awareness. It’s funny that it took Facebook’s unholy partnership with a little-known data-mining consulting firm named Cambridge Analytica to raise the alarm. After all, there were already abundant examples of how our information was being used by unidentified forces on the web. It really took nothing more than writing the words "Cabo San Lucas" as part of a throwaway line in some personal email to a friend to initiate a slew of Cabo resort ads and Sammy Hagar’s face plastering the perimeters of our social media feeds.

In 2018, it’s never been more clear that when we embrace technological developments, all of which make our lives easier, we are truly taking hold of a double-edged sword. But has our awakening come a little too late? As a society, are we already so hooked on the conveniences internet-enabled technologies provide us that we’re hard-pressed making the claim that we want the control of our personal data back?

It’s an interesting question. Our digital marketing firm recently conducted a survey to better understand how people feel about internet privacy issues and the new movement to re-establish control over what app providers and social networks do with our personal information.

Given the current media environment and scary headlines regarding online security breaches, the poll results, at least on the surface, were fairly predictable. According to our study, web users overwhelmingly object to how our information is being shared with and used by third-party vendors. No surprise here, a whopping 90 percent of those polled were very concerned about internet privacy. In a classic example of "Oh, how the mighty have fallen," Facebook and Google have suddenly landed in the ranks of the companies we trust the least, with only 3 percent and 4 percent of us, respectively, claiming to have any faith in how they handled our information.

Despite consumers’ apparent concern about online security, the survey results also revealed participants do very little to safeguard their information online, especially if doing so comes at the cost of convenience and time. In fact, 60 percent of them download apps without reading terms and conditions and close to one in five (17 percent) report that they’ll keep an app they like, even if it does breach their privacy by tracking their whereabouts.

While the survey reveals only 18 percent say they are “very confident” when it comes to trusting retails sites with their personal information, the sector is still on track to exceed a $410 billion e-commerce spend this year. This, despite more than half (54 percent) reporting they feel less secure purchasing from online retailers after reading about online breach after online breach.

What's become apparent from our survey is that while people are clearly dissatisfied with the state of internet privacy, they feel uninspired or simply ill-equipped to do anything about it. It appears many are hooked on the conveniences online living affords them and resigned to the loss of privacy if that’s what it costs to play.

The findings are not unique to our survey. In a recent Harvard Business School study, people who were told the ads appearing in their social media timelines had been selected specifically based on their internet search histories showed far less engagement with the ads, compared to a control group who didn't know how they'd been targeted. The study revealed that the actual act of company transparency, coming clean about the marketing tactics employed, dissuaded user response in the end.

As is the case with innocent schoolchildren, the world is a far better place when we believe there is an omniscient Santa Claus who magically knows our secret desires, instead of it being a crafty gift exchange rigged by the parents who clearly know the contents of our wish list. We say we want safeguards and privacy. We say we want transparency. But when it comes to a World Wide Web, where all the cookies have been deleted and our social media timeline knows nothing about us, the user experience becomes less fluid.

The irony is, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of those polled in our survey don’t believe that companies having access to our personal information leads to a better, more personalized, online experience at all, which is the chief reason companies like Facebook state for wanting our personal information in the first place. And yet, when an app we've installed doesn't let us tag our location to a post or inform us when a friend has tagged us in a photo or alerted us that the widget we were searching for is on sale this week, we feel slighted by our brave new world.

With the introduction of GDPR regulations this summer, the European Union has taken, collectively, the important first steps toward regaining some of the online privacy that we, as individuals, have been unable to take. GDPR casts the first stone at the Goliath that’s had free rein leveraging our personal information against us. By doling out harsh penalties and fines for those who abuse our private stats -- or at least those who aren’t abundantly transparent as to how they intend to use those stats -- the EU, and by extension, those countries conducting online business with them, has finally initiated a movement to curtail the hitherto laissez-faire practices of commercial internet enterprises. For this cyberspace Wild West, there’s finally a new sheriff in town.

I imagine that our survey takers applaud this action, although only about 25 percent were even aware of GDPR. At least on paper, the legislation has given us back some control over the privacy rights we’ve been letting slip away since we first signed up for a MySpace account. Will this new regulation affect our user experience on the internet? More than half of our respondents don’t think so, and perhaps, for now, we are on the way toward a balancing point between the information that makes us easier to market to and the information that’s been being used for any purpose under the sun. It’s time to leverage this important first step, and stay vigilant of its effectiveness with a goal of gaining back even more privacy while online.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Source: This article was published cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

San Francisco, Google took action on nearly 90,000 user reports of spam in its Search in 2017 and has now asked more users to come forward and help the tech giant spot and squash spam.

According to Juan Felipe Rincon, Global Search Outreach Lead at Google, the automated Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based systems are constantly working to detect and block spam.

"Still, we always welcome hearing from you when something seems phishy. Reporting spam, malware, and other issues you find help us protect the site owner and other searchers from this abuse," Rincon said in a blog post.

"You can file a spam report, a phishing report or a malware report. You can also alert us to any issue with Google search by clicking on the 'Send feedback' link at the bottom of the search results page," he added.



Last year, Google sent over 45 million notifications to registered website owners, alerting them to possible problems with their websites which could affect their appearance in a search.

"Just as Gmail fights email spam and keeps it out of your inbox, our search spam fighting systems work to keep your search results clean," Rincon said.

In 2017, Google conducted over 250 webmaster meetups and office hours around the world reaching more than 220,000 website owners.

"Last year, we sent 6 million manual action messages to webmasters about practices we identified that were against our guidelines, along with information on how to resolve the issue," the Google executive said.

With AI-based systems, Google was able to detect and remove more than 80 percent of compromised sites from search results last year.

"We're also working closely with many providers of popular content management systems like WordPress and Joomla to help them fight spammers that abuse forums and comment sections," the blog post said.

Categorized in Search Engine

A Google engineer has revealed that despite Gmail being introduced ten years ago, the vast majority of email account users are still not using one of Gmail’s best features. Speaking at the recent Enigma 2018 security conference, Grzegorz Milka, a software engineer for the tech giant, said that only ten percent of users – just 1 in 10 people – are bothering to turn on two-factor authentication.

This is a staggeringly low figure when one considers a few important things: Firstly, email accounts are the center of a digital web. When people forget passwords for third-party services – such as social media, online shopping, and digital payment accounts – it is often their Gmail account that serves as the recovery point.

In addition, research has revealed that people in the US are still not using password managers. This likely means that they are choosing easy passwords and similar passwords across various platforms. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, only 12 percent of Americans use a password manager – a very similar percentile to those using Gmail two factor (implying that it is the same security-conscious few).

Hacking Explosion

In recent years, hacking tools and hacks by “script kiddies” have been massively on the rise, leading to a global explosion in the number of attacks that are occurring. Furthermore, recent times have seen a number of serious cases involving huge amounts of hacked passwords being sold on the darknet.

On one occasion, over 25 million Gmail and Yahoo accounts were being sold online. Another report claimed that 200 million Yahoo accounts had appeared for sale on deep web marketplaces.

With so much publicity surrounding these monumental hacks, it seems ludicrous that people aren’t using two-factor auth. After all, it is the only thing that will protect a Gmail account from instant penetration should a hacker either acquire or brute-force an account’s password.

Not Compulsory

So, why isn’t Google forcing consumers to use two-factor authentication? Sadly, it would appear that Google fears losing consumers who literally can’t cope – or more likely don’t want to cope – with having to use the elevated security feature. Google’s software engineer implied that a large proportion of consumers are apathetic about digital security:

“The answer is usability. It’s about how many people would we drive out if we force them to use additional security.”

According to Google, over 10 percent of people claim to have trouble entering the four-digit authentication number that arrives via text or an authentication tool. This seems barmy, and, as far as I’m concerned, points to the real problem – laziness and generally bad education surrounding the vital necessity of this feature.

Should you be Using Two Factor Auth?

The answer to this question is yes. Your Gmail account isn’t secure until you enable two-factor authentication. It doesn’t matter whether you choose an SMS message, an authentication app, or a physical token like YubiKey (the most secure method) – but please do it now!

Doing so will stop anybody from being able to access your email account with the password alone. In practical terms, this means that a hacker will need your password and your phone itself to hack your account. Remember, hackers are likely located in a far-off location, possibly even overseas. So worrying that you might lose your phone – or that it might get stolen by a hacker – just isn’t a sensible reason to abstain. What’s more, two-factor auth is not difficult to set up and costs nothing.

Admittedly, if you do lose your phone you won’t be able to access your email account – because you won’t be able to receive the text code. This might put some users off, but it shouldn’t. The reality is that Google has systems in place just in case this happens.

That means you can disable access to the email account, revoke passwords for the email account, gain access to the email account yourself using a variety of methods (backup codes or a trusted computer), and turn off two-factor auth until you have got a new phone/sim card from your carrier.

What is Google Doing To Protect Users?

Luckily for consumers, awareness of low uptake levels for two-factor auth is making Google work harder to protect people. According to Google, hackers tend to behave in similar ways when they gain access to a victim’s account.

Firstly, they disable notifications. Next, they may drop in a filter to hide their activity. With this done, they tend to search for personal account information, intimate photos, bitcoin wallet correspondence, and other sensitive email data. If Google detects this kind of activity it will shut down the account temporarily to protect its owner.

In addition, last November Google published a detailed study explaining how hackers penetrate accounts and what consumers can do to protect themselves. Due to that study, Google is much more closely monitoring login location radius. This means people are being asked much more regularly to confirm a login was them. Again, in extreme cases, accounts are being frozen. Google believes it has already used the findings from its study to prevent hackers from penetrating 67 million Google accounts.

Despite these efforts, the fact remains that the best person to protect your email account is you. So please consider enabling two-factor auth, and tell your loved ones to do it too!

 Source: This article was published bestvpn.com By Ray Walsh

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Exciting leaks and images about 2017’s new iPhones have users so excited Tim Cook claims they have caused iPhone sales to slow in anticipation. But the latest news from financial giants JPMorgan Chase will leave users feeling far from happy…

iPhone 8 concept based on leaks prior to the JPMorgan report is much more exciting

In a lengthy report obtained by 9to5Mac, the multinational giant claims Apple AAPL +1.65%’s plans to introduce three new models: an iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus and new flagship iPhone 8 will prove underwhelming.

In contrast to the widely published, eye popping iPhone 8 renders seen recently, JPMorgan claims Apple the new device will not have tiny 4mm bezels around the display. Instead the smartphone will be more like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 with an edge-to-edge panel horizontally and reduced, but clearly visible top and bottom bezels. It published the following diagrams to illustrate this:

JPMorgan claims the iPhone 8 will look more like a Galaxy S8 than a radical redesign

JPMorgan

In addition to this JPMorgan says the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus will retain the same basic design Apple has used since the iPhone 6, but marry its aluminium sides with glass backs like the iPhone 8.

This tweak is to enable the phones to support wireless charging, though talk of the switch to glass is a move which is controversial given it was a major structural vulnerability on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S before being dropped. The iPhone 8 will mesh stainless steel and glass to a slightly more premium finish.

JPMorgan also indicates that Apple’s well reported move to integrate Touch ID into the front panel remains in the balance. In fact in its summary table for the iPhone 8, it simply leaves a question mark over this feature:

How Touch ID will be integrated into the iPhone 8 remains a major - and literal - question.

JPMorgan

More positively JPMorgan reiterates that the iPhone 8 will use an L-shaped battery which will result in 30% larger capacity and rear dual camera, which is backed up by previous reports. Though it states all these upgrades will lead to a $75-80 manufacturing cost per unit (excluding construction), which ties in with expectations of a higher price - possibly in excess of $1,000.

And yet for users who are angry at what JPMorgan is presenting as a significantly less ambitious iPhone 8 than some had expected, there is a flaw in its reasoning which suggests any frustrations be directed at it instead: it concludes the iPhone 8 will come bundled with AirPods.

Quite frankly, I find this preposterous. Other than the dent this would add to Apple profits (and be a needless expense to anyone already owning quality earphones/headphones), is the fact it makes no logistical sense.

Ever since their release, Apple has suffered major supply issues with AirPods and even at the time of publication buyers are told to expect a six week shipping delay. So the thought Apple could fix this to the extent that AirPods will be supplied in the 60-80M iPhone 8 units Apple is predicted to sell in its first quarter is comical.

So keep calm and keep the faith...

Source : This article was published in forbes.com By Gordon Kelly

Categorized in Others
An unusually sophisticated identity phishing campaign appeared to target Google's roughly 1 billion Gmail users worldwide, seeking to gain control of their entire email histories and spread itself to all of their contacts, Google confirmed Wednesday.
 
The worm — which arrived in users' inboxes posing as an email from a trusted contact — asked users to check out an attached "Google Docs," or GDocs, file. Clicking on the link took them to a real Google security page, where users were asked to give permission for the fake app, posing as GDocs, to manage users' email account.
 
 
 
To make matters worse, the worm also sent itself out to all of the affected users' contacts — Gmail or otherwise — reproducing itself hundreds of times any time a single user fell for it.
Screenshot 3 
The strategy is a common one, but the worm that was released Wednesday caused havoc for millions of users because of its unusually sophisticated construction: Not only did the malicious link look remarkably realistic and trustworthy, but the email that delivered it also appeared to come from someone users already know — and the payload manipulated Google's real login system.
 
 
Google said it had "disabled" the malicious accounts and pushed updates to all users. The vulnerability was exposed for only about one hour, and a spokesperson told NBC News on Wednesday night that it affected "fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users" — which would still be about 1 million.
 
"While contact information was accessed and used by the campaign, our investigations show that no other data was exposed," the spokesperson said.
 
It could have been a potential calamity for unsuspecting victims: With control of your Gmail account, scammers can harvest any personal data you've ever sent or received in an email. That can allow them to generate password-reset requests on scores of other services, potentially letting the hackers take over, for example, your Amazon, Facebook or online bank accounts.
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Phishing (or malware) Google Doc links that appear to come from people you may know are going around. DELETE THE EMAIL. DON'T CLICK. 
 
Employees and others connected to large companies, especially educational institutions and journalism organizations, began flooding social media about 2:30 p.m. ET reporting that they'd received the malicious email.
 
 
Employees and others connected to large companies, especially educational institutions and journalism organizations, began flooding social media about 2:30 p.m. ET reporting that they'd received the malicious email.
View image on Twitter
 
View image on Twitter
Be careful, Twitter people with Gmail accounts! Do not click on the "doc share" box. It's a solid attempt at phishing. 

What you can do

While the malicious email was a dead ringer for a real message from a trusted friend, there was one key giveaway: The mail was sent to a fake email address in the main recipient field — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Users' addresses were included in the BCC field.
 
If you received a Gmail message with the mailinator.com address as the main recipient, report it as phishing by clicking the down arrow beside the reply button and selecting "Report phishing." Then delete it.
 
If you do click on the malicious link, don't grant permission when the fake GDocs app asks for it.
 
If, unfortunately, you fell for the scam and granted permission to the hackers, go to your Google connected sites console and immediately revoke access to "Google Docs." (If you don't trust the embedded link here — which is generally a good thing — you can manually type the address into your browser: https://myaccount.google.com/security?pli=1#connectedapps)
 
While you're at it, it's a good idea to revoke permission for any app listed there that you don't recognize.
 
Finally, change your Google password.
 
Source : This article was published in cnbc.com By Alex Johnson
Categorized in Internet Privacy

NEW YORK – Twitter has found more creative ways to ease its 140-character limit without officially raising it.

Now, the company says that when you reply to someone — or to a group — usernames will no longer count toward those 140 characters. This will be especially helpful with group conversations, where replying to two, three or more users at a time could be especially difficult with the character constraints.

Categorized in Social
Recently, an internet privacy joint resolution (S.J. Res. 34), passed the U.S. Senate, with the support of Sen. Orrin Hatch. This resolution seeks to gut the FCC privacy protections that every U.S. internet user currently has. It would allow an Internet Service Provider ("ISP") to search your browsing habits, then target advertisements to you based on what things you search for and what websites you visit.Allowing ISPs to search your internet history and sell it to advertisers is a tremendous infringement on our privacy. When going online on your personal mobile phone or in the privacy of your own home, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, especially given that most people pay for their internet service. Your browsing history and online habits are more revealing than any other form of media or communication. It is an insight into your deepest thoughts and your largest fears. In essence, it is a glimpse into a part of your soul that makes you who you are.
 
 
This is why ISPs are aggressively pressuring our politicians to grant them access to our inner most selves. S.J. Res. 34 would allow them to sell it to the highest bidder. It now goes to the U.S. House. Please contact your representative to express your desire to keep your online activities private by asking them oppose this resolution.
Jeremy H. Smith
Wanship
Categorized in Internet Privacy

Aside from this, many smartphone users aren't keen on constantly jumping from one site to another, especially when many sites still haven't been optimized for mobile devices. And even jumping from app to app can feel inconvenient. All of this gives apps like Google Search and Facebook's (FB)  core app, which act as core utilities for hundreds of millions of smartphone users, an incentive to integrate basic content that users typically rely on other apps and sites to get.

Facebook's attempts to go in this direction have included launching its Sports Stadium, trending topics features and weather report features, as well as a service (Instant Articles) that lets users view full articles from select publishers within Facebook's app. Google's efforts, in addition to the company's aforementioned moves, include its support for "Instant Apps" that at least partly load from search result pages without any need for installation. There's also its AMP initiative to enable mobile web pages that load almost instantly when accessed via Google Search and News.

The top-line incentives for Google/Facebook to further hook smartphone users on the well-monetized Google Search and Facebook apps are of course pretty big. But there's also another incentive for Google: The company has to give Apple  (AAPL) a large revenue cut when iOS users click on search ads seen on Apple's Mobile Safari browser. It doesn't have to do this if they click on such ads via the Google Search app, or through the iOS Chrome browser. Google said last August it's getting about 60% of its searches via mobile devices.

In tandem with its mobile search page changes, Google unveiled a developer preview for the next version of Android, which is codenamed O. Though not containing any earth-shaking new features (at least for now), the OS delivers several useful nuts-and-bolts improvements.

Battery life, that universal headache, is improved by placing restrictions on what apps can do while running in the background. And those Android users who feel swamped by mobile notifications (that's a lot of them) will be pleased to know an app's notifications can be grouped and collapsed into "channels," with users able to control how the content from individual channels is shown. In addition, users can snooze notifications for 15, 30 or 60 minutes (they could already silence them indefinitely), and are promised "new visuals and grouping to notifications that make it easier for users to see what's going on when they have an incoming message or are glancing at the notification shade."

Google is also creating an autofill programming interface (API) meant to spare users the trouble of repeatedly entering the same personal info by letting them select an autofill app that can do it for them. Other Android O features include support for picture-in-picture video viewing and notification "badges" that can be attached to home screen icons (iOS says hello), and a streamlined Settings interface with a much shorter home page.

None of these features are going to make the average Android user leap for joy. But collectively, they show Google has been paying close attention to what frustrates many consumers about their current smartphone experiences, and what kind of improvements would lower that frustration. Just as its mobile search app/site enhancements show that it grasps how differently many consumers prefer to access information content on smartphones, and as some of the changes recently made to YouTube's features and ad formats point to an understanding of how different mobile viewing habits are.

The impact of some of these moves on Google's bottom line is much more indirect than it is for others. Regardless, with Google either on its way to getting over half its revenue via mobile devices or already there, investors certainly can't complain.

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Author : ERIC JHONSA
Categorized in Search Engine

Voice search and use of voice commands on mobile devices is on the rise. However, there’s still some embarrassment or reluctance to use it, according to a new survey of more than 900 US smartphone owners from Stone Temple Consulting.

The survey found that people were more likely to use voice when they were alone at home or work. They were much less likely to talk to their devices in public.

where-they-interact_total-2

Men, younger (and older) users and higher income groups were somewhat more inclined to use voice; however, the differences by category were generally not significant. The exceptions were that men and higher income earners appeared somewhat less inhibited about using voice in public situations.

Ironically, those same high income earners “are more likely to get annoyed by people using voice commands with their phone in public,” although they themselves are more likely to do it as well.

applications-used

Making a call, searching, texting and map lookups were top use cases. Driving, “hands full” and “hands dirty” were the top contexts for voice, with roughly 60 percent citing these as dominant scenarios. However, the vast majority (80 percent) still preferred to text by hand (this may go to accuracy).

The top three rationales behind voice usage were:

  1. It’s fast.
  2. The answer is read back to me.
  3. I don’t have to type.

About 40 percent of both men and women said that voice made using their smartphones easier. Men were more likely than women to strongly agree. This answer and other data in the survey reflect a mostly positive experience with voice.

voice-commands-make-easier_pie-and-bar

Perhaps the most interesting data in the survey findings pointed to the transformation of the search experience with virtual assistants and voice on smartphones. Users wanted more direct answers and fewer conventional search results with their corresponding need to go to third-party websites.

Respondents said they also wanted “more integration with other applications.” That’s a strange response, given that on both the iPhone and Android devices, speech is integrated with third-party apps.

personal-assistant-features-wanted

We should see these responses as further indicators of satisfaction with virtual assistants and voice. I wish there were additional data unpacking this response. It’s the one with the most dramatic implications for the search user experience, for marketers and for Google.

Author : Greg Sterling

Source : http://searchengineland.com/survey-60-percent-voice-users-want-answers-fewer-search-results-267643

Categorized in Online Research
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