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The 2013 hack affecting a billion Yahoo users shows how seemingly innocuous bits of data gleaned from cyber-attacks can be exploited for espionage and information warfare, as well as for profit.

The breach, disclosed Wednesday, is the largest on record and comes just months after Yahoo disclosed a separate attack in 2014 affecting data from 500 million users.

On the surface, the trove of data is "a bunch of junk," said John Dickson of the security consultancy Denim Group.

But the ability to create a searchable database with data tidbits such as birth dates and phone numbers makes it enormously valuable to hackers seeking to make a profit or engage in industrial or state espionage, he said.

"If you're trying to research and get information about a target, you're going to use everything you can find," said Dickson, a former officer in the Air Force Information Warfare Center.

The Yahoo hack did not collect credit card or Social Security numbers, according to the company, leading some analysts to speculate that the goals were not financial.

"For someone using data as a weapon, this is of tremendous value," said Steve Grobman, chief technical officer at Intel Security.

Information warfare?

James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a cyber-security think tank, said that while details are still unknown, the attack could fuel disinformation campaigns by governments.

Scott noted that the data had not appeared for sale on Deep Web markets - that is, in murky corners of the web that cannot be reached by standard search engines.

"And since a significant number of victims (if any) have not reported identity theft resulting from the incident, there is a strong likelihood that the breach was not conducted for monetary gain," Scott said.

"This could indicate that the breach was an espionage stage of an information warfare effort."

The disclosure of the breach comes amid intense scrutiny of cyber-security in the US election campaign and of the potential impact of hacked email accounts from people close to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

US officials have claimed Russia was behind the attack aimed at disrupting the election.

One of the hacks was a Gmail account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Media reports say he or an assistant was fooled by a fake email that prompted him to reveal his password.

Security analysts say such attacks are often preceded by lengthy data-gathering campaigns that might look for personal information such as a birth date or former school or university.

Signs of a state actor

Yahoo said it was not clear who was behind the billion-user hack but that some evidence pointed to "the same state-sponsored actor" believed responsible for the previously disclosed cyber-attack.

The security firm InfoArmor said in September that its analysis of the first breach indicated "professional" hackers stole the Yahoo data, and only later sold it to a state entity.

InfoArmor said at the time that the breach "opens the door to significant opportunities for cyber espionage and targeted attacks to occur."

Grobman said some attackers may mix real data with manipulated information to distort facts, creating further confusion and mistrust.

"One of the things we are concerned about is that the public is conditioned to see leaked data as legitimate, and this data can be manipulated," Grobman said.

Some analysts argue that the hackers' goals may be more financial than political.

Security researcher Graham Cluley said certain bits of information such as phone numbers could be of value to criminals.

"If a hacker or scammer has your telephone number, they can ring you up and trick you into believing they are an organization you already have a relationship with, which means that you might be tempted to hand over more personal information," Cluley said in a YouTube posting.

'A lot of money'

James Lewis, a senior fellow specializing in cyber-security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said new analytics tools can sift through databases for political espionage purposes, but that it is not clear if Russia has those capabilities.

"If you're a criminal, you would think you could monetize a billion accounts," Lewis said. "Even if you got a penny or a dime for each, you would still be making a lot of money."

The attacks also pose a threat to the future of Yahoo, the former internet star which has seen its fortunes decline and is in the process of selling its main assets to telecom group Verizon.

Dickson said that it's likely that "Verizon is doing a double take" on the $4.8 billion deal.

"If this kills that deal, I think it will increase the focus on cyber-security hygiene across the board," he said.

Author:  Agence France-Presse

Source:  http://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/features/yahoo-1-billion-user-hack-shows-datas-use-for-information-warfare-1638536

Categorized in Science & Tech

Do you still have a Yahoo Mail account? The tech company made its way onto the scene in 1994 and became a popular search engine and email service. However, it's had a very rough year.

First we learned of a massive data breach that could have impacted billions of users. Then we found out Yahoo was allegedly complying with a government security agency's request to spy on all incoming emails. Now, there is more troubling news coming out about the tech giant.

Security researcher Jouko Pynnonen recently discovered a severe security vulnerability with Yahoo Mail. The flaw would allow an attacker to access the victim's email account.

This was a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack, similar to the one discovered by Pynnonen around the same time last year. Watch this video to see a brief detail of last year's discovery:

Why this flaw is so alarming

What's terrifying about this is the victim wouldn't even need to click on a malicious link to be affected. You only had to view an email sent by the scammer for your Yahoo Mail account to be compromised.

Yahoo filters HTML messages, which is supposed to keep malicious code from making its way into a user's inbox. However, Pynnonen discovered a vulnerability that kept the filters from catching all malicious code. It had to do with different types of attachments that could be added to emails.

The good news is once Pynnonen reported the flaw, Yahoo fixed it. The tech giant also paid him $10,000 for discovering the vulnerability through its Bug Bounty Program.

Even though these flaws have been patched, it's been a rough stretch for Yahoo. If all of these problems worry you, you might want to close your Yahoo accounts. Here are instructions on how to do that:

  • How to close your Yahoo account:
  • Go to the "Terminating your Yahoo account" page.
  • Read the information under "Before continuing, please consider the following information."
  • Confirm your password - if you forgot your password, you can recover it with the Yahoo Sign-in Helper.
  • Click Terminate this Account.

Remember, if you do close your Yahoo account, you will not be able to use services associated with it. So if you decide to keep your account, at the very least make sure you have a strong password. Here are three proven formulas for creating hack-proof passwords.

You can also enable two-step verification, set up a Yahoo Account Key, or use a password manager. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

Author:  Mark Jones

Source:  http://www.komando.com/

Categorized in Internet Privacy

The company hopes to address historical quality problems with a matching algorithm.

There was a time that “answer engines” or “social search” appeared poised to be a viable alternative to traditional Google search. That never happened. Some sites faded and a few have soldiered on, offering occasional value (and entertainment) to users with esoteric or specific questions.

Somewhat ironically, discovery of those answers typically happens through conventional search results and SEO.

Yahoo Answers is one of the early players and a survivor of the “answer wars” of several years ago. The company just introduced a new mobile version called Yahoo Answers Now. Aside from an onerous sign-up and sign-in process, it offers a relatively nice UX and searchable content.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-7-25-52-am

The promise of sites like Yahoo Answers and newer sites such as Jelly (from Biz Stone) is that you’ll get a very specific response to your very specific question. The expectation created is (near) real-time responses from knowledgeable humans.

Sometimes that happens. More often, however, there’s a meaningful delay between the submission of the question and the receipt of the answer. And often the quality of answers is less than desirable.

Yahoo Answers has the benefit of a huge content archive and a large community. It has tried to address quality issues in various ways over time, including through voting. In Answers Now, it’s using a matching algorithm to send questions to “qualified responders who have the experiences and expertise to provide a high-quality answer.”

At one time, Google, Amazon and Facebook were all playing in this segment. All have since exited the space. Quora still exists, and so do Answers.com and ChaCha, among some other stragglers. There are other Q&A communities that remain as well, such as Stack Exchange.

The promise of these “answer engines,” however, has never really been fulfilled. Perhaps a messaging-based app will one day deliver.

Source : http://searchengineland.com/

Auhtor : 

Categorized in Science & Tech

Yahoo has revealed its top searches throughout 2016 in a detailed year in review, which also includes searches from sister companies Polyvore, Tumblr, and Flickr. This mark’s Yahoo’s 15th year in review.

Yahoo’s overall top searches include:

  1. 2016 Election
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Roblox
  4. Gwen Stefani
  5. 2016 Olympics
  6. Khloe Kardashian
  7. Megyn Kelly
  8. Jodie Sweetin
  9. Kim Kardashian-West
  10. Hillary Clinton

Yahoo’s top news stories, according to Yahoo News, include:

  1. Election Day
  2. Prince Dies
  3. Pulse Nightclub Massacre
  4. Deadly Attack in Istanbul
  5. Hurricane Matthew
  6. Baton Rouge Police Shooting
  7. EgyptAir Flight 804 Located
  8. Trump Protests
  9. Clinton Emails
  10. Presidential Debates

While going through the report I couldn’t help but notice the omission of Google from the list of top companies according to Yahoo Finance. This list is generated based on top-read stories in the Yahoo Finance section, not top searches. However, it’s still a glimpse into what Yahoo searchers are interested in reading about, or not interested in reading about for that matter.

Yahoo’s list of top companies, according to Yahoo Finance, include:
  1. Apple
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Bank of America
  5. Amazon
  6. Tesla
  7. Alibaba
  8. Valeant Pharmaceuticals
  9. Ford
  10. Wells Fargo

As one of the world’s top companies you may expect Google to be included in this list with the likes of Apple and Facebook. Not to mention, outside of the search world, Google made headlines with the release of the Pixel phone, Allo messenger, and Home personal assistant.

Apparently that was not enough to help Google crack the top 10 most-read-about companies in Yahoo Finance this year. It will be interesting to see the contrast when Google releases its top searches report later this year.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Auhtor : Matt Southern

Categorized in Search Engine

A team of researchers at Yahoo Labs have plumbed the depths of their company's massive comment sections to come up with something that might actually be useful for detecting and eventually curbing rampant online abuse. Using a first-of-its-kind data set built from offensive article comments flagged by Yahoo editors, the research team was able to develop an algorithm that, according Technology Review, is the best automated abuse filter built to date.

Most current abuse filters rely on a combination of blacklisted terms, common expressions and syntax clues to catch hate speech online, but the Yahoo team went a step further and applied machine learning to their massive repository of flagged comments. Using a technique called "word embedding," which processes words as vectors rather than either simply positive or negative, the Yahoo system can recognize an offensive string of words, even if the individual words are inoffensive on their own. According to the their findings, the system was able to correctly identify abusive language from the same data set about 90 percent of the time. While that figure is impressive, the ever-changing nature of hate speech means no system -- not even a human one -- will ever truly be able to know what's offensive 100 percent of the time.

As Alex Krasodomski-Jones, an online abuse researcher with the UK's Centre for Analysis of Social Media, told Technology Review, "Given 10 tweets, a group of humans will rarely all agree on which ones should be classed as abusive, so you can imagine how difficult it would be for a computer."

Author:  Andrew Dalton

Source:  https://www.engadget.com

Categorized in News & Politics

RepUPress.com has launched a new Social Media Search Engine that will help individuals navigate the vast realm of social networks more easily, help businesses better measure their marketing efforts and help students accomplish more effective and efficient research.

(OPENPRESS) RepUPress.com, an Indianapolis based tech company, has launched a new Social Media Search Engine in cooperation with search giant Google (http://www.repupress.com/social-search). The free search engine allows visitors to quickly access results from all major social media networks in an aggregated view, as well as, search each individual network by simply clicking a tab at the top of the results. The results can also be further customized by either popularity (relevance) or by date.

When asked about the benefit to users, Founder Rob Gelhausen had this to say, “We believe the application for a dedicated Social Media Search Engine is abundant. Individuals can more easily find what they are looking for within and across their favorite networks, companies can gauge their marketing impact, and students can do more effective, as well as efficient research. These are just a few of the current benefits and uses.”

According to a report published by the Pew Research Center 52% of adults have at least 2 social media accounts across various networks. That means as many as 1.26 million US citizens over the age of 18 visit multiple social media networks to search and post content. The idea of a way to search from a single source is an intriguing and time saving proposition.

The Social Media Search Engine was built on top of and with the cooperation of Google’s Web Index. With the recent deal between Twitter and Google to allow access and indexing of all 200 billion plus Tweets being generated every year, the incredible categorization of the vast amount of Facebook content, the fact that YouTube is owned by Google, as well as, many additional strategic reasons, Founder Rob Gelhausen said “It was a no brainer using Google’s index to power our search.”

Rep U Press is a digital media company that offers an array of solutions which include SaaS Applications, Marketing Services and even eLearning Video Tutorials Courses. Their latest endeavor is sure to make waves. The web search industry is dominated by three major players who are Google, Yahoo and Bing. Google currently controls approximately 65% of the search share in the US with Bing and Yahoo combing for approximately 24%. All other search engines make up the remaining 11%.

Harking back to the days of Mark Cuban selling Broadcast.com to Yahoo for 5.7 Billion Dollars leaving the door open for Google to crush them in search, it seems as though Yahoo has always been one step behind in the race for online user search acquisition. It is amazing that there has not already been some sort of play like this by either of thetwo  two second tier search options. Will the Rep U Press solution take even more of the market share? Well, that remains to be seen.

Author:  Anna Chmielewska

Source:  http://military-technologies.net/

Categorized in Search Engine

string of misguided moves has led what once was considered the king of the Internet to spiral downward to the point of irrelevance.

In fact, if it weren’t for bad news (shrinking earnings, invasive hacks) Yahoo wouldn’t be in the news at all, which brings us to the recent news that the company provided and allowed U.S. intelligence agencies to read through Yahoo user emails.

Let’s be clear. We’re not talking about tracking terrorists or undesirables here. We’re talking about Yahoo handing over the right for the US and likely other friendly governments to scan all incoming emails in search of red flag phrases or keywords.

Think about this for a second. All those emails you’ve written and received with discussions about politics and people that were assumed to be private and meant as inside jokes for you and your friends were being filtered through CIA headquarters.

Kind of makes you wonder what you’ve written in the past few years, doesn’t it?

Yahoo was recently hacked exposing people's data
Yahoo was recently hacked exposing people's data

Imagine becoming a person of interest because you make a meaningless comment to your mother, brother or best friend that uses a few unintentionally scary keywords.

Hmmm, that likely puts just about everyone on a government “watch” list.

Everything you write, public or private, not only is now available to be held against you in a court of law – it all becomes part of your “permanent record,” that nasty electronic dossier on you that lives forever in the hands of those who watch.

Yahoo has of course been pummeled in all the headlines for what unfolded.

But Yahoo alone isn’t the problem. They didn’t create the practice of online snooping. That’s been going on just about as long as the Internet itself.

Neither did they elevate the offense. The telecommunications industry led by AT&T, Verizon, Samsung and countless others has been caught infringing on privacy rights numerous times this year.

It is well documented that millions of dollars has changed hands between the US government and large telecoms in exchange for the annual set of communication records of their customers.

Then there’s Facebook.

Facebook has been watching you
Facebook has been watching you

Facebook the 'privacy villain of the year'

Two weeks ago, the European Digital Rights (EDRi), a coalition of civil rights organizations, presented the social media giant with its “privacy villain of the year” award.

Facebook has been looking at all your content, your pictures, contacts, and words since inception. It has experimented with manipulating the content you see and the emotions you express, tracked what you’re playing on your smartphone while digitally identifying you in photos, and much more. Facebook even tracks non-members.

Gmail left the door open from the start
Gmail left the door open from the start

And what about Google?

Google claims it wants to help you in every way possible. They are a search engine, a smart thermostat, a map, a video site, a place to create content and socialize and much more.

The list goes on and on with what they do and offer based on their many acquisitions.

What they don’t tell you in any way obvious, is that they scan every slice of Google that you use. All that information . . . becomes part of your “permanent record.” They argue it’s useful in order to customize your experience.

Google is doing everything they can to subvert your right to be forgotten. They seem to know literally everything you’re doing and what the temperature in your house is.

Remember, this is the same Google that was fined millions of dollars by several different countries when they literally stole IP addresses and WiFi passwords from citizens’ homes as they drove by in their quest to map the world. By this time we are all exhausted by the mind-numbing targeted ads and content we receive. Who is that really useful to? To them of course.

While it lacked the tech back then it doesn't now
While it lacked the tech back then it doesn't now

This isn't a new thing

The real scary part is that in many instances, this was the intention from day one.

Look at the patent Google filed for Gmail in 2005. Google put its cards face up there, spelling out that while it then currently lacked the technology to scan emails and attachments, it left the door open to in the future.

Today they’ve been scanning for years. Data brokers enjoy over 1,500 pieces of data on all of us, thanks to services like Google and Facebook. And now as we’ve learned, it is Yahoo’s turn to offend.

These huge companies I prefer to call “data vacuums.” Their members are products sold to their customers – data brokers, advertisers, and as we often learn later, governments.

They willingly sacrifice their users in exchange for dollars, no matter who the customer. It gives a black eye to technology in general.

This hasn’t been lost on Silicon Valley.

Within 24 hours of the news about Yahoo, companies such as Microsoft, Twitter, and yes, Facebook and Google, quickly denied following any such practice themselves, claiming they would fight such government demands up to the Supreme Court.

While hypocritical in many ways, these tech giants are smart enough to know who butters their bread and that the perception of trust outweighs the reality of it. But isn’t it the government who ultimately ends up with the data if a company is intentionally spying on us and building a huge record about each of us?

WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook
WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook

WhatsApp is tracking you

Ah the irony of it all. A few weeks ago Facebook egregiously announced that they had changed WhatsApp’s privacy policy and are now tracking all WhatsApp members.

Facebook owns WhatsApp, by the way.

For WhatsApp users, you may want to run quickly – because you are now just another data nugget and your privacy, which was the very premise of WhatsApp, has been compromised mercilessly.

In your permanent record they now note who you are talking to, when/what time you are talking with them, and where you are when you are talking with them.

It just seems predictable that at some point some hacker is going to make public all of our permanent records. This could wreak havoc on our jobs, our relationships, our families, and so much more. It is likely – perhaps not today, but certainly in the coming years.

Going forward, incidents such as this latest Yahoo fiasco thankfully increase the demand for user control and privacy as a fundamental right.

People of the world want to have their personal privacy respected, and as Pew Research has recently reported, now more than ever.

The good news is that companies can easily enough produce apps that follow privacy-by-design principles.

I know this in practice. As founder of MeWe, the next-gen social network, we protected users with an industry-exclusive Privacy Bill of Rights.

It has no dossier on users, because it was built with no tracking, no algorithm and no target ads or content.

It is possible.

So what can we learn from Yahoo’s actions?

This whole episode is yet another symptom of an overall disease concerning the lack of privacy online that has spread to all corners of the globe.

Enough is enough already. The best way to cause corporate behavioral changes is to change our behavior as consumers.

We can take action, by terminating our accounts and marching away from these data-grabbing/selling entities and realign ourselves with companies philosophically aligned with the inalienable human privilege that democracy is intended to protect, the right to personal privacy.

Source : mirror

Categorized in Science & Tech

Just a few short years ago, we measured our client’s success by where they ranked on Google’s search results for specific keywords. It made sense; we would have specific goals, and our clients would be able to measure our performance.

The fact is, search engines are getting smarter, and they are no longer fixated on individual keywords. They’re focused on user intent … and so should you.

What’s Changed?

Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing were focused on keywords because that was the limit of their technology. They would simply try and match individual keywords that people were searching, with web pages that had those keywords on them. The results were sometimes good, but rarely great.

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Because search engines are now able to interpret “User Intent” (what a consumer is actually looking for) instead of just the individual keywords they are searching, monitoring keyword rankings is now considered “old school.”

For example, suppose you were monitoring the keyword phrase “window film,” and you don’t show up on Google on the first page. You might be showing up for “home window tinting” and “residential window film” and “solar control for home,” but unless you are monitoring every possible combination of potential keywords, you wouldn’t know.

To compound the challenge of relying solely on keyword rankings as the sole indicator of success, search engines have personalized search results based on:

  • Location
  • Previous searches
  • Previous websites you’ve visited
  • Demographic data
  • Time of day

In other words, what you see and what I see when we search on the exact same keyword phrase, can vary dramatically. Even under the same conditions, keyword rankings fluctuate constantly. That’s why keyword positions alone are not a good measurement of success.

Key Takeaway:

Your keyword position report is only as good as the individual keyword phrases you happen to be tracking. 

10 Metrics You NEED to be Measuring:

There are certain key performance indicators (KPI) that when taken in aggregate, really paint an accurate picture of how your web presence is progressing. Here are my recommendations:

  1. Total Visitors: This is the baseline key performance indicator. If you properly filter out robotic trafficand other irrelevant visits, you’re left with a pretty good indicator on how your marketing efforts are paying off.
  2. Organic Traffic: This is traffic that is the result of your search optimization efforts. If this number is steadily increasing (minus cyclical factors), you are probably on the right track.
  3. Conversion Rate: This is arguably the most important metric. You can spend a lot of money and effort doubling your visitor count, or you can make a few tweaks to increase the number of existing visits that convert to whatever metric represents success for you (phone calls, emails, submitted forms, downloads, transactions, etc.). Take a look at the impact increasing your conversion rate by just 2 percent can have on your bottom line:
    line.jpg

Increasing your conversion rate by just a few percentage points has a lot more impact than increasing traffic. In the scenario above, you would need an extra 24,000 visitors to have the same impact as just doing things right in the first place!

  1. Average Time on Site: If visitors are spending an appreciable amount of time on your site, that might indicate they found what they are looking for, and that you’re doing a good job attracting the right people because your website is on topic. Keep in mind that if someone stays on your site for five minutes, and the next person only stays five seconds, your average time on site is 2.5 minutes (this is a relative number).
  2. Average Page Views: The more pages your audience is exposed to, the more likely they are interested in what you are offering.
  3. Bounce Rate: When someone comes to a page on your site and immediately leaves without going to another page, or performing an action, they’ve essentially “bounced” off your site. A high bounce rate may be an indication that you are doing a poor job of attracting the right people, or that your website just sucks (there are many different flavors of sucking).  Keep in mind that if someone comes to a good landing page and just picks up the phone and calls you, it may appear that they bounced, but in reality, that was a success.
  4. New Visitors: If you aren’t getting new visitors, something is wrong.
  5. Returning Visitors: If a consumer keeps coming back to your website, there’s a reason for that. Eventually it may turn into a sale.
  6. Month-over-Month: Although month-over-month comparisons can be deceptive in a seasonal or cyclical industry, it is still the shortest amount of elapsed time worth considering. Given the slow lumbering pace that search trends often reveal themselves, we often use quarterly comparisons as well.
  7. Year-over-Year: Taking a more macro-view of your progress can help accommodate for any cyclical conditions, as well as equalizing a host of short term variables. Keep in mind that external influences such as new competitors, new trends and even the general economy can influence the year-over-year comparison.

Keyword research is important, and keeping an eye on a few keyword placements as indicators is a good practice, but the days of relying on keyword placement as your sole indicator of success is over. Rather than trying to rank as high as possible of as many keywords as you can, strive to serve as many user-needs as possible. Then make sure the search engines have all the info they need to figure out what you and your company are about, and how you truly meet consumers’ needs. Then measure the things that mater…

Authors Note:

If you need help setting up, or measuring your analytics, message me through LinkedIn, or contact me directly through our company website (below).

Chuck Bankoff is the Director of Web Services for Kreative Webworks, a full service Digital Marketing Agency specializing in the Glass Industries.

Source : windowfilmmag

Categorized in Search Engine

A privacy-focused search engine, Startpage.com, will no longer be including Yahoo search results in its work.

“Yahoo has made it easy to walk away”, said CEO Robert Beens
“Yahoo has made it easy to walk away”, said CEO Robert Beens

A German search engine will no longer feature Yahoo search results, after a series of embarrassing disclosures which showed the tech company not only to be storing customers' information insecurely, but to be actively helping government agencies to spy on them.

The Germany-based search engine, StartPage, which bills itself as ‘the world's most private search engine', published a release saying that it would no longer be continuing its relationship with Yahoo. The CEO, Robert Beens said in a press release on 17 October, that considering its recent admissions, “Yahoo has made it easy to walk away”. 

Yahoo was not only the subject of the biggest known breach of all time, where hackers made off with the account information of 500 million users, but it was only disclosed almost two years after it had happened. The account information was filled with personally identifiable information including names, emails, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and security question and answers.

While Yahoo did not name any culprits, the tech giant said it believed it was the victim of ‘state-sponsored hackers'.

Further investigation revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA), which runs the US' state surveillance programme, was not only allowed access to customer's private information, but that Yahoo built a custom software programme to allow the agency access to it.

Yahoo's CEO knew about the breach since July 2016 at the latest, but did not tell stakeholders, regulators and importantly Verizon, which is set to acquire the company, until September.

StartPage appears to pride itself on the privacy it offers users, so it might not be so strange that it takes such umbrage at Yahoo's recent blunders, or depending on who you ask, betrayals of its customer's trust.

StartPage claims to be “outside the reach of US data collection mandates”. As the world's “most trusted private search engine”, it offers a free proxy service with every search.

Beens told SCMagazineUK.com that the simple answer is that StartPage's board has lost confidence in Yahoo.

Privacy is an important part of StartPage's ethos. Technically, Yahoo's security won't impact StartPage customers, said Beens, “as we are in between them (Yahoo) and our users, and our users' privacy doesn't depend on Yahoo's security”.

But, added Beens “we have a solid reputation as a privacy company,” the recent revelations about Yahoo's practices “show choices were made at Yahoo not to invest in security and that they subsequently lied about  'government involvement'”.

“We can no longer be associated with a company that obviously doesn't have its security in order any more and can't be trusted with user information.” This clearly indicates, concluded Beens, “that US-based search engines can't be trusted on their word not to spy on their users, as they may be forced by US laws like the Patriot Act to engage in mass or individual surveillance and keep quiet about it because of gag orders.”

Yahoo, however, told SC that it did "not have a partnership with StartPage and we have never had a formal relationship with the company."

The tech industry is often loudly libertarian. When the US Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to get Apple to open up an iPhone, the sector rose up in outrage. Considering that fact and Yahoo's recent mistakes, one wonders whether this isn't merely an omen of things to come.

On the business side, Yahoo felt the repercussions of its recent breach when Verizon asked for a billion dollar discount on the sale price. 

Source: scmagazineuk.com

Categorized in Search Engine

The fallout from the recent scandals that hit Yahoo! has begun with StartPage.com cancelling its partnership and saying it will drop search results from the Internet pioneer by the end of October.

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StartPage claims to be the world's most private search engine. Overnight, its chief executive Robert Beens said Yahoo! search results would not appear in his company's metasearch platform Ixquick.eu.

"We are not the only ones disturbed by Yahoo!’s lack of openness about major privacy violations," said Beens.

"Even though Ixquick.eu can’t be affected by Yahoo!’s government ties because of our strict privacy protections and our location outside US jurisdiction, we no longer feel comfortable partnering with them."

In September, Yahoo! confirmed that the account details of 500 million users had been leaked two years ago.

Then, early this month, reports emerged that Yahoo! had acquiesced to a request from either the FBI or the NSA to install a program on its servers to scan emails in order to find specific information.

And while Verizon struck a deal to buy Yahoo! in July, the wireless company appears to be having second thoughts about going through with the transaction.

The digital rights group Fight for the Future has now launched a "Dump Yahoo!" campaign urging users to delete their Yahoo! accounts.

“Yahoo! has made it easy to walk away,” said Beens. “Most of our users have already switched to our flagship private search engine StartPage.com for superior search results.”

He said StartPage.com has become popular because it delivered the best of two worlds: Google search results, and StartPage’s own privacy safeguards.

Another reason for StartPage’s popularity is its location in the Netherlands. The search engine is not subject to US laws like the Patriot Act, and cannot be forced to comply with US dragnet surveillance programmes, like PRISM.

“The Yahoo! scandal illustrates why being based outside US jurisdiction is so important to our customers,” said Beens. “People who care about privacy know that it’s very hard to trust US Internet companies with their data because the government can force them to spy on customers.”

There has already been discontent among users of Yahoo!’s major search partners DuckDuckGo and Firefox, and recently DuckDuckGo removed references to its partnership with Yahoo!.

Source : itwire

Categorized in Search Engine
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