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Facebook to Pay $5 Billion Fine to Settle FTC Privacy Investigation

Facebook to Pay $5 Billion Fine to Settle FTC Privacy Investigation

July 13, 2019Swati Khandelwal
After months of negotiations, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a record $5 billion settlement with Facebook over its privacy investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal . The settlement will put an end to a wide-ranging probe that began more than a year ago and centers around the violation of a 2011 agreement Facebook made with the FTC that required Facebook to gain explicit consent from users to share their personal data. The FTC launched an investigation into the social media giant last year after it was revealed that the company allowed Cambridge Analytica access to the personal data of around  87 million Facebook users without their explicit consent. Now, according to a new report published by the Wall Street Journal, the FTC commissioners this week finally voted to approve a $5 billion settlement, with three Republicans voting to approve the deal and two Democrats against it. Facebook anticipated the fine to between $3 billion and
Facebook Could Be Fined Up To $5 Billion Over Privacy Violations

Facebook Could Be Fined Up To $5 Billion Over Privacy Violations

April 25, 2019Mohit Kumar
Facebook expects to face a massive fine of up to $5 billion from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the result of an investigation into its privacy policies—that's about one month's revenue for the social media giant. To be clear the amount of fine is not what the FTC has announced or hinted yet; instead, it's an estimated due that Facebook disclosed on Wednesday in its first quarter 2019 financial earnings report. In its earnings report, Facebook said the company had set $3 billion aside in anticipation of the settlement with the FTC, who launched a probe into Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal . The probe centers around the violation of a 2011 agreement Facebook made with the FTC that required the social media to gain explicit consent from users to share their data. The FTC launched an investigation into Facebook last year after it was revealed that the company allowed Cambridge Analytica access to the personal data of around 50 million Face
540 Million Facebook User Records Found On Unprotected Amazon Servers

540 Million Facebook User Records Found On Unprotected Amazon Servers

April 03, 2019Mohit Kumar
It's been a bad week for Facebook users. First, the social media company was caught asking some of its new users to share passwords for their registered email accounts and now… ...the bad week gets worse with a new privacy breach. More than half a billion records of millions of Facebook users have been found exposed on unprotected Amazon cloud servers. The exposed datasets do not directly come from Facebook; instead, they were collected and unsecurely stored online by third-party Facebook app developers. Researchers at the cybersecurity firm UpGuard today revealed that they discovered two datasets—one from a Mexican media company called Cultura Colectiva and another from a Facebook-integrated app called "At the pool"—both left publicly accessible on the Internet. More than 146 GB of data collected by Cultura Colectiva contains over 540 million Facebook user records, including comments, likes, reactions, account names, Facebook user IDs, and more. The
New Settings Let Hackers Easily Pentest Facebook, Instagram Mobile Apps

New Settings Let Hackers Easily Pentest Facebook, Instagram Mobile Apps

March 26, 2019Mohit Kumar
Facebook has introduced a new feature in its platform that has been designed to make it easier for bug bounty hunters to find security flaws in Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram Android applications. Since almost all Facebook-owned apps by default use security mechanisms such as Certificate Pinning to ensure integrity and confidentiality of the traffic, it makes it harder for white hat hackers and security researchers to intercept and analyze network traffic to find server-side security vulnerabilities. For those unaware, Certificate Pinning is a security mechanism designed to prevent users of an application from being a victim of network-based attacks by automatically rejecting the whole connection from sites that offer bogus SSL certificates. Dubbed " Whitehat Settings ," the new option now lets researchers easily bypass Certificate Pinning on the Facebook-owned mobile apps by: Disabling Facebook's TLS 1.3 support Enabling proxy for Platform API requests
New Facebook Bug Exposed 6.8 Million Users Photos to Third-Party Apps

New Facebook Bug Exposed 6.8 Million Users Photos to Third-Party Apps

December 14, 2018Mohit Kumar
Facebook's latest screw-up — a programming bug in Facebook website accidentally gave 1,500 third-party apps access to the unposted Facebook photos of as many as 6.8 million users. Facebook today quietly announced that it discovered a new API bug in its photo-sharing system that let 876 developers access users' private photos which they never shared on their timeline, including images uploaded to Marketplace or Facebook Stories. "When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline. In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories," Facebook said. What's worse? The bug even exposed photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post or didn't finish posting it for some reason. The flaw left users' private data exposed for 12 days, between September 13th an
30 Million Facebook Accounts Were Hacked: Check If You're One of Them

30 Million Facebook Accounts Were Hacked: Check If You're One of Them

October 13, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Late last month Facebook announced its worst-ever security breach that allowed an unknown group of hackers to steal secret access tokens for millions of accounts by taking advantage of a flaw in the 'View As' feature. At the time of the initial disclosure, Facebook estimated that the number of users affected by the breach could have been around 50 million, though a new update published today by the social media giant downgraded this number to 30 million. Out of those 30 million accounts, hackers successfully accessed personal information from 29 million Facebook users, though the company assured that the miscreants apparently didn’t manage to access any third-party app data . Here's How Facebook Classified the Stolen Data: Facebook vice president of product management Guy Rosen published a new blog post  Friday morning to share further details on the massive security breach, informing that the hackers stole data from those affected accounts, as follows: For about 1
Another Facebook Quiz App Left 120 Million Users' Data Exposed

Another Facebook Quiz App Left 120 Million Users' Data Exposed

June 28, 2018Swati Khandelwal
People are still getting over the most controversial data scandal of the year, i.e., Cambridge Analytica scandal , and Facebook is under fire yet again after it emerges that a popular quiz app on the social media platform exposed the private data of up to 120 million users for years. Facebook was in controversies earlier this year over a quiz app that sold data of 87 million users to a political consultancy firm, who reportedly helped Donald Trump win the US presidency in 2016. Now, a different third-party quiz app, called NameTests, found exposing data of up to 120 million Facebook users to anyone who happened to find it, an ethical hacker revealed. NameTests[.]com, the website behind popular social quizzes, like "Which Disney Princess Are You?" that has around 120 million monthly users, uses Facebook’s app platform to offer a fast way to sign up. Just like any other Facebook app, signing up on the NameTests website using their app allows the company to fetch neces
Facebook bug changed 14 million users’ default privacy settings to public

Facebook bug changed 14 million users’ default privacy settings to public

June 08, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Facebook admits as many as 14 millions of its users who thought they're sharing content privately with only friends may have inadvertently shared their posts with everyone because of a software bug. Facebook said in front of Congress in March over the Cambridge Analytica scandal that "every piece of content that you share on Facebook you own, you have complete control over who sees it and how you share it," but the news came out to be another failure of the company to keep the information of millions of users private. Facebook typically allows users to select the audiences who can see their posts, and that privacy setting remains the default until the user itself manually updates it. However, the social media giant revealed Thursday that it recently found a bug that automatically updated the default audience setting for 14 million users' Facebook posts to "Public," even if they had intended to share them just with their friends, or a smaller group
Facebook Accused of Giving Over 60 Device-Makers Deep Access to User Data

Facebook Accused of Giving Over 60 Device-Makers Deep Access to User Data

June 04, 2018Swati Khandelwal
After being embroiled into controversies over its data sharing practices , it turns out that Facebook had granted inappropriate access to its users' data to more than 60 device makers, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, and Samsung. According to a lengthy report published by The New York Times, the social network giant struck data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device manufacture companies so that they could offer Facebook messaging functions, "Like" buttons, address books, and other features without requiring their users to install a separate app. The agreements were reportedly made over the last 10 years, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones. Most notably, the publication suggests that the partnerships could be in breach of a 2011 consent decree by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which barred Facebook from granting other companies access to data of users' Facebook friends without their explicit consent
Facebook Offering $40,000 Bounty If You Find Evidence Of Data Leaks

Facebook Offering $40,000 Bounty If You Find Evidence Of Data Leaks

April 10, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Facebook pays millions of dollars every year to researchers and bug hunters to stamp out security holes in its products and infrastructure, but following Cambridge Analytica scandal , the company today launched a bounty program to reward users for reporting "data abuse" on its platform. The move comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify before Congress this week amid scrutiny over the data sharing controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy firm that obtained and misused data on potentially 87 million of its users . Through its new " Data Abuse Bounty " program, Facebook would ask users to help the social media giant find app developers misusing data, Facebook announced Tuesday. Similar to its existing bug bounty program, the Data Abuse Bounty program will reward a sum of money to anyone who reports valid events of data collection that violate Facebook's revamped data policies . "This program is complemen
How to Find Out Everything Facebook Knows About You

How to Find Out Everything Facebook Knows About You

April 10, 2018Unknown
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress this week to explain how his company collects and handles users' personal information. The past few weeks have been difficult for Facebook over concerns that the data of millions of users has been breached. Facebook stores details of almost every action you have taken and interaction you have engaged in on its platform. What many Facebook users are unaware of, though, is that you can easily download and see all the information Facebook has collected from you in just a few minutes. Here's how to find out what data Facebook has collected over time, including all your past posts, messages, photos, videos and more. Here's how to Download Your Facebook Data: First, sign into Facebook (on a desktop browser, not your mobile). Then, click the drop-down arrow on the top right, and click on "Settings." This will take you to facebook.com/settings, where you will find your "General Account Set
Facebook admits public data of its 2.2 billion users has been compromised

Facebook admits public data of its 2.2 billion users has been compromised

April 05, 2018Mohit Kumar
Facebook dropped another bombshell on its users by admitting that all of its 2.2 billion users should assume malicious third-party scrapers have compromised their public profile information. On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that "malicious actors" took advantage of "Search" tools on its platform to discover the identities and collect information on most of its 2 billion users worldwide. The revelation once again underlines the failure of the social-media giant to protect users’ privacy while generating billions of dollars in revenue from the same information. The revelation came weeks after the disclosure of the Cambridge Analytica scandal , wherein personal data of 77 million users was improperly gathered and misused by the political consultancy firm, who reportedly also helped Donald Trump win the US presidency in 2016. However, the latest scam revealed by the social media giant about the abuse of Facebook's search tools over the
Facebook Collected Your Android Call History and SMS Data For Years

Facebook Collected Your Android Call History and SMS Data For Years

March 25, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Facebook knows a lot about you, your likes and dislikes—it's no surprise. But do you know, if you have installed Facebook Messenger app on your Android device, there are chances that the company had been collecting your contacts, SMS, and call history data at least until late last year. A tweet from Dylan McKay, a New Zealand-based programmer, which received more than 38,000 retweets (at the time of writing), showed how he found his year-old data—including complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages—in an archive he downloaded (as a ZIP file) from Facebook. Facebook was collecting this data on its users from last few years, which was even reported earlier in media, but the story did not get much attention at that time. Since Facebook had been embroiled into controversies over its data sharing practices after the Cambridge Analytica scandal last week, tweets from McKay went viral and has now fueled the never-ending privacy debate. A Facebook spokespe
Facebook and Cambridge Analytica – What's Happened So Far

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica – What's Happened So Far

March 23, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Top Story— Facebook has just lost over $60 billion in market value over the past two days—that's more than Tesla's entire market capitalisation and almost three times that of Snapchat. Facebook shares plunge over revelations that personal data of 50 million users was obtained and misused by British data analytics firm ' Cambridge Analytica ,' who reportedly helped Donald Trump win the US presidency in 2016. The privacy scandal that rocked the social media giant was revealed earlier this week when Chris Wylie , the 28-year-old data scientist who worked with a Cambridge University academic, turned into a whistleblower and leaked to the newspapers how poorly Facebook handles people's private information. Wylie claims Cambridge Analytica created " Steve Bannon's psychological warfare mindf**k tool " that profiles citizens to predict their voting patterns based on the personal information gathered from a variety of sources and then helps political
Wait, Do You Really Think That’s A YouTube URL? Spoofing Links On Facebook

Wait, Do You Really Think That’s A YouTube URL? Spoofing Links On Facebook

October 30, 2017Mohit Kumar
While scrolling on Facebook how you decide which link/article should be clicked or opened? Facebook timeline and Messenger display title, description, thumbnail image and URL of every shared-link, and this information are enough to decide if the content is of your interest or not. Since Facebook is full of spam, clickbait and fake news articles these days, most users do not click every second link served to them. But yes, the possibility of opening an article is much higher when the content of your interest comes from a legitimate and authoritative website, like YouTube or Instagram. However, what if a link shared from a legitimate website lands you into trouble? Even before links shared on Facebook could not be edited, but to stop the spread of misinformation and false news, the social media giant also removed the ability for Pages to edit title, description, thumbnail image of a link in July 2017. However, it turns out that—spammers can spoof URLs of the shared-links t
Facebook slapped with $1.43 million fine for violating users' privacy in Spain

Facebook slapped with $1.43 million fine for violating users' privacy in Spain

September 11, 2017Wang Wei
Facebook is once again in trouble regarding its users' privacy. The social media giant has recently been heavily fined once again for a series of privacy violations in Spain. Recently, Google also incurred a record-breaking fine of $2.7 billion (€2.42 billion) by the European antitrust officials for unfairly manipulating search results since at least 2008. Now, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) has issued a €1.2 Million (nearly $1.4 Million) fine against Facebook for breaching laws designed to protect its people's information and confidentiality. According to the data protection watchdog, the social network collects its users' personal data without their 'unequivocal consent' and makes the profit by sharing the data with advertisers and marketers. The AEPD also found Facebook collects sensitive data on user's ideology, religious beliefs, sex and personal tastes and navigation—either directly from its own services or through third parties—w
Facebook Unveils 'Delegated Recovery' to Replace Traditional Password Recovery Methods

Facebook Unveils 'Delegated Recovery' to Replace Traditional Password Recovery Methods

January 31, 2017Mohit Kumar
How do you reset the password for your Facebook account if your primary email account also gets hacked? Using SMS-based security code or maybe answering the security questions? Well, it's 2017, and we are still forced to depend on insecure and unreliable password reset schemes like email-based or SMS code verification process. But these traditional access recovery mechanisms aren't safe enough to protect our all other online accounts linked to an email account. Yahoo Mail can be used as an excellent example. Once hackers have access to your Yahoo account, they can also get into any of your other online accounts linked to the same email just by clicking the link that says, "Forgot your password?" Fortunately, Facebook has a tool that aims to fix this process, helping you recover access to all your other online accounts securely. At the Enigma Conference in Oakland, California on Monday, Facebook launched an account recovery feature for other websites
Facebook Adds FIDO U2F Security Keys Feature For Secure Logins

Facebook Adds FIDO U2F Security Keys Feature For Secure Logins

January 27, 2017Mohit Kumar
Hacking password for a Facebook account is not easy, but also not impossible. We have always been advising you to enable two-factor authentication — or 2FA — to secure your online accounts, a process that requires users to manually enter, typically a six-digit secret code generated by an authenticator app or received via SMS or email. So even if somehow hackers steal your login credentials, they would not be able to access your account without one-time password sent to you. But, Are SMS-based one-time passwords Secure? US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is also no longer recommending SMS-based two-factor authentication systems , and it’s not a reliable solution mainly because of two reasons: Users outside the network coverage can face issues Growing number of sophisticated attacks against OTP schemes So, to beef up the security of your account, Facebook now support Fido-compliant Universal 2nd Factor Authentication (U2F), allows users to log into
Beware! Malicious JPG Images on Facebook Messenger Spreading Locky Ransomware

Beware! Malicious JPG Images on Facebook Messenger Spreading Locky Ransomware

November 26, 2016Swati Khandelwal
If you receive an image file sent by someone, even your friend, on your Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn or any other social media platform, just DO NOT CLICK ON IT. Even JPG image file could eventually infect your computer with the infamous Locky Ransomware . Earlier this week, we reported a new attack campaign that used Facebook Messenger to spread Locky Ransomware via .SVG image files, although Facebook denied this was the case. Now, researchers have discovered that the ongoing spam campaign is also using boobytrapped .JPG image files in order to download and infect users with the Locky Ransomware via Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking platforms. Security researchers from Israeli security firm Check Point have reportedly discovered how cyber criminals are hiding malware in image files, and how they are executing the malware code within these images to infect social media users with Locky variants. According to researchers, malware authors have discovered secu
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