FB removes 3 bn fake accounts, says 5% of its monthly active users were fake

Agencies
May 24, 2019

San Francisco, May 24: Facebook has removed more than three billion fake accounts in the October 2018-March 2019 period, saying that about 5 per cent of its monthly active users were fake.

Facebook disabled 1.2 billion accounts in Q4 2018 and 2.19 billion in Q1 2019.

"For fake accounts, the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time," Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president for integrity, said in a blog post on Thursday.

According to Rosen, for every 10,000 times people who view content on Facebook, 11 to 14 views contained content that violate the platform's adult nudity and sexual activity policy.

"We estimated for every 10,000 times people viewed content on Facebook, 25 views contained content that violated our violence and graphic content policy.

"During the second half of 2018, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally by 135 per cent from 15,337 to 35,972.

"This increase was primarily driven by 16,600 items we restricted in India based on a Delhi High Court order regarding claims made about PepsiCo products," said Facebook.

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018.

"This half, India accounted for 85 per cent of total new global disruptions," said the company.

In this period, on Facebook and Instagram, the company took down 2,595,410 pieces of content based on 511,706 copyright reports; 215,877 pieces of content based on 81,243 trademark reports; and 781,875 pieces of content based on 62,829 counterfeit reports.

"In Q1 2019, we took action on about 900,000 pieces of drug sale content, of which 83.3 per cent we detected pro-actively. In the same period, we took action on about 670,000 pieces of firearm sale content, of which 69.9 per cent we detected pro-actively," added Rosen.

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Agencies
January 15,2021

California, Jan 15: Facebook has sued two developers in Portugal for scraping user-profiles and other data from its website.

Using the business name "Oink and Stuff," the defendants developed browser extensions and made them available on the Chrome store.

"They misled users into installing the extensions with a privacy policy that claimed they did not collect any personal information," said Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook.

Four of their extensions -- Web for Instagram plus DM, Blue Messenger, Emoji keyboard and Green Messenger -- were malicious and contained hidden computer code that functioned like spyware.

When people installed these extensions on their browsers, they were installing concealed code designed to scrape their information from the Facebook website, but also information from the users' browsers unrelated to Facebook -- all without their knowledge.

"If the user visited the Facebook website, the browser extensions were programmed to scrape their name, user ID, gender, relationship status, age group and other information related to their account," Romero said in a statement on Thursday.

The defendants did not compromise Facebook's security systems. Instead, they used the extensions on the users' devices to collect information.

"We are seeking a permanent injunction against defendants and demanding that they delete all Facebook data in their possession," she mentioned.

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Agencies
January 16,2021

Los Angeles, Jan 16: Over 22 billion records were exposed worldwide amid 730 publicly disclosed data breaches in 2020, a new report revealed on Friday.

Thirty five percent of breaches were linked to ransomware attacks, resulting in tremendous financial cost, while 14 per cent of breaches were the result of email compromises, according to an analysis of breach data by cyber exposure company Tenable's Security Response Team (SRT) from January through October last year.

One of the overarching themes of the threat landscape in 2020 was that threat actors relied on unpatched vulnerabilities in their attacks as well as chaining together multiple vulnerabilities as part of their attacks.

"Every day, cybersecurity professionals in India and the rest of the world are faced with new challenges and vulnerabilities that can put their organisations at risk," said Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer at Tenable.

"The 18,358 vulnerabilities disclosed in 2020 alone reflects a new normal and a clear sign that the job of a cyber defender is only getting more difficult as they navigate the ever-expanding attack surface," Narang added.

From 2015 to 2020, the number of reported common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) increased at an average annual percentage growth rate of 36.6 per cent.

In 2020, 18,358 CVEs were reported, representing a 6 per cent increase over the 17,305 reported in 2019, and a 183 per cent increase over the 6,487 disclosed in 2015.

"Pre-existing vulnerabilities in virtual private network (VPN) solutions — many of which were initially disclosed in 2019 or earlier -- continue to remain a favorite target for cybercriminals and nation-state groups," the report mentioned.

Web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge are the primary target for zero-day vulnerabilities, accounting for over 35 per cent of all zero-day vulnerabilities exploited in the wild, it added.

"In 2021, it's essential that we have the tools, awareness and intelligence to effectively reduce risk and eliminate blind spots. It's only through looking at where we've come from that we can effectively plan for what lies ahead," Narang noted.

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Agencies
January 5,2021

New Delhi, Jan 5: More than 371,500 babies were born worldwide on New Year's Day and India is estimated to have recorded the highest number of births at around 60,000, according to the UN's children's agency.

UNICEF said that an estimated 371,504 babies were born around the world on New Year's Day. Fiji in the Pacific was projected to have welcomed 2021's first baby while the United States would welcome its last.

Globally, over half of these births are estimated to have taken place in 10 countries: India (59,995), China (35,615), Nigeria (21,439), Pakistan (14,161), Indonesia (12,336), Ethiopia (12,006), the United States (10,312), Egypt (9,455), Bangladesh (9,236) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (8,640), it said.

In total, an estimated 140 million children will be born in 2021 and their average life expectancy is expected to be 84 years, the UN agency said.

"The children born today enter a world far different than even a year ago, and a New Year brings a new opportunity to reimagine it," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, calling on nations to make 2021 the year they start to build a fairer, safer, healthier world for children.

The year 2021 will also mark the 75th anniversary of UNICEF. Over the course of the year, UNICEF and its partners will be commemorating the anniversary with events and announcements celebrating three-quarters of a century of protecting children from conflict, disease and exclusion and championing their right to survival, health and education.

"Today, as the world faces a global pandemic, economic slowdown, rising poverty and deepening inequality, the need for UNICEF's work is as great as ever," said Fore.

"For the last 75 years, throughout conflicts, displacements, natural disasters and crises, UNICEF has been there for the world's children. As a New Year dawns, we renew our commitment to protect children, to speak up for their rights, and to make sure their voices are heard, no matter where they live," Fore said.

In response to the global pandemic, UNICEF launched the Reimagine campaign, a global effort to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from becoming a lasting crisis for children.

Through the campaign, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, the public, donors and the private sector to join UNICEF as it seeks to respond, recover and reimagine a better, post-pandemic world.

For the estimates, UNICEF used vital registration and nationally representative household survey data to estimate the monthly and daily fractions of births in countries.

UNICEF used the annual live births numbers and period life expectancy from the latest revision of the UN's World Population Prospects (2019) to estimate the babies born on January 1, 2021 and their cohort life expectancy.

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