All posts by MTechnology

WhatsApp Makes Changes in India After Deadly Attacks

WhatsApp has announced changes for its 200 million users in India following the spread of viral messages via the app that resulted in deadly mob attacks.

India’s government has threatened to take WhatsApp to court, saying “…the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability.”  The information technology ministry said, “If they remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action.”  

The Facebook-owned messaging app said it will limit Indian users’ ability to forward messages, allowing only five contacts at a time to receive them.

The firm said it will also remove the quick forward button placed next to media messages.

Both moves are designed to make stop the mass forwards that have resulted in the mob attacks.

India is WhatsApp’s largest market.

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WhatsApp Makes Changes in India After Deadly Attacks

WhatsApp has announced changes for its 200 million users in India following the spread of viral messages via the app that resulted in deadly mob attacks.

India’s government has threatened to take WhatsApp to court, saying “…the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability.”  The information technology ministry said, “If they remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action.”  

The Facebook-owned messaging app said it will limit Indian users’ ability to forward messages, allowing only five contacts at a time to receive them.

The firm said it will also remove the quick forward button placed next to media messages.

Both moves are designed to make stop the mass forwards that have resulted in the mob attacks.

India is WhatsApp’s largest market.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Cyberattacks on 2018 US Political Campaigns Already Underway

Hackers targeted the campaigns of at least three candidates running for Congress in the upcoming 2018 U.S. elections, but the attacks were detected and thwarted, a Microsoft executive said Thursday.

The attempted attacks tried to use a fake Microsoft domain as a landing page for phishing attacks, said Tom Burt, Microsoft vice president for customer security and trust. He refused to name which candidates were targeted, citing privacy concerns.

“They were all people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint, as well as an election disruption standpoint,” Burt told an audience at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.

He also did not identify the source of the phishing attacks, though the tactic was similar to those used by Russian operatives to target the Republican and Democratic parties during their presidential nominating conventions in 2016.

Burt said Microsoft coordinated with the U.S. government and was able to take down the fake domains. He also said none of the campaign staffers targeted by the phishing attacks were infected.

​More attacks are coming

Thursday’s revelation came in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s news conference Monday in Helsinki, Finland, after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump sided with Putin, supporting the Russian leader’s assertions that his country did not meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump’s comments, which directly contradicted the findings of the U.S. intelligence community, have drawn harsh criticism from politicians, and former diplomatic and intelligence officials.

Current intelligence and security officials have warned repeatedly that not only was Russia responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, but that more attacks — both in the form of hacks and in the form of more subtle information operations — are coming.

Russia taking lead

“What we assessed and reassessed and have carefully gone over still stands,” U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said of Russia’s efforts.

“It’s undeniable that the Russians are taking the lead on this,” Coats added, speaking during an appearance at the same security forum. “They are the ones who are trying to undermine our basic values, divide us with our allies.”

But U.S. and private sector officials say that, at least to this point, Russian efforts to influence the 2018 elections appear to be somewhat subdued.

“We’re not seeing the targeting of the actual state and local election systems that we saw in 2016 right now,” said Jeanette Manfra, the Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary for cybersecurity.

New tools working

For now, some leading private sector technology and social media companies agree.

Facebook, which Russia used to run ads and false news stories as part of its 2016 influence campaign, thinks some of that could be related to more awareness and crackdowns on the fake accounts Russian-linked operatives had been using.

“The new tools that would identify and remove fake accounts like the IRA [Russia’s Internet Research Agency] was running, combined with the new requirements for transparency in advertising, are such that I think we’re not seeing that same conduct,” Monika Bickert, head of Facebook’s product policy and counterterrorism, said.

“But we are watching for that activity,” Bickert said.

Microsoft’s Burt is also cautious, despite his experts “not seeing the same level of activity by the Russian activity groups” as they did two years ago.

“It doesn’t mean we’re not going to see it,” he said. “There’s a lot of time left.”

“I think we should all be prepared, given that capability and will, that they’ll do it again,” U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned Thursday. “We would be foolish to think they’re not.”

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Cyberattacks on 2018 US Political Campaigns Already Underway

Hackers targeted the campaigns of at least three candidates running for Congress in the upcoming 2018 U.S. elections, but the attacks were detected and thwarted, a Microsoft executive said Thursday.

The attempted attacks tried to use a fake Microsoft domain as a landing page for phishing attacks, said Tom Burt, Microsoft vice president for customer security and trust. He refused to name which candidates were targeted, citing privacy concerns.

“They were all people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint, as well as an election disruption standpoint,” Burt told an audience at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.

He also did not identify the source of the phishing attacks, though the tactic was similar to those used by Russian operatives to target the Republican and Democratic parties during their presidential nominating conventions in 2016.

Burt said Microsoft coordinated with the U.S. government and was able to take down the fake domains. He also said none of the campaign staffers targeted by the phishing attacks were infected.

​More attacks are coming

Thursday’s revelation came in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s news conference Monday in Helsinki, Finland, after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump sided with Putin, supporting the Russian leader’s assertions that his country did not meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump’s comments, which directly contradicted the findings of the U.S. intelligence community, have drawn harsh criticism from politicians, and former diplomatic and intelligence officials.

Current intelligence and security officials have warned repeatedly that not only was Russia responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, but that more attacks — both in the form of hacks and in the form of more subtle information operations — are coming.

Russia taking lead

“What we assessed and reassessed and have carefully gone over still stands,” U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said of Russia’s efforts.

“It’s undeniable that the Russians are taking the lead on this,” Coats added, speaking during an appearance at the same security forum. “They are the ones who are trying to undermine our basic values, divide us with our allies.”

But U.S. and private sector officials say that, at least to this point, Russian efforts to influence the 2018 elections appear to be somewhat subdued.

“We’re not seeing the targeting of the actual state and local election systems that we saw in 2016 right now,” said Jeanette Manfra, the Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary for cybersecurity.

New tools working

For now, some leading private sector technology and social media companies agree.

Facebook, which Russia used to run ads and false news stories as part of its 2016 influence campaign, thinks some of that could be related to more awareness and crackdowns on the fake accounts Russian-linked operatives had been using.

“The new tools that would identify and remove fake accounts like the IRA [Russia’s Internet Research Agency] was running, combined with the new requirements for transparency in advertising, are such that I think we’re not seeing that same conduct,” Monika Bickert, head of Facebook’s product policy and counterterrorism, said.

“But we are watching for that activity,” Bickert said.

Microsoft’s Burt is also cautious, despite his experts “not seeing the same level of activity by the Russian activity groups” as they did two years ago.

“It doesn’t mean we’re not going to see it,” he said. “There’s a lot of time left.”

“I think we should all be prepared, given that capability and will, that they’ll do it again,” U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned Thursday. “We would be foolish to think they’re not.”

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Trump Slams Record EU Fine Against Google

President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday after Brussels hit US tech giant Google with a record fine, and warned he would no longer allow Europe to take “advantage” of the United States.

“I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google,” Trump tweeted in reaction to the 4.34 billion euro penalty imposed on Google for abusing the dominance of its mobile operating system.

“They truly have taken advantage of the US, but not for long!” he said.

In announcing the fine on Wednesday, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager accused Google of using the Android system’s near-stranglehold on smartphones and tablets to promote the use of its own Google search engine while shutting out rivals.

The decision, which followed a three-year EU investigation, comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount because of President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum exports.

The new sanction nearly doubles the previous record EU antitrust fine of 2.4 billion euros, which also targeted Google, in that case for the Silicon Valley titan’s shopping comparison service in 2017.

Denmark’s Vestager ordered Google to “put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments” of up to five percent of its average daily turnover.

The Google decision came one week before European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was due to travel to the United States for crucial talks with the American president on the tariffs dispute and other issues.

Google chief Sundar Pichai immediately said the firm would appeal.

“Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less. We intend to appeal,” he said in a blog post.

Google provides Android free to smartphone manufacturers and generates most of its revenue from selling advertisements that appear along with search results.

The EU says Android is used on around 80 percent of mobile devices, both in Europe and worldwide.

The Android case originated when a lobbying group called FairSearch — with members then including huge tech companies like Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle — complained that Google was unfairly tilting the field of competition.

Google’s parent company Alphabet ranked as the fifth largest information technology company in the world in 2017, with global revenue of $111 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

That figure represented a doubling in global revenue in only four years.

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Trump Slams Record EU Fine Against Google

President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday after Brussels hit US tech giant Google with a record fine, and warned he would no longer allow Europe to take “advantage” of the United States.

“I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google,” Trump tweeted in reaction to the 4.34 billion euro penalty imposed on Google for abusing the dominance of its mobile operating system.

“They truly have taken advantage of the US, but not for long!” he said.

In announcing the fine on Wednesday, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager accused Google of using the Android system’s near-stranglehold on smartphones and tablets to promote the use of its own Google search engine while shutting out rivals.

The decision, which followed a three-year EU investigation, comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount because of President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum exports.

The new sanction nearly doubles the previous record EU antitrust fine of 2.4 billion euros, which also targeted Google, in that case for the Silicon Valley titan’s shopping comparison service in 2017.

Denmark’s Vestager ordered Google to “put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments” of up to five percent of its average daily turnover.

The Google decision came one week before European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was due to travel to the United States for crucial talks with the American president on the tariffs dispute and other issues.

Google chief Sundar Pichai immediately said the firm would appeal.

“Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less. We intend to appeal,” he said in a blog post.

Google provides Android free to smartphone manufacturers and generates most of its revenue from selling advertisements that appear along with search results.

The EU says Android is used on around 80 percent of mobile devices, both in Europe and worldwide.

The Android case originated when a lobbying group called FairSearch — with members then including huge tech companies like Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle — complained that Google was unfairly tilting the field of competition.

Google’s parent company Alphabet ranked as the fifth largest information technology company in the world in 2017, with global revenue of $111 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

That figure represented a doubling in global revenue in only four years.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!
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