In an unprecedented move this week, the US government is handing over a court order to Twitter to release all the data and information it has on the Twitter account of WikiLeaks. “The government says there’s no expectation of privacy when logging into Twitter” a San Francisco-based lawyer representing one of the WikiLeaks backers, John Keker stated.
Allowing the court order to go through would create a map of people that are tied to the free speech website WikiLeaks and would set a precedent for any future cases and any other company in the United States would also have to hand over information if deemed necessary such as Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, Skype and Facebook. “It is incredibly powerful to know who the opposition is and who they’re working with,” says Keker even if it means tracking all of their online activities.
Bruce D. Brown a media lawyer later chimed in on the case saying “This is just round one in what promises to be an ongoing fight about the government trying to have the tools to bring WikiLeaks into an American court.”
On December 14 2010 the ruling was handed down for Twitter to give the government all information of the users linked to the Twitter account including IP addresses, email accounts, billing details, user activity, contact details and subscriber names… maybe you are on that list! Since then the judges have barred the networking company from disclosing the government’s demand, but on Jan 5 2011 she removed that block and let the government do what they wish in the interest of the investigation. Since then they have been focusing on 3 names that they uncovered, a member of the Icelandic parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir, a Dutch activist and businessman Rop Gonggrijp and a computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum.
A lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union Aden Fine was quoted as saying “It’s very alarming that the government is trying to obtain detailed information about people’s communications over the Internet.” and later “They shouldn’t be able to get that in the first place, but above all they shouldn’t be able to get it in secret.”
And if you think the 4th amendment will protect you against this invasion of privacy think again. The 4th amendment does not apply to transactional information such as phone numbers or IP addresses.
If you are new to this site than you really need to pay attention to what is really going on in cyberspace. Almost nothing is safe, almost nothing is secure and you are just a few clicks away from being spied on, robbed, or worse. Protect yourself against these threats, read up on every page on this website… Links are to your right.
As this 24 year old teacher from the USA found out, there is really no such thing as internet privacy when you are on sites such as Facebook.
More cool videos on internet security on our videos page.
Let’s face it, it’s a dangerous world out there on the World Wide Web, probably more so than the real world, and while you may not face the same dangers such as getting raped or murdered you will have to take care of you will get robbed and left crying. And don’t think that all these threats are coming from overseas, according to Akamai’s quarterly “State of the Internet” report most of the cyber attacks launched online are done so from the United States.
Here are five new internet security threats, including three that target Facebook users that you need to watch out for…
One of the most common threats Facebook users are facing is called Clickjacking. This is where attackers use maliciously created pages disguising the true function of a button or link to show something entirely different when you click it. This often happens when you “like” content or pages, the attack then spreads through news feeds and status updates, propagating the scam.
You can protect yourself by never clicking links in emails, even if they look like they are coming from Facebook. If you get an email to check a message or add a friend, don’t click a link in the email, login directly to the site and do what you need to do. You can also hover over the link or button and look where the web address is going too before you click it.
2. Fake surveys
Also related to click jacking this scam makes you click on something misleading. This scam normally starts with a message you can’t avoid clicking like “Brad Pitt Assassinated” or “Breaking News School Shooting in [your area]” They can find your location by your IP address. Seeing stories like that you normally don’t even think twice and you click away.
But before you get to the juicy news a popup will appear asking you to fill out a survey before you can read the story. Once you fill it out you just gave a commission to the scammer and helped spread it to all your friends. These messages are currently spreading virally across Facebook making the owners of the scam lots of money.
3. Rogue applications
The Fake survey scam can also lead to Rogue applications. These applications will look for your email address book and send the fake surveys to everyone on it. Other rogue applications can hijack data by installing malware or key loggers.
Once again its important you look at what you click, and if you get a popup asking for a survey or any information close the page immediately and it might be a good idea to even run a antivirus or spyware/adware scan for peace of mind as something might have installed on your computer without you knowing it.
4. Amazon vulnerability
A security flaw on the Amazon website allows the server to accept passwords that are not correct. Fortunatly the flaw only affects old passwords so if you have an Amazon account change your password.
The flaw lets Amazon accept as valid some passwords that have extra characters added on after the 8th character, and also makes the password case-insensitive. That flaw erases the advantage of a longer password, making passwords much easier to crack via software. This was first noticed by users over at Reddit and has been picked up and verified by a number of reputable groups, including Wired.
This is more likely to happen in email but is also known to happen on Facebook or Twitter. Spearphishing acts by adding a personal touch to emails, it may appear to be from somebody you know asking for help but it will lead you to a very dangerous site.
“Phishing messages usually appear to come from a large and well-known company or web site with a broad membership base, such as eBay or PayPal. In the case of spear phishing, however, the apparent source of the e-mail is likely to be an individual within the recipient’s own company and generally someone in a position of authority,” according to the Sophos Web site.
Facebook is in the news yet again, this time for allowing users profiles to be copied and used on a fake dating site called Lovely Faces. The fake dating was set up in an attempt to prove how easy it is to steal user’s data on the popular Social Networking site. Facebook has been threatening legal action against the site and it appears to no longer be online but I have attached a screen shot of the site below.
Paolo Cirio, an Italian media artist, and Alessandro Ludovico admitting to creating the website using an automated bot program to systematically scrape publicly available information from over a million Facebook profiles. The pair then downloaded the data and run against a face recognition program to sort the users into different catagories such as “easy going” “shy” “happy” “mild” “smug” etc. to make the site look more legitimate.
The goal of the experiment was to highlight the risk of publishing your personal information online with sites such as Facebook which now has more than 500 million members. The pair also say that Facebook is a goldmine for identity theft and that if the right person conducted a similar experiment for money and not as a prank, the consequences could be grave for the Facebook users.
Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt stated that scraping people’s information from its site is a violation of its terms.
“We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these terms,” Schnitt noted. “We’ve already been in touch with Lovely-Faces to demand that they delete the data and we will take additional action as necessary.”
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- Internet Privacy Bill rejected in California for the 2nd time June 5, 2011Bill SB242 also known as the internet privacy bill was rejected 19-17 by lawmakers in California for the 2nd time after coming under heavy opposition by those pesky social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook who want the bill abolished because it will defeat the purpose of their website which is to exploit internet […]
- Gmail users – beware of fake login pages June 3, 2011Google sent a warning yesterday about targeted attacks on Gmail users that use phishing attacks to trick users to login to fake Gmail pages. The attackers thought to be Chinese seem to be targeting US officials that use Gmail (who would have thought they even do!?) and also political activists, journalists and military personnel. To […]
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- New Private Browsing feature for mobile Firefox users May 22, 2011Mobile phone users with the Android operating system can rejoice today as Firefox releases a new version of its popular mobile web browser that includes the “Do Not Track Privacy Feature” which is already used in its desktop browser. Firefox for Android is currently the only mobile browser that us the do not track feature. […]
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