Facebook says outage was a result of incorrect server configuration

Facebook has said that a "server configuration change" was to blame for the worst outage in its history. Facebook and its apps Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp suffered outages for a considerable time on Thursday, affecting users for some 12 hours in most areas of the world, with the biggest impact in North America and Europe, according to the tracking website downdetector.com.

Facebook has only just offered an explanation for the problems it has experienced over the past 24 hours.

The company hasn't elaborated on what the server configuration change exactly meant nor has it said how many users were affected or why the outage took so long to fix. In a tweet, Facebook just apologised and thanked people for their patience. It said it had "triggered a cascading series of issues" for its platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

"Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services," a Facebook tweet said. "We've now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone's patience."

The outage was believed to be the worst ever for the internet giant that reaches an estimated 2.7 billion people with its core social network, Instagram and messaging applications. It took the social network giant a full day from when the problems began to offer any explanation. It added that everything was now back to normal.

The outage brought fresh attention to the embattled social networking leader. It is yet another publicity problem for a company already dealing with privacy issues and regulatory probes.

The disruption isn’t likely to hurt advertisers much since they usually pay for ads per click or impression. But they lose potential customers who might have seen their ads when the site and apps were down. Longer term, Facebook’s reputation with advertisers and investors could be damaged, said Wedbush Securities managing director Dan Ives. It didn’t help that it took Facebook so long to explain what was going on, he said. Facebook said on Wednesday that the problem was not related to a “distributed denial of service” or DDoS attack, a type of attack that hackers use to interrupt service to a site, but didn’t provide any other details until Thursday. “In these situations, a lack of transparency is not a good look,” Ives said. “The longer something like this lasts, the more questions there are.”

Google Maps, Gmail, Drive, Facebook and Instagram Suffered Outage

Google addressed an influx of complaints it received from the users regarding the misbehavior of its popular services like Gmail, YouTube, and Google Drive among others. Users all across the world were troubled by the outage of the services they heavily rely upon for various day-to-day activities. 

Though the cause of the outage has not been confirmed, the issues of the users were addressed by Google.

Besides Google, Youtube has also received complaints by its users which it addressed on Twitter telling them that the platform is aware of the service disruption and the problems faced by its users. Alongside, YouTube assured the sufferers that it is already looking into the matter and will come up with a fix.

Notably, YouTubers and content creators were facing problems while uploading videos and viewers were unable to watch the videos smoothly.

Addressing the issues with Google Drive, the company said, “We’re investigating reports of an issue with Google Drive. We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are able to access Google Drive, but are seeing error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior.”

Similarly, for Gmail, the company stated, we’re investigating reports of an issue with Gmail. We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are able to access Gmail but are seeing error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior.

Furthermore, Google mentioned in its G Suite Status Dashboard that the issue has been rectified and the services, i.e., Gmail and Google Drive will be functioning properly soon.

“The problem with Google Drive should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

While acknowledging the disruptions faced by its Cloud Engine, Google said, “We are still seeing the increased error rate with Google App Engine Blobstore API. Our Engineering Team is investigating possible causes. Mitigation work is currently underway by our Engineering Team. We will provide another status update by Tuesday, 2019-03-12 20:45 US/Pacific with current details.”

On the other hand, Facebook was down for more than 14 hours due to which millions of users across the globe were denied access to the platform. It was on Thursday morning, Facebook along with its associated apps seemed to be regaining operational status.

While Facebook is yet to provide an explanation for the services being disrupted, it said, "We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps,"
"We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible."

Being fallen prey to the same crisis, the issues faced by Instagram users included not being able to refresh the feed and other glitches while accessing the content.

Commenting on the matter, Elizabeth Warren, a potential Democratic candidate in the next US presidential election, said in a statement to New York Times, "We need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor."

Facebook To Develop A Technology That’d Make Brain Reading Possible?

A research by Mark Zuckerberg is underway alleging that Facebook’s all set to fabricate a technology that could make reading brain activity possible.

The asserted research is all about a ‘brain-computer-interface’ as was revealed during an interview, by the sources.

The technology would allow the users to interact with the AR (Augmented Reality) environments simply by the help of their brains.

Navigating menus, moving objects or doing any other activity would all be made possible without the use of the older methods like keyboards, touch-screen or even hand gestures.

All these possibilities would come to life in an AR environment. All the user would do is wear something like a shower cap on the head.

The shower cap like device would then analyse the wearer’s blood flow and brain activity making the impossible possible.

Analyzing neural activity of the brain could easily lead to surmising what a person’s thinking about and that’s exactly what the device would add on to.

Rather than building the new alleged device around the building blocks of apps and tasks, it would be created on how our brains work and how we actually see the world.

Augmented reality is an actual up and comer and Facebook are super excited about getting to experiment with it cited source.

Keeping in mind the ethical paradigm of the alleged “product”, Zuckerberg said the device would only be out if the users consent to it.

The system of the device would never be invasive because that may lead to people not accepting it.

The actual first-hand information about such a technology being developed escaped into the media in late 2017 during a conference.

That very year, Facebook had made known via a research that a technology subsists which could aid typing straight from the brain.

According to what Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post, our brains have ‘enough data to stream 4 HD movies every second’.

And that we’re not using our brains’ capabilities to the fullest. Speech, the only way we transmit data is like using a very old version of a modem.

Typing via the brain would be 5 times faster than the speed we type with on our phones.

But all this could be made possible only when the users trust and have faith in Facebook.

Only last year, tens of millions of users were exploited as their data was shared and harvested on the dark web.

The faith has been a matter of shaking as some scandals and movements against Facebook have emerged.

Hence Facebook had also revealed a “Privacy-focus” vision for the upcoming times’ sake.

Google Wins a Dismissal of a Lawsuit over the Biometric Privacy Act

The world's largest search engine had a lawsuit filed against it by its users, allegedly stating that Google had violated the privacy of its users by utilizing facial recognition software to examine their photos without their consent.

U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang in Chicago dismissed it referring to an absence of "concrete injuries" to the offended parties.

The original suit was known to have been documented in March 2016, a user sued Google for supposedly transferring their information to Google Photos by means of using the facial recognition software and further scanning it in order to create a template of their face without their permission, all the while crossing paths with a unique Illinois law.

In spite of the fact that Google is the first among those well-known who violated the law explicitly as Snapchat and Facebook also have had faced lawsuits for the same ,  Google emerges as the first to prevail upon a dismissal of a lawsuit over the biometric security act.

Google's triumph comes in the midst of open public backlash against the U.S. technology goliaths over misusing of user information and expanded the further examination of privacy policies.

BrahMos Engineer Arrested on Charges of Spying for Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency ISI

Nishant Agrawal, an engineer from the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited in Nagpur was arrested in a joint operation by the Military Intelligence and the Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra police, following a tip.

Arrested on Monday on charges of spying for Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI and various other countries, Nishant was accused of passing on classified and secret information to the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan in addition to other countries as well. Experts, in any state, clarified that he worked at the integration facility and were uncertain whether he had access to any classified information or not.

Nonetheless he will be charged under the Official Secrets Act, following which his home and office computers have already been seized. The police are still investigating whether he was "honey-trapped" by Facebook IDs in the name of women, which have been traced to Pakistan.

"Very sensitive information was found on his personal computer. We found evidence of him chatting on Facebook with Pakistan-based IDs," said Aseem Arun, the chief of the anti-terror squad of Uttar Pradesh.

Nishant has worked in the technical research section of the missile centre for four years, studied at the National Institute of Technology in Kurukshetra, and was also a gold medallist, described as a very bright engineer.

Presently there are two other scientists working in a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab in Kanpur who are being monitored for more suspicious activity and the situation is being monitored as this is occurrence is the first spy scandal to hit the Brahmos Aerospace, considered the world's fastest cruise missile.

Facebook introduces “keyword snoozing” to block specific stories on News Feed

Facebook rolled out a new feature called “Keyword Snooze” on Thursday that allows users to “snooze” certain words on their news feed for 30 days. This feature has only been introduced to a small percentage of users for now and will be gradually released to the mass if the test is successful.

The feature allows people to mute posts from people, pages, and groups that contain a specific keyword in the text.

If you’re one of the users with the access to the feature, you can snooze specific keywords by going to a post that contains the word you want to mute, clicking on the drop-down menu to reveal the window to “snooze keywords”. The window will show you a selection of words that you can mute, such as “Spoilers”, “World Cup” or “Wedding”, and you can choose the one you’d like to pause.

Image by techcrunch

The feature, however, does not allow users to block ads. So if an ad contains any of your chosen keywords, you can still see it on your news feed.

“Even though we work to show you the most relevant posts on News Feed, we don’t always get it right. That’s why we’ve designed features like See First, Hide, Unfollow, Snooze, and now, Keyword Snooze. We hope that with additional options to help tailor your News Feed experience, you’ll be able to spend more time focusing on the things that matter,” Shruthi Muraleedharan, News Feed Product Manager, said in a blog post.

Facebook Violates Illinois’ Law as it is Accused of Gathering and Storing Biometric Data of Users’ Without Their Consent.

Millions of Facebook's users would now be able to proceed as a group with claims that its, photo-scanning technology violated a law in Illinois by collecting and storing biometric information without their assent, a federal judge ruled on Monday. This was done just in view of the fact, that these damages could conceivably keep running into the billions of dollars, wasn't lost on the judge, who was unsympathetic to Facebook's arguments for constraining its legal exposure.

The case however goes back to 2015, well before Facebook wound up buried in discussion over disclosures that a large number of its users' private data fell under the control of British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

The social network has throughout recent years urged users to tag people in photos they upload in their own personal posts so as to simultaneously store the gathered information.

The social media even utilized a program called DeepFace for that matter to coordinate different photos of a person. The two companies have demanded in court that collecting data on what you look like isn't illegal, even without your authorization however under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008, the companies could be fined $1,000 to $5,000 each time a person’s picture is utilized without assent.

Shawn Williams, a legal counsellor for the users, said it's not clear yet whether the claim may provoke changes in the way Facebook utilizes biometric information.

 “As more people become aware of the scope of Facebook’s data collection and as consequences begin to attach to that data collection, whether economic or regulatory, Facebook will have to take a long look at its privacy practices and make changes consistent with user expectations and regulatory requirements,” he said.

“We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously,” spokeswoman Genevieve Grdina said in an emailed statement.

U.S. District Judge James Donato wrote in the ruling that,  “the company “seems to believe” that the decision that the  lawsuit should be pursued by individuals, not as a group, is legitimate as an individual user could be “aggrieved” differently, and must prove that they suffered an actual injury beyond a privacy right and all this because “damages could amount to billions of dollars…,”

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in Congress a week ago over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Illinois Senator Richard Durbin accused the company for attempting to dilute the state's biometric privacy law.

So far the courts have battled over what qualifies as an injury to seek after a privacy case in claims blaming Facebook and Google for siphoning users' personal information from messages, emails and checking their web-perusing propensities.

Donato already dismissed Facebook's contention that the case must be dismissed on the grounds that the endeavour to uphold Illinois law crosses paths with its user agreement that expects disputes to be settled under the laws of California, where it's based.

The case as of now is in re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, 15-cv-03747, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Facebook Chief Mark Zuckerberg Set to Issue an Apology before the US Congress

Facebook's chief Mark Zuckerberg is getting ready to issue a statement of apology as he is pulled before the US Congress over the Facebook data scandal.

The majority of this had happened when more than a million British users have had their personal data reaped by Cambridge Analytica in the wake of finishing a personality test on the social network – which left Facebook confronting an enormous bill in the UK alone.

Zuckerburg, 33, will concede before the politicians that the site 'didn't do what's needed to keep these tools from being utilized for harm', besides he will thusly apologize, deeming himself responsible for the mess.

Although Facebook had started posting cautions on the newsfeeds of 87 million users worldwide whose information may have been imparted to CA – of whom 1.1 million are believed to be from the UK.

Dispute resolution lawyer Jonathan Compton later said that those influenced could complain to the Information Commissioner's Office or make a case through the civil courts in light of the fact that losing their data had been 'upsetting'.

The British victims of this scandal could be entitled for £12,500 each in remuneration, said the lawyers.

'The start point for any award might be between £10,000 and £12,500. This will vary of course if the personal information is comparatively trivial or very serious and damaging.'
                                                          -   says Mr Compton, a partner at DMH Stallard.

Zuckerberg, who had declined invitations to appear before British MPs, will be grilled over two days at Capitol Hill for the first time.
The entrepreneur is said to begin his testimony by saying:

 'We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it and I'm responsible for what happens here…'

WABetaInfo says WhatsApp in Israel now uses Facebook servers

A popular fan website, WABetaInfo, that tracks WhatsApp Beta updates, on Monday tweeted that WhatsApp users in Israel are now connected through Facebook servers.

This news comes amidst the Facebook privacy and data controversy when people online are wary of what using Facebook means for their privacy and security.

WABetaInfo, however, again tweeted to reassure users that the data is still encrypted and that Facebook will only be receiving the metadata.

The website also said that the new update will improve the quality of the connection.

Twitter user and information security researcher, Karine Nahon, however, pointed out that:

Another user said that encryption itself is not a problem, but the fact that dynamic metadata such as last seen, etc. should be deleted after some time.

Still, the website told its readers not to worry and to wait till May to understand what data is being stored in the servers.

WhatsApp has not yet confirmed or denied this update.

A new privacy law — the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — passed by the European Union will come into effect from May 25 this year, which will harmonize internet privacy laws all across Europe.

WhatsApp had last month signed a public commitment with Britain's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to not share user’s data with Facebook until the privacy and data security concerns have been addressed.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham in a statement said, "WhatsApp has assured us that no UK user data has ever been shared with Facebook, other than as a 'data processor.’ ”

Facebook messenger falls victim to an anonymous crypto cousin of Bitcoin

With the booming value of digital currency, numerous hackers are rolling out schemes to unwittingly trap or trick more likely, the regular web users into mining for them. The most recent scheme to hoodwink people into mining cryptographic money is exploiting Facebook Messenger by means of some shrewd malware.The malware being distributed by means of Messenger is mining Monero, a contrasting option to the wildly important and volatile Bitcoin. The software is a type of a modified version of the open source mining program XMRig which the bot sets to start automatically.

The bot was detected by cyber security firm Trend Micro, which says "Digimine" is intended to resemble a video file. Security researchers likewise said that "Digmine" is focusing on as many machines as could be allowed, with a specific end goal to earn monero (the alternative to bitcoin) for its makers.

It is spread via a fake video that seems to have been sent from somebody from within the victim's friend list. Once opened the 'video' installs a malevolent code which then proceeds to compromise the desktop version of Facebook Messenger when used with Google Chrome.The hackers at that point gain an off the record access into the users Facebook account where they can get to the contacts lists to additionally spread the malware. The profits made from this illegal computer jacking are sent to the attacker's encrypted Monero wallet.

"If the user’s Facebook account is set to log in automatically, Digmine will manipulate Facebook Messenger in order to send a link to the file to the account’s friends," the researchers said. "The abuse of Facebook is limited to propagation for now, but it wouldn’t be implausible for attackers to hijack the Facebook account itself down the line."

 However this isn't the first or last time mining malware has been utilized to exploit systems, back in October a malignant program called Coinhive was installed into various compromised applications on Google Play.

In a time where on one hand hackers are constantly hijacking devices to mine cryptographic money and are becoming increasingly regular as there is a rapid increase in the value of the digital currencies in the present market, extra caution is thoroughly recommended for the heavy users of social media.

France’s data protection authority CNIL gives a sharp warning to WhatsApp ;issues a formal notice

Facebook, when it acquired WhatsApp back in early 2014 said that it won't have the capacity to link the WhatsApp users to their Facebook accounts. In any case, things being what they are, turns out it wasn't so difficult after all. A year ago, the organization changed the WhatsApp terms of services to do just that: link the WhatsApp and Facebook profiles belonging to the same user.

Facebook had allowed many of its users to opt out, yet that wasn't sufficient for the regulators. Germany had even requested Facebook to quit gathering WhatsApp data last September, a similar thing happened in the UK several months later and now fast forward to December 2017; there be yet another European nation issuing similar order.

Facebook's messaging service WhatsApp was given a one-month final proposal by one of Europe's strictest privacy watchdogs, which requested it to quit offering user data to its parent without getting the necessary assent. France's information insurance specialist also known as the data protection authority, CNIL gave quite a cautioning to WhatsApp by issuing a formal notice, scrutinizing it for "inadequate and insufficient" participation and cooperation.

The decision comes a year later after the European Union privacy authorities (security specialists) said that they had "genuine concerns" about the sharing of WhatsApp user data for purposes that were excluded in the terms of conditions and the privacy policy when people had signed up to the service.
However, even after the EU slapped Facebook with a €110 million fine over unlawful WhatsApp information sharing, France says that it has still not collaborated with information security expert CNIL, and could confront another sanction if it doesn't start thinking responsibly inside 30 days. The social network is as yet exchanging Whatsapp information for "business intelligence," it claims, and the only possible way that clients can quit is by uninstalling the application.

It was a French regulator, who saw that WhatsApp was sharing user information like phone numbers to Facebook for "business insight" reasons. When it over and over made a request to take a look at the information being shared, Facebook said that it is put away in the US, and "it considers that it is only subject to the legislation of the country," as per the CNIL. The regulator countered that whenever information is assembled in France, it naturally turns into the authority in charge.

The information exchanges from WhatsApp to Facebook occur to some extent without the users' assent, nor the legitimate interest of WhatsApp, CNIL said.

France says that while the notice was issued to Facebook, it's additionally intended to exhort users that this "gigantic information exchange from WhatsApp to Facebook" was occurring. "The best way to deny the information exchange for 'business insight' purposes is to uninstall the application," it adds. In any case, Facebook guarantees that it will keep on working with the CNIL to ensure that the users comprehend what data it gathers as well as how the data is utilized.

The merging of WhatsApp's data with Facebook was the first step taken by Facebook a year ago towards monetising the stage since the social network's CEO Mark Zuckerberg bought the company for about $22bn in 2014.

Facebook Rumor "Facebook Just Released Their Price Grid For Membership"

A rumor is spreading in Facebook "Facebook Just Released Their Price Grid For Membership, need to pay for new profile".

The Fake news circling in :
Facebook just released their price grid for membership . $9.99 per month for gold member services, $6.99per month for silver member services, $3.99 per month for bronze member services, free if you copy and paste this message before midnight tonight. When you sign on tomorrow morning you will be prompted for payment info…it is official it was even on the news. Facebook will start charging due to the new profile changes.
If you copy this on your wall your icon will turn blue and facebook will be free for you. Please pass this message on if not your account will be deleted if you do not pay.

Another Fake news:
“This is official… it was even on the news… facebook will start charging due to the new profile changes… if you copy this on your wall your icon will turn blue and facebook will be free for you. Please pass this message on, if not your account will be deleted if you do not pay!!”

Ha Ha ha..!! sounds funny.

This is fake news, no need to worry about it.

This is Status update on Facebook Official Page:
A rumor on the internet caught our attention. We have no plans to charge for Facebook. It’s free and always will be.

Note: It has a strong competitor in Google+ , they wouldn't never go premium.

Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit.

Facebook has attempted to shoot down claims that it leaves cookies on users' machines even after they log out of the social network. The response came after an Australian blogger alleged the site can still snoop on your web surfing after you've signed out.

Nik Cubrilovic, concerned about Facebook's approach to privacy, said that logging out doesn’t make a blind bit of difference, adding that Facebook still has ways to potentially track your behavior.

Cubrilovic’s conclusion after examining the behavior of Facebook’s cookies is simple: “Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit.”

This is because instead of telling browsers to remove cookies when users log out, Facebook merely "alters" the state of those little parcels of data – including the cookie that stores your account number.

As a result, if you happen to pass by a page with a Facebook “like” button, "share" button, “or any other widget”, your information – including your account number – will be sent back to Facebook. And if you log into Facebook from a public terminal, those cookies could be left behind.

However, Facebook doesn’t agree. Whether or not Cubrilovic’s claim that he notified Facebook without response during 2010 is accurate, he certainly got a hair-trigger response from Facebook this time.

In a comment on Cubrilovic's blog, a Facebook engineer – identifying himself as staffer Gregg Stefancik – said that “our cookies aren’t used for tracking”, and that “most of the cookies you highlight have benign names and values”.

"Generally, unlike other major internet companies, we have no interest in tracking people," the insider added.