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Showing posts with label FTC. Show all posts

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic and Scams, FTC Alarms Public

Amid the coronavirus epidemic and panic among the public, FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has urged the public to stay aware of the hackers that might try to attack their devices during these vulnerable times. FTC has generated a list of hacking tricks and strategies that the hackers use to attack susceptible users amid the coronavirus epidemic. Cybersecurity has become FTC's primary concern on its 2nd alert notification about various ways the hackers are using to launch cyberattacks for their profits because of the coronavirus outbreak.

According to cybersecurity experts, in one of the latest incidents, hackers are sending users fake emails claiming that they have the necessary supplies of groceries or that they have the cures for coronavirus. In another widespread episode, hackers sent users fake WHO advisory about the 'safety tips to follow to prevent yourself from COVID-19.' According to FTI's caution, if the users download information using the given links or open any websites via these phishing emails, malware gets installed in the systems. The hackers can steal critical personal information and also control the target's access. "Last month, we alerted you to Coronavirus scams we saw at the time. Earlier this month, we sent warning letters to seven sellers of scam Coronavirus treatments. So far, all of the companies have made significant changes to their advertising to remove unsupported claims. But scammers don't take a break," says FTC on its website.

But all of this is just a needle in the haystack. The hackers are also targeting victims via false claims of refund and relief organizations by asking the users donations. "Other scammers have used real information to infect computers with malware. For example, malicious websites used the real Johns Hopkins University interactive dashboard of Coronavirus infections and deaths to spread password-stealing malware," said FTC.

How to stay safe?
Follow these simple steps to prevent yourself from frauds and scams: 

  • Keep your smartphones and computers updated. 
  • Use 2 step verification for all your accounts and back up your data. 
  • Research online before making donations, don't trust frauds claiming to be any health organization. Avoid wired transactions. 
  • Avoid calls by scammers and hang up immediately. 
  • Don't forward and share unverified information, even if it comes from trusted individuals.

Facebook Now Cracking Down On Third-Party Apps in the Wake of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Almost a year after the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, last March, wherein the data of around 87 million users' was gathered and imparted to the Trump-affiliated campaign research firm without their assent Facebook is taking action against certain third-party applications that gulp up enormous amounts of user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook said in a blog post that it will never again permit applications with 'minimal utility,' like personality quizzes, to operate on the platform.

Eddie O'Neil, head of platform at Facebook, said in the post, 'As part of our ongoing commitments to privacy and security, we are making updates to our platform...our Facebook Platform Policies are being updated to include provisions that apps with minimal utility, such as personality quizzes, may not be permitted on the platform.

'The update also clarifies that apps may not ask for data that doesn't enrich the in-app, user experience,' he added later.

Be that as it may, as The Verge called attention to the fact that the issue didn't exactly originate from quiz applications, but instead Facebook's lax policies around user data management and how developers had the capacity to collect data from "friends of friends".

It comes as Facebook on Wednesday revealed that it hopes to take on a one-time charge between $3 billion and $5 billion identified with a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. As last March, the FTC opened an investigation concerning Facebook's data dealings after the Cambridge Analytica scandal first came into light.

While O'Neill stated, 'Going forward, we will periodically review, audit and remove permissions that your app has not sued, developers can submit for App Review to re-gain access to expired permissions.'

What's more, presently, Facebook expects to keep developer from getting to user information on the off chance that it identifies that a user hasn't opened the app in the previous 90 days.

Facebook expecting fine of $5 billion over privacy issues

Facebook said that they are keeping $5 billion aside as it is expected to be fined by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations. 

The social media website disclosed the amount in its first quarter earnings for 2019, stating that it is estimating a one-time fine of $3 billion to $5 billion, but the matter is unresolved and the negotiation is ongoing. 

“In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3.0 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices, which accrual is included in accrued expenses and other current liabilities on our condensed consolidated balance sheet,” the company writes in its earnings statement. 

“We estimate that the range of loss in this matter is $3 billion to $5 billion. The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome.”

Facebook is negotiating with the regulator for months over a violation of 2011 privacy consent decree. 

According to the decree, the company promised a series of measures to protect its users’ privacy after an investigation found that its handling of data had harmed consumers.

However, the company came under fire once again last year, and F.T.C opened the case after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco in which personal information of nearly 50 million users were breached. 

Meanwhile, the F.T.C. declined to comment.