Facebook to redesign Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram



Facebook is coming up with a series of changes to all its social media networks including Instagram and Whatsapp.

According to its boss Mark Zuckerberg the new designs and features will focus on privacy first. The company decided to change its apps after facing widespread criticism for handling users data.

"We don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly," Zuckerberg said.

Here is list of changes in the app:

  • All the messages sent via Messenger will be end-to-end encrypted by default, and the platform will be fully integrated with WhatsApp
  • Instagram will hide like counts, but not the account owner
  • A WhatsApp secure payment service would be introduced in other countries later this year.
  • The Facebook app is being redesigned to make community groups central to the newsfeed - and the distinctive blue branding is going. The redesign is rolling out in the US and then more widely straight away.
  • Users will be able to post text, stickers or drawings on their Instagram post rather than starting it with a photo or a video. 

Other than this, Facebook has introduced a new feature called Secret Crush, which is a part of Facebook Dating. This feature will let Facebook members to tag up to nine of their crushes. 

If the recipient of the crush is also using the feature and nominates them as well, then both parties will receive a message to say they have matched.

Facebook Dating will roll out in 14 new countries, but will not be available in Europe or the US.



Facebook leaks millions of Instagram passwords

2018 – What a year was it for Facebook! Data scandals and security leaks, issues from Cambridge Analytica and trails by authorities, Facebook have gone under every shit it’s connected with.

And the problems just keep coming in 2019. And in this year, it seemed to have enough already by internal probs, where is announced in a blog post last month saying, “Millions of users passwords were stored in a readable format in their databases!”

Just a day after the social networking giant admitted that it "unintentionally" uploaded email contacts of nearly 1.5 million of new users, Facebook has now revealed that it exposed millions of Instagram users' passwords in a data-security lapse. The password exposure is part of the security breach that was first reported last month by Krebs on Security. Admitting the security blunder, Facebook has said that the company it stored passwords of millions of users in plain text on its internal servers.

However, at that time Facebook claimed that “hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users” and “tens of millions of other Facebook users” have been affected. Incidentally, the company has chosen just to update the old blog post while making the new revelation. "This is an issue that has already been widely reported, but we want to be clear that we simply learned there were more passwords stored in this way," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. Here's all you need to know about this latest 'password leak' from Facebook ...

The process was unintentional – according to Facebook – and happened when users were prompted for their password as part of a security verification process. It's been going on since May 2016 but Facebook says its now deleting all the scraped data.

In the updated post Facebook says: We will be notifying these users as we did the others.

Instagram bug showed stories of strangers






A bug on Instagram has affected the story tray which shows stories from people the users’ follow, but this bug has violated the privacy policy for some of the users’ by displaying the stories from people whom they don’t even follow. 

The Facebook owned company confirmed the existence of the technical glitch to TechCrunch, in the meantime they claimed that the glitch was resolved in a few hours.

According to the company, the bug "caused a small number of people's Instagram Stories trays to show accounts they don't follow." 

It did not displayed the full stories if the accounts were private, but it showed the whole stories if the accounts were public. 

The company believes that only small portion of the users’ were impacted by this glitch. However, there are nearly 500 million users’, and even the small fraction of affected users’ could have a great impact. 

A Twitter @internetryan drew everyone’s attention when he first reported the problem on the social tweeting about the bug,  'Hey @Instagram/@facebook, people who I don't follow (with private accounts) are showing up in my Stories.’



Mark Zuckerberg's Previous Facebook Posts Deleted, the Company Blames Technical Errors


The public posts made by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his personal Facebook profile have been deleted; it included some of the critical updates and important announcements made by the company. All the information shared by Zuckerberg in the year 2007 and 2008 has also vanished.
On being enquired, a spokesperson of Facebook said that these posts which included the major announcements like the one regarding the acquisition of Instagram were erased mistakenly because of some technical errors. Another crucial announcement which was disappeared is Zuckerberg’s promise to keep Instagram free from Facebook.
However, today Instagram is integrated more closely by Facebook than what was said to be. The matter is reported to be escalated to an extent that it led two of Instagram’s co-founders to resign last year.

The deletion of the post where Mark pledged to build and grow Instagram separately is the highlight as Zuckerberg seemingly did not abide by it. 

'Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyber attacks.’ Zuckerberg told to The Washington Post.

'These are important for keeping our community safe. But if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn't ask companies to make these judgments alone,' he added.

Referencing from the statements given to Business insider by Facebook’s spokesperson, 'A few years ago some of Mark's posts were mistakenly deleted due to technical errors. The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed to be successful so we didn't do it,'

'We agree people should be able to find information about past announcements and major company news, which is why for years we've shared and archived this information publicly — first on our blog and in recent years on our Newsroom.’



Facebook Exposes Passwords of Hundreds of Millions of Its Users



A rather shocking vulnerability was uncovered by security researcher Brian Krebs, who reports that Facebook left the passwords of approximately 200 to 600 million users simply ‘stored’ in plain text.

A huge number of Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram users may have had their passwords exposed as the aftereffect of a disturbing oversight by the social networking company.

Facebook just previously learned of the issue this past January and has since affirmed the shocking security failure, yet persists it has fixed the issue and has not discovered any proof that the data was 'abused.'

Albeit all users whose passwords were exposed will be informed, the 'shocking flaw' comes so far another blow to the already melting away trust of numerous Facebook users in the midst of the two years of consecutive privacy scandals.

The firm is as yet attempting to decide precisely the exact number of passwords which were exposed and to what extent, assures a source at Facebook who cautioned Krebs of the issue in the first place.

 ‘It’s so far unclear what caused some users’ passwords to be left exposed. To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them, we estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users.'
            - Facebook released a public statement with Krebs' report and affirms that it revealed the plain text passwords amid a standard security review in January.

In any case while Facebook says no password reset is as such required, it will caution the users if their information has been abused or will be abused in any way, the security experts still recommend the users to change their current passwords.



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."








Hackers Target Popular Instagram Profiles


Cyber Hackers have now set their sights on the Instagram accounts of high-profile and social media influencers with phishing emails so as to gain access to their accounts before the influencers can even comprehend what's going on.

As indicated by sources it was reported that the hackers have especially targeted those Instagram profiles that have followers somewhere in the range of 15,000 and 70,000. Their targets for the most part go from well-known actors and artists to even proprietors of new companies.

Starting with the phishing emails showing up from Instagram requesting that the user should verify their accounts to get the 'Verified' batch on their respective Instagram profiles; it takes them to the phishing page that requests the following user certain details such as their date of birth, email, and credentials.

Once submitted, a batch notification shows up, yet for just four seconds. This is a trap to give the users the feeling that their profile has been verified thusly.

A visualization of how the hackers are stealing the Instagram profiles
As the user enters the credentials in the phishing page attackers gain access to those credentials and by utilizing them they access the Instagram profiles and change the data that requires recouping the stolen account.

The attackers change the username of the stolen address to show that it is hacked and use it to change the email address, over and over in order to trap the users with security emails making them feel as though the changes made were legitimate indeed.

Screenshot of the phishing email asking the user to verify his Instagram account
That is exactly what happened to a photographer who had approximately 15,000 followers on Instagram, when she had her account stolen.

The hackers nowadays have therefore, without any doubt become experts in areas where they 'lure' the victims into handing out their personal information to get a motivating force, particularly like the blue batch on their profiles and their mimicry of Instagram's messages nearly seems real.

Hence, here are some of the warnings users and organizations can keep an eye out for and eventually protect their accounts from being hacked;

1. Use of domains other than the social network's own
2. Dubious font styles (i.e., utilization of screenshots rather than genuine pictures)
3. Incorrect language and punctuation 
4. Emails that request credentials; social networks never request them outside of their real, secure login pages
5. Spam filters and Antispam portals.