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Facebook reports $4.7 bn profit, 2.07 bn monthly users in Q3

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Facebook
Source: Wikimedia Common

San Francisco,November 2,2017:  With 1.37 billion daily active users and 2.07 billion monthly active users, Facebook again topped expectations when it reported 79 per cent increase in its quarterly profit and nearly 50 per cent rise in revenues in the third quarter.

With apparently no influence of the ongoing hearing regarding its role in Russia meddling, Facebook late on Wednesday published its financial results for the quarter that ended on September 30, reporting that its profitability hit $4.7 billion mark and earned $10.3 billion in revenue compared to an estimate of $9.84 billion.

 “Our business is doing well,” company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “But none of that matters if our services are used in ways that don’t bring people closer together.

“We are serious about preventing abuse on our platforms. We are investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability. Protecting our community is more important than maximising our profits,” he said.

Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 88 per cent of advertising revenue for the third quarter of 2017, up from approximately 84 per cent of advertising revenue in the third quarter of 2016.

The average revenue per daily active user reached $7.51 compared to $5.95 a year ago showing a 26 per cent increase.

That is due to a 16 per cent growth in its daily active users over the year and 3.8 per cent increase quarter-over-quarter touching 1.37 billion mark.

Facebook now has 2.07 billion monthly active users — an increase of 16 per cent year-over-year. The growth is 3.19 per cent compared to last quarter’s 2.006 billion and it grew at 3.4 per cent.

According to Tech Crunch, Facebook’s share price closed at $182.66 prior to the earnings announcement and climbed 1.28 per cent in after-hours trading.

Facebook CFO David Wehner said Facebook will boost its expenses 45-60 per cent in 2018 in order to fund security efforts following the Russian intrusion as well as in furthering original video content, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

The company said it would hire 10,000 people to monitor content and ads, though some will be contractors. It plans to double its security engineering work force.

As of September 30, the headcount at Facebook was 23,165 — an increase of 47 per cent year-over-year.

Zuckerberg also said that Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status both now have 300 million daily active users — up from 250 million in June (Instagram) and July (WhatsApp).

–IANS

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Researchers Reveal Vulnerabilities that Allowed Hackers to Manipulate Images on WhatsApp and Telegram

WhatsApp saves files to external storage automatically, while Telegram does so when the "Save to Gallery" feature is enabled

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Hackers, Images, Whatsapp
The security flaw, dubbed "Media File Jacking", affected WhatsApp for Android by default. Pixabay

If you thought instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram that provide end-to-end encryption give you rock-solid security, think again. Researchers from cyber-security firm Symantec on Monday revealed vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to manipulate the images and audio files you receive on these platforms.

The security flaw, dubbed “Media File Jacking”, affected WhatsApp for Android by default, and Telegram for Android if certain features were enabled, Symantec researchers said in a blog post.

According to the researchers, WhatsApp saves files to external storage automatically, while Telegram does so when the “Save to Gallery” feature is enabled. However, neither apps have any system in place to protect users from a Media File Jacking attack, the researchers from Symantec’s Modern OS Security team explained.

Attackers could exploit this vulnerability to scam victims in various ways.

Hackers, Images, Whatsapp
If you thought instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram that provide end-to-end encryption give you rock-solid security, think again. Pixabay

“If the security flaw is exploited, a malicious attacker could misuse and manipulate sensitive information such as personal photos and videos, corporate documents, invoices, and voice memos,” wrote Software Engineer Alon Gat and Yair Amit, Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, Modern OS Security, Symantec.

Giving example of image manipulation, the researchers said a seemingly innocent, but actually malicious, app downloaded by a user could manipulate personal photos in near-real time and without the victim knowing.

The app runs in the background and performs a “Media File Jacking attack” while the victim uses WhatsApp. It monitors for photos received through the app, identifies faces in photos, and replaces them with something else, such as other faces or objects.

“A WhatsApp user may send a family photo to one of their contacts, but what the recipient sees is actually a modified photo. While this attack may seem trivial and just a nuisance, it shows the feasibility of manipulating images on the fly,” said the blog post.

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Using the same vulnerability, the attackers could make payment manipulation, audio message spoofing or spread fake news.

“In one of the most damaging Media File Jacking attacks, a malicious actor can manipulate an invoice sent by a vendor to a customer, to trick the customer into making a payment to an illegitimate account,” Gat and Amit wrote.

“The Media File Jacking threat is especially concerning in light of the common perception that the new generation of IM (instant messaging) apps are immune to content manipulation and privacy risks, thanks to the utilisation of security mechanisms like end-to-end encryption,” they added.

Hackers, Images, Whatsapp
Researchers from cyber-security firm Symantec on Monday revealed vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to manipulate the images and audio files. Pixabay

Reports in May revealed that a bug in WhatsApp’s audio call feature allowed hackers to install spyware onto Android and iOS phones just by calling the target. The spyware was reportedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group.

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WhatsApp had said it identified and “promptly” fixed the vulnerability that could enable an attacker to insert and execute code on mobile devices. (IANS)