Saturday March 23, 2019
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Not only Facebook, Twitter too sold data to Cambridge Analytica

"GSR paid for one day of access in 2015, Twitter said, and scooped up a 'random sample' of public tweets covering a period between December 2014 and April 2015. Twitter added that it 'did not find any access' to private information," the report noted.

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Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

After the Facebook data scandal, it has now come to notice that Twitter had also sold users’ data to a Cambridge Analytica researcher who gathered the data of nearly 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

According to the report, Twitter sold public data access in 2015 to Aleksandr Kogan, then a psychology researcher with University of Cambridge and his company Global Science Research (GSR).

The quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife” developed by Kogan and his firm, collected data from millions of Facebook users without their consent in 2014-2015.

“GSR paid for one day of access in 2015, Twitter said, and scooped up a ‘random sample’ of public tweets covering a period between December 2014 and April 2015. Twitter added that it ‘did not find any access’ to private information,” the report noted.

"The most immediate concern is that GSR could theoretically have correlated Facebook and Twitter data. Still, this shows just how comprehensive the data collection was," Engadget reported.
Twitter Bird, Pixabay

Kogan reportedly said the Twitter data had only been used to create “brand reports” and “survey extender tools” and that he had not violated Twitter’s policies.

“The most immediate concern is that GSR could theoretically have correlated Facebook and Twitter data. Still, this shows just how comprehensive the data collection was,” Engadget reported.

Twitter, however, said it had banned GSR and Cambridge Analytica from buying data or running adverts on the website and that no private data had been accessed.

“Twitter has also made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned and operated by Cambridge Analytica.

“This decision is based on our determination that Cambridge Analytica operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices,” The Telegraph reported, citing a Twitter spokesperson.

Also Read: Twitter is heading to become a ‘News’ app with this new feature

In a first interview after the Facebook data scandal broke out, Kogan told CBS News earlier this month that he was not sure whether he ever read Facebook’s developer policy.

“The idea that we stole the data, I think, is technically incorrect. I mean, they created these great tools for developers to collect the data.

“And they made it very easy. I mean, this was not a hack. This was, ‘Here’s the door. It’s open. We’re giving away the groceries. Please collect them’,” Kogan told the TV show host.

Kogan said he believes his assumptions were misguided and that what he did in 2014 “was not right and was not wise”. (IANS)

 

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Experts Urging Users to Change their Facebook Passwords and Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way

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Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way. Pixabay

After a report revealed around 200-600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by over 20,000 Facebook employees, cybersecurity experts are urging users to change their passwords and turn on the two-factor authentication (2FA).

So far the inquiry has uncovered archives with plain text user passwords dating back to 2012, according to the report published this week by KrebsOnSecurity, a blog run by journalist Brian Krebs.

Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way.

“It’s perfectly possible that no passwords at all fell into the hands of any crooks as a result of this. But if any passwords did get into the wrong hands then you can expect them to be abused,” said Paul Ducklin, Senior Technologist at global cybersecurity firm Sophos.

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Facebook said it had found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords. Pixabay

“Hashed passwords still need to be cracked before they can be used; plaintext passwords are the real deal without any further hacking or cracking needed,” Ducklin added.

Facebook said it had found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords.

“While the details of the incident are still emerging, this is likely an accidental programming error that led to the logging of plain text credentials. That said, this should never have happened and Facebook needs to ensure that no user credentials or data were compromised as a result of this error,” said John Shier, Senior Security Advisor at Sophos.

“This is also another reminder for people who are still reusing passwords or using weak passwords to change their Facebook password to something strong and unique and to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA),” Shier said. Turning on 2FA would mean that a password alone is not enough for crooks to raid your account, Ducklin added.

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Turning on 2FA would mean that a password alone is not enough for crooks to raid your account, Ducklin added. Pixabay

Facebook also asked people to change their passwords “out of an abundance of caution”.

Earlier this month, Facebook came under scrutiny for using phone numbers provided for security reasons — like two-factor authentication (2FA) — for things like advertising and making users searchable by their phone numbers across its different platforms.

ALSO READ: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Receives Death Threats on Social Media

“Another security measure users can implement to strengthen their digital security postures is to use different passwords for different online accounts. Don’t use your Facebook password for any other login, particularly for personal/professional email accounts or online banking,” said Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Limited.

“It is also a good practice to log out whenever not using Facebook, even on mobile devices,” Katkar added. (IANS)