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Interoperability of Facebook Apps Could Work Only on Android: CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg said that Facebook will have to address other issues including safety and spam vulnerabilities before making the apps interoperable

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Even as Mark Zuckerberg laid out plans to let people reach their friends across Messenger, Instagram or WhatsApp from whichever app they prefer, the Facebook CEO hinted that the interoperability of apps could be possible only on Android devices.

While Messenger is Facebook’s messaging platform, both Instagram or WhatsApp are Facebook-owned platforms with massive user base.

“We plan to start by making it possible for you to send messages to your contacts using any of our services, and then to extend that interoperability to SMS too. Of course, this would be opt-in and you will be able to keep your accounts separate if you’d like,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

Today if you want to message people on Facebook you have to use Messenger, on Instagram you have to use Direct, and on WhatsApp you have to use WhatsApp.

In a bid to prevent foreign interference into elections, facebook has also begun labelling all political and issue ads in the us -- including a "paid for by" disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the advertisement.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Wikimedia commons

There are privacy and security advantages to interoperability, Zuckerberg said.

“For example, many people use Messenger on Android to send and receive SMS texts. Those texts can’t be end-to-end encrypted because the SMS protocol is not encrypted. With the ability to message across our services, however, you’d be able to send an encrypted message to someone’s phone number in WhatsApp from Messenger,” he added.

However, there are several issues Facebook will need to work through before this will be possible.

Also Read- New Breed of Nation-state Hackers Keep Governments on Their Toes

“First, Apple doesn’t allow apps to interoperate with SMS on their devices, so we’d only be able to do this on Android,” he said.

Zuckerberg said that Facebook will have to address other issues including safety and spam vulnerabilities before making the apps interoperable. (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.

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“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)