Tech Friday

posted by Brian Thomas -

  • Zuckerberg's Senate Testimony:
    • The profiles of 87 million Facebook users were collected by a personality quiz app. The wide ranging data was sold to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica
    • Zuckerberg said Facebook did not notify the Federal Trade Commission about the Cambridge Analytica issue because they "considered it a closed case."
    • Facebook demanded that the app maker and Cambridge Analytica delete the data
    • Zuckerberg claims Facebook network was assured the data was deleted in 2015
    • Zuckerberg discussed regulation saying "My position is not that there should be no regulation". He said "I think the real question, as the internet becomes more important in people's lives, is what is the right regulation, not whether there should be or not."
    • Zuckerberg discussed the possibility of a paid version of Facebook that would maintain user privacy. But also said "there will always be a version of Facebook that is free." because the ad-supported model is "most aligned with our mission of trying to connect everyone in the world, because we want to offer a free service that everyone can afford." 
    • There were lots of interesting questions and exchanges with Senators and Representatives during the testimony
    • Legislators demonstrated a willingness to regulate Facebook
    • "If Facebook and other online companies will not or cannot fix their privacy invasions, then we are going to have to," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D–Fla.). "We, the Congress."
  • Bots responsible for two-thirds of tweeted links:
    • Twitter has roughly 330 million users, but millions of these accounts are fake
    • A New York Times investigation found that these fake accounts, also known as "bots", are
    • following, tweeting, retweeting and liking tweets to give "influencers" more influence and drive trends
    • In this context, "bot" is short for an automated computer program
    • Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University social media professor said "It's kind of like inflating your resume. They were buying status so they can have influence."
    • While Twitter has fueled breaking news and social movements such as #MeToo, it's also provided a place for thousands of anonymous accounts to attack topics or people they dislike, making those items "trend" and get more attention
    • In many cases, "bots" are behind these movements
    • Attorneys general from New York and Florida plan to investigate Devumi's practices. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has tweeted that "impersonation and deception" are illegal
    • Since these revelations, millions of followers are now disappearing from some popular accounts
    • University of Southern California professor Emilio Ferrara released a study last year that reported that bots are behind as much as 15 percent of active Twitter accounts
    • Twitter claims that only 5 percent of accounts are bots
    • The Pew Research Center recently estimated that two-thirds of the links shared on Twitter come from bots
    • Twitter said it's not possible to accurately verify if an account a real person
    • Read the Pew report here:
    • Read Twitter's Blog on bots here:
  • Mobile Phishing attacks rise 85% annually:
    • Security firm Lookout reported an 85% annual rise in Phishing URLs sent to mobile devices since 2011
    • 66% of emails are now opened first on a mobile device
    • 56% of users received and unfortunately clicked on a phishing URL
    • On average, recipients clicked on a mobile phishing URL six times per year 
    • Lookout said these attacks are targeting mobile devices to bypass existing phishing protections and can expose sensitive data and personal information 
    • "Most corporations are protected from email-based phishing attacks through traditional firewalls, secure email gateways, and endpoint protection. In addition, people today are getting better at identifying phishing attacks. Mobile, however, has made identifying and blocking phishing attacks considerably more difficult for both individuals and existing security technologies" Lookout said
    • Email is only one of the possible attack vectors for mobile devices. Others include, truncated malicious URLs, apps accessing potentially malicious links, and SMS and MMS.
    • Lookout said up to 25% of employees will click on a link in a text from a spoofed phone number
    • Lookout also reported that users are 3 times more likely to click on a suspicious link on a phone than on a PC


Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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