The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing multiple government agencies for using social networking websites such as FaceBook, MySpace, YoutTube, and Twitter as a way to wiretap people and use the information to arrest them. Some of the government agencies being sued are the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Justice, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, among others.

The government is using the information they get from the Internet to aid in various investigations where the alleged crimes range from the relatively minor infringement of underage drinking, to more serious endeavors, such as the coordination of protesters during the G-20 summit. It is also very easy for the government to get access to your private information even if it is made to be hidden from the public, all they need is to supply a warrant for the social networking sites to give them all the information they want. Although usually the government uses this for good reasons, the people should know what their rights are in this area.

(Via ReadWriteWeb)

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holygrail-privacy Facebook continues to be a popular way for getting people in trouble because of some comments or pictures they leave available for everyone to see. A perfect example of this would be putting up drunken pictures from a night out with friends, and then worrying that your boss will see them. Thanks to Facebook’s new privacy feature you can now choose who gets to see each comment or picture that you post up.

“Facebook is transforming the world’s ability to control its information online by empowering more than 350 million people to personalize the audience for each piece of content they share,” said Facebook communications VP Elliot Schrage.

From now on, with every piece of content that you put up on Facebook, there will be an option right next to it to allow you to choose for whom it will be viewable, such as just friends, networks, everybody, or specific people. So you will be able to post up your funny and embarrassing pictures and videos online for your friends to see and still be sure that no unwanted pairs of eyes get access to them.

(Via InformationWeek)

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fbwormThe more popular Facebook becomes, the more dangerous it becomes to use. As if you didn’t already have to be wary of Facebook’s emails, now a worm is spreading via Facebook user’s walls. According to anti-virus maker, AVG, the worm spreads when users click on a provocative photo that is being placed on infect dusters walls. By clicking on that image, users are then opening themselves up to attack.

Below is an explanation of how this nasty works according to one of AVG’s bloggers:

“For those unfamiliar with Facebook (is there anyone other than me in that set?) the thumbnail of the worm’s infective page is a link to the page. The worm’s objective, of course, is that others viewing the victim’s wall will click the link, and as they are logged into Facebook, the worm will propagate its link to that victim’s wall, and so on…
This worm uses what is technically known as a CSRF (Cross-site Request Forgery, also called XSRF) attack. A sequence of iframes on the exploit page call a sequence of other pages and scripts, eventually resulting in a form submission to Facebook “as if” the victim had submitted a URL for a wall post and clicked on the “Share” button to confirm the post.”

(Via Mashable)

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There has been a lot of controversy regarding Facebook’s ever evolving privacy policies, but it turns out that some of Facebook’s legal actions can actually benefit everyone. Facebook and Microsoft have both been actively fighting and prosecuting some of the Internet’s worst spammers. This week Facebook won $711 million in damages from Sanford Wallace after a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Wallace had violated the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act. The U.S. CAN-SPAM Act national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission  to enforce its provisions.

Sam O’Rourke, associate general counsel at Facebook, says “If someone perpetrates a spam campaign that we feel is any way significant to our users, then we’ll go after them.” Meanwhile, just last month Microsoft filed a total of five suits against spammers using “malvertisement,” online ads that serve up malware to users computers.

These cases are one of the few situations where a big corporation getting involved helps benefit the average user. Patrick Peterson of Cisco says that the legal recourse being pursued by Microsoft and Facebook is good for everyone. “It is great for everyone,” he says. “In many cases people aren’t willing to go through the tremendous expense and distraction of prosecuting somebody.”

According to Patrick, you shouldn’t assume that these companies are pursuing these lawsuits as a source of revenue. Facebook and Microsoft usually never end up collecting real money for these cases, instead they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees for these lawsuits. Their ultimate goal behind these cases is just to halt spammers and set precedents to stop future spammers. “The next guy who thinks about doing this will think twice,” Peterson says.

(Via Forbes)

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facebook3Facebook users have something new to fear, a virus known as Bredolab, is rapidly spreading through the popular social network. The virus masks itself as a “Password Reset Confirmation Email” and appears to come from Facebook. This deceiving email includes an attachment that supposedly contains a new password for the user.

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houstonsA young couple in Hackensack, New Jersey was fired from the Houston’s restaurant chain after it was discovered that they had created a private MySpace page for employees to bash the restaurant on. Doreen Marino and her boyfriend Brian Pietrylo, were fired after a manager was given a password to the website and claimed that they had violated Houston’s “core values of professionalism and a positive mental attitude.”

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facebook_hacked_by_koobface_mk2_virus_xlarge With the exponential growth of Facebook and Twitter comes the seemingly unstoppable growth of malware spyware and computer hacking. As the use of one rises, so does the other. As a result, social networking sites are coming under constant harassment from malicious programs designed to steal passwords and other personal information.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, technology chief at a small security software vendor Finjan, has stated that “Cyber criminals continue to follow the money. With the combination of using sophisticated Trojans for the theft and money mules to transfer stolen money to their accounts, they minimize their chances of being detected.”

Symantec Corp has also stated that the use of spam email messages has also increased greatly in the third quarter. According to company reports, the amount of spam emails being sent out has risen to 88.1 percent from last year’s 81 percent. Furthermore, reports show that botnets are now responsible for sending 87.9 percent of all spam.

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twitterUsers of the social networking website Twitter have yet another virus to fear. According to these latest reports, there is a new worm related to a phishing scam floating around Twitter and it’s using the system’s direct messages to spread.

An already compromised account will send a direct message to another account with a body similar to:

“rofl this you on here? http://videos.twitter.secure-logins01.com.”

Once users click on the link they are asked to submit their information via a fake Twitter login page. And, once they’ve entered their login information, hackers use the compromised account to send a fresh batch of messages to all of the person’s Twitter followers. By luring unsuspecting users with “rofl is this you?” promises of a funny picture, victims are inclined to click on the fake link and thus subject themselves to the phishing virus.

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burglarJonathan Parker is like most teens nowadays that can’t stop checking Facebook. But for Jonathan, his Facebook addiction ended up being his Achilles heel. Earlier in the week, the 19 year old broke in to a home and stole two diamond rings. While breaking in, he took a break to log on to one of the household’s computers and check his Facebook account. Unfortunately for him, he forgot to log out. By not logging out, he lead a trail directly to him that the police could use.

Mr. Parker is currently in custody and is facing a maximum 10 year sentence.

(Via Mashable)

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