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Facebook lets users form groups and download data

Posted by arnon_k On October - 7 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Facebook is letting users form cozy cliques as part of a move to give people more control of their information at the world’s most popular online social network.

A “Groups” feature that lets Facebook members set up private online havens for clusters of family, co-workers, teammates, or others was unveiled Wednesday at the firm’s headquarters in the Californian city of Palo Alto.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the “biggest problem” in online social networking is that people tend to divide their friends into separate circles that they interact with differently, such as co-workers or former school chums.

“Now, people can map out all the real world groups they have in a graph,” Zuckerberg said, referring to “Groups.”

“If we can do this, we can unlock a huge amount of sharing people want to do that they don’t do now because it’s too annoying or the privacy,” he said.

Groups are shared spaces in which people can communicate with tools including email lists and “group chat that is pretty killer,” he added.

“We think that what we have out of the box, version one, blows away everything else,” Zuckerberg said, referring to “groups” services offered by Internet stalwarts such as Yahoo! and Google.

Facebook also began rolling out a feature that will let people download all pictures, video, comments and other digital information they have uploaded to the social networking service.

“Download is really so you can have a copy of all your information,” Zuckerberg said. “You own your information. You should have control over it. You should be able to do whatever you want with it.”

A new “dashboard” feature to be rolled out in the coming days will let Facebook users see and manage what information in their accounts is accessed by third-party applications.

Explaining the new features, Forrester social computing analyst Augie Ray said “the dialogue during the past year that popped up over privacy issues may have caused people in Facebook to get nervous.

“What we are seeing today is a genuine desire to stop those concerns while at the same time really give people better control,” Ray said.

The new features are part of a drive to build Facebook into a “social platform” where people share and connect across the gamut of applications used to swap pictures, messages, videos and more online, according to Zuckerberg.

“We think social can be like the PC (personal computer) platform, giving people control of their information in different contexts,” he said.

“Groups” was built with the help of Hot Potato, a young New York City Internet firm that Facebook bought in August.

Hot Potato about nine months ago launched a social networking service that lets smartphone users “check-in” to let friends know what they are thinking, watching, playing, attending, listening to, or otherwise doing.

“Groups are about how we are living our lives today,” said Hot Potato founder and Facebook Groups leader Justin Shaffer. “We think this is going to change, fundamentally, how you use Facebook today.”

People forming Facebook Groups can make them open, closed, or secret.

Membership and content of open groups is public, while the content of closed groups can only be seen by members. Secret groups hide their membership and contents.

Analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley doubted that features Facebook started rolling out Wednesday would do much to ameliorate concerns about how safe personal data is in the online community.

“They are approaching a trust issue like you would a technology problem and patching the product,” Enderle said.

“They are turning people into mini data managers,” he continued. “But, if you don’t trust Facebook in the first place, why would you believe your Group is a contained area that Facebook won’t mine?”

Cyber crime techniques grow more sophisticated

Posted by arnon_k On September - 23 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Security experts have warned of increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, such as ‘SpyEye’, which target cyber banking details, as well as mobile malware and other threats against businesses and political targets.

The surging number of internet users and connecting devices, especially mobiles, is to blame for the explosion in security threats, says President and Founder of ACIS Professional Center, Prinya Hom-anek.

SpyEye aims to steal bank account, credit card and other sensitive data from the victim’s computer.

With SpyEye, the hacker modifies the content of an online bank’s login page, adding additional form fields to phish for information.

As of June 30, Thailand has more than 17 million internet users, which ranks it 10th in Asia for Internet penetration and thus making it attractive to cyber criminals.

Many hackers work for organised crime groups, which means they are well funded and have access to advanced technologies and techniques over a prolonged duration of operation, and often have specific targets, particularly in businesses and politics.

Department of Special Investigation Deputy Director-General Yanapol Yangyuen added that there is an increasing trend to make fake social network pages which aim to damage the image of businesses or their executives.

Those companies often employ teams to track down and close such fake sites, as well as reassure customers and business partners in a bid to reduce damage.

The majority of these crimes are carried out by competitors and former employees, so staff at all levels need to be educated in security awareness.

Such crimes are also increasingly employing social engineering techniques and capitalising on human greed by luring victims with the promise of high returns for low investment.

Thailand represents an attractive destination for cyber criminals because the kingdom boasts a good technological infrastructure and high-speed broadband.

Foreign criminals are known to use Thailand as a base even for luring victims back home, such as Chinese gangsters using Thai IPs to launch cyber attacks in China.

Prinya said these trends will be discussed at the annual Cyber Defense Initiative Conference on Oct 12-13 at the Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani, under the theme “360i{aac} Cyber Security: IT Governance and the Challenges of Information Operation”.

This theme reflects how cyber security should be viewed at 360 degrees and requires the application of IT governance.

The most crucial issue at the seminar will be the use of social networks as tools for propaganda.