Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Facebook filth flood – Fawkes Virus to blame?

The newsfeeds of numerous Facebook users have become flooded with filth – specifically violent and pornographic images – as the result of an attack against the social network over the last day or so.

Objectionable content such as photoshopped images of celebrities such as Justin Bieber in sexual situations, violent pictures and depictions of an abused dog have appeared on the social network. Victims confronted by these images have taken to Twitter to vent express their outrage, as is the local custom. Read more on The Register..

Koobface malware makes a comeback

It’s baa-aaack. Koobface, that is!

The persistent malware that plagues Facebook users has reared its ugly head yet again.
A new round of e-mails aimed at launching the worm onto the PCs of unsuspecting users has been discovered by researchers for the security vendor ESET, according to the company’s Wednesday blog.
Uncovered by ESET researchers in Latin America, this latest Koobface campaign is sending Facebook users messages with a link that claims to direct them to videos of sexual encounters. The link included in the e-mails tells the user to download a video codec to view the X-rated content. But instead of delivering the goods, the link calls up a download that launches the Koobface malware, thus infecting its intended victim.
And like most malware, by infecting one computer, the worm then triggers the malicious message to all of the contacts of that PC’s owner.
The creators of Koobface have even added a twist to thwart security experts trying to combat the worm. The dangerous download occurs only the first time someone clicks on the link. Subsequent efforts bring up a “Page not found” error. This type of attack makes it more difficult for researchers to analyze different versions of the malicious code, according to ESET.
Since its first appearance in 2008, Koobface has continued to pop up from time to time with new variants, typically aimed at infecting Facebook users. The worm uses a similar strategy by sending messages to your Facebook contacts trying to get them to click on a link to a video or other file. But instead, it launches the executable that infects their computers.
To protect yourself from Koobface, ESET offers the usual advice. Don’t trust this new message or any like it sent to you via social networks like Facebook. And of course, make sure your antivirus software is always up-to-date. Avast anti-virus
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Facebook Driving More Traffic Than Google

Facebook is now the top source of traffic for major news and entertainment portals such as Yahoo and MSN, according to traffic analysis firm Compete, and is “among the leaders” for other sites as well. Although far from conclusive, this is just another sign of how the “social web” is becoming an increasingly dominant force in terms of driving traffic flows on the Internet — and that in turn makes it a growing threat for major web players such as Google, MSN and Yahoo. If your core business depends on controlling and/or getting a piece of the web’s traffic flow, as it does for all of those companies, the social web is something you ignore at your peril (which helps explain the launch of new services like Google Buzz).

Compete’s director of online media and search told the San Francisco Chronicle that a snapshot of web traffic from December showed 13 percent of the traffic to major web portals like Yahoo, MSN and AOL came from Facebook. Traffic from Google generated just 7 percent, which Compete said actually put it third in traffic sources behind eBay, which accounted for 7.6 percent.

It’s important to note that Compete’s analysis is just another data point, and probably shouldn’t be taken as definitive. The jockeying for top spot as the web’s No. 1 traffic source has been going on for some time, and every measurement firm has its own numbers, whichoften conflict with each other because of differences in their methods. But there’s no question about the overall trend: Facebook has been growing strongly in terms of overall traffic to the site and the traffic that it drives to other sites.

Steve Rubel of Edelman Digital says that he sees Facebook becoming an increasingly powerful competitor to Google. “I see Facebook starting to look more like Google while Google tries and stumbles at becoming more social,” he writes. “Social networking is here to stay. It’s where attention spirals are flowing and no one looms larger than Facebook. And while Facebook has plenty of critics and they run into the occasional privacy concerns, I believe that they will dominate the landscape the next few years.”

Billionaire entrepreneur and sports team owner Mark Cuban noted a similar phenomenon in a blog post last year, saying the traffic coming to his blog from Facebook and Twitter was increasing while the traffic flow from Google was “declining significantly.” He called this phenomenon “huge, because of the behavior implications for users, and because of the business implications for Twitter, Facebook and Google.”

It’s worth pointing out that while Facebook may be driving more traffic to portal sites and to blogs — particularly those like Perez Hilton, which gets far more referrals from the social network than it does from Google, according to Hitwise — that doesn’t mean it’s going to replace Google any time soon. And Google, along with Microsoft and Yahoo, is doing its best to integrate social web content from Twitter and Facebook into search results, through indexing arrangements with those sites. But the balance of power is definitely shifting.

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Google Buzz: Both Promising and Confusing

It’s now been just a few days now since Google launched its Google Buzz social-sharing service and started rolling it out to Gmail users. Much of the coverage so far has been grumpy — especially when it comes to the fact that the initial list of people you autofollow on Buzz is based on who you talk with most often in Gmail, and that list is public unless you choose to make it private.

To its credit, Google has responded swiftly to complaints: It’s already tweaked Buzz to make it more obvious what information the service is making public, and to help you crank up the privacy settings.

(Side note: I kinda wish that Google’s blog post hadn’t talked about users who “thought their contacts were being made public without their knowledge (in particular the lists of people they follow, and the people following them).”If Google is making this information public, I don’t see how users can think it’s being done “without your knowledge.” If you think you don’t know something, then…you don’t. I think Google meant something along the lines of “thought their contacts were being made public without any disclosure…”)

Google’s explanation of the post-release changes points out that millions of people are now using Buzz…and maybe that’s part of the issue. Rather than let a sizable pool of testers outside of Google try the service out before opening up the floodgates, it’s gone straight to a full-blown launch. Sounds like the company didn’t expect some of the confusion that’s happening.

Me, I’m finding much to like in Buzz. For instance, it has one of the nicest photo-album viewers I’ve ever seen anywhere:

I’m not going to dump Twitter and Facebook anytime soon, but Buzz is full of potential and I can see it becoming the third major service of this sort. Given Google’s spotty history with social stuff, that’s impressive in itself.

But multiple aspects of Buzz in its current form are frustrating. And quite frequently, the service leaves me just plain confused.

Facebook is the new threat to Google

More people are coming to US news sites via Facebook and other social networking sites such as Twitter – supplanting Google News, which had been one of the primary sources of readers, according to research by the metrics company Hitwise.

During the past year, the proportion of traffic that Facebook sends to US media sites has tripled from around 1.2% to 3.52%, while that sent by Google News has remained roughly static, at around 1.4%, says Heather Hopkins, North America analyst for Hitwise.

The growing power of Facebook also means that publishers which want to demand money from – or alternatively to lock out – Google News because of claims that it “leeches” on their content could do so without fearing a dramatic impact on their reader figures.

With more than 400m users, Facebook forms the newest – and most unexpected – threat to Google, say some analysts. Last weekend the search engine spent $5m on a TV advert during the Superbowl, puzzling many who do not see a threat from rival search engines such as Microsoft’s Bing, which has less than half of its proportion of search queries.

But Hopkins notes in a blogpost for Hitwise that: “Facebook could be a major disruptor to the News and Media category. And with the Wall Street Journal already publishing content to Facebook, perhaps the social network can avoid the run-ins that Google has suffered recently with Rupert Murdoch. We will continue to watch this space.”

Murdoch’s editors and executives have repeatedly criticised aggregators such Google News, claiming it is leeching off their content by displaying snippets of their work. In the UK, the Murdoch-owned titles have gone as far as blocking access to their sites by Newsnow, a smaller news aggregator.

Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google, has argued that publishers should take advantage of the traffic that it sends them – pointing out that it sends about 4bn such links per year.

But Facebook provides the perfect counterweight, where publishers can choose how much of their content they display and view how well it is followed. Sites such as Facebook and increasingly Twitter contribute hundreds of thousands of visits every month to UK sites, according to analysis by the Guardian.

John Minnihan, the founder of the software code respositoryFreepository, warns that Facebook poses one of the biggest threats to Google on the web. “With recent data showing a large uptick in ‘Facebook as home page’, [Google] may well indeed need to remind emerging generation who/what it is. In that case, the [Superbowl] ad makes some business sense. Whatever the real reason, it has nothing to do with ‘sharing video more widely’. If FB dev’ed an integrated web-wide search engine, think about how much traffic would evaporate [from Google] overnite. That’s nightmare stuff.”

Tellingly, Minnihan’s comments were made on Twitter — which Google is rumoured to be trying to compete with in a “social version” of its Gmail webmail product to be launched today. Google has already tried – and failed – to create a world-scale social network with its Orkut product, but been obliged instead to purchase access to Twitter’s search results to provide real-time insight into what people are talking about. Facebook’s content however lies beyond its reach – and that could be crucial in the forthcoming months as news publishers in the US and UK consider putting up higher paywalls or demanding money from aggregators.

Facebook leads rise in mobile web use

A new set of audited figures for mobile internet use, the GSMA Mobile Media Metrics, reveal a landscape with one very tall peak

More than 25% of UK’s population – some 16 million people – accessed the Internet from mobile phones in December. And what were they looking for? The GSMA Mobile Media Metrics, published for the first time on Friday, provide an insight: on the mobile internet, people want to know what their friends are up to – and perhaps do a bit of flirting.

Facebook has a clearly lead in GSMA’s top 10 UK mobile internet sites, with 5 million unique users against 4.5 million for all of Google’s sites. (Mobile internet users want answers, too.)

And the domination is much greater in terms of times spend online and page views. Facebook had 2.6bn page impressions – nearly three times as many as Google, and more than a third of the 6.7bn total. Nearly half the total minutes online in December were spent at Facebook Mobile – 2.2bn minutes out of 4.8bn, with Google on 400m in a very distant second place.

One fifth of UK mobile subscribers now tote smartphones, which is driving a rise in mobile interent use. In December, already 25% of UK’s population or 16 million people accessed the internet from their mobile phones and viewed a total of 6.7bn pages.

Besides Facebook and Google, the sites of the mobile phone operators scored well, with spots three to five going to Telefonica Mobile Networks (owners of O2, with all those iPhone users), Orange Sites and Vodafone Group.

Finally, the BBC site on the seventh spot indicates that people are reading the news on the go. Breaking news is also available on the mobile networks’ sites, and those of Microsoft and Yahoo at spots six and eight.

Regarding unique users, Apple’s and Nokia’s site come in last in the top 10 UK mobile internet sites in December. Once you look at page views and time spent online, Flirtomatic – which is integrated into most mobile operator portals – also comes into the picture.

Mobile minutes spent online:

1 Facebook 2.2 bn
2 Google 396m
3 Microsoft Sites 166m
4 Orange Sites 139m
5 AOL (and Bebo) 106m
6 Apple 104m
7 Vodafone 89m
8 BBC sites 84m
9 Flirtomatic 55m
10 Yahoo 49m

The GSMA Mobile Media Metrics report was commissioned by GSMA and comScore in partnership with five UK mobile operators: O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and 3UK. It is being audited by ABCe.

Richard Foan, managing director of ABCe, who also chairs the web media standards committee JICWEBS, called the new metrics “a great step forward for mobile media”.

The figures are based on irreversibly anonymised mobile Internet usage data from all five UK mobile operators, collected with consent from a representative sample of mobile users. In addition, Wi-Fi traffic, not seen in the mobile network traffic, is captured in the server-side logs of media owners and ad networks

Facebook users targeted by botnet spam


Facebook users have been targeted by a large-scale spam attack that informs them that their password has been reset, and that the attached zip archive contains their new password. Instead of a new password, users will find a trojan downloader, dubbed “Bredlab” or “Bredolab” by anti-virus companies.

The downloader then downloads additional malware from two servers, including fake anti-virus software, and joins the Bredolab botnet. This gives attackers full control of the PC, allowing them to steal user information or use the PC to send spam emails. One of the servers is based in the Netherlands, with the other in Kazakhstan, according to an alert on Websense, a security research company.

Security companies, including Symantec, Trend Micro, MX Lab and Websense, have issued warnings about the attack. Shunichi Imano, a securt researcher at Symantec told users on the firm’s security blog: “This variant of Bredolab connects to a Russian domain and the infected machine is most likely becoming part of a Bredolab botnet.”

Jamie Tomasello, abuse operations manager for Cloudmark, a messaging security company, said that her company has detected around 735,000 of the phony Facebook messages since Monday, and it continues to rise. “It’s a pretty high volume,” she said.

Teens admire Steve Jobs for making the world a better place


According to a survey by Junior Achievement, Steve Jobs is the most admired entrepreneur amongst 35 percent of teenagers, with nearly two-thirds of respondents who chose him saying they did so because he has “made a difference in/improved people’s lives or made the world a better place.”

Eighty-Five percent of those who selected Oprah Winfrey, who came second to Jobs with 25 percent, said they chose her for the same reason.

The survey, carried out by Junior Achievement, an organization that educates students on future employment and entrepreneurship, asked 1000 12-to-17 year-olds to choose who their favourite entrepreneurs were and why. The list of celebrities to choose from focused on those who had started businesses themselves, as opposed to licensing their name.

Perhaps surprisingly, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg came low, with only 10 percent of teens choosing him despite the huge popularity of the social networking website.

In a statement, Jack Kosakowski, president of Junior Achievement USA said, “We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, so it’s no surprise that teens admire famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey, who have built brands around their personas as well as around their products.”

While 33 percent of teens said they chose the Apple co-founder and CEO because of his “success in multiple fields,” only 4 percent said they chose him for his wealth and fame.

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Facebook mobile gets an update

Facebook have once again updated their website design, this time making changes to the mobile browsing part of the website. The new layout better matches full desktop version of the website, but also improves browsing through friend’s photos, updates, and even includes Facebook’s “Like” feature for status updates and pictures.facebook

The new updated design comes with better compatibility for mobiles devices for viewing friends and families pictures. Facebook have also changed their notification feed and indications for mobile browser users when they receive requests, updates and messages.

Facebook also has more plans to update the full version of the website in the coming weeks, including an updated content layout for the home page and some other minor tweaks.

Also expect to see Facebook and Xbox360  integration in the coming months for Xbox Live Gold members. Real time updates, notifications, chats and view pictures right from your Xbox360

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