Facebook improves privacy, bans some altered videos; Google deletes three apps and restores one

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday January 8th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for ITWorldCanada.com.

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The annual CES consumer electronics show is on this week in Las Vegas. It’s a time when new Internet-connected devices are announced. But this year there have been a number of security-related announcements as well. Facebook has updated its Privacy Checkup tool to help users with their privacy settings. This includes who can see your profile information and your posts, and how to keep your account secure. The tool is accessed by clicking on the Question Mark symbol at the top of any Facebook page.

Facebook also said it is banning most altered videos called deepfakes on its platforms. That will include videos that mislead viewers into thinking the subject said something they didn’t. Parody and satirical videos won’t be touched. However, altered videos in political ads won’t be deleted.

For those worried about the security of Amazon Ring home security systems, the company said its Android and iOS apps will soon include a new Control Centre, where users can configure settings and enable two-factor authentication for logins.

A new version of the Firefox browser is out. Version 72 helps block a type of online tracking of you called fingerprinting, that captures information about your computer or smartphone, software, and other details to build a profile. Even if you clear your browser or use private browsing or incognito mode fingerprinting goes on. Marketing companies can use this data to send tailored ads. By default Firefox 72 blocks third party requests to companies that participate in fingerprinting. It also blocks most popups that ask whether you want a site to send you notifications. Instead of a popup message, a bubble briefly appears in the address bar letting you know a notification message has been blocked by Firefox. If you want to see the message, click on it.

Google has removed an Android file manager and two photography apps from the Play Store because they have malware that could allow your phone to be hacked. They are FileCrypt, Camero and callCam. If you have these apps, delete them. You do that by going into Settings, then App Manager or Apps & Notifications. That’s where your apps are listed. The problems were discovered by security vendor Trend Micro.

Meanwhile Google has restored a suspect chat app called ToTok into the Play Store. Over the holidays the New York Times reported this is a surveillance tool believed by the U.S. government to be backed by the United Arab Emirates. Vice News says the new version of the app now gives users a choice of whether it can access their contact list.

Owners of Google Pixel smartphones should make sure their devices are patched. On Monday Google issued a bunch of fixes that should be automatically installed. In addition, Google announced patches for bugs in Android 8, 9 and 10 that should be delivered to handsets by carriers over the next little while.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at ITWorldCanada.com. That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening. I’m Howard Solomon



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