Cyber Security Today: Feb. 22, 2018 — Fake news worries, upgrade these apps and don’t get gassed

Worries about fake news in the U.S., an international committee to hold a hearing on disinformation, upgrade these three applications and don’t get gassed.

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The 2020 U.S. presidential election campaign has started now that a number of Democrats say they’re looking for their party’s presidential nomination. And, disappointingly, already there’s evidence of disinformation campaigns on social media. That’s according to the site, which asked a tech company to do an analysis of recent Twitter messages about candidates. One of the false messages alleges that a blackface doll appeared on a kitchen cabinet in the background of a senator’s New Year’s Eve Instagram livestream. Some of the negative messages appear to be from automated accounts. No one knows yet who’s behind them.

Governments are becoming increasingly worried about the effect on democracy of disinformation, which is why politicians from nine countries — including Canada, France and the U.K. — have formed what they call an international grand committee into the problem. On Wednesday they invited the heads of 10 tech companies, including Facebook CEO Mark Zukerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Apple CEO Tim Cook to Ottawa on May 28 for a meeting.

How many will show up is a question. Some may send lower executives, fearing the hearing may turn into an inquisition. When the committee held its first hearing in November in London, Zuckerberg sent a senior vice-president instead.

Users of the Windows file compression utility WinRAR are being warned to update to the latest version because of a serious bug. It could allow a hacker to take control of your computer. WinRAR helps shrink huge files for things like archiving or uploading. However, security company Check Point Software has discovered a flaw dates back to 2005 and has been in the software ever since. According to WinRAR’s website, 500,000 people around the world use the software. Updating to the latest version will ensure the bug can’t be exploited.

Speaking of updates, those of you who run either the Drupal or WordPress content management systems should think seriously of updating your websites. The latest versions patch critical flaws.

Finally, here’s some misinformation going around Facebook: When you go to a gas station use the Bluetooth detector on your smart phone to detect if the pump has a phony Bluetooth wireless credit card skimmer for stealing your card data. If it detects a device with a bunch of random numbers and letters, it must be phony. Not true, says security vendor Sophos. First, a device named with a bunch of numbers and letters isn’t necessarily crooked. It could be the video game being used by a kid in the next car. Second, criminals are unlikely to use a Bluetooth transmitter because of its short range. You’re wasting your time trying to detect criminality with Bluetooth. It’s better to just look at the card reader — in any business — and see if it looks like it’s been tampered with. If you’re really worried, pay with cash.

As always, if you need more background there are links in the text version of this podcast on

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. 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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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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