Saturday, May 21, 2022

Hashtag Trending – Facebook abuses your phone number; Messenger gets dark mode; no more password for sign-ins

Facebook lets others find you via phone number, Messenger gets dark mode, and passwordless login standard established.

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It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday, March 5th, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Another day, another Facebook privacy breach. Trending on Reddit, Facebook is allowing anyone to find your profile using your phone number. It doesn’t sound bad until you realize that it does so without the user’s consent. Often times, the phone number is the one users provide for two-factor authentication, which technically isn’t part of their profile. There’s no way to deactivate this feature either; you can only restrict the lookup to “just friends”. The sooner you do this, the better, as everyone can find you via phone number by default.

Although Facebook is slowly turning your privacy into a luxury, it at least won’t blind you in the dark anymore. On a brighter (or darker) note, Facebook is testing dark mode for its Messenger app. Enabling this requires the user to send the yellow crescent moon emoji to someone, which initiates a cool splash screen and the option to enable dark mode in settings. Because this is an experimental feature, the dark background won’t be applied everywhere. This feature is now available on both Android and iOS.

Trending on Google, W3C and FIDO Alliances has finalized the web standard for secure passwordless logins. The new standard revolves around a technology simply called Web Authentication, a sign-in method that ties encrypted login info to fingerprints, USB keys, and cameras. Ditching passwords reduce the effectiveness of certain attacks like keyloggers and visual hacking. But don’t abandon all your passwords just yet, adoption will be slow, and password may still be a backup sign-in method.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Tom Li, thanks for listening.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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