Both Kaspersky and Symantec released reports this week pointing out the increase in attacks by Wild Neutron (aka Jripbot, Morpho, or Butterfly). WN had gone mostly dormant (or undetected?) since 2013 after hitting Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft using zero-day Java exploits (seeded in the hacked forums of various websites) and the OSX/Pintsized Mac OS X or Windows Jiripbot backdoor.
"The Facebook" went live on February 4, 2004 from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard University dorm room. Ads began running shortly thereafter. In 2005, Facebook rolled out the News Feed and by 2007, Facebook simplified its design. By 2008, Facebook had 100 million users and launched Facebook Chat. In 2012, Facebook hit 1 billion members and in 2013, the Ticker was killed off. Check out the visual history of Facebook.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is back in the news today, this time after tweets from the @BarrackObama Twitter account and posts to the President’s Facebook fan page contained links to SEA YouTube content. At this time it is not believed that the President’s Twitter nor Facebook page was hacked but rather SEA has gained access to the backend third-party (i.e. customized) link shortener allowing them to redirect the U.S. Organizing for Action links to SEA links. How the link shortener functions and where it is hosted is not known at this time.
Apple announced yesterday (2/19/13) that hackers had infected Macintosh computers of employees using an exploit in Oracle’s Java software stack. The attack is largest known cyber attack targeting Apple computers. The malware is believed to have originated from an iPhone developer website and was later used to launch massive attacks against Facebook, Twitter, and “other companies”.
Yesterday, many, if not most, major websites including CNN, MSNBC, Yelp, New York Magazine, BuzzFeed, Gawker, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Slate, Kickstarter, and many others were taken down by a Facebook Connect bug that redirected users to an error page upon loading, effectively bringing much of the Internet to its knees. Users who were not logged in to Facebook at the time were not affected.
Amidst falling stock prices and a fleeing user base, Facebook introduced an upgraded search tool today – Graph Search, which will allow a more natural language search (e.g. search for “friends who like cats and UFOs” or “pictures taken on the beach in Mexico”). Mark Zuckerberg says “This is one of the coolest things we've done in a while.” According to Wired Magazine, the new product “promises to transform its user experience, threaten its competitors, and torment privacy activists.” Users will be able to get restaurant recommendations, search for job prospects amongst their peers, find pictures related to specific geographic locations, and much, much more.
First Instagram says “Doh!” and then their mothership figures they should also irritate their customers too. Facebook has announced on their blog that they are rolling out a new “Inbox delivery test”. For $1, a small group of users can pay to send messages to anyone, whether they are connected with them or not, and the message will be delivered to the recipient’s inbox (rather than the “other” folder). Right now the feature will not be available to businesses and anyone using the service can only send one paid message per week. Let's hope it goes no further than that.
Fast growing Instagram is slowly rolling out a new web-based interface to its iOS and Android users this week. The new html5/jquery based web interface puts it much more in line with Facebook and can now truly be considered a direct competitor, an odd situation given that Facebook purchased Instagram in September 2012 for $715 million. The new Instagram interface provides a animated, rotating mosaic of Instagram photos, a small profile image, short user bio, and follower stats. Hovering over photo thumbnails overlays the picture with date and stats information for the photo. Photo thumbnails, when clicked, expand to full-size pictures along with likes and comments and an text area where users can add new comments. Right now photo uploading is not available but we have to assume that it will be coming soon.
The Daily is reporting that two independent sources have acknowledged that Facebook is working on a new service, code named “MarketPlace”, that will allow users to create short advertisements that appear in their friends’ news feeds. Much like Facebook’s “promoted posts” service, MarketPlace would allow users to pay a small fee in order to create and distribute the classified advertisement.
Ah, the power of Facebook. As the BBC reports, a 15-year-old Dutch girl posted an invitation to her 16th birthday party on Facebook but wasn’t real clear on the use of Facebook privacy controls. She forgot to set the Facebook event to “private”. After 20,000 replies, the girls realized she (and the town of Haren) had a big problem on her hands.
Mark Cuban, the geeky American magnate who owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, posted an interesting explanation of mentality of stock trading. If you are a geek that trades stocks or is interested in pillaging the stock market, check out Cuban’s reason for losing a boatload of money buying Facebook stock. Facebook stock was played up before it was introduced and a bunch of people piled in on the action. The stock ended up tanking which made people feel like they had been duped. Cuban explains who was to blame.