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Hackers broke into 50 mn users’ accounts, says Facebook

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San Francisco, Sep 28 : In the biggest-ever security breach after Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook on Friday admitted hackers broke into nearly 50 million users’ accounts by stealing their “access tokens” or digital keys.

This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts, Facebook said in a statement.

Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they do not need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.

“Our investigation is still in its early stages. But it’s clear that attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted ‘View As’, a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else,” said Guy Rosen, VP of Product Management.

Facebook security team discovered the security issue on September 25, and it has now fixed the vulnerability and informed the law enforcement.

“We have reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts we know were affected to protect their security.

“We’re also taking the precautionary step of resetting access tokens for another 40 million accounts that have been subject to a ‘View As’ look-up in the last year,” Facebook said.

As a result, around 90 million people will now have to log back into Facebook, or any of their apps that use Facebook login.

After they have logged back in, people will get a notification at the top of their News Feed explaining what happened.

“We’re temporarily turning off the ‘View As’ feature while we conduct a thorough security review,” Facebook said.

This attack exploited the complex interaction of multiple issues in Facebook code.

“The attackers not only needed to find this vulnerability and use it to get an access token, they then had to pivot from that account to others to steal more tokens,” it said.

Facebook said it does not know who is behind this massive security attack.

“We’re working hard to better understand these details and “we will update this post when we have more information, or if the facts change,” said the company.

In the Cambridge Analytica scandal, data of nearly 87 million people was breached upon.

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Travel bug hits people, digital skills to boost recovery: Google

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After living months in isolation during the pandemic, the travel bug has hit millions of people and according to Google, 45 per cent of the top 100 questions related to travel in Search focused on the impact of Covid-19 and the desire to travel as safely and as soon as possible.

Google research, conducted with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), showed that 31 percent of people hope to plan leisure travel once they feel safe enough to do so, the company said in a blog post on Monday.

World Tourism day is coming up on September 27, and Search trends show that people have the travel bug. In August, the top queries were related to where and when people can travel ‘right now,'” said Pierric Duthoit, Senior Lead, Google Global Tourism Acceleration Centre.

Where do travellers want to go right now?

Heading to the beach and visiting rural areas or small towns are top of the list, particularly for Italians and the Dutch.

“Our data and analyses, available on our ‘Think with Google’ site, can help tourism businesses identify new trends in consumer preferences,” Duthoit said.

For example, as people increasingly search for local and outdoor tourism, businesses can react to these changing needs by doing marketing campaigns that highlight nature destinations, and they can prepare for an uptick in last-minute bookings.

“We’re partnering with government ministries, businesses and experts throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa to foster digital skills in the travel sector,” Google said.

“While this World Tourism Day marks a uniquely challenging period for tourism, it’s also an opportunity to prepare and find new ways to engage with would-be travelers,” it added.

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No restriction on accessing any website in Jammu and Kashmir: Centre

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the mobile data services are presently restricted to 2G speed in all but two districts of the Union territory.

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There is no restriction on accessing any website, including social media sites, in Jammu and Kashmir, the Lok Sabha was informed on Sunday.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the mobile data services are presently restricted to 2G speed in all but two districts of the Union territory. “There is no restriction on accessing any sites, including the social media sites,” he said in a written reply. Reddy said the internet services are already available in Kashmir on fixed line (without any speed-related restrictions) as well as mobile data services (at 2G speed) since January 24, 2020.

He said restrictions on accessing social media sites were also lifted on March 4, 2020. Further, high speed mobile data services too have been commenced in the districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir Division) and Udhampur (Jammu Division) with effect from August 16, 2020. The minister said fixed line internet connectivity is available without any speed-related restrictions, with Mac-binding.

He said the businesses have had access to internet through fixed line connectivity and internet kiosks opened in large numbers across the Valley without any speed restrictions.

Reddy also informed the Lower House that 2G mobile internet speed is not an impediment in Covid control measures, including dissemination of information to the general public as well as health workers.

Also, he said, e-learning apps and education/e-learning websites of the Government of India, Government of J&K are accessible over 2G internet for downloading e-books and other study material.

“Further, the restriction on high speed mobile internet services has not been an impediment in the administration of justice and the courts have taken special measures to conduct their proceedings during the pandemic by providing video links/URLs to lawyers and the litigants,” the minister said.

“Considering the overall security scenario and in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir issues orders from time to time regulating telecom and internet services in terms of the applicable rules and the principles laid down and directions contained in the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India..,” he added.

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FinCEN files: Big banks let $2tn ‘dirty money’ move around world

There have been a number of big leaks of financial information in recent years, including 2017 Paradise Papers. The 2016 Panama Papers – Leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca showed more about how wealthy people are using offshore tax regimes, the BBC said.

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New Delhi, Sep 21 : The FinCEN files show that the world’s biggest banks have allowed criminals to move “dirty money” around the globe. In total, these reports flagged more than $2 trillion in transactions, according to BuzzFeed News.

The BBC reported that Russian oligarchs used banks to avoid sanctions and moved their money into the West.

It is the latest in a string of leaks over the past five years that have exposed secret deals, money laundering and financial crime, a BBC report said.

The FinCEN files are more than 2,500 documents, most of which were files that banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017.

These documents are some of the international banking system’s most closely guarded secrets. Banks use them to report suspicious behaviour but they are not proof of wrongdoing or crime.

They were leaked to Buzzfeed News and shared with a group that brings together investigative journalists from around the world, which distributed them to 108 news organisations in 88 countries, including the BBC’s Panorama programme.

FinCEN is the US Financial Crimes Investigation Network. Concerns about transactions made in US dollars need to be sent to FinCEN, even if they took place outside the US.

Suspicious activity reports, or SARs, are an example of how those concerns are recorded. A bank must fill in one of these reports if it is worried one of its clients might be up to no good. The report is sent to the authorities, BBC said.

It has been revealed through these documents that HSBC allowed fraudsters to move millions of dollars even after it learned from US investigators that the scheme was a scam.

JP Morgan allowed a company to move more than $1 billion through a London account without knowing who owned it. The bank later discovered the company might be owned by a mobster on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.

There is also evidence that one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates used Barclays Bank in London to avoid sanctions meant to stop him.

Accoridng to BBC, the UK is called a “higher risk jurisdiction” like Cyprus, according to the intelligence Division of FinCEN. That’s because of the number of UK registered companies that appear in the SARs. Over 3,000 UK companies are named in the FinCEN files – more than any other country.

Deutsche Bank moved money launderers’ dirty money for organised crime, terrorists and drug traffickers. Standard Chartered moved cash for Arab Bank for more than a decade after clients’ accounts at the Jordanian bank had been used in funding terrorism.

There have been a number of big leaks of financial information in recent years, including 2017 Paradise Papers. The 2016 Panama Papers – Leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca showed more about how wealthy people are using offshore tax regimes, the BBC said.

According to BuzzFeed News, some entities have been flagged numerous times in the FinCEN Files. Mayzus Financial Services, an online payment processing company that served clients involved in a bitcoin ring, sets the record, appearing as a subject of 36 SARs.

Second is Kaloti Jewellery International, a Dubai-based precious metals company that was flagged as a subject in 34 separate SARs by eight different banks.

More than 250 SARs reference people with addresses in the US, and more than 120 with addresses in Russia. The UK, China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, and Ukraine were also common locations for people, each appearing in at least 20 reports, it said.

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