Tag Archives: hacking

Google+ to Shut Down After User Data was Exposed

In 2011, Google launched a social media site called Google+ to challenge Facebook which was the number one social media site and one of the few out there. Google wanted in on the social media craze. Unfortunately for Google, nobody wanted or liked Google+ which made the decision easier when Google+ was hacked just recently.

Google+ is no longer available to public users; photo from stockio.com
Google+ is no longer available to public users; photo from stockio.com

Alphabet Inc. the parent company of Google announced on Monday that they will be shuting down the consumer verison of Google+ and tighting the data sharing policies after it was announced that over 500,000 users may have been exposed to hundreds of developers outside of Alphabet.

The issue involving Google+ was found and patched as a part of a review on how Google shares data with other applications and companies. No developer exploited the open data according to Google in their findings.

Alphabet Inc. stock only went down 1 percent to $1155.92 and this comes after numerous tech companies in the U.S. have had to deal with privacy issues.

For the reason on why the leak was announced to the public, Google had fears of the disclosure of the leak would be compared to Facebook’s leak of user info to Cambridge Analytica.

As for Google+ which was created in 2011 as more or less a copy of Facebook, it will no longer be offered to users as a social media platform but it will remain as an internal networking option for businesses who buy Google’s G-Suite.

As precaution that Google is taking is that they will no longer allow Play Store apps to access text messages and call logs unless they are the default calling or texting app on a user’s device or have the prior permission of Google.

Celeb n00ds: Merry XXXmas

In the wake of the massive leak of celebrity nude photos, there has been plenty said on all sides about whodunit, who should apologize to whom and the problem that is the Internet and our privacy. For those of you who don’t feel like wading through article after article to get caught up after residing under that rock known as class and studying let’s play some catch up.

Firstly, let’s realize that while everyone’s intrigued by the thought of admiring or picking apart their favorite actresses’ usually hidden assets, voyeurism is a crime. At the end of the day, looking at someone naked without their consent is known as a sex crime. It isn’t perhaps comparable to rape, as some anxious tweeters and status-updaters have cried, but no beuno nonetheless.

Is looking at these nude photos really hurting anyone? Graphic by Layla Dobos
Is looking at these nude photos really hurting anyone? Graphic by Layla Dobos

Why shouldn’t you look at them, though? According to Reddit’s attitude, once digital content exists, it should be free for everyone to see, right? Here’s the thing: when you victimize women for their sexuality, you become their abuser. Sure, JLaw and the rest may never know you exist and may never find out you were one of the hundreds of thousands to see their naked bodies — they may even have revealed more in photo shoots and movies! However, you’re perpetuating a culture that shames women for their sexuality. It’s humiliating to think that you don’t have full control over your own body.

Secondly, who’s the villain (or hero, depending on which side of the fence you’re on) that got hold of these precious photos and decided to just give them away?

It seems almost pointless now to be trying to find a mysterious pervert in a sea as vast as the Internet, but the FBI and several of the sites that (willingly or not) hosted these photos are on the trail. So far, we know that a sub-forum of 4chan (a lawless land in an already loosely policed universe) called AnonIB was the original dump site of the nudes. A user known as OriginalGuy has been blamed for much of the leaked photos. He is, however, merely one of the group who collected these photos over months, and likely had nothing to do with the actual hacking required to steal the photos.

OriginalGuy is receiving criticism from his community (AnonIB) for either leaking the photos or for not dumping even more. It seems that this leak was in response to a loss of value as more and more of his collection was acquired by others. In a frantic, frustrated move he decided to put a stop to the underground action by going public — very public.

Since his original upload, the photos spread to Reddit and beyond, downloaded back to personal computers and swiftly hunted down by “The Man.”

Celebrities have both confirmed and denied the legitimacy of the photos. They’ve apologized and voiced their outrage. There’s been tears, curiosity and — let’s be honest — much fapping.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this scandal is how the photos were originally accessed. The iCloud’s being blamed, as well as their customers flippant regard for security measures. Apple has officially stated that there is no great flaw which allowed the leak. Instead, the tech giant blames weak passwords and a lack of employing their two-step verification system.

Regardless of the debates and scandals involved, this summer has officially gone out with a scandalous shout.

PSN hacked yet again

Photo from Creative Commons.

Sony recently announced that 93,000 user accounts on the PlayStation Network were potentially compromised sometime between Oct. 10-12. This is just the latest string of hacks to affect the already under fire Sony Corporation.

These hacks come just a few months after the massive hacking attack on the PSN in April which resulted in over a million accounts being compromised and over 32,000 debit and credit card accounts potentially being at risk. As a result of this attack, Sony was forced to rethink how they provided security for their users. Sony also provided users with free games and a month of free access to the PSN.

Japan would not allow the PSN to be relaunched following the April attacks until some major changes were made to the service. There is now more pressure worldwide to force corporations to disclose such security breaches and meet a mandated level of security. Sony has since made large leaps in attempting to protect the data of its users. The drop in members has affected the company and no doubt has spurred them to comply with the current voluntary mandates for security.

This latest hack does not appear to be entirely Sony or the PSN’s fault. Most likely the cause this time was a mass phishing scam that acquired the passwords from users. While Sony has not disclosed all of the facts of this most recent hack, it was quick to inform users and the public the list apparently came from some third party source as the vast majority to access accounts failed to be successful.

This most recent attack is a chance for Sony to demonstrate their new and increased response time to potential attacks. The biggest complaint many people had with Sony during the April attacks was their slow response time and failure to inform users for months after the attacks started. This time the public was notified in a matter of days, and once the issue had been resolved the company made a point of announcing it would notify those whose accounts had been breached separately.

While this wasn’t the best possible response time from Sony, it was a vast improvement. It’s clear the company is in the process of taking the steps to protect their users properly. Sony has to work hard to rebuild the trust among their users once more. Until then, every hack will be viewed by at least a segment of the PSN users as yet another strike against a company that failed to protect them in the first place.