Monthly Archives: January 2011

Facebook Adds HTTPS Protocol Security Across Site

Facebook Adds HTTPS Protocol Security Across Site

Popular social network Facebook has followed the footsteps of Google and Microsoft to implement HTTPS protocol as a security option. Facebook has also announced that it will add a layer of security with social authentication that involves friends’ image identification to access account in case of any suspicious activity. Apart from making your access secure, ensure that you know everyone whom you’ve added as a friend else your Facebook account will be in trouble.

With Facebook being a craze among millions of people worldwide, it’s also a sweet honey-pot for several hackers to launch phishing attacks, worms and social engineering methods to steal account information. But now, Facebook has announced that it will introduce new HTTPS connection for encrypted and secured access of the social network.

To access Facebook entirely over HTTPS connection, you need to enable the option in Account Security located in your Facebook Account Settings. At this moment, the option is opt-in because several other applications for Facebook are yet to support the HTTPS protocol.

While the rest of the applications get HTTPS protocol support, it’s quite possible that hackers will try their best to steal your password. However, Facebook claims to have devised a solution that will restrain such hackers from accessing your account. With a new option called Social Authentication, Facebook asks users to identify his/her Facebook friends from the photos. That will usually happen if your Facebook account has been accessed from a totally different location. It might be a little annoying initially but it is for your own good.

However, in this case if the hacker is victim’s friend or friend of friend then he/she can easily gain access to the Facebook account. That goes with a premise that the hacker knows/identifies victim’s Facebook friends correctly.

Google had made the HTTPS protocol default on January 12, 2010. Post that, a majority of Gmail users were happy to access the email services via a secured protocol. However, in late October 2010, a simple Firefox Extention – FireSheep was demonstrated to snoop around the Wi-Fi for stealing Twitter, Facebook and even Hotmail account credentials. Following that, Microsoft added more security to its email Service Hotmail with new HTTPS protocol via SSL. Now Facebook has taken up the HTTPS secured protocol route to ensure user’s account security.

Lead image courtesy: Adam Roades

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Paypal amends User Agreement for India

Levies $500 per transaction cap for receiving payments

Last year, PayPal went through some strenuous guidelines and regulations laid down by Reserve Bank of India. Thankfully, PayPal did restore the e-withdrawals for India. Today Paypal has sent out a 30-day advance notice for Indian users to comply with the new guidelines. From March 1, 2011 onwards Indian PayPal users won’t be able keep PayPal account balance and won’t be able to receive payments more than $500 per transaction. As surprising it may sound, PayPal has made these amendments to “comply with the RBI guidelines” laid down for the online payments services.

Basically these are the three amendments in PayPal User Agreement for India that would be effective from 1 March, 2011.

– PayPal won’t let Indian users receive payments for more than $500 per transaction
– Indian Users won’t be able to keep money in their PayPal account balance.
– Customers will have to link their Credit Card to their PayPal account for money to Indian PayPal account users.

Here’s the email sent out to PayPal users:

Dear user,

As part of our commitment to provide a high level of customer service, we would like to give you a 30-day advance notice on changes to our user agreement for India.

With effect from 1 March 2011, you are required to comply with the requirements set out in the notification of the Reserve Bank of India governing the processing and settlement of export-related receipts facilitated by online payment gateways (“RBI Guidelines”).

In order to comply with the RBI Guidelines, our user agreement in India will be amended for the following services as follows:

– Any balance in and all future payments into your PayPal account may not be used to buy goods or services and must be transferred to your bank account in India within 7 days from the receipt of confirmation from the buyer in respect of the goods or services; and

– Export-related payments for goods and services into your PayPal account may not exceed US$500 per transaction.

We seek your understanding as we continue to employ our best efforts to comply with the RBI Guidelines in a timely manner.

We regret any inconvenience caused to you and hope the advance notice will enable you to plan your future use of our services accordingly. For further information, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact PayPal customer support by logging into your PayPal account and clicking on ‘contact us’ at the bottom of the page. We sincerely thank you for your patience and continued support.

Sincerely,

The PayPal Team

More details about the same can be found “https://www.paypal-apac.com/india/” here. PayPal has been forced by RBI to comply with the rules laid down in order to meet requirements for facilitating export-related receipts. In short, PayPal has made it difficult for Indian users to use its service – Thanks to RBI. Now several India users are bound to opt for PayPal alternatives.

Facebook Founder Victim Of Hack

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook was caught in a twist of all sorts when his innovation turned against him.

Hackers took over the founders page and have posted the following message,: “Let the hacking begin: If Facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus described it?”

The comment posted by #hackercup2011, a reference to the competition that Facebook organized, was “Liked’ by over 1,800 members of the social network before the site officials took the page of the site.

Facebook has released an official statement blaming a bug for the breach. “A bug enabled status postings by unauthorized people on a handful of pages, The bug has been fixed,” the statement added.

Facebook Introduces Webpage For Feature Phones

Facebook has tweaked its webpage in a bid to accommodate ordinary handsets.

In a bid to encourage users owning different models of phone to log onto their website, Social networking site Facebook has brought out a new website that promises ordinary handset users the same experience as that of Smartphone users.

Facebook has joined hands with Snaptu to develop the mobile app for more than 2,500 feature phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung and others. The application allows users to sync their phone and Facebook contacts, scroll through photos, send Facebook messages and read updates.

Facebook has also joined hands with 14 mobile operators around the globe to allow customers to access the feature phone app without incurring data charges for the first three months. In India it will work in tandem with Reliance to provide the feature free of cost to users.

Facebook Introduces Webpage For Feature Phones

Facebook has tweaked its webpage in a bid to accommodate ordinary handsets.

In a bid to encourage users owning different models of phone to log onto their website, Social networking site Facebook has brought out a new website that promises ordinary handset users the same experience as that of Smartphone users.

Facebook has joined hands with Snaptu to develop the mobile app for more than 2,500 feature phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung and others. The application allows users to sync their phone and Facebook contacts, scroll through photos, send Facebook messages and read updates.

Facebook has also joined hands with 14 mobile operators around the globe to allow customers to access the feature phone app without incurring data charges for the first three months. In India it will work in tandem with Reliance to provide the feature free of cost to users.

Google Turns Translator With Help Of Android Based Phones

Now, conversing in a foreign tongue becomes easier with Google introducing a experimental software on android phones that instantly translate a conversation into the desired language we want.

The search engine giant that has shown interest in bringing out innovative applications for Android based smartphones has done it again by bringing out an experimental software that allows users hear their words translated into another language, and that of their partner’s conversation translated back into their original tongue.

Dubbed as “conversation mode”, the new free application available on Google’s own Android operating system is in its trial “alpha” version that will only work in Spanish and English. Google promised to soon work on other languages also.

Facebook To Rework On Data Sharing Feature With Applications

Facebook is apparently re-thinking its features that allow applications of private player’s access over the user’s private data which includes home address and phone number.

The social networking site which introduced this feature on Friday, allowed developers to access a user’s mobile phone number and home address when they downloaded the application. Though applications have to ask permission before they access the data of a user, the new application now included a query requesting information on a user’s phone number and addresses, and users weren’t happy to let third party applications have control over their personal data, which meant that they couldn’t access the application.

Facebook has now “Temporarily Disabled” this function, after it received negative feedback from Facebook users. Facebook official Douglas Purdy in a blog post said “Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible,”

FIR Against Facebook for Anti-Gandhi Group

IPS Officer on leave studying at IIM, Lucknow files FIR against Facebook

Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Amitabh Thakur filed an FIR against social networking website Facebook for hosting a group called ‘I hate Gandhi’ at Gomti Nagar police station in Lucknow. Amitabh Thakur, who’s on leave from IPS service and studying at Indian Institute of Management (Lucknow), alleged in his complaint that “open abuses and dirty words” have been used against Gandhi, with intent of causing riots.

Thakur claims that he communicated with each member of the group individually to remove the undesired objectionable contents before filing the complaint. His request was turned down by the members of the group. The FIR therefore mentions Facebook and the names of several members of the group as accused.

The FIR includes several sections of the Indian Penal Code like, causing public nuisance (section 290), intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace (section 504), section 153 (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of communities and other grounds), 153 A (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 153 B (public nuisance), criminal intimidation (section 506) and using information technology for these purposes (section 66A of the IT Act).

What’s your take on this? Is it an obvious publicity stunt or a genuine endeavour to avert rioting? Do let us know in the comments section.

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Image via: Facebook

China to Ban Skype, Internet Phone Calls

Internet Phone Calls would be allowed only through two-state owned telephone networks

Continuing its agenda to supposedly purify its country, China has now announced that all Internet phone calls services like Skype would soon be banned. Two state owned networks – China Unicom and China Telecom would be the only ones to offer Internet Phone calls, reported Telegraph.

Back in November, China reportedly blocked about 60,000 porn websites and 5000 people offering obscene content.

People’s Daily, the official voice of Communist Party stated, “(The ban) is expected to make services like Skype unavailable in the country. China has already blocked popular Internet services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Certain Chinese users of Twitter service noted that Skype download was no longer working, however, the service appeared to be functional.
As we all know that Skype is going through a rough technical patch right now and hence it’s possible that something might be wrong at Skype’s end. In an official statement, Skype said that Skype is accessible in China through its partner – Tom Online.
The Chinese ministry of Industry and Information Technology that issues licenses to telecommunication companies, declined to comment on the regulations that would take effect in case of Internet Phone Calls.
Blocking pornographic content was understandable to a certain level, but totally banning the Internet Phone Calls is a pretty stern approach. Whatever services that get banned, users always find out a workaround to access and use them.

Does Google Intend to Plunge into E-book Business?

Acquires eBook Technologies Inc.

The search behemoth Google has acquired eBook Technologies Inc., which is a relatively new company involved in e-book related technology. The obvious conclusion is that the takeover spells Google’s intention to get into the e-Book reader fray. What’s open to conjecture is how? It may go through the hardware route like the Kindle, with its own e-book reader, but that’s highly unlikely since Google hasn’t historically shown any leaning towards the hardware aspect of the business.

If you consider the history of eBook Technologies, the company has been credited with designing two e-book readers – one with color screen and one with E-Ink screen – along with the allied software meant to be deployed with the e-book readers. So nothing conclusive really comes out of the legacy of the company, since it has both software and hardware know-how.

However, this quote from a Google spokesperson pretty much clears that up, “We are happy to welcome eBook Technologies’ team to Google. Together, we hope to deliver richer reading experiences on tablets, electronic readers and other portable devices.”

So it’s more likely that we’re looking at a possible integration of the know-how from the newly acquired company into Google’s existing services, or an altogether new e-book specific service of its own. The search giant may even use this knowledge base to integrate a dedicated e-book platform into its ever popular Android platform. Only time will tell what plans Google has in store for e-books.

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