Facebook’s New Privacy Chain Letter A Bogus

If you’ve been on Facebook this week, you may have seen a status update now making the rounds that purports to explain how to safeguard your privacy on the service. Which sounds great, but for one thing: It’s pretty much bogus.

The gist of this chain message is unless you post a disclaimer specifying that you forbid organizations and other people from using your Facebook updates, pictures and comments for — well, for whatever — you’ll lose rights to your own data. This is supposedly a consequence of the fact that Facebook is now a public company. Pretty much everything about the message is inaccurate or misleading.

First off, the fact that Facebook is publicly traded now doesn’t change the rights users have over their data. As Facebook says in a recent post on its “Facebook and Privacy” account page:

We have noticed a recent status update that is being widely shared implying the ownership of your Facebook content has recently changed. This is not true and has never been the case. Facebook does not own your data and content.

Also, Facebook users — like those of any other site — can’t simply override the site’s Terms of Use agreement with an after-the-fact disclaimer like this one. Once you’ve agreed to a site’s terms of use, you’re bound to those terms whether you like it or not. If you don’t, stop using the service.

Finally, the disclaimer cites the U.S. Uniform Commercial Code, which has nothing to do with privacy. Instead, people should understand that everything they post to Facebook will be treated as public data unless they take actions with their settings to make it otherwise.

Do you easily fall for these chain letter gimmicks online? Tell us what you think of this made-up disclaimer status!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Better Business Bureau

Half a Million Mac Computers Infected With Trojan

More than half a million Apple computers have been infected with the Flashback Trojan, according to a Russian anti-virus firm. Its report claims that about 600,000 Macs have installed the malware – potentially allowing them to be hijacked and used as a “botnet”.

The firm, Dr Web, says that more than half that number are based in the US. Apple has released a security update, but users who have not installed the patch remain exposed. Flashback was first detected last September when anti-virus researchers flagged up software masquerading itself as a Flash Player update. Once downloaded it deactivated some of the computer’s security software. Later versions of the malware exploited weaknesses in the Java programming language to allow the code to be installed from bogus sites without the user’s permission.

Dr Web said that once the Trojan was installed it sent a message to the intruder’s control server with a unique ID to identify the infected machine. Dr Web also notes that 274 of the infected computers it detected appeared to be located in Cupertino, California – home to Apple’s headquarters.

Java’s developer, Oracle, issued a fix to the vulnerability on 14 February, but this did not work on Macintoshes as Apple manages Java updates to its computers. Apple released its own “security update” on Wednesday – more than eight weeks later. It can be triggered by clicking on the software update icon in the computer’s system preferences panel.

Although Apple’s system software limits the actions its computers can take without requesting their users’ permission, some security analysts suggest this latest incident highlights the fact that the machines are not invulnerable. Apple could not provide a statement at this time.

Source: BBC News

Image: Slate