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Raining USBs: Google’s latest measure to protect users from cyber crime

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The tech giant has the key to protecting high-risk users from impending scams in yet another move to safeguard the digital cyberspace.

Google distributes free USBs to safeguard users against cyber crime

Google is giving free physical USB security keys to 10,000 users who are at high risk of experiencing cyber threats.

The “Titan” USB key will provide two-factor authentication which will supply users with an additional layer of security.

Politicians and human rights activists are among the large number of users receiving the USB, which are normally available to buy for $41.

Google’s partner against crime

A number of organisations have partnerd with Google to help fund the distribution of the keys, Partnership Manager Grace Hoyt and Project Manager Nafis Zebarjadi said in a statement.

“We’re excited to be working with these leading organisations to protect high risk user groups and learn more about the needs of at-risk users and organisations.”

“These collaborations help us make the world’s most advanced security even stronger, more inclusive and easier to use – helping everyone stay safer with Google.” 

It comes as the tech giant encourages its users to join its “advanced protection program“.

Under the program, users with high visibility and sensitive information are safeguarded under new protections added to defend against impending cyber threats.

Preventing unauthorised account access, extra protection from harmful downloads and securing personal information are among the measures Google is taking to protect users.

Fighting back against phishing

In late September, the tech giant warned thousands of Gmail users that they had been targeted in a scam coordinated by Russia-linked hacking group APT28,

In an email campaign designed to look legitimate to trick people into revealing their passwords, the Russian fraudsters tried to phish high-profile users.

Shane Huntley, director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group says around 14,000 accounts “across a wide variety of industries” were targeted,

“As we always do, we sent those people who were targeted by government-backed attackers warnings,” Huntly said before confirming the emails were successfully blocked.

Google vows to continue to support their users in the fight against the rise in cyber crime, with these measures the first of many more to come.

Written by Rebecca Borg

Tech

Facebook, YouTube remove Bolsonaro video with false vaccine claim

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Facebook and YouTube have both removed videos from their platforms featuring Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, in which the leader makes a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to developing AIDS.

Both sites said the video violated their policies.

“We removed a video from Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for violating our medical disinformation policy regarding COVID-19 for alleging that vaccines don’t reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that they cause other infectious diseases, and that they cause other infectious diseases,” YouTube said in a statement.

Last month, YouTube moved to remove vaccine misinformation of all kinds from its platform, and has removed more than 1 million videos related to COVID-19 vaccine misinformation since the pandemic began.

Earlier this year, YouTube removed videos from Bolsonaro’s official channel where he recommended using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against COVID-19, two drugs that are proven to be ineffective in the treatment of the disease.

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Tech

End of scam calls? UK telco’s agree to auto-block

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Complaints from UK citizens being harassed with scam calls have been heard by the country’s telco giants

Britain’s major telecommunication company’s have agreed to automatically block almost all internet calls coming from abroad if they pretend to be from UK numbers, Ofcom has confirmed.

Scammers have been using internet-based calling technology to make it look like a phone call or text is coming from a real telephone number within Britain, rather than opting for a “No Caller ID”

Almost 45 million consumers were targeted by scam calls this summer.

Ofcom said it expected the measures to be introduced at pace as a “priority”.

Approximately 45 million consumers were targeted by phone scams this summer. | Image: File

Currently, just one telco, TalkTalk, has implemented the new plans

Other phone networks such as Vodafone are still exploring methods of making it work.

“We’ve been working with telecoms companies to implement technical solutions, including blocking at source, suspicious international calls that are masked by a UK number,”

said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s networks and communications group director.
Lindsey Fussell (Ofcom)

“We expect these measures to be introduced as a priority, and at pace, to ensure customers are better protected.”

She added tackling the phone scams issue was a “complex problem” that required a coordinated effort from the police, government, other regulators and industry.

The move follows months of discussions between Ofcom and the UK telecoms industry.

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Business

Facebook papers – over 10,000 internal documents leaked

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More than ten thousand pages of internal documents have been found, exposing Facebook’s illegal dealings

CNN uncovered the company’s reluctance to prevent violence on its platform in “At risk” countries like Ethiopia, that is currently in a civil war.

Additionally, Facebook has been previously exposed for and has been found to still be recruiting, buying and selling domestic servants

A Facebook spokesperson said “the company prohibits human exploitation” and the platform has been combatting human trafficking for many years.

This all comes as Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal council revealed the documents to Congress

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