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Meta bans seven surveillance companies from its platforms

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Meta is honing down on their security, banning several surveillance companies from its platforms.

The social media organisation says seven companies targeted Meta users by creating fake accounts, befriending targets and using other deceitful methods.

50,000 users are expected to be notified about the malicious activities.

Human rights activists, government critics, celebrities, journalists and ordinary people were among the unsuspected targets across over 100 countries.

1,500 accounts on Instagram and Facebook were linked to these “surveillance-for-hire” companies that were gathering information on people.

Meta’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher says “each of these actors rely on networks of fake accounts on our platforms that are used to deceive users and mislead them”.

WhatsApp was also used by some firms to install spyware and other malware.

“The goal is to spy on people or snoop on them without them knowing about it,” Mr Gleicher says.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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Ukraine suspects group linked to Belarus in cyberattack

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Kyiv believes a hacker group linked to Belarusian intelligence carried out a cyberattack that hit Ukrainian government websites this week

The group used malware similar to that used by one tied to Russian intelligence, a senior Ukrainian security official said.

Kyiv believes a cyberattack that hit Ukrainian government websites this week was carried out by a hacker group linked to Belarusian intelligence, according to a senior Ukrainian security official.

The attack used malware similar to that used by a group tied to Russian intelligence, defacing government websites with threatening messages.

Serhiy Demedyuk, deputy secretary of the national security and defense council, told Reuters that Ukraine blamed Friday’s attack on a group known as UNC1151, adding that the attack was cover for more destructive actions behind the scenes.

The attack splashed websites with a warning to “be afraid and expect the worst” at a time when Russia has amassed troops near Ukraine’s borders, and Kyiv and Washington fear Moscow is planning a new military assault on Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki:

“We have information that indicates Russia has already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine. The operatives are trained in urban warfare and is using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces. Our information also indicates that Russian influence actors are already starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention.”

Russia has dismissed such fears as “unfounded”.

Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly is set to travel to Ukraine’s capitol, Kyiv, next week to reaffirm support for Ukrainian sovereignty and to reinforce efforts to deter “aggressive actions” by Russia, according to Ottawa on Saturday.

Joly released a statement, saying in part (quote):

“The amassing of Russian troops and equipment in and around Ukraine jeopardizes security in the entire region. These aggressive actions must be deterred.”

Canada, with a sizeable and politically influential population of Ukrainian descent, has taken a hard line with Moscow since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 – imposing punitive measures on more than 440 individuals and entities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office said that he spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday and “emphasized that any military incursion into Ukraine would have serious consequences, including coordinated sanctions.’

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Apple becomes world’s first $3 trillion company

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Apple has become the first US company to hit $3 trillion in market capitalisation

The tech giant has praised investor confidence that the iPhone maker will keep launching best-selling products.

The company is exploring new markets such as automated cars and the metaverse.

On the first day of trading in 20-22, the company’s shares hit a record of $182USD in mid-day trading.

It’s the first to reach the milestone as investors bet that consumers will continue to shell out top dollar for products.

Apple now accounts for around 7 percent of the S&P 500, which is up from as little as 5 percent in June and back in line with where it started 2021.

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YouTube reaches deal with Disney amid rocky negotiations

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YouTube has reached a deal with Walt Disney to distribute all Disney-owned channels on its platform

YouTube has reached a deal with the Walt Disney Company to distribute all Disney-owned channels on streaming service, YouTube TV.

The agreement comes two days after talks broke down and led to a blackout.

As a result of the deal being reached, YouTube stated that the monthly price had reverted back to $64.99.

The streamer, owned by Google’s Alphabet company, dropped the price to $49.99 earlier, after initial talks broke down.

“We are pleased to announce that after a brief disruption, we have reached a new distribution agreement with Google’s YouTube TV for continued carriage of our portfolio of networks,” Disney said in a statement. “We appreciate Google’s collaboration to reach fair terms that are consistent with the market, and we’re thrilled that our robust lineup of live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming is in the process of being restored to YouTube TV subscribers across the country.

YouTube TV said that it has started to restore access to the Disney-owned properties on its service, including local ABC stations, which will return “over the course of the day.”

YouTube TV stated that those who have cancelled their subscription due to losing access to Disney-owned channels, “hopes to welcome them back” due the agreement.

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