News Bytes

News Bytes

Dennis Snider

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Facebook Opened Up Your Data to Major Tech Firms
Facebook has long been plagued by concerns around security and the way it handles the data of its users. The Cambridge Analytica scandal was big news earlier this year and led to Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, appearing on Capitol Hill to answer questions.
Well, the security issues keep on appearing and this latest controversy could prove to unsettle users and further reduce the number of people using the platform. Facebook boasts a userbase of 2 billion users, but The New York Times revealed the company “gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules.”
In a bid to boost its advertising revenue, Facebook gave these extraordinary powers to its largest advertising partners. Bing was allowed, for example, to see the names of a user’s entire friends list. More troublingly, perhaps, Netflix and Spotify were allowed to read the private messages of users. Those content correlation algorithms probably received a big boost due to this practice.
Sadly, these powers were granted with very little oversight. To make matters worse, Facebook has been plagued by similar controversies in recent weeks. A massive photo bug gave some apps access to the private photos of millions of users, while an access-token harvesting attacked affected 50 million users.

Microsoft Announces Windows Sandbox
In more positive news, Microsoft announced that Windows Sandbox will soon be available to Windows Insiders. This software offers users a virtualized safe space to test new applications. This means that users can use the applications without fear of malware. The tool was announced in a blog post, which explained the tool as an “isolated, temporary, desktop environment where you can run untrusted software without the fear of lasting impact to your PC.”
This means that users can access Sandbox like they would an application, but with the same security advantages that a Virtual Machine offers. If you regularly install apps from untrusted sites, you’ll be able to test those within Sandbox to avoid harming your computer or opening up your data to unwelcome eyes.

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