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Security Roundup: Privacy hitch lands Facebook chiefs in trouble, experts predict hacktvist rise in Asia, best freeware analysed

Timeline glitch lands Facebook bosses in hot water

Increasing numbers of users are noticing a hitch on the Facebook timeline feature that is leading to old private messages appearing as public wall posts. Here at ITProPortal HQ, people have been scrolling down on their profiles with alarm as messages sent and received with confidentiality now appear to sit openly for everyone to read.

“You’re hunky”; a simple message that had been nestling safely in the inbox of one particular male here, now appears publicly on his wall, aptly demonstrating the problems that could arise for many Facebook users as a result of the issue.

(opens in new tab)Perhaps government officials in France gave something to hide on their profiles, as Facebook bosses have been called in front of the country’s data privacy watchdog to explain the issue, reports the Metro (opens in new tab). Minister of Industrial Renewal, Arnaud Montebourg and business minister Fleur Pellerin have called for “clear and transparent explanations” over the glitch, adding that such data needs better protection.

Facebook is denying the problem at this moment, claiming the ‘leaked’ content comes from wall-postings that were always publicised. Let us know in the comments section if you have evidence on your page to the contrary.

Hactivist attacks against APAC governments to increase, says McAfee official

Security executives at McAfee are warning Asia-Pacific governments that hacktivist attacks are likely to increase in the region, with stifled populations ready to retaliate in the cyber sphere, reports ZDNet (opens in new tab).

Wahab Yusoff, South Asia vice president at McAfee, said the cultural nuances in the behaviour of different populations sees Asian citizens more likely to turn to hacktivsm, rather than traditional open activism. Yusoff describes a tendency for people in the region to be more “sensitive” and “muted” when it comes to public issues, and with greater restrictions to freedom of speech imposed in some nations, grievances are increasingly likely to be channelled through online attacks, the official argues.

Yusoff was speaking after Japan’s National Police Association uncovered at least 19 attacks on Japanese websites last week, believed to have come from hackers in China reacting to the ongoing territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea.

The value of freeware

Sick of shelling out large chunks of cash on security programs every year? Well Network World (opens in new tab) has pointed out the long tradition of security software developers making their work available for free, allowing the security-savvy among us to take advantage and save some money.

Antivirus freeware is described as “one of the biggest ‘free’ segments in security”, with products from Avira and Avast recommended, as well as Microsoft Security Essentials – praised for its strong performance so long as the customer doesn’t consider themselves among the “most at-risk” Internet users.

The A/V freeware genre is cited as growing rapidly on the consumer side, but the report highlights tools beneficial to corporate network managers too. These include: “The Arpwatch bandwidth monitoring tool; Cheops, the network tool mapper; Hydra network login cracker to test for weak passwords; SNMP Brute, a tool for brute-force password attacks; the Wireshark open-source packet analyzer; and Kismet, a wireless network detector, sniffer and intrusion-detection system.”

So don't discount the freeware when you’re next pondering the security solution that’s best for you.

Stories aggregated by Team Cymru (opens in new tab), which runs a private Security News mailing list called 'Dragon News Bytes', covering the most important and interesting news items of the day.

Will began working life as a technology journalist at ITProPortal as Senior Staff Writer. He's worked as a Copywriter, then Creative Lead across video, social, email, web and print. He is currently a Senior Content Strategist at Zone.