Facebook changes hit privacy - plus Trojan in 'Flash update'

If you have signed into Facebook since last Friday - January 30th – you have accepted its new terms and conditions. These allow the social networking giant to scan how you surf the internet then swap information with all of its units including WhatsApp and Instragram - including telling Facebook where you are (by using the Nearby Friends feature) – so that it can target advertising into your feed.

A new clause states: We receive information about you and your activities on and off Facebook from third-party partners, such as information from a partner when we jointly offer services or from an advertiser about your experiences or interactions with them.

What that means is that while logged in to Facebook – via whatever device, the sites you visit and what you do on them, and what you do within apps on your phone will all be tracked.

Hamburg's privacy regulator Johannes Caspar, told Bloomberg that he was considering whether the move breaches German law, and said he would coordinate with European colleagues to see what action may be needed. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) has already been investigating the changes since they were first proposed last November. Facebook says the new wording is intended to simplify its terms, and adds that it complies with regulations in Ireland.

Separately, security researcher Mohammad Faghani claims that more than 110,000 Facebook users could be infected in two days by a Trojan pretending to be a Flash update.

He is quoted as saying in a post to the Full Disclosure mailing list: “The trojan tags the infected user's (Facebook) friends in an enticing post. Upon opening the post, the user will get a preview of (say) a porn video which eventually stops and asks for downloading a (fake) flash player to continue the preview.”

“The fake flash player is the downloader of the actual malware. We have been monitoring this malware for the last two days where it could infect more than 110K users only in two days and it is still on the rise.”

Facebook is reported in Threatpost as saying it is blocking links to these scams, offering cleanup options, and pursuing “additional measures.”

Previous scams have included apps offering Facebook users the ability to see who viewed their profile – not a feature on the social network – but which installed malware to spy on their web browsing. BitDefender says a quarter of all Facebook scams over the past two years have used the “see who's viewed your profile” format, and that more than 1,000 Facebook users installed the Trojan.FakeFlash malware in March 2014 which offered a link to naked videos of their friends.

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