Micro-blogging site Twitter has upgraded security features in a bid to combat the growing number of hacking attacks.
Aiming to make it harder for outsiders to gain access to accounts, Twitter will introduce a new, optional two-step log-in process, similar to that used by some UK online banking sites.
The move comes a month after news agency Associated Press was hacked and a tweet sent stock markets plunging, and in the same week as a small number of The Telegraph’s twitter feeds were also hacked.
Users will now have the option of using a code sent via text message to a mobile phone in order to confirm their log in details, Jim O’Leary, a member of Twitter’s product security team, said in a blog post yesterday.
Twitter, which has more than 200 million users, follows Apple, Google and Facebook in introducing two-step authentication, as people put more information online. The hack of an Associated Press account last month resulted in tweets about explosions at the White House that temporarily wiped $136 billion from the S&P500 Index. That increased pressure on Twitter Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo to install safeguards for users as he prepares for an eventual initial public offering.
“Social sites are a big target of these hackers,” said Barmak Meftah, chief executive officer of computer security company AlienVault. “All the efforts around fortifying and securing these sites is obviously huge.”
Twitter’s new authentication feature has been in development since at least last month, according to a person familiar with the matter. The San Francisco-based company said it plans to introduce more security measures to prevent hacking.
“When you sign in to twitter.com, there’s a second check to make sure it’s really you,” O’Leary wrote. “Much of the server-side engineering work required to ship this feature has cleared the way for us to deliver more account security enhancements in the future.”
In the AP hacking attack, the fabricated tweet was sent after unauthorized users gained access to the account, the news agency said. Common tactics that hackers use include phishing attacks, in which someone is duped into installing malicious code onto their computer or mobile device, and malware hidden on websites.
The AP restored its Twitter account after a security review. The false information from the AP account, which also said President Barack Obama had been injured, came after repeated attempts by hackers to gain access to AP reporters’ passwords, the news agency said.
In February, the Twitter account for Jeep was taken over. About the same time, the account for Burger King also was compromised. While those breaches were quickly remedied without any significant loss of sales, businesses can come under greater scrutiny after financial regulators approved the use of social media to release market-sensitive information.
“For a long period of time, banks were the main target, where hackers would embed a phishing link inside an e-mail,” Meftah said. “Social sites are the new attack surface for these guys. If you can phish against Twitter, phish against Facebook – – the number of consumers that are going to be affected by it is massive.”
Instagram is working on a new messaging app
Rivaling Snapchat, Threads will enable users to automatically share their location, movements, and battery life with their IG ‘close friends’ list
Now Facebook is a wasteland for your racist aunt and high school friends’ wedding photos, the platform is determined to maintain its social media stronghold via Instagram and WhatsApp (sorry, ‘Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook’). Its latest venture? A new messaging app called Threads.
As reported by The Verge, Threads will be a companion app to Instagram, promoting constant sharing between users and their IG ‘close friends’ list. The app will enable people to automatically share their location, movements, and battery life with each other, as well as send text, photo, and video messages.
The development could be seen as another attempt to rival Snapchat – which already lets users share their location – following Instagram’s introduction of Stories three years ago.
Instagram has been trying to develop the messaging side of its app since late 2017 when the company started working on Direct, a standalone camera-first app exclusively for DMs. The platform ceased work in May this year after research revealed users found it frustrating to switch apps when they wanted to send a message – although this is exactly what happened with Facebook Messenger in 2016.
Screenshots acquired by The Verge show that users have the option to switch on automatic sharing, but are also able to update their statuses manually. Although Threads encourages friends to share their location with one another, it will reportedly show updates like ‘on the move’, rather than a real-time location.
The app’s main feed will show all messages, as well as friends’ updates and active status, and will allow users to watch their close friends’ IG stories as opposed to having to go back to Instagram to view them.
This announcement comes after a number of updates to the platform, including the removal of likes, an anti-bullying feature, and a tool to report fake news. Although, there’s currently no launch date for Threads, and given Instagram’s history with fucked-up trials, it may never even materialise.
Massive change coming to WhatsApp with introduction of ads
WhatsApp will see a massive change by 2020 with the introduction of adverts into the instant messaging app.
It’s been rumoured for a while and now WhatsApp looks set to finally bring adverts to its popular messaging app.
The Facebook-owned firm revealed the news during its annual Marking Summit in the Netherlands, with a rollout expected next year.
Photos of the way these new adverts will look have even been posted online with attendee Olivier Ponteville, giving fans a closer look at what’s to come.
The image, which can be seen on Twitter, shows how ads currently appear on Facebook and Instagram with a WhatsApp screenshot then revealed with a full-screen advert.
According to technology website BGR, once the message appears users will be able to “swipe up when an ad appears for more information about the product or service being advertised.”
Adverts in WhatsApp have been spoken about for a while but this is the first evidence that things are changing within the popular service.
How fans react is yet to been seen but it’s unlikely to go down well with its billions of users.
The bad news is that it seems there’s nothing that can be done to stop this new feature from arriving within the app.
It seems almost certain that there will be no way to switch them off or hide these paid-for messages which may prove to be hugely irritating.
Facebook Messenger finally adds quoted replies
Today Facebook Messenger has added a sorely missing feature – quoted replies. This allows you to reply to a specific message in a conversation, and is incredibly helpful when you’re engaged in chats that have a big range of topics. Using the new feature, the people you’re talking to will now know exactly what you were replying to with that “LOL”, for example.
This has been a feature in WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, for a very long time, and it’s always been sort of a baffling omission in Messenger. So it’s good to finally see it there too.
In order to quote a specific message, long tap on it and you’ll see a new Reply button to the right of the reaction emojis. Tap that, write your reply, and, just like in WhatsApp, the message you’re replying to will appear above your reply. Easy. This potentially means you’ll have less misunderstandings with your friends as to which message was referencing what.
The feature is rolling out now on both iOS and Android.
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