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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Facebook begins tracking non-users around the internet

Company begins displaying cookie warnings for European users after expanding ad network

Facebook will now display ads to web users who are not members of its social network, the company announced Thursday, in a bid to significantly expand its online ad network. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Facebook will use cookies, "like" buttons, and other plug-ins embedded on third-party sites to track members and non-members alike. The company says it will be able to better target non-Facebook users and serve relevant ads to them, though its practices have come under criticism from regulators in Europe over privacy concerns. Facebook began displaying a banner notification at the top of its News Feed for users in Europe today, alerting them to its use of cookies as mandated under an EU directive.
"Publishers and app developers have some users who aren’t Facebook users," Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook’s ads and business platform, tells the Journal. "We think we can do a better job powering those ads."
"we have a greater opportunity than other companies."
Targeted advertising has become commonplace across the internet, but Facebook believes it can more accurately target non-members using the vast amounts of data it already has on the nearly 1.7 billion people who use the site. The company says it can use that data to make inferences about the behavior of non-members, an approach known as "lookalike" targeting. "Because we have a core audience of over a billion people [on Facebook] who we do understand, we have a greater opportunity than other companies using the same type of mechanism," Bosworth tells the Journal.
Facebook and Google continue to dominate targeted online advertising, as a report from Princeton University showed last week, though Facebook's use of cookies has come under fire from European regulators who say it violates consumer privacy laws. An independent report from the Belgian Privacy Commission last year criticized Facebook for tracking users who had logged out, as well as those who didn't even have an account. (Facebook disputed the report's findings, and attributed the tracking to a bug.) Earlier this year, the French data protection agency ordered the company to allow users to opt-out of sharing their personal data with advertisers, and to better inform non-users that their behavior was being tracked when visiting Facebook pages.
Facebook updated its cookies policy page on Thursday to reflect the changes to its ad network. Users with a Facebook account can opt-out of the ad scheme by adjusting their settings, while non-Facebook members can opt-out through the Digital Advertising Alliance in the US, the Digital Advertising Alliance in Canada, and the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance in Europe.

Serpent-like malware targets your bank account

GozNym stays 'asleep' until you access your money.

If you think you can rely solely on your bank’s internet security to protect you, think again. Researchers at IBM Security have uncovered new malware that targets consumers in order to steal money from their accounts.
“We already know of $4 million that was stolen by this malware,” said Etay Maor, an executive advisor with IBM Security. The worst part: It's still out there.
Maor led the Israel-based team that discovered the malware, which has already been used against undisclosed banks in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
The virus, known as GozNym, is a combination of two pieces of malware — one that infects the computer and the other that waits silently like a serpent until the user visits the website of a financial institution.
“The criminal is sitting on the other end obtaining that info in real time,” Maor said.
What’s really different about this malware, according to Maor, is that it’s hard for researchers to even analyze because hackers doubled the encryption.
“When we first saw it, we were saying something bad is happening here but we’ve never seen this before … there are so many layers, we had to break in just to understand what it was,” said Maor.
It’s also much harder for anti-virus software and other solutions to detect it — leaving the end user completely in the dark.
Consumers' computers typically get infected with GozNym by clicking on links in emails. (Right now, the virus appears to be limited to PCs.) The email might be a message about a security solution or update. If you click the link — you might think nothing happened, but from that point on you are exposed.
Maor and his team believe the hackers behind the new virus are located somewhere in Eastern Europe.
“Don’t get this wrong, we are up against professional programmers … not kids," he said.
While GozNym represents a new level of sophistication, viruses targeting financial institutions are not new.
Just last year, 20 million financial records were stolen by malware, Maor said. While exact losses are hard to tally, by some estimates it could run into the billions of dollars.
Rafe Swan | Getty Images

How to protect yourself

To guard yourself from GozNym and other viruses, do not click on links in any suspicious emails.
Also, keep your operating system and anti-virus software up-to-date. Software providers are in the process of releasing updates that hopefully will disable GozNym.
Another best practice is to avoid reusing passwords as this can let hackers into multiple accounts.
You should also have two ways to check your account balances, such as using paper statements, ATM receipts or a mobile app in addition to online banking.
The criminals behind GozNym are so sophisticated they can change online banking websites to show full balances even after funds have been transferred out.

Catching the criminals

Meanwhile, banks are working to protect consumer accounts.
"The financial services industry takes this very seriously," said Bill Nelson, president and CEO of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a group set up by the industry to share threat information, and which has 7,000 members.
And while banks have tools in place to battle against GozNym, "cybersecurity is a shared responsibility between customers and the banks," according to Doug Johnson, senior vice president for payments and cybersecurity at the American Bankers Association.
Law enforcement would like to bring the criminals to justice.
"The FBI — along with our federal, international and private sector partners — will continue to combat cybercrimes, including those involving malware," a spokeswoman explained in an email.

How to stay safe online: 15 ways to avoid being hacked

Every month or so there is a new hack that affects millions of regular people. Last year it was the TalkTalk hack. In 2016, the LinkedIn leak.
Then there's malicious software, snooping eavesdroppers and small time scammers that are targeting us on a daily basis through phones, Wi-Fi and USB sticks. Staying secure online can feel like crossing a minefield - and is daunting to many of us. But by mastering some simple steps you can drastically improve your online security.

Never use the same password more than once

Many of us are guilty of having had the same password for every account for years and, even worse than that, the most common 25 passwords include "123456", "password", and "abc123". The best way to keep your online accounts - from your internet banking to social media - secure is to never use the same password more than once.
Use the above tips to pick a strong password that people won't be able to guess and run it through a password tester.
Create a different password for each online account that you have and store them in a password manager, such as DashLane, 1Password or LastPass. These services store passwords securely, save time from endlessly typing them out when you log in, and can randomly generate keys for you.
Once you've set up a secure set of account logins make sure you don't share your passwords with anyone.

Check if you've been hacked

have i been pwned web page
Credit: have i been pwned
If you're worried that you might have been hacked or had any of your personal details compromised, it would be wise to change your usernames and passwords immediately. Before coming up with a string of new keys, though, you can use a service such as have i been pwned to find out if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach.
Enter an email address or username into the search bar and it will tell you if you've been a victim.

Stay up to date

Downloading software updates as and when they're available is a good way to protect yourself. Software updates for computers, phones, tablets, and other devices generally include improved security settings and patches that fix vulnerabilities. This is also true of updates to any apps or programs that you have installed on those devices.
To make sure you receive the updates as soon as they're available you can enable automatic updates on your devices, often by looking in Settings.

Check before you download

Before downloading apps onto your phone or software on your computer do some research - check what it's asking for access to (look for apps permissions in Settings), check an apps' rating in the iOS or Google Play story, read reviews online, and make sure you're downloading the official version.
Internet security: The five worst ever cyber hacks Play! 02:06

Use anti-virus software

If you use a Windows computer you should protect it using anti-virus software, such as AVG or Sophos. Make sure you regularly install the updates and scan for malware.  

Keep it private

Check the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts so that only the people you want to share your information with can see it. You can restrict what others see about you in the Setting sections of your account.
For example, you can make your posts private on Facebook, and restrict what Google can know about you. Use a site like Ghostery to find out what websites are tracking you and easily block them.

Look for the padlock

When using secure online services, such as email, online shopping or banking, and social media, always check there is a padlock symbol in front of the URL, and that the web address begins "https://" before you log in or register. Websites must pass certain security tests to be accredited with the padlock, and the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.

Watch what Wi-Fi you connect to

Make sure your home WiFi is protected with a strong password that only you and your family know. When out and about never use a hotspot that may be unsecured, especially when what you’re doing is personal or private.

Beware of public mobile charging points

It's possible to hack into a smartphone that is charging via USB in a public place, such as an airport, cafe or on public transport. To avoid being a victim, only plug your phone into trusted computers when using a USB cable.

Use encrypted messaging apps

End-to-end encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Telegram protect your privacy by masking the contents of your messages from would-be eavesdroppers.

Be suspicious of your messages

Never open or forward a suspicious looking email, or respond to a social media message from someone you don't know. Watch out for phishing emails and text messages that ask you to log in or provide bank details.
Companies, such as Apple and WhatsApp, and government services will never email or text you to ask you to log into your account, provide bank details or download a program.

Type out web addresses

It's good practice to be suspicious of hyperlinks (particularly shortened links) that come from outside sources, such as unknown senders in an email. If you're asked to log into an account or provide payment details, type out the URL yourself and go directly to the legitimate site to make sure that you're not on a fake site that's designed to look like the official one.

Post in haste, repent at leisure

What goes online stays online so never say anything that could hurt, anger or endanger yourself or someone else.

Log off, log out

Always make sure you log out of your accounts when you’ve finished with them and log off a computer when you’ve finished using it.

Be a clever dater

With hundreds of thousands of us turning to dating apps every day in the quest to meet potential partners, there are a few ways to make sure you don’t put yourself in a compromised position.
Try to avoid disclosing private information when using online dating sites, and take every precaution that profiles you are looking at are genuine. Never be tempted to send or transfer money to people you meet online, however unfortunate their story.

Use your common sense

If an email offer looks too good to be true, the prices on a website are abnormally low or you receive an unsolicited telephone call offering computer support, it's probably a scam.

Life under curfew for American teens: ‘it’s insane, no other country does this’

Around 11 pm, on a temperate Friday last August, Officer Troy Owens was patrolling south-eastern San Diego. Peering through his driver’s side window into the darkness, he scanned the streets until his eyes stopped on the corner of 47th and Market. “Somebody trying to hide from me?” he wondered aloud. “Yup,” he answered, swinging the SUV around, and turning on the flashing lights.
Owens, who has worked for the San Diego police department for nearly 20 years, pulled toward the curb and got out of his car. As he approached, three teenagers slowly slunk out from behind an electrical box: a boy, David, 15, whose identity, along with those of other minors, is being protected, and two girls. Heads hanging, shoulders slouched, they knew they were caught. All three were soon searched, handcuffed, and put in the back of cars for the ride to the command post – a local Boys & Girls Club.
Were the teenagers picked up for using drugs? No. Drinking? No. Had they fled a store without paying for their goods? Hardly. Their crime: being out past curfew.
In San Diego, it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be out past 10pm. And, that night, Officer Owens was part of a “curfew sweep”, where teams of officers fan out and enforce the law en masse. The city runs these details roughly once a month in each of its nine districts, sometimes arresting dozens of kids a night. David and his friends said they were just walking home. But that isn’t one of the exceptions – like a school sports game or a job – so Owens read him his Miranda rights.
Conceived as a crime-reduction tactic, curfews were promoted during the “tough on crime” era of the 1990s. In 1996, President Bill Clinton flew out to Monrovia, California – among the first cities to claim curfew success – to publicly endorse the idea at the local high school. From there, they spread like wildfire and remain in place decades later.
From Baltimore, which has one of the strictest curfews in the country, to Denver, where curfew enforcement ramps up every summer, the laws are on the books in hundreds of cities across the US. According to available FBI data, there were 2.6m curfew arrests from 1994 and 2012; that’s an average of roughly 139,000 annually. Philadelphia alone reported 16,079 violations in 2014 – among the highest in the country.
As the curfew laws and arrests proliferated, however, the debate about their impact simmered largely out of view. Congress left curfews unaddressed in pending juvenile justice legislation and, today, the question remains: are they the best approach?
“It’s insane. No other country does this,” said Mike Males, a senior researcher for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice and curfew critic who would like to see the practice come to an end. In his research, he says he hasn’t seen “any evidence” that they’re effective; instead chalking up their use to political expediency. “Curfews became this way of responding that both blamed young people and didn’t affect adults.”
An American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) case study of Minneapolis found the city’s curfew to be racially biased – with 56% of curfew charges coming against black youth compared with 17% for their white counterparts, despite the city being majority white. Males says that he’s found a similar pattern nationally. “They’re always racially discriminatory,” he said. “We have not found a single exception to that.”
Tau Baraka owns the Imperial Barbershop just down the road from the Boys & Girls Club. He’s lived here in south-east San Diego for years and views curfew sweeps as part of a broader police assault on the predominantly non-white community. “I worry,” he said, emphasizing that between curfew sweeps and gang enforcement details, “we see our youth being harassed daily.”
Proponents, however, argue that curfews help prevent young people from becoming either perpetrators or victims of nighttime crime. “This is an important way of helping kids stay safe and stay out of trouble,” said San Diego city council member Marti Emerald. “If we can help one child in their struggle then I think that we have to say the program is at least a partial success.”
When they arrived at the command post, police took down David’s name, age and contact information. Two new cadets were in charge of logging his possessions, and putting them in a bag for safekeeping. After Officer Owens filled out a police report, he swapped David’s metal handcuffs for plastic ones and moved him to a chair in the middle of the auditorium. Girls on one side, boys on the other; all waiting for a “responsible adult” to pick them up.
As for punishment, curfew violators are offered a diversion program, upon completion of which their case is dropped. “We try to do a proper assessment of the whole situation,” said Lt Evan Ziegler, with the department’s juvenile administration. When kids come to class, police can also connect them to social services, job training or activities that aim to keep them otherwise engaged.
In the south-eastern division, free diversion classes are held on Tuesday evenings and range from a juvenile judge talking about the court system to corrections officers detailing what life in “the hall” is like. The six-week course finishes with a visit from the coroner, whose slideshow from the morgue paints a grisly picture of the worst-case scenario. Parents are required to attend a separate set of classes, which are held in both English and Spanish.
“At least [the police] got them,” said one mom, as week two of the diversion program let out. Two of her sons were picked up for breaking curfew. “They’re with them. They’re not out there,” she said in support of curfews before rushing off to pick up her other child – a move that alludes to what can often be the complex reality of curfew violations.
Police have stopped three of Michelle Ruiz’s kids. One got a ride home, another was offered diversion and the third was sent to court and fined. “I understand that they’re doing it for our kids’ safety,” said Ruiz. “[But] it makes it harder for us.” She says that multiple jobs, single parenting and a myriad of other challenges can make it difficult to monitor kids’ adherence to curfews or complete subsequent diversion programs. The inconsistency has left Ruiz unsure whether curfews are having a net-positive effect.
Kids in San Diego seem to be conflicted about curfews as well. Even though she’s been caught twice, Ashley, 19, generally endorses the law. “What’s there out after certain times?” she asked, rhetorically. “Trouble.” But, she notes, her interactions with police were far from enjoyable and she still gets stopped sometimes just because she looks underage. “It was really kind of scary to have them treat you like a hardened criminal.”
Brian and his friend Demareé, both 16, are fairly indifferent. They were waiting for the trolley at about 9pm but weren’t nervous about the looming curfew. “I do my best to stay inside,” said Brian. “But, for the most part, no one really cares.” In common refrain, Demareé adds that he hadn’t even known there was a curfew law until he got stopped coming home from a party. Officers let him off with a ride home.
Tonight though, leniency was in short supply. “Happy hunting,” was how commanding officer, Sgt Jay Moser, kicked off the sweep at the Boys & Girls Club. By 10.13pm four kids were under arrest and six more came in throughout the night. That’s an average number, says Moser. Some nights it’s higher – the division record is about 50. Others it’s lower, especially recently. “That’s not a failure,” Lt Ziegler says of the decline in numbers, which is probably a combination of police getting the word out about curfews and kids becoming more savvy at avoiding sweeps. “Basically it means that we’re doing our jobs.”
Bardis Vakili with the ACLU of San Diego questions the premise that curfews, and curfew sweeps, are the best tactic. Calling the approach “very heavy-handed”, he says that it has a lasting effect on kids. “[What is does] is cite them, offer diversion programs that are difficult to complete, and ends up in involvement in the criminal justice system,” he said, suggesting expanded after-hours options for youth instead. At the very least, he would liked to see “a real dialogue” around the topic.
One problem is that analysis of curfews is relatively scant, and opinions often fall in the more emotional realm. “It’s a gut-level sort of response,” said Councilmember Emerald, when asked about her support for the laws. “It’s not real scientific, is it?” The data though, does exist, with the California Criminal Justice Statistics Center (CJSC) keeping detailed statistics stretching from 1980 to 2014.
While officials in San Diego reject the notion of racial bias in the city’s curfew law, a Guardian analysis clearly shows that it has a disproportionate impact on minorities, especially Hispanics. In 2010, Hispanic youth accounted for 59% of all curfew arrests, as opposed to 16% for white youth. Comparatively, census figures for the same year put the city’s population at 28.8% Hispanic and 45.1% white. The data also shows that diversion programs are indeed keeping more kids of all races out of the courts. In 2011, a majority of curfew cases were handled within the department for the first time in decades. That trend has continued, with only about a third of curfew cases going to juvenile probation 2014.
As to whether the curfew actually reduces crime, critical findings like Males’s are often countered with University of California professor Patrick Kline’s research, which concludes that “curfews are effective at reducing both violent and property crimes.” The Voice of San Diego took perhaps the closest look at the situation locally.
A  2012 article challenges the alleged benefits, finding that “neighborhoods without the sweeps have reported greater drops in crime in the last five years than those with them.” Males says that, again, he’s seen a similar, broader, pattern in his research. Noting that between truancy laws and curfews kids could conceivably only be allowed outside for a few hours a day, he says, “the underlying assumption [is] that most youth are criminals.”
For the officers and volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club, however, there’s a palpable sense of accomplishment. Packing up and turning off the lights, they head home for the night with a hope that they’ve helped “just one kid” – even if the public is more skeptical. “What are the results?” asks one agitated patron at the Imperial Barbershop. “When you come over here with a heavy police presence – a military presence – the community deserves to know.” Regardless, with summer vacation on the way, curfew enforcement is soon set to ramp up again across America.

Woman aiming to use dead daughter's eggs to have child 'would fulfil dying wish'

A woman who wants to use her daughter's frozen eggs to give birth to her own grandchild has appealed to leading judges to allow her to carry out the dying wishes of her "much-loved and only child".
The 60-year-old, whose daughter died of cancer in 2011, lost an action at the High Court last year, but is now asking three Court of Appeal judges to rule in her favour.
Her QC, Jenni Richards, told the judges on Wednesday that the woman wants to fulfil her daughter's wishes that her mother should carry a child created from her frozen eggs "and raise that child".
Ms Richards said that if the court did not overturn the High Court's ruling, the "inevitable" consequence would be that the eggs "will simply be allowed to perish".
The woman and her 59-year-old husband are challenging the decision of Mr Justice Ouseley last June to dismiss their case.
During the High Court proceedings, the judge was told that the daughter, who can only be referred to as ''A'' for legal reasons, was desperate to have children and asked her mother to ''carry my babies''.
Her parents, who are referred to as "Mr and Mrs M", launched legal action against an independent regulator's refusal to allow them to take their daughter's eggs to a US fertility treatment clinic to be used with donor sperm.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said the eggs could not be released from storage in London because A did not give her full written consent before she died at the age of 28 of bowel cancer.
Mr Justice Ouseley heard that A would have been ''devastated'' if she had known her eggs could not be used.
But he ruled that the HFEA had been entitled to find the daughter had not given ''the required consent''. He declared there had been no breach of the family's human rights.
He said: ''I must dismiss this claim, though I do so conscious of the additional distress which this will bring to the claimants, whose aim has been to honour their daughter's dying wish for something of her to live on after her untimely death.''
Ms Richards argues that there is "clear evidence" of what A wanted to happen to her eggs after she died, and that "all available evidence" showed she wanted her mother "to have her child after death".
She told Sir James Munby, president of the High Court's family division, sitting in London with Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Burnett, that the regulator's refusal decision was not based on "any matter relating to the age of Mrs M, or family connection, or any child welfare issues".
She said the case was not about "scientific or ethical principles". The decision was based solely on an "evaluation of the evidence relating to A's wishes".
The QC said: "This court has a duty to decide for itself whether the decision strikes a fair balance between the rights of the individual and the interests of the community as a whole."
The appeal is opposed by the HFEA, which argues that Mr Justice Ouseley "did not err in concluding that the HFEA's decision was lawful".

Court Says Israel Owns Jaffa House Because Arab Family Members Left in 1948

Tells builder’s grandchildren to buy state out – for about $500,000, which they don't have - or prepare to leave.

Fadwa Shaya, the eldest resident of the house.

 About two weeks ago, after a nine-year legal wrangle, a Tel Aviv court ruled that an Arab family that has lived in its Jaffa home for 90 years will not have to pay the state nearly half a million shekels ($130,000) in rent. But the court also ruled that the family would have to buy the state’s stake – 40 percent – of its house to regain ownership.

“We still have to pay a large sum for the right to live in our own home, the house our grandfather built,” a member of the family says.

The large house on the hill on Tziona Tajer Street in Jaffa was built in the 1920s by Salim Khoury Shaya, the spiritual leader of the Christian Arab (Greek Orthodox) community.His seven children were born and raised in the house.

Shortly before the 1948 War of Independence, three of the siblings went to visit relatives in Lebanon, where they got stuck when the war broke out, and they weren’t able to return. The other four siblings – George, Evelyn , Awda and Claire Shaya – remained in their house. Their children are now in their 40s.

In 1950 the siblings who went to Lebanon were declared absentees and Israel’s Custodian of Absentee Property took over the house, although the four siblings were still living in it.

Only nine years later, in 1959, did the state recognize the rights of the four siblings in the house. Despite this, the state retained its hold over 40 percent of the property.

 In the 1950s, George Shaya and his siblings claimed in court that before they had left, the other siblings had sold them their stake in the house. The absentee siblings also traveled to Cyprus and signed an affidavit to this effect, but an Israeli court rejected it. In June 1960, the court turned down the siblings’ request to receive full ownership of their house, and in 1963 the Israel Lands Administration received custody of 40 percent of the house. That year, Salim Khoury Shaya died.

George Shaya continued to fight for the house until his death in 1973. His daughter, Mary Kusa, remembers her father always saying that “I don’t want to buy my own house.” She and the other children grew up, married and had families. Some still live in the house.

George’s son Sami says that in the 1990s they tried to buy the state’s stake in the house, but Amidar, the public housing agency that took over its management, refused.

Salim Khoury Shaya’s daughter-in-law, Fadwa, who married his son George, is now the eldest resident of the house, where she has lived since 1947 and where her children and some of her grandchildren grew up.

In 2007 Amidar filed a suit in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, demanding the Shaya families pay some 471,000 shekels as rent, plus linkage and interest, for the past seven years. The sum was based on the rent the land survey deemed the house could fetch on the free market.

The siblings say Jaffa’s rising property values are behind the move.

The state also asked the court to dissolve the partnership and let it sell the house to the highest bidder, which basically meant evacuating the families.

“We feel it’s an injustice,” says Anisa Shaya. “First they show up out of the blue demanding money, and the next minute they want to throw us out on the street. Where is my mother, who has lived in this house since 1947, supposed to go?”

The Shaya family was represented by attorney Hisham Shabaita of the Tel Aviv University’s Human Rights Clinic.

He opened his defense speech by citing the Biblical proverb of the poor man’s sheep. “In this suit too, the state is demanding, cynically and without good faith, to dispossess the respondents from their home, which has always been in their ownership,” he wrote.

The court denied the state’s demand for retroactive rent and recognized the families as “protected tenants.” It concluded that the Shaya and Manzur families, who live in the house, should buy out the state’s part in the property.

However, the state’s 40 percent costs an estimated 2 million shekels, which the families say they cannot afford.



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