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fake contest on Facebook designed to steal data from users

Cam Potvin



A network of Facebook pages falsely claims that you can win a car, a pool or a set of furniture by participating in contests. An analysis of the pages shows that more than 20,000 Canadians have potentially put their personal data at risk in recent weeks by participating.

“Do you want to win this prize directly at home? Share this photo now and write “I participate” in the comments. Put a “Like” on this page.Show “Done” in a private message “, we can read in so-called competitions published by several Facebook pages.There is a range of attractive prices.

However, these competitions are misleading and it is impossible to win. Worse, they can be used to steal participant data.

The Decryptors found 17 pages sharing these identical competitions in French for several months, even years. They are managed from France, Belgium and Spain. Some of them, such as 1Day1Deal or Hot Deals, have several tens of thousands of subscribers. A contest that has been running in recent weeks, supposedly to win a recreational vehicle, has been shared more than 35,000 times on Facebook.

Data theft and potential fraud

We tried to participate in a contest offered by a page belonging to the network, StiffStake. Very quickly, the people behind this page sought out personal and sensitive information.

As required by the page, we liked and shared the image, then sent a private message to indicate that we were participating in the draw. A few minutes later, we received a message asking us to click a link to “validate our participation”.

This link led us to a page, reproducing Facebook’s skin, which asked us for a range of personal information: email address, password, name, date of birth and address.

According to Web security expert Jean-Philippe Décarie-Mathieu, this information could expose a person to a theft of his digital identity.

For example, many people use the same password on all their services. It is therefore very likely that people have entered the password they use for their email or Facebook account when asked to participate in the contest. The fraudsters would then be in possession of the email address and password of their victims, which could allow them to access a range of online services, says the expert, who is head of cybersecurity Commissionaires of Quebec.

Even if we do not enter our password, the sensitive information requested, such as date of birth, name and address, could also be used in several types of fraud, warns Mr. Décarie-Mathieu.

“For a phishing fraud (phishing), we just give them a lot of information, he laments. The more a scammer has data points on a person, the more he can do something against it. ”

This information could also be used to guess security passwords or pretend to be someone, he adds.

The fact that this site mimics the Facebook environment probably indicates that fraudsters are trying to trick the most vulnerable people on the web into believing that they are still on a site they trust, he believes.

The Decryptors entered false data in the form sent to us by the Facebook page. The site then sent us to another web page where we were asked to enter our credit card number, supposedly to “validate our age”. It is assured that no fees will be incurred, but by browsing the fine print of the site, we see that it automatically registers the user on a subscription costing $ 60 per month.

It was impossible to identify the people behind the fake competition network. The website used by these pages to gather information has been registered anonymously. Questions sent to the network by Facebook have remained unanswered.

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Apple, Google pause reviewing audio recordings from voice assistants

Mandy Boyd



Following a complaint from a German organization, Apple, Google and Amazon all announced – to varying degrees – a suspension of their system of listening to conversations of users of their voice assistants.

A few weeks ago, Amazon and Google had admitted that they used subcontractors or employees to listen to certain conversations (less than 1% in general) of users of their voice assistants, in order to “improve their voice services.” Apple, it seems, did the same with Siri. The news shocked many observers, surprised that these companies can listen to potentially personal information without clear warning, or consent.

In this context, the Data Protection Authority of Hamburg has just announced that it has obtained a suspension of these practices that will apply for three months in the European Union for the voice assistant of Google, and in a definitive way for Apple, all over the world.

“These companies must transparently inform the persons concerned about the processing of voice commands, but also about the frequency and risks of nuisance tripping that they generate,” said Johannes Caspar, Commissioner for Data Protection and Privacy. freedom of information within the German authority.

Apple has indicated that it plans to put in place a prior authorization request system to its users to implement this listening process. Google has suspended its practices for 3 months from August 1 without explaining precisely what it intends to do to improve the situation. In the process, Amazon has announced that it will allow Alexa users to disable the listening system.

Everything is suspended for now. It remains to be seen, by the end of the year certainly, how these systems will be reintroduced in Europe to be more consistent with the RGPD.

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After El Paso, 8chan loses Cloudflare, and its founder calls for closure

Cam Potvin



Cloudflare – which provides services for many Internet sites – announced that it was terminating its contract with the 8chan forum, on which the author of the El Paso, Texas shootings had published a manifesto racist. In addition, Frederick Brennan, the founder of 8chan, called Sunday for the closing of the forum, with which he cut the bridges last December.

In a blog post, Cloudflare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, on Sunday called the forum – prized by extremists of all kinds (extreme right, masculinists, conspiracy …) – of hay-filled bottom because the site not moderate the contents.

8chan is one of more than 19 million Internet businesses that use Cloudflare’s services. We have just announced the end of our services at 8chan as of midnight today , Prince wrote.

The reason is simple: they proved that they did not respect any law, and this anarchy caused many tragic deaths. Even though 8chan may not have broken the law by refusing to moderate his community full of hatred, he has created an environment that is pleased to violate the spirit of the law.

On Monday morning, 8chan suffered sporadic disruptions of service. His administrator tweeted that he was migrating the forum to a new service after Cloudflare’s decision, which made 8chan vulnerable in terms of its IT security.

A Line crossed

According to Prince, Cloudfare did not make a decision lightly.

“We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible, but we do not accept platforms that have shown that they directly inspire tragic events and outlaw,” he wrote.”8chan has crossed this line.”

Shortly before the murderous shooting of El Paso on Saturday, the shooter, a white man identified by the media as Patrick Crusius, posted on 8chan a racist manifesto with regard to Hispanics and praising the massacre, in March, of 51 people in two mosques located in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The author of the Christchurch massacre had expressed his intentions on the political section of the 8chan forum. He then broadcast his attack live on Facebook Live for 17 minutes before the retransmission was disabled.

Close the site

On Sunday, 8chan’s founder, Frederick Brennan – who broke all links with the site – said it should be closed.

“As soon as I hear of a mass killing, I say to myself, “Well, we need to find out if there is a connection with 8chan,” Brennan told the New York Times=.

“Close the site,” he continued.

[8chan] does not bring anything good to the world. It is totally negative for everyone except for its users. And you know what? It is negative for them too. They just do not realize it.

Frederick Brennan

The site is currently managed from the Philippines by a US Army veteran, Jim Watkins.

A necessary measure, but not very effective

Ceasing to provide services to 8chan will not make the Internet safer or reduce hate online, Prince said.

Two years ago, after the death of a woman killed by a neo-Nazi woman during violent far-right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Cloudflare stopped providing services to a neo-Nazi site. Daily Stormer.

Today, the Daily Stormer is always available and always disgusting. They boast of having more readers than ever before. They are no longer the problem of Cloudflare, but they remain the problem of the Internet, wrote Mr. Prince.

Unfortunately, the decision we make today will not solve the problem of online hate. It is almost certain that it will not even be able to chase 8chan off the Internet.

Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare

“But it’s the right thing to do. Online hate is a real problem,” he added.

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Study: 48% of consumers use voice assistants for general web search

Mandy Boyd



Adobe has just published a new study on the use of voice enabled search in the United States.  The figures confirm that the advance of these technologies is very real

Every week or we come across another study on the phenomenon of voice assisted search, trying to convince us every day of the imminence of this new paradigm of communication with digital interfaces.

Today, it is now Adobe’s turn to offer a study of 1,000 users of these technologies in the United States. Here are the main results:

  • 94% of users believe that voice technology is easy to use and claim that it saves them more than time – it improves their quality of life.
  • But more than half of them say that the process of using voice technology is not intuitive: 49% say they do not always know where to start to do a voice task.
  • And while users are satisfied with the ability of voice assistants to work on multiple devices and respond to commands, less than half of them use voice technology on a daily basis.
  • People are already using voice for a wide range of simple tasks, including driving directions, phone calls, SMS, weather checking and music listening. But most say they would not use it for more complex tasks such as personal banking (61%) or travel booking (52%).
  • Many brands strive to design voice assistants who, like people, can hold conversations. But the respondents do not agree. Consumers are divided on whether voice technology should (51%) or not (49%) have human attributes, such as sympathy and humor, as it continues to evolve.
  • On average, users say that voice technology understands them and is accurate when given an order or asked a question only 69% of the time.
  • Nearly half of respondents (47%) said that they sometimes feel uncomfortable talking to a machine.
  • Smartphones are already the most used device for voice technology (85%) – far ahead of smart speakers (39%) – indicating that voice and screens are a winning duo. And most users (80%) agree that visuals would allow them to use voice technology for a wider variety of tasks, with 83% saying that a screen reiterating the command given to confirm understanding would be particularly useful. In short, indispensable screen!

According to this study, the main current uses of voice (mainly on smartphones) are:

  • Get Driving Directions: 52%.
  • Make a phone call: 51%.
  • Sending a text message: 50%.
  • Obtaining the weather: 49%.
  • Listening to music: 49%.
  • General search on the Web: 48%.
  • Setting various alarms: 41%.
  • Listen to the news: 27%.
  • Sending email: 17%.
  • Shopping: 16%.

On the other hand, it was also asked what potential uses voice enabled search could offer in the coming years. Here are the answers:


Of course, this study is specific because it concerns only respondents located geographically in the United States and the target is characterized by people already using voice search. But this is an additional study to add to the list already provided of the various polls already available.

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