Security News

Facebook developing Instagram app for kids under 13

Plus, Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sells for $2.9M, and you can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin

Shortly after BuzzFeed News reported that an internal memo at Instagram announced plans for a kids version of the platform, a spokesperson from parent company Facebook confirmed the rumor to The Independent. “Right now there aren’t many options for parents, so we’re working on building additional products that are suitable for kids, managed by parents,” the spokesperson said.

Currently, children under 13 are forbidden to use the main Instagram app. The company has not yet shared a detailed plan of how the children’s version will work, but, the spokesperson added, “We’re exploring bringing a parent-controlled experience to Instagram to help kids keep up with their friends, discover new hobbies and interests, and more.”

Avast Security Evangelist Luis Corrons agrees that the younger crowd is clamoring to jump into the social app. “Even if it they are not allowed to be there, they will find a way,” he said. “Having tools for parents to control what they do there is better than not having anything at all, like nowadays. In any case, it is crucial that parents have open communication about this topic with their children, and that they explain the dangers of the platform.”

Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet sells for $2.9M

In an online auction hosted on Valuables, a Malaysian-based buyer named Sina Estavi bought Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet for $2.9 million. Dorsey, who receives 95% of the sale, said he was giving the proceeds to Give Directly’s Africa Response fund. The tweet was sold as a nonfungible token (NFT), which is a unique digital certificate that verifies the tweet as a digital artifact and Estavi as its owner. Dorsey’s first tweet read, “just setting up my twttr.” Regarding his purchase, Estavi tweeted, “This is not just a tweet! I think years later people will realize the true value of this tweet, like the Mona Lisa painting.” Read more on BBC News

Facebook engages with outrage

In an MIT Tech Review article that focuses on the efforts of Facebook AI director Joaquin Quiñonero, the author claims she learned that any attempt at staunching the flow of misinformation and otherwise discouraging extremism on Facebook is met with opposition internally because user outrage increases engagement. The author notes that CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s single motivation is unending growth, and, as such, anything that hampers that growth goes against the grain of the company’s culture. Quiñonero is a leading figure on the company’s “Responsible AI” team, but the team’s focus seems to be squelching “AI bias” and not adjusting algorithms to snuff out extremism and misinformation.

US shoppers can buy a Tesla with bitcoin

“You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted this week, noting in a follow-up tweet that the purchase capability will be available outside the US later this year. The company has also invested $1.5 billion into the cryptocurrency, which sent the price of 1 bitcoin to an all-time high of $56,000. Tesla’s terms and conditions caution customers to be very careful when conducting the bitcoin transaction, noting in all caps that “bitcoin transactions can not be reversed” and “if you input the bitcoin address incorrectly, your bitcoin may be irretrievably lost or destroyed.” For more, see The Verge

UK schools targeted in ransomware attacks

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued an alert this week about ransomware attacks targeting the nation’s education sector. The cause for the alert was an increased number of attacks on schools, colleges, and universities since February 2021, but the intelligence in the report encompasses trends observed during the increased attacks of August and September 2020 as well. These renewed attacks come as schools prepare to reopen for the first time since pandemic lockdown, and they have led to the loss of student coursework, school financial records, and data related to Covid-19 testing. The alert explains ransomware and offers ways to mitigate malware and ransomware attacks

This week’s ‘must-read’ on The Avast Blog

Covid-19 vaccine distribution rollout is ramping up in certain parts of the world, which means that an increasing number of people are posting images of their vaccination cards online. Although intended as a way of celebrating, sharing Covid-19 vaccine cards can also open you up to identity theft and fraud. Here's how to securely share the news of your vaccination online.