Computer News & Safety – Harry Waldron Rotating Header Image

June 26th, 2018:

Mozilla Firefox – HIBP privacy feature in future version

A future version of Mozilla Firefox will include a new privacy tool “Have I Been Pwned”(HIBP) as described below

Mozilla today announced an exciting new feature coming to future versions of Firefox. The feature is a proposed security tool that uses Troy Hunt’s ‘Have I Been Pwned‘ (HIBP) database to scour the web looking for accounts included in known data breaches.

We first learned of a similar feature last November, when Mozilla announced it would be alerting users when their accounts were breached by pulling from the freely accessible breach API on HIBP. This feature was merely a notification system that alerted users when they visited a breached site.  Mozilla is packing the full power of Hunt’s HIBP service into a secondary site, called Firefox Monitor. 

The partnership will allow users to enter an email address to see if their account was part of a known breach. If so, Firefox Monitor will let them know the extent of the personal data exposed, as well as offering recommendations on how to secure their account. Mozilla is also considering a service that would notify people when new breaches include their submitted data.

Wireless Security – WPA3 adds 2 major protective features

The Wi-Fi Alliance is beginning to certify products WPA3 that support WPA3.  While migration will be gradual over the next few years, it will become the successor to the WPA2 security protocol that’s been in use since 2004.

WPA3 protections won’t just flip on overnight — in fact, it’s going to be a many-years-long process. First, you’ll have to buy a new router that supports WPA3 (or hope that your old one is updated to support it). The same goes for all your gadgets; you’ll have to buy new ones that support WPA3, or hope your old ones are updated. Fortunately, devices that support WPA3 can still connect with devices that use WPA2, so your gadgets shouldn’t suddenly stop working because you brought something new into the house.

The first big new feature in WPA3 is protection against offline, password-guessing attacks. This is where an attacker captures data from your Wi-Fi stream, brings it back to a private computer, and guesses passwords over and over again until they find a match. With WPA3, attackers are only supposed to be able to make a single guess against that offline data before it becomes useless; they’ll instead have to interact with the live Wi-Fi device every time they want to make a guess. (And that’s harder since they need to be physically present, and devices can be set up to protect against repeat guesses.)

WPA3’s other major addition, as highlighted by the Alliance, is forward secrecy. This is a privacy feature that prevents older data from being compromised by a later attack. So if an attacker captures an encrypted Wi-Fi transmission, then cracks the password, they still won’t be able to read the older data — they’d only be able to see new information currently flowing over the network.

Facebook – 2012 purchase of Instagram increased 100X in value

While Facebook is more popular with older users, Instagram is more oriented to younger kids and adults.  Back in 2012, Facebook bought the firm for $1 billion and it is now estimated to be worth $100 billion

Buying Instagram is probably the smartest thing Facebook has ever done

In 2012, Facebook bought the 13-person photo-sharing app Instagram. Six years later, it seems safe to say it was the company’s smartest purchase ever, with the app now estimated to be worth $100 billion.

It’s a staggering 100-fold return on the original $1 billion purchase, especially considering its next high-profile social media acquisition, WhatsApp, cost Facebook $19 billion in 2014. (The VR company Oculus also cost Facebook twice as much as Instagram.)

The new price tag comes from a Bloomberg Intelligence report shared with Quartz. Its author, analyst Jitendra Waral, also estimates that Instagram should reach 2 billion users—catching up to Facebook itself—in the next five years. Instagram recently announced it reached 1 billion monthly users.

Apple – iOS 12 beta now available for early testers

The new Apple iOS 12 beta just became publicly available.  This is targeted for early testers who are experienced technically in case issues surface.

You can now download Apple’s iOS 12 public beta. Get ready for plenty of animated selfie emoji — but you won’t be able to use Siri Shortcuts until the final version of the software is available this fall.

If you’ve been dying to turn yourself into an animated cartoon, you’re in luck. Apple’s public beta version of iOS 12, with its new Memoji feature, is now available for download.   The software, which runs on iPhones and iPads, won’t be finalized and officially released until the fall. But for those of you who can’t wait until then, you can enroll in Apple’s free, public beta program and access the early version of iOS 12 starting Monday.

Apple unveils its newest mobile software each year in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference. It then releases the operating system to developers to make apps ahead of the iOS release, typically in September. In early 2015, it started letting the public test its mobile software with iOS 8.3. Offering the operating system early both to developers and the public aims to catch more bugs and make sure the software works well before it’s rolled out to a broad audience.