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Private photos of facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg uploaded to his Facebook have leaked oot into the public internet following the discovery of yet another security flaw, one of the many that have plagued the social networking website since its inception in February 2004.

The flaw, which Facebook has acknowledged, appears to have first been posted about on a body building forum along with step-by-step instructions on how to obtain access to the private photos of any Facebook user.

The forum post has since been deleted and upon discovering the security flaw, Facebook said it “immediately disabled the system” used to obtain private photos and would only “return functionality” once it had confirmed a fix.

The flaw “allowed anyone to view a limited number of another user’s most recently uploaded photos irrespective of the privacy settings for these photos”, Facebook said in a statement, and was “the result of one of our recent code pushes”.

It was live for “a limited period of time”, it added.

One of the photos extracted from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s profile shows him holding a chicken upside down as if it were dead. Another shows him holding two plates, one with what looks to have battered chicken on it and the other, thinly-sliced potato chips.

If reports of Mr Zuckerberg only eating meat he has killed are anything to go by, it’s likely the chicken was slaughtered.

Other photos show him with “Beast”, his fluffy white dog, and girlfriend Priscilla Chan at their home.

There are also photos of Mr Zuckerberg with friends while eating and drinking, with US President Barack Obama and with children in costumes, likely taken during Halloween in the US.

Facebook has had a long history of access control vulnerabilities, especially around unauthorised access to photos, said Ty Miller, chief technology officer at the Australian security firm Pure Hacking.

In December 2009 a privacy overhaul of the social networking site saw almost 300 photos of Mr Zuckerberg and his friends as well as his calendar and wall posts made public to even non-friends. His access privileges were revised to “friends of friends” following reports of the photo treasure trove.

“Facebook users should expect variations of this type of security flaw to continue into the future,” Mr Miller said. “As a precaution Facebook users should ensure that they only upload content … that won’t negatively impact them if it is leaked.”

He added that the social networking giant should ensure that penetration tests were performed on all updates to the site to ensure that vulnerabilities like the recent one were detected prior to being released to the public.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

DFAT advice to daughter

of dying man:

Use Facebook to source funds

28 Apr, 2011 06:57 AM

Foreign Affairs officials told the daughter of a dying Australian man stranded in China to use Facebook to raise money for her father’s medical expenses.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade bureaucrat included the suggestion in an email advising Canberra woman Tracy Woolley that the Federal Government would not help with her stricken father’s plight.

Ms Woolley’s father Thomas Barry Moore, a former air force serviceman, has been in a coma in a Chinese hospital for 118 days after suffering a stroke on December 31 in Zhengzhou in north-central China.

Ms Woolley contacted DFAT on January 4 asking for help because she could not afford to visit her father or cover the estimated $160,000 for his repatriation to Australia.

When it became apparent MrMoore was likely to remain in a vegetative state, she asked doctors to turn off his life support but was told ethical concerns prevented them.

Ms Woolley is currently sending the hospital $770 a week to keep her father alive but said she could not afford to meet these payments beyond next month.

On March 4, an official from the consular operations branch of DFAT sent Ms Woolley an email suggesting she collect money to cover medical expenses from online ”friends” who had joined a Facebook ”causes” page she created for her father.

”Perhaps [use] your friends on the social networking site you are using to alert people to your father’s plight may also be able to provide funds to further extend your father’s care,” the email said.

Earlier in the email he wrote, ”despite our best intentions and our embassy speaking with the hospital and Mr Zhang on many occasions, there is no further action we can take to improve your father’s situation.”

DFAT has not shifted its stance on Mr Moore since The Canberra Times broke the story of the man’s plight on Tuesday. The department now says Ms Woolley never made a request for financial assistance, despite emails revealing otherwise. A DFAT spokeswoman said financial assistance for medical evacuations was only provided in special situations. She said these were limited to, ”medical evacuations where medical facilities are inadequate to treat their condition satisfactorily or their condition is so severe there is no time to consider other funding sources”.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs said while she couldn’t comment on Mr Moore’s case for ”privacy reasons”, veterans who travelled overseas should take out insurance.

Ms Woolley said her father had funeral insurance and was covered for six weeks of medical care, excluding repatriation, by the Henan University of Technology, the place where he had worked for two years as an English teacher. Ms Woolley said her father was unable to take out travel insurance because he had lived overseas for more than a year.

RSL NSW offered to pay for airfares to help Ms Woolley travel to China but she asked that the money be allocated to his medical expenses instead. ”I said that was very nice but I need more than that. My father would never have wanted what is happening to him.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Preteen girls charged

over Facebook sex prank

April 28, 2011 – 6:42AM

Two preteen US girls accused of hacking into a classmate’s Facebook page and posting sexually explicit photos and messages have been charged with cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing.

The girls, ages 11 and 12, have been under investigation since the alleged victim’s family contacted Issaquah police in Washington state on March 18, according to the charges filed in King County Juvenile Court. According to the charges, the two defendants used the victim’s password information to post sexually explicit content on her Facebook page.

They also posted messages that indicated the victim was willing to perform sex acts on people.

The defendants instant-messaged some boys to arrange dates where sex acts were to be performed by the victim, according to the charges.

Jon Knight, the stepfather of the 12-year-old alleged victim, said his family is relieved that the case has resulted in criminal charges. He said that he wasn’t taken seriously when he reported the incident to Issaquah police and to staff at Issaquah Middle School.

Knight said his stepdaughter, Leslie Cote, has asked the media to use her name in hopes of bringing attention to the issue of cyberstalking.

Issaquah police were called to the Cote-Knight home on March 18 after Leslie’s mother, Tara Cote, called to report vulgar postings on her daughter’s Facebook page, charges said. A woman who mentored Leslie told the family that she had noticed photos on the page had been changed to show Leslie with “devil’s horns” and with the words “I’m a slut” scrawled across one image, prosecutors said.

The alterations and postings apparently became more vulgar as the night progressed.

Prosecutors said that Leslie had been over at a defendant’s house in early March when she logged into Facebook. Leslie’s password information was somehow stored on the other girl’s computer.

After the girls had a falling out, the defendants hacked into the page “with the intent of embarrassing and tormenting the victim,” Issaquah police Detective Ryan Raulerson wrote in the affidavit of probable cause filed to support the charges.

Sara Niegowski, spokeswoman for the Issaquah School District, said Tuesday the district was not conducting its own investigation into the incident because it did not occur on school property. She said the defendants are still enrolled at Issaquah Middle School.

“This incident happened off-campus, off school time and not related to our school environments. There is no disciplinary action at all. It’s not a school district incident,” Niegowski said.

Niegowski said that the incident has not been a disruption at the school.

“You know what’s a disruption is the media coverage,” she said. “We always look out for the welfare of our students.”

Knight said that his stepdaughter has been granted a restraining order forbidding the defendants from contacting her and barring them from riding her school bus. The three girls are in some of the same classes, Knight said.

On Tuesday, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said, “This case reveals the dark side of social media sites used by young people.”

In a news release, Satterberg wrote: “Many kids think that on a social media site that their actions will be anonymous and that they are free to use it as weapon to bully, harass, and intimidate another person. This case demonstrates that assuming the identity of another person on the Internet with the intent to torment them and expose them to the harassment of others is a crime.”


Facebook fury: Kate Middletons

locked out of network

April 22, 2011
Prince William and Kate MiddletonPrince William and Kate Middleton 

It’s not easy being Kate Middleton.

The woman who will marry Prince William on April 29 at Westminster Abbey has a face and name known around the world – which is creating some hilarity and a host of problems for the hundreds, if not thousands, of women who share her name.

It’s a global goof: Some colleagues bow when they pass Catherine Middleton in the hallway of the school where she works in Sydney. When people in Pepper Pike, Ohio say they’ve heard she is about to marry a prince, Catherine Argentieri Middleton replies “I already did.”

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One Kate Middleton in Birmingham, England, says she does not want to talk about her royal name since she’s “had enough of hearing of it.”

To comprehend the struggles faced by the many women who suddenly found themselves answering to a famous name, take the case of Kate Elizabeth Middleton, a mother of two from Kent, England.

Everywhere she goes, people ask if she’s the real thing – the bride to be, of course, not a teacher living in the English countryside.

Her passport shows her name is Kate Middleton, but thanks to a security glitch, the technology wizards who run Facebook did not believe her. She and her fellow namesakes have had to prove it.

She was born Kate Elizabeth Walker and hadn’t heard of the prince’s romance when she married Mark Middleton on April 17, 2004.

When the royal engagement was announced, Middleton the teacher, 34, changed her Facebook status to “thinking of reverting to her maiden name for a year” because of all the buzz.

“It is just crazy, particularly at the moment,” she said.

Not all the attention has been an inconvenience. Her well-known moniker has led to “fun” television and radio appearances – but the novelty has faded, especially since she was booted off Facebook.

When Middleton tried to log on to Facebook recently from her home, she saw that her account had been disabled by a security system in place to weed out imposters and fraudulent accounts.

She thinks Facebook should have recognised that there are plenty of real Kate Middletons – it is, after all, a fairly common name.

“My status updates aren’t about a lady set to marry a future king,” she said. “Just things that someone with children would do.”

After a certain amount of rigmarole, she convinced Facebook that she was legitimate and had her account reinstated with an apology.

Several other Kate Middletons reported similar experiences.

Facebook executives said some mistakes were inevitable as they tried to keep the social network secure.

Middleton has high hopes that this season of silliness will end once her famous namesake is actually married on April 29.

“Soon she’ll be Princess Catherine or Princess Kate and I can just be plain old Kate Middleton again,” she said.

“Fingers crossed. Otherwise I might cry.”

AP   Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

February 26th, 2011 PEOPLE, PROBLEMS, TWITTER none Comments

US targets Twitter

in bid to trap Assange

Paola Totaro in London

February 15, 2011

Julian Assange ... life in the shadows.
Julian Assange.

The US government’s legal hunt for Julian Assange will begin in a magistrates court in Virginia today when its Attorney General seeks a disclosure order on Twitter to obtain the names, dates and locations of anyone using its services to communicate with WikiLeaks.

However, the Herald has been told Twitter intends to fight the order, claiming it is too broad and breaches its right to protect the confidentiality and free speech of its users.

The new demands could affect thousands of individuals all over the world, including Australia, Britain and the US.

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A court order was sent to Twitter on December 14 by the US Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, demanding details about the accounts of Mr Assange and Private Bradley Manning, the army intelligence analyst suspected of supplying classified information to WikiLeaks.

The US is trying to build a conspiracy case that Mr Assange solicited the leaks.

The other Twitter accounts known to have been targeted are those of Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp, and US programmer Jacob Appelbaum. All have worked with WikiLeaks.

According to a WikiLeaks source, the new tactic is an “attack on the right to freedom of association – a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by information from WikiLeaks, have found so valuable”.

Twitter should be congratulated for challenging the court orders, the source said.

There is serious concern among Mr Assange’s legal team that other internet companies, including Google and Facebook, may have buckled under the US Patriot Act and surrendered their information without contest.

The anti-terrorism legislation provides a shield for secrecy and it is expected that there will be a public demand by WikiLeaks today asking the other internet companies, including Yahoo, to “explain their position”.

The US move against Twitter has led Geoffrey Robertson, QC, who leads the British defence team, to take on the advice of the celebrated Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, famous for defending O.J. Simpson, Claus Von Bulow and Patty Hearst. The two lawyers have known each other for many years.

Mr Assange will not appear in the Virginia court as he remains on strict bail conditions in Britain as he awaits his appeal against a European arrest warrant for his extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape.

Mr Assange’s legal team have made clear already that as an Australian who is not alleged to have done any wrong on American territory, US courts have no jurisdiction over him.

The decision on the extradition will be brought down on February 24 after three days of argument in a London magistrates’ court last week.

Whatever the decision from the London court, both sides have said they will appeal it to the High Court.

Under the European arrest warrant requirements, this must be done quickly, probably by Easter.

The Herald was unable to contact Twitter for comment.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Teacher suspended

over vitriolic blog

Patrick Walters

February 18, 2011

Suspended ... Natalie Munroe.
Suspended … Natalie Munroe. Photo: AP

FEASTERVILLE, Pennsylvania: A high-school English teacher in suburban Philadelphia who was suspended for a profanity-laced blog in which she called her young charges ”disengaged, lazy whiners” is causing a sensation by daring to ask: why are students unmotivated – and what’s wrong with calling them out?

As she fights to keep her job at Central Bucks East High School, 30-year-old Natalie Munroe says she had no interest in becoming any sort of educational icon.

Her comments and her suspension have clearly touched a nerve, with scores of online comments applauding her for taking a tough-love approach or excoriating her for verbal abuse. Media attention has rained down and backers have started a Facebook group.

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”My students are out of control,” Ms Munroe, who has taught 10th, 11th and 12th grades, wrote in one post. ”They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying.”

And in another post, Ms Munroe – who is more than eight months pregnant – quotes from the musical Bye Bye Birdie: ”Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS.”

She also listed some comments she wished she could post on student evaluations, including: ”I hear the trash company is hiring”; ”I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son”; and ”Just as bad as his sibling. Don’t you know how to raise kids?”

Ms Munroe did not use her full name or identify her students or school in the blog, which she started in August 2009 for friends and family. Last week, she said, students brought it to the attention of the school, which suspended her with pay.

”They get angry when you ask them to think or be creative,” Ms Munroe said of her students. ”The students are not being held accountable.”

Ms Munroe pointed out that she also said positive things, but she acknowledges that she did write some things out of frustration – and of a feeling that many children today are being given a free pass at school and at home.

”Parents are more trying to be their kids’ friends and less trying to be their parent,” Ms Munroe said, also noting students’ lack of patience. ”They want everything right now. They want it yesterday.”

Ms Munroe has hired a lawyer, who said that she had the right to post her thoughts on the blog and that it’s a free speech issue.

Associated Press

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

‘Ban Facebook for under-18s’:

sexting scandal mum

Aja Styles

February 8, 2011 – 12:38PM

You’re dropped ... Frequent, unimportant posts were the top reason for people being ‘‘defriended’’ on Facebook.
‘Jan’ found 40-year-old men were Facebook friends with her daughter, the girl caught in the middle of a ‘sexting’ scandal. Photo: Getty Images

The mother of the 14-year-old girl at the centre of a “sexting” scandal that has seen three boys convicted of underage sex crimes has called for Facebook to be banned for under-18s.

The boys responsible avoided serving jail time after pleading guilty in the Bunbury Children’s Court to raping a girl over 13 and under 16, and are now registered sex offenders despite being aged 15 and 16 themselves.

In court it was revealed the boys had been drinking when they convinced the girl to sneak out on a Friday night, on August 27 last year, and meet them in a local park.

The boys then brought her back to one of the 16-year-olds’ homes where she was plied with vodka and gave the boy oral sex. She then had intercourse with his other two friends in the bedroom. The sexual acts were filmed on a mobile phone and sent to others.

The mother of the girl, who spoke to radio 6PR under the pseudonym of “Jan”, said the family would never get over the “humiliating” and “shameful” episode.

She said she thought she was a vigilant parent but her daughter had proved her wrong and had to now face the consequences of going to school despite being taunted.

“We thought because the computer was in the living room with us that we were keeping a pretty good eye on her being so close, but nope, they can be right under your nose… they can still manage to get this stuff out there – you’ve got your webcams, you’ve got your iPhones and all that,” she said.

“My advice to other parents is: check. Stand over their shoulder if that’s what it takes. Let your kids hate you for being a busybody but keep an eye on them.”

Now that the proceedings were over, Jan said her family had been able to breathe a sigh of relief. But her battle to prevent any further privacy breaches has continued after going through her daughter’s 600 Facebook “friends” and discovering some of them were 40-year-old men.

“Now what on earth 40-year-olds have in common with a 15-year-old on Facebook? It doesn’t add up to me,” she said.

“…She’s not unique that way, I’m not just saying it’s her, it’s other kids, I know it is. That’s why I said they should not be allowed on Facebook.

“We’ve banned her from it, but you give a kid a mobile they’ve got free access to Facebook anyway, so how can you fight it if at every turn there’s a way around it?”

She said the matter came to light when one of the boys then accessed a school computer to download the footage onto a thumb drive.

She said since the breach occurred at the school it was “taken right out of our hands at the get go” and reported to police.

It became clear during the police investigation that the images were destined for Facebook, which was contacted to remove any postings of the graphic footage.

“When we first realised we went into panic mode, we banned her from her phone and Facebook, but you can ban them until the cows come home, they will still find a way to get back on Facebook and use friend’s phones,” Jan said.

“So there’s no getting away from it, you just have to be so vigilant – you know, like a two-year-old. You’ve just got to constantly watch them because they just don’t realise once it’s up there for the world to see it, that’s it – you can’t take it back.”

She said she didn’t believe the boys deserved to go on the sex offender list because they were “just kids”.

“They don’t realise the consequences of what they’ve done and I don’t believe they ever will,” Jan said.

“… That’s just what they do. That’s OK, they see things on TV, you’ve only got to watch music shows and it’s all sex anyway. You know, flaunting their bodies… It seems a huge problem but it’s got to be fixed.”

She said she felt for the boy’s family and knew one was transferred by his parents to a new school.

She had insisted that their daughter return to her old school, as “there’s got to be consequences for her as well”.

“We don’t believe that moving her out of the school would benefit so we’ve made her go back to that same school,” Jan said.

“She gets sneered, she was getting bullied a few months after the incident coming back to the school which made life difficult for everybody but she had to deal with it.”

She said her daughter was now doing much better

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Twitter site blocked in Egypt:

Harvard’s Herdict


Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:07pm EST

(Reuters) – Egyptians say the Twitter Web site is blocked on all Internet Service Providers in their country, a representative of Harvard University’s Herdict Web monitoring service told Reuters on Tuesday.

But Twitter users within Egypt are currently sending Tweets, short 140-character messages, via SMS text messages and through third-party applications, the center said as thousands of Egyptians took to the streets to protest President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Jillian York, a project coordinator at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which runs the Herdict Web accessibility monitoring service, said in an email that she had “confirmed with users in Egypt that Twitter.com is in fact blocked on all ISPs.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha