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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

What Instagram users need to know about Facebook’s security breach

Even if you never log into Facebook itself these days, the other apps and services you use might be impacted by Facebook’s latest big, bad news.

In a follow-up call on Friday’s revelation that Facebook has suffered a security breach affecting at least 50 million accounts, the company clarified that Instagram users were not out of the woods — nor were any other third-party services that utilized Facebook Login. Facebook Login is the tool that allows users to sign in with a Facebook account instead of traditional login credentials and many users choose it as a convenient way to sign into a variety of apps and services.

Third-party apps and sites affected too

Due to the nature of the hack, Facebook cannot rule out the fact that attackers may have also accessed any Instagram account linked to an affected Facebook account through Facebook Login. Still, it’s worth remembering that while Facebook can’t rule it out, the company has no evidence (yet) of this kind of activity.

“So the vulnerability was on Facebook, but these access tokens enable someone to use [a connected account] as if they were the account holder themselves — this does mean they could have access other third party apps that were using Facebook login,” Facebook Vice President of Product Management Guy Rosen explained on the call.

“Now that we have reset all of those access tokens as part of protecting the security of people’s accounts, developers who use Facebook login will be able to detect that those access tokens has been reset, identify those users and as a user, you will simply have to log in again into those third party apps.”

Rosen reiterated that there is plenty Facebook does not know about the hack, including the extent to which attackers manipulated the three security bugs in question to obtain access to external accounts through Facebook Login.

“The vulnerability was on Facebook itself and we’ve yet to determine, given the investigation is really early, [what was] the exact nature of misuse and whether there was any access to Instagram accounts, for example,” Rosen said.

Anyone with a Facebook account affected by the breach — you should have been automatically logged out and will receive a notification — will need to unlink and relink their Instagram account to Facebook in order to continue cross-posting content to Facebook.

How to relink your Facebook account and do a security check

To do relink your Instagram account to Facebook, if you choose to, open Instagram Settings > Linked Accounts and select the checkbox next to Facebook. Click Unlink and confirm your selection. If you’d like to reconnect Instagram with Facebook, you’ll need to select Facebook in the Linked Accounts menu and login with your credentials like normal.

If you know your Facebook account was affected by the breach, it’s wise to check for suspicious activity on your account. You can do this on Facebook through the Security and Login menu.

There, you’ll want to browse the activity listed to make sure you don’t see anything that doesn’t look like you — logins from other countries, for example. If you’re concerned or just want to play it safe, you can always find the link to “Log Out Of All Sessions” by scrolling toward the bottom of the page.

While we know a little bit more now about Facebook’s biggest security breach to date, there’s still a lot that we don’t. Expect plenty of additional information in the coming days and weeks as Facebook surveys the damage and passes that information along to its users. We’ll do the same.

Source: TechCrunch

Trump officials on 5G: Bring it on, private sector – CNET

A White House summit Friday focuses on ways to spur companies to invest in the next-gen networks, like through tax cuts and less red tape.
Source: CNET

The Facebook Security Meltdown Exposes Way More Sites Than Facebook

The social networking giant confirmed Friday that sites you use Facebook to login to could have been accessed as a result of its massive breach.
Source: Wired

How to cut down your screen time video – CNET

Do you spend too much time on your phone? Use Apple and Google’s tools to cut down on your screen time.
Source: CNET

Tesla offers employees free self-driving and premium interiors for Autopilot driving data – Roadshow

The offer is worth $13,000 and is open to 100 employees who buy a new Tesla.
Source: CNET

Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly cause comic chaos in Holmes and Watson trailer – CNET

The game is a tripped-up foot. Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes and Reilly as Dr. John Watson attempt to solve a murder plot against Queen Victoria.
Source: CNET

Volkswagen partners with Microsoft on connected car platform

Volkswagen and Microsoft are partnering to create cloud services for VW’s fleet. VW anticipates that more than 5 million new Volkswagen-brand vehicles per year “will be fully connected and will be part of the Internet of Things.”

The post Volkswagen partners with Microsoft on connected car platform appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

Trump's Auto Emissions Plan Is Full of Faulty Logic

A federal proposal to freeze cars’ emissions standards argues that climate change isn’t worth fighting at the tailpipe, but scientific research suggests otherwise.
Source: Wired

Facebook is blocking users from posting some stories about its security breach

Some users are reporting that they are unable to post today’s big story about a security breach affecting 50 million Facebook users. The issue appears to only affect particular stories from certain outlets, at this time one story from The Guardian and one from the Associated Press, both reputable press outlets.

When going to share the story to their news feed, some users, including members of the staff here at TechCrunch who were able to replicate the bug, were met with the following error message which prevented them from sharing the story.

According to the message, Facebook is flagging the stories as spam due to how widely they are being shared or as the message puts it, the system’s observation that “a lot of people are posting the same content.”

Update: After attention was drawn to it, the bug appears to be resolved, according to updates on Facebook’s Twitter account. We still don’t have more official information about how or why the behavior occurred.

To be clear, this isn’t one Facebook content moderator sitting behind a screen rejecting the link somewhere or the company conspiring against users spreading damning news. The situation is another example of Facebook’s automated content flagging tools marking legitimate content as illegitimate, in this case calling it spam. Still, it’s strange and difficult to understand why such a bug wouldn’t affect many other stories that regularly go viral on the social platform.

This instance is by no means a first for Facebook. The platform’s automated tools — which operate at unprecedented scale for a social network — are well known for at times censoring legitimate posts and flagging benign content while failing to detect harassment and hate speech. We’ve reached out to Facebook for details about how this kind of thing happens but the company appears to have its hands full with the bigger news of the day.

While the incident is nothing particularly new, it’s an odd quirk — and in this instance quite a bad look given that the bad news affects Facebook itself.

Source: TechCrunch

Betterment keeps growing as fintech competitors rise

Betterment, which Barron’s recently declared the largest independent online financial adviser, is betting that the future of online investing includes a blend of robot and human advisers. And the plan is working, according to chief executive Jon Stein.

However, incumbents like Vanguard have leveraged existing strengths to move in to the market, and other startups like Robinhood have carved out swathes of the fast-growing market.
In response, Betterment has launched a series of new high-touch features on the platform, including “advice packages” that its users can buy to receive one-time advice from professional human experts.

In the interview below, Stein shares new details on the company’s growth, its plans to fend off the rise of commission-free trading, an eventual bear market and the many other challenges in the space, and eventually going public.

Gregg Schoenberg: Things have changed a lot for Betterment and the entire sector since we first sat down in early 2017. What are Betterment’s assets under management these days?

Jon Stein: We now have $15.5 billion under management and we’ve crossed 400,000 customers.

GS: Congratulations. Is each billion getting easier to accumulate or harder?

JS: We’ve seen acceleration every year we’ve been in the business. Back in the day, I like to say that it took us a year to get to our first $10 million under management. And then six months to get to $20 million, and three months to get to $30 million. Today, $10 million is a bad day. So the scale is far greater today because assets beget assets.

GS: That’s impressive, but when you look at the competitive environment, there are clearly some other online peers that have managed to build traction, and perhaps the incumbents watch you more closely now. What’s your core reason for optimism that when the dust settles, Betterment emerges better off?

JS: Part of it is our customer obsession and commitment to innovate around what the customer wants in financial services, and part of it is that it’s still very early in the journey for us. Just as Jeff Bezos always talks about his Day One, that’s how I feel about our space. We’ve got a long list of projects that we are working on and there’s so much more for us to do.

It’s about trust, and it’s about who you want to manage your money. Is it somebody whose sole focus is to help you make the most of it? Or somebody who is trying to gamify it or trying to make money off you in ways they’re not telling you about?

GS: But at the same time, you’re aware of Acorns and Robinhood and some others that are also building traction. Robinhood, for example, talks about becoming a full-service financial institution.

JS: I think some of these firms have different philosophies than what we do. I started this company because people were coming to ask me, “What should I do with my money?” It’s a really hard question, but we sought to excel on the three pillars that we think are most important in answering it: performance, convenience and peace of mind. I think that none of the companies you’ve mentioned do a better job than we do.

GS: Okay, but you have to acknowledge that dangling free commissions before a younger investor starting out is enticing, right? I mean, free works. Look at how Google and Facebook have trained a generation of people to expect free.

JS: Free isn’t new, right? There have been free offers for millions of years. I’ll agree with you that it’s powerful, but people are wise to the fact that companies are making money. And if the product that you’re being sold is free, well, you know, you’re the product.

GS: Right.

JS: And probably in ways that are less well aligned with your interests as a customer. We’ve always been transparent about our fee. It’s always been up front. That’s one of the ways we establish peace of mind. Because the only way we make money is that 25 basis point fee that we charge. That’s it. These other companies are selling you data, they’re trading against you—

GS: —You’re referring to selling the order flow?

JS: I’m saying order flow. I’m saying they’re actually selling trade data to other firms who can trade against you. They’re not there principally to make the most of your money. Betterment is. Betterment is a mission-driven company that’s going to make the most of our customer’s money, which is an increasingly unique position.

GS: So you’re really speaking to the issue of trust.

JS: It’s about trust, and it’s about who you want to manage your money. Is it somebody whose sole focus is to help you make the most of it? Or somebody who is trying to gamify it or trying to make money off you in ways they’re not telling you about?

GS: Let’s turn to the incumbents. Recently, your new board member, Donna Wells, said this: “Betterment is directly causing people to ask better informed and pretty uncomfortable questions of the incumbents.” Doesn’t that serve the ends of the Schwabs and Vanguards who have massive marketing and tech budgets? Haven’t you just motivated the behemoths?

JS: [Charles] Schwab is still trying to put everyone into cash and paying nothing on that cash. They’re trying to put all of their customers into their own funds and they make a lot of money off those funds — even though those funds probably aren’t what’s best for the customer. So they’re not acting in their customers’ best interests with the products they’re selling. Vanguard is a great company. We’ve learned a lot from them, but the only funds they’ll put you in on their platform are Vanguard funds. They refuse to look at other funds.

GS: But you use Vanguard funds.

JS: Yes, we use a lot of Vanguard funds, but they’re not right for everything. Vanguard is a mutual fund sales company. That’s all they’re doing … selling you mutual funds. So these companies are not thinking about the customer. And none of these incumbents can do that because they have so much to lose from the way that they are doing business today. Also, it’s a big market. There are lots of companies out there. You named a couple of big ones. But if we think more broadly about financial services competition, there are other big firms out there. There’s Raymond James and Edward Jones and there’s Financial Engines, J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, etc.

GS: Right, and we’ll get back to J.P. and Goldman in a moment, but the competition–

JS: –All of these firms see what we’re doing. And I think our vision probably isn’t as unique as it was eight years ago because we’ve moved the industry forward. We’ve set a standard of what customers should expect. And lots of people are trying to run at that now. But we keep moving the standard down the field. And I think it’s going to get harder and harder for these firms to catch up. Will one or two get there? I wouldn’t be surprised. There are a lot of smart people running these firms. Will all of them get there? No. But it doesn’t worry me that we’ll have competition. There’s always been competition in this space.

GS: Fair enough, but when you talk specifically about Vanguard, whose robo has crossed $100 billion in assets under management, and Schwab’s, which has over $30 billion, what you’re saying is that you’re not fazed because your near-$16 billion is unconflicted.

JS: That’s a big piece. I could also expand on why we’re better than them from a customer perspective. Our mobile and web apps are better than what they produce. We also have higher-performance services; the tax management that we do is better than what anybody else offers. The kinds of reporting and tools that you get are better than anybody else’s. The behavioral guard rails that we have are better, too. So we give you more performance, more convenience, and I believe better peace of mind.

GS: I think that JP and Goldman are especially interesting to touch on. JP’s You Invest, as you know, is dangling free trading out there and Goldman has embraced retail customers through Marcus, buying Clarity Money, etc.

JS: I think it’s great that more and more folks are going after the zero commission model. Because I’ve always thought that commissions should be zero. And that’s going to compete things away, to where there’s no longer a real competitive advantage in having zero commissions. Right? It should just be the way it is. But ultimately, trading stocks is not a productive activity for most Americans.

GS: Some people like to be self-directed.

JS: There’s a segment that wants to do that because it’s like a hobby. But it’s not actually the way to make the most of your money. I compare the financial system that we’ve built to the healthcare system. Imagine if you had all the drugs on the shelf, and anyone could take as much as they want of anything. It’s all cheap, but there are no doctors. You would never design a healthcare system that way because everyone would basically have to become an expert in managing their own situation. And that’s really expensive for people who are engaged in other careers and have busy lives.

Something like 40% of the 2,000 people that we surveyed thought that the market hadn’t gone up since 2008.

GS: Despite Betterment’s customer-centric attributes, it’s not immune to the competitive realities out there. In fact, Betterment, by virtue of the teaser rates that it offers, is playing the game, too.

JS: Yes, we do have a deal where people get three months free if you refer a customer. That’s always been the No. 1 way that we’ve attracted people. And that’s kept our cost of customer acquisition low, and kept us growing faster and faster, while spending less money each year. And so I think we’ve got a model that continues to generate return. By the way, with all the competition that you’re talking about, we’re still growing more customers at a lower cost than we have in any year ever.

GS: Is there any color you can give me on your customer acquisition costs?

JS: We don’t reveal our customer acquisition costs publicly, but they are a fraction of the numbers that I see quoted publicly. They’re also a fraction of what I see in the financials of the big competitors out there.

GS: If you put Betterment’s name on a stadium, I’m going to call you out on that, Jon. I want to turn to the topic of individual stock trading and specifically, to this recent commercial you’re airing featuring the actress, Maggie Siff.

JS: Yes, they’re filming “Billions” near me.

GS: The commercial, as you know, features your tagline, Outsmart Average.

JS: Yes.

GS: As you also know, her character on “Billions,” Wendy Rhoades, isn’t helping Bobby Axelrod pick a diversified portfolio of low-cost ETFs. So while I understand your view that most people shouldn’t be in individual stocks, aren’t you using the Wendy Rhoades character to send your target market another message?

JS: Well, Maggie is a strong spokesperson, because across a number of different characters, she’s played someone who’s wise, a coach and a leader. This campaign came out of a place of shifting the conversation away from Betterment versus the old way of investing, which conjures up images of boiler-room brokers and all those bad practices that traditional finance is peddling. But the problem with talking about all of the negative things in the industry is that people often don’t want to hear that.

GS: We’ve heard it ad nauseam.

JS: Yes, most people don’t want to hear that they’ve been doing the wrong thing with their money for a long time. But what we discovered is that we can shift away from talking about the industry, and shift the focus on our customers. There are people who are okay with the way things are, and there are people who are constantly striving for more. For example, I’ve got the right credit card for going to restaurants because it gives me 4 percent back. I’ve also got the right one for buying other stuff.

GS: You get 4 percent cash back at restaurants?

JS: Yes, the Uber card gives you 4 percent back on certain restaurants. So I’m an optimizer. When I go on a vacation, I’ll look at a number of sites and figure out exactly what’s the best place to go, and then I’ll book an Airbnb in the best neighborhood. It’s the same when it comes to my money. I want it managed really well and I demand more than whatever the status quo provides. That’s who we serve and that’s what we’re saying in the commercial. It’s about people who demand better than the status quo.

GS: But no individual stocks?

JS: Individual stocks are fine. There’s nothing wrong with managing your money that way. It’s just not the way most people want to manage their money.

GS: Let’s talk about the bear market, which I’m absolutely certain will happen in our lifetimes. As you know, many of Betterment’s customers have never lived through a bear market as an investor. The standard thing to say is that when it comes, the right thing to do is to stay the course, think long-term, etc.

JS: Yes.

I’ve always said, we’re building an institution and building to go public. It’s something that we want to ultimately do. My view is we’ll probably be at least twice as big as we are today before we go out.

GS: What happens when the market headlines get really ugly and people start seeing a sea of red in their Betterment account?

JS: A bear market is bad for everyone in this industry, not just Betterment. And we’ve been preparing for that in a number of ways. One, we have messaging that we’ve tested and have shown can help make those customers stay the course. We’ll also do things like suggest that instead of just pulling all your money out, maybe you want to think about changing your allocation. Take 2008, for example. Betterment wasn’t yet in business, but we saw a lot of people blow themselves up by getting out of the market.

GS: It was very tempting to run for cover.

JS: Actually, we ran a survey of customer attitudes since then and it was shocking to me that something like 40 percent of the 2,000 people that we surveyed thought that the market hadn’t gone up since 2008.

GS: Wow.

JS: Yes, it’s sad. And I think back to our mission, which is to help people make the most of their money and keep them invested. So it’s important to us that we do that throughout the cycle. We’re also preparing for it by thinking about our strategic options.

GS: Can you elaborate?

JS: Just this month, we launched a smart saver account, which gets you a higher yield on your cash. It’s currently paying 1.83 percent net of all of our fees, and it’s actually higher than that if you consider that it’s a tax advantaged account.

GS: So that’s not FDIC-insured then.

JS: It’s not FDIC-insured, but it’s SIPC-insured. Another area that we think is an interesting countercyclical play is our B2B business. Throughout the market cycle, people are contributing to their retirement, which makes our 401k business an attractive place for us to be. Similarly, our Betterment for Advisors business is a good place for us to be investing.

GS: How do you feel about adding life insurance and college savings products?

JS: Actually, many people already are saving for college with Betterment through things like IRAs, which can be used for college. As far as life insurance is concerned, we’re talking to a lot of financial partners about it because we think it’s interesting.

GS: I agree. So last topic: When does Betterment go public?

JS: I’ve always said, we’re building an institution and building to go public. It’s something that we want to ultimately do. My view is we’ll probably be at least twice as big as we are today before we go out. Is that going to take two years or five years? I can’t tell you exactly when it’s going to be because It will depend not just on our scale, but also on the capital markets, and a lot of other factors. But we continue to drive towards it, and I believe we’re in a great position. We’re audited, we have an amazing finance team, we’ve got great risk management, security processes … all of those things that companies that are preparing to IPO ought to be doing.

GS: Well, you appear to be big enough, and you have a great customer base and everybody knows who Betterment is. But as you said, timing matters.

JS: Yes, and they’re probably aren’t enough public companies out there today. But there’s innovation happening around how companies go public, which is needed. I’m also really encouraged by what some of our peers are doing out in the market, and I want us to continue to innovate in financial services, even around our IPO.

GS: On that note, Jon, I wish you and the team great luck.

JS: Thanks very much, Gregg.

This interview has been edited for content, length and clarity.

Source: TechCrunch