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Call for Instagram to drop Likes



The Facebook-owned social media giant Instagram recently announced a short-term experiment in which Canadian users would no longer be able to view the number of “Likes” another person receives on their Instagram post. While the experiment is intended for users to focus on content rather than the number of likes, research indicates that social comparison on social media platforms can be harmful for some young users who can become distressed when comparing their lives to others. Research suggests that time spent on these platforms can affect self-esteem and mood among young people.

The international interdisciplinary research organization Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is calling on Instagram to block U.S. users from seeing the number of likes on their own posts, as well as on others’, since either function feeds social competition and contributes to a fantasy of social connection.

Children and Screens founder Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, D.O. said, “The business of Instagram operates on a numbers game. Children and adolescents are being co-opted into participating by psychological persuasion techniques that are used in gambling. This experiment means that the leadership of Instagram is aware of the problem and it is a first step that I hope will spur further change.”

According to Children and Screens, this experiment may not be going far enough. Randi Priluck, Ph.D., professor and associate dean at Pace University, explained, “they’re still going to see their own likes. People are very driven by rewards so they’re still going to be competing for those likes. It’s not going to fully solve the problem.” It also wouldn’t address other issues created by social media like addiction, social exclusion, fear of missing out, cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate content. “This is such a complex issue,” said JAMA Pediatrics editor-in-chief Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H. “Instagram should follow through with the issue that they identified when they announced this initiative and say: ‘We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.’”

“Removing ‘Likes’ from the Instagram social media platform has the potential to benefit the mental health of its most vulnerable users,” explained Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Paul Weigle, M.D. “Studies indicate that adolescents who engage in social comparison on social media often develop depression, which is currently an epidemic in adolescents. A proportion of these teens check their Instagram posts obsessively for validation, up to hundreds of times per day, which can become an unhealthy habit when it displaces healthier activities such as socializing in person, getting adequate sleep, doing homework, and getting exercise.”

Social media is uniquely poised to impact, in both positive and negative ways, adolescent development,” explained Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Tracy Asamoah, M.D. “Social media platforms allow for endless opportunities for identity development and social interactions in a space where immediate feedback is expected and promoted. This can enrich adolescents’ experience of who they are becoming as they can engage with individuals who support and understand them. However, the receipt of negative responses or the lack of any feedback at all may contribute to feelings of anxiety and distress. Furthermore, anticipatory anxiety might arise when the immediacy of feedback doesn’t reach adolescents’ expectations. Immediate positive feedback from peers can foster a sense of community in young people but no response or negative feedback can shatter that sense of community. Receiving support through ‘likes’ is not a sustainable source of stability, safety, or happiness.”

“Likes” are a key component of the Instagram platform and removing the function could have a major impact on how users engage with the site – and on Instagram’s bottom line. But with the research clearly indicating the negative impact “likes” are having on users’ health, Children and Screens believes the decision is clear – Instagram must permanently remove the “like” function from its platform.


Lenovo unveils world’s smallest desktop PC

ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is powered by 8th generation Intel processors and SSD storage, catering to flexible working



Lenovo has introduced the world’s smallest desktop PC, the ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano, to the South African Market. It says it is designed to support diverse workplaces with the power of a full-size desktop and the space-saving convenience of a laptop.

“The ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is further proof of Lenovo’s commitment to helping small businesses drive efficiency in their operations,” says Thibault Dousson, General Manager at Lenovo South Africa. “In South Africa, SMEs make up a third of the country’s GDP and play an integral part in boosting the economy and creating jobs. Lack of capital, investment, resources or support are among the major challenges faced by our country’s entrepreneurs. 

“Lenovo wants to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses through giving them better access to critical tools and services, such as our financial services offering and leasing option. The ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is ideal for small business owners as it is reliable and powerful yet compact and easily transportable.”

Delivering powerful performance in an ultra-portable size, the ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is the most compact commercial desktop series in the world. Compact models are one-third the size of the ground-breaking ThinkCentre Tiny, at just 0.35L in volume.

With fully functional USB Type-C Gen2 and USB 3.1 Gen2 ports located on the front and back of the device, multiple displays, docks and other hardware options can further boost productivity. The ability to be powered using just one cable to a USB Type-C monitor makes the M90n-1 Nano ideal for a clutter-free workspace, whether it be placed behind a screen or under a desk.

The ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is MIL-810G SPEC tested – built to withstand extreme conditions including shocks, drops, dust and humidity. The desktop’s HW TPM 2.0 chip encrypts data to keep sensitive data secure, while its Kensington lock slot enables users to physically secure the device to an immovable object, protecting it from theft.

With its Modern Standby feature, users can receive emails, VoIP calls and instant messages while remaining in standby mode. When ready to commence work, the M90n-1 Nano resumes full functionality in under one second.

These features make the ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano an easy fit across all office environments, or wherever space is limited, and staff are mobile. The ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano also reduces energy consumption by as much as 30 percent annually over the ThinkCentre Tiny. 

Powered by the 8th generation Intel processors and backed by SSD (solid state drive) storage, the ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano offers diverse connectivity and multi-user options to keep users connected.

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Hackers target hotels



Kaspersky’s research of the RevengeHotels campaign aimed at the hospitality sector, has confirmed over 20 hotels in Latin America, Europe and Asia have fallen victim to targeted malware attacks. Even more hotels are potentially affected across the globe. Travelers’ credit card data, which is stored in a hotel administration system, including those received from online travel agencies (OTAs), is at risk of being stolen and sold to criminals worldwide.

RevengeHotels is a campaign that includes different groups using traditional Remote Access Trojans (RATs) to infect businesses in the hospitality sector. The campaign has been active since 2015 but has gone on to increase its presence in 2019. At least two groups, RevengeHotels and ProCC, were identified to be part of the campaign, however more cybercriminal groups are potentially involved.

The main attack vector in this campaign is emails with crafted malicious Word, Excel or PDF documents attached. Some of them exploit CVE-2017-0199, loading it using VBS and PowerShell scripts and then installing customised versions of various RATs and other custom malware, such as ProCC, on the victim’s machine that could later execute commands and set up remote access to the infected systems.

Each spear-phishing email was crafted with special attention to detail and usually impersonating real people from legitimate organisations making a fake booking request for a large group of people. It is worth noting that even careful users could be tricked to open and download attachments from such emails as they include an abundance of details (for instance, copies of legal documents and reasons for booking at the hotel) and looked convincing. The only detail that would reveal the attacker would be a typosquatting domain of the organisation.

phishing email sent to a hotel impersonating a booking request from an attorney’s office

Once infected, the computer could be accessed remotely not just by the cybercriminal group itself — evidence collected by Kaspersky researchers shows that remote access to hospitality desks and the data they contain is sold on criminal forums on a subscription basis. Malware collected data from hospitality desk clipboards, printer spoolers and captured screenshots (this function was triggered using specific words in English or Portuguese). Because hotel personnel often copied clients’ credit card data from OTA’s in order to charge them, that data could also be compromised.

Kaspersky telemetry confirmed targets in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Thailand and Turkey. However, based on data extracted from, a popular link shortening service used by the attackers to spread malicious links, Kaspersky researchers assume that users from many other countries have at least accessed the malicious link – suggesting that the number of countries with potential victims could be higher.

“As users grow wary of how protected their data truly is, cybercriminals turn to small businesses, which are often not very well protected from cyberattacks and possess a concentration of personal data. Hoteliers and other small businesses dealing with customer data need to be more cautious and apply professional security solutions to avoid data leaks that could potentially not only affect customers, but also damage hotel reputations as well,” comments Dmitry Bestuzhev, Head of Global Research and Analysis Team, LatAm.

To stay safe, travelers are recommended to:

  • Use a virtual payment card for reservations made via OTAs, as these cards normally expire after a single charge
  • When paying for a reservation or checking out at hotel desks, use a virtual wallet, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, or a secondary credit card with a limited amount of debit available

Hotel owners and management are also advised to follow these steps to secure customer data:

  • Conduct risk assessments of the existing network and implement regulations regarding how customers data is handled
  • Use a reliable security solution with web protection and application control functionality, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business. Web protection helps to block access to phishing and malicious websites while application control (in white list mode) allows to make sure that no application except the white listed ones can run on hospitality desk computers.
  • Introduce staff security awareness training to teach employees how to spot spear-phishing attempts and show the importance of remaining vigilant when working with incoming emails.

Read the full report, RevengeHotels: cybercrime targeting hotel desks worldwide, on Securelist.

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