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The half-truth of social media

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One-in-ten bend the truth on social media to make themselves feel good – and men go even further, Kaspersky Lab study reveals.

People are turning to social media in order to show-off to friends, collect as many ‘likes’ as possible and to feel good about themselves. But in this quest for social validation people are playing with the truth and whitewashing their lives. New research from Kaspersky Lab shows that one-in-ten people would bend the truth on social media in order to get more people to like their posts. The research also shows that in their pursuit of likes, men are more likely than women to post their privacy away. Globally, one-in-ten (9%) men would post a photo of themselves naked compared to only 5% of women and 13% of men post photos of their friends wearing something revealing.

To attract attention and secure a significant number of likes, around one-in-ten people (12%) pretend to be somewhere or doing something that might not be strictly true. This rises to 14% of men, suggesting that many would rather get social media attention than share a realistic portrayal of their lives.

The research uncovers that men are sensitive about how many likes they get on social media and, in their hunt for likes, men are more likely than women to reveal something embarrassing or confidential about their co-workers, friends or employers. Thus, 14% of men said they would reveal something confidential about a co-worker, compared to 7% of women, 13% are willing to post something confidential about their employer, and 12% would reveal something embarrassing about a friend compared with 6% of women.

Men also get upset if they do not get the likes they hope for – 24% worry that if few people like their posts, their friends will think they are unpopular, compared to 17% of women. 29% of men also admitted that they get upset if somebody who matters to them doesn’t like their posts.

In the hunt for likes, men tend to go even further than women, posting things that present themselves and their friends in a compromising light, which according to Dr. Astrid Carolus, Media Psychologist at the University of Würzburg, “is in line with the assumption of men being rather less focused on social harmony and rather more willing to take risks.” Thus, 15% of men revealed they would post a photo of friends under the influence of alcohol compared to 8% of women, 12% of men would post a photo of themselves wearing something revealing, and 9% of men are even ready to post a photo of themselves naked compared to only 5% of women.

Evgeny Chereshnev, Head of Social Media at Kaspersky Lab agrees, but warns that this risky behaviour on social media can put people at risk. “In their search for social approval, people have stopped seeing the boundary between what it is okay to share, and what is better kept private,” he says. “But it is important to protect ourselves, as well as the privacy of others. The research shows that 58% of people feel uncomfortable and upset when their friends post photos of them that they do not want to be made public. All in all, people need to become more aware and cyber-savvy about the information they share on social media and install security software on their devices to protect themselves and their loved ones from cyberthreats.”

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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