Yahoo pushes back timing of Verizon deal after breaches

Verizon’s planned acquisition of Yahoo will take longer than expected and won’t close until this year’s second quarter, the internet company said on Monday.Yahoo reported two major data breaches last year

The $4.8 billion deal was originally slated to close in the first quarter, but that was before Yahoo reported two massive data breaches that analysts say may scrap the entire deal.

Although Yahoo continues to work to close the acquisition, there’s still work required to meet closing the deal’s closing conditions, the company said in an earnings statement, without elaborating.

Verizon has suggested that the data breaches, and the resulting blow to Yahoo’s reputation, might cause it to halt or renegotiate the deal.

In September, Yahoo said a “state-sponsored actor” had stolen details from at least 500 million user accounts in late 2014. As if that wasn’t enough, the company reported another breach in December, this one dating back to August 2013 and involving 1 billion user accounts.

Both breaches were detected months after Verizon announced last July that it would buy the ailing internet company. Reportedly, Yahoo is facing an investigation from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over whether the breaches should have been reported to investors earlier.

The breaches may have shaken confidence in Yahoo’s internet business. But the company has since taken measures, such as password resets, to secure user accounts.

Nevertheless, some user accounts are still vulnerable.  On Monday, Yahoo said 90 percent of its daily active users were protected from the breach. That leaves another 10 percent potentially exposed.

Among the information stolen in the breaches were names, email addresses, telephone numbers, hashed passwords and security questions and answers meant to protect the accounts.

PCWorld’s February Digital Edition: Intel’s Kaby Lake CPU

Stay on top of the latest tech with PCWorld’s Digital Edition. Available as single copies or as a yearlong subscription, it highlights the best content from PCWorld.com—the most important news, the key product reviews, and the most useful features and how-to stories—in a curated Digital Edition for Android and iOS, as well for the desktop and other tablet readers.pcwdigitaledition primary feb17

We test Intel’s Kaby Lake CPU and share the best new features of Windows 10 Creator Update. Plus, read our coverage of the best PC hardware at CES 2017.

Other highights:

 our Sony Bravia OLED, Nintendo Switch, and AirPod reviews. Also, see LG’s robots for the future.

Current subscribers can visit PCWorld.com/directions to learn how to access PCWorld on any device and start reading the February issue right away. We’re also excited to announce that we upgraded our system for customer service and downloading issues. A password needs to be created and attached to your account. Go to pcworld.com/customer to create a password for your subscription.

Not a subscriber? With the PCWorld’s subscription, you get access to the digital magazine on as many devices as you’d like. Subscribe today, or to learn about other purchasing options visit PCWorld.com/magazines.

Facebook taps into NFC in Android phones for strong account security

We hear a lot about 2-factor authentication these days, an invaluable way to protect your account from someone who has stolen your password, but there’s an inherent wrinkle built into the system: SMS. Most 2FA setups use text messages to deliver a one-time code sent to your phone, but there can be issues with that system. For one, it requires a cell connection, and for another texts can be intercepted.facebook security keys

Granted, this is a small window of opportunity for hackers, but Facebook wants to close it all the way. To secure accounts even further, it has begun rolling out support for security keys into its account login protection, eliminating SMS from the equation and letting users lock down their accounts with a fast, foolproof 2FA method. And for Android users with one of the newer NFC-capable phones, it’s even easier.

“Starting today, you can register a physical security key to your account so that the next time you log in after enabling login approvals, you’ll simply tap a small hardware device that goes in the USB drive of your computer,” Facebook security engineer Brad Hill wrote in a post. “Your login is practically immune to phishing because you don’t have to enter a code yourself, and the hardware provides cryptographic proof that it’s in your machine.”

If you have an NFC-equipped Android phone, you can use a YubiKey Neo to instantly authenticate your Facebook account.

Since it’s a new feature, it only works with the latest version of Chrome or Opera on a PC, and isn’t yet supported by the mobile Facebook app. However, as xHill writes, if you have an NFC chip in your Android phone, you can download the latest version of Chrome and Google Authenticator in the Play Store to use your key to wirelessly unlock your account.

Yubico’s security keys start at $18, but the NFC-equipped Yubikey Neo costs $50. However, they aren’t just useful for Facebook. Security keys work with a variety of accounts, including Google, Dropbox, and GitHub, though the implementation may vary, especially over NFC.

Securing online accounts should be a top priority for anyone who posts and shares personal information over social media or email (which is pretty much everyone), but far too few people understand just how important it is. While it’s unlikely that this method will have an immediate measurable effect on Facebook users, it’s a glimpse at how serious the social media giant is about security, and how two-factor authentication could become much more commonplace in the future.

This story, “Facebook taps into NFC in Android phones for strong account security” was originally published by Greenbot.

2000 Rupees Note NGC Rumour: There’s No Nano GPS Chip

2000 Rupees Note NGC Rumour: There's No Nano GPS Chip
The tech rumoured to be inside makes it near impossible
RBI has released some details related to the 2000 note
In a move that took everyone by surprise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced Rs. 500 and 1000 notes are being demonetised, and they will be replaced by new 500 Rs. note and a brand new 2000 rupees note. RBI has released images and some details about the new 500 rupees and 2000 rupees note, but even before PM Modi’s announcement there were messages going around on WhatsApp talking about the 2000 rupees note having a ‘nano GPS chip’ – aka NGC – that can be used to track the notes from anywhere.

We treated these forwards with a healthy doubt of scepticism, and with RBI having released many details of the 2000 rupees note and the so-called nano GPS chip finding no mention therein, it’s safe to say that those forwards are a hoax. Here’s a sample message that some of you may have seen:
RBI to issue ₹2000 Rupees Notes coming February 2017

India is all set to add one more denomination to its currencies shortly. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be issuing Rs 2,000 currency notes, the highest to come into circulation, even as some experts feel7 high-value denominations should be discontinued to curb black money.

The Rs 2000 currency is designed keeping in mind to eradicate the black money issues using state of the art indigenous nano technology, every Rs. 2000 currency note is embedded with a NGC (Nano GPS Chip)
How the embedded NGC Technology Works? The unique feature of the NGC is it doesn’t need any power source. It only acts as a signal reflector. When a Satellite sends a signal requesting location the NGC reflects back the signal from the location, giving precise location coordinates, and the serial number of the currency back to the satellite, this way every NGC embedded currency can be easily tracked & located even if it is kept 120 meters below ground level. The NGC cant be tampered with or removed without damaging the currency note

How will this help eradicate black money menace? Since every NGC embedded currency can be tracked. The satellite can identify the exact amount of money stored at a certain location. If a relatively high concentration of currency is found a certain location for a longer period of time at suspicious locations other than banks & other financial institutions. The information will be passed on to the Income Tax Department for further investigation

Just a beginning of the end of black money in India
Just to reiterate, everything you read above is unofficial, and almost everything is a hoax. We can barely get a GPS signal indoors, and if you believe the forward, the RBI has packed every single 2000 rupees note with a wafer-thin nano GPS chip that can get a signal even “120 metres below ground level”, which makes absolutely no sense. Not to mention the only chips that can be powered by a ‘reflective signal’ – like RFID chips – can transmit data only over very short distances, and not across hundreds of thousands of kilometres like the forward suggests.
Here’s what RBI has actually said about the 2000 rupees note, and it’s the only thing you should be believing about the new currency at this stage:

Twitter to Reportedly Conclude Sale Deliberations This Month

Twitter to Reportedly Conclude Sale Deliberations This MonthTwitter has told potential acquirers it is seeking to conclude negotiations about selling itself by the time it reports third-quarter earnings on October 27, according to people familiar with the matter.

The timeline is hugely ambitious in the context of most mergers and acquisitions, given that Twitter began mulling a sale only last month. It is the clearest sign yet that Chief Executive Jack Dorsey is pushing to provide clarity to shareholders and employees over the company’s future as quickly as possible.

Binding acquisition offers are due in the next two weeks, and Twitter has already whittled down the field of potential acquirers, the people said this week. Salesforce.com is in the running, while Google parent Alphabet Inc, and Walt Disney have also been contemplating bids, the people added.

 

Recode reported on Wednesday, citing sources it did not identify, that Google would not move forward with a bid to acquire Twitter.

It is not certain the process will result in a sale, the Reuters sources cautioned. The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Twitter and Salesforce declined to comment. Disney and Google did not return requests for comment.

With Salesforce.com, Twitter might turn its focus to customer service communications and mining its database of tweets for business intelligence. Google would likely be most interested in the social and news dimensions of Twitter. Disney, by contrast, might see it as a way to expand the reach of its sports and entertainment programming.
Twitter has struggled to generate revenue growth and profit, despite having some 313 million average monthly active users and a growing presence as a source of news.

The company missed Wall Street’s sales expectations in both the first and second quarters of 2016, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, and has yet to produce a net profit in 11 quarters as a public company.

It has also failed to keep pace with rivals, notably Facebook’s Instagram and Snapchat. Both now boast more users than Twitter by most measures, even though they are much newer, and advertisers have begun to migrate their ad dollars accordingly.

Dorsey, who returned to Twitter as chief executive more than a year ago, has been part of Disney’s board since 2013.

Twitter went public in November 2013 at $26 a share. The shares peaked above $74 just over a month after its IPO, but have been on a steady downward trajectory since.

Facebook Testing Chat Assist for Messenger; Adds New Group Chat Polls Feature

Facebook Testing Chat Assist for Messenger; Adds New Group Chat Polls Feature

Facebook’s Messenger app will soon make sure you remember to pay back your friend, even though you would rather forget, with a feature called Chat Assist. The company has separately launched the group chat polls feature in the US.

The company is testing the Chat Assist feature that will use machine learning to recognises words and prompt an action in a chat. So, for example, if your friend reminds you to pay a particular amount of money back, Chat Assist will prompt a payment link asking if you want to pay the amount you owe.Facebook says the feature is automated and optional.

Chat Assists follows the recent launch of Facebook Messenger’s online payment system. Users will be able to pay the amount they owe directly through Messenger. The payment service was launched so that business could sell their products and services directly to customers through Messenger.

Meanwhile, Facebook Messenger will get group chat polls starting Friday. The feature only works for group chats and works like any other poll. You can start a poll by tapping the Polls icon in the composer. You can then type a question like ‘where to eat’ and provide options for your group to vote on. It’s a clean, hassle-free way to know what people want. The feature is currently only available in the US for Android and iOS users.

 

Twitter Adds Support for New Emojis, Including Racially Diverse Icons

Apple was the first to add over 150 new emoji characters with full support for Unicode 7.0 and 8.0 emojis with its iOS 9.1 update. This was soon followed by Google which recently started rolling out Android 6.0.1 update for its devices adding new emoji characters.

Now, Twitter has quietly added the new emojis with full support for Unicode 7.0 and 8.0. First reported by Emojipedia, Twitter will now show new emoji characters including the ones with skin tones.

Emojipedia also notes that Twitter, unlike other services, supported limited emoji characters on its desktop site as well as TweetDeck, the Twitter client app. The addition of new emoji characters will enable users to use various emojis. Apart from emojis, Twitter enables Hashflags only for some events and promotions.

To recall, the Unicode Version 8.0 specifications include new emoji characters including several faces, food, animals, middle-finger, unicorn, and vehicles as well. The Unicode 8.0 also added skin tones to emojis.

The company on Tuesday confirmed that it is currently testing a timeline format for its tweets. The new format will sort the tweets by relevance instead of in reverse chronological order.

Twitter’s spokeswoman Liina Potter said in an emailed statement to Reuters said, “Yes, this is an experiment. We’re continuing to explore ways to surface the best content for people using Twitter.”

The micro-blogging website recently announced a couple of changes to its Web interface that claimed to deliver a “richer photo experience” to users. The micro-blogging website will now show uncropped images in single-photo and multi-photo tweets.

How to Get the New Google+

On Tuesday, Google announced that it is revamping its social network, Google+. The redesign, which is focused on building communities and collections on the social network, started to gradually roll out to users on the Web from Tuesday. If you don’t see the redesigned Google+ yet, you can manually opt-in to see the overhauled interface.

“[We’ve] spent a lot of time listening to what people using Google+ had to say,” wrote Eddie Kessler, Google’s Director of Streams as he announced company’s plans to revive its social network. “There were two features they kept coming back to: Communities, which now average 1.2 million new joins per day, and Collections, which launched just five months ago and is growing even faster,” he said.

Here’s how you can manually opt-in to gain access the redesigned Google+.

  1. Go to the Settings pane, scroll down to ‘Manage other apps & activity’ section
  2. Click on ‘Manage Google+ activity,’ and click the search bar at the top.

These steps should enable you to get the new Google+, with your next visit to the home page showing you the new layout. At this point, there is no option to enable this feature on Google+’s mobile apps, however. The company says that it will roll out the update to the Google Plus Android and iOS clients in the coming days.

Kessler said Google+ had been overhauled for faster and more consistent performance across the Web and mobile devices. Back in March, Google+ was split into Photos and Streams products. Google Photos has also received many features over the past few months. The company recently released a tool to allow users to change username and other personal information without needing to go to Google+.

After Paris Attacks, Facebook Says Safety Check to Be More Widely Available

Facing criticism for activating its “Safety Check” feature in the wake of the Paris terror attack and not for other bombing incidents, Facebook has decided to use the tool more often in conflicts globally.

The social networking site activated the tool after terrorists struck in the capital of France, killing 129 people and injuring many.

The tool sends users in the affected area a note asking if they are safe.

When a user clicks “Yes, let my friends know,” the tool then notifies their Facebook friends, CNET.com reported.

Facebook came under criticism when it did not activate the “Safety Check” feature for bombings in Beirut a day earlier, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.

“You are right that there are many other important conflicts in the world,” Zuckerberg wrote in a comment on Facebook.

“We care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can,” he posted.

Over four million people have used the tool so far to mark themselves safe following the Paris attacks.

The “Safety Check” feature went for checks after an earthquake that caused a devastating tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

The status tool has been activated a handful of times since its official launch in October 2014, including after the recent earthquakes in Afghanistan, Chile and Nepal.

According to Alex Schultz, Facebook’s vice president of growth, the tool is not perfect for all disaster situations.

“In the case of natural disasters, we apply a set of criteria that includes the scope, scale and impact,” Schultz wrote in a Facebook post.

According to Schultz, Facebook has learnt from the feedback it received following the Paris activation of Safety Check and will change its policy regarding when to activate the tool.

Facebook Instant Articles Launched for India

Facebook has begun rolling out its Instant Articles feature to Android smartphones, and has brought in five new publisher partners from India as well. Instant Articles has been available to iPhone users since October, when the Android beta started, and the rollout is now happening gradually on Android.

Publishers who partner with Facebook can host their content on the social network directly, and this means that the stories are loaded within the Facebook app. This means that you can load stories much more quickly, without having to leave the Facebook app at all.

In theory, it’s a great idea because it allows readers to quickly get to the content they want, and allows publishers to display media-rich content easily, and to cache content so that articles open in moments, even on 2G networks.

Facebook achieves faster loading by pre-loading articles as you scroll your News Feed. Because the article has already been loaded in the background, pictures pop up instantly when you tap the link, and embedded videos start playing the moment you scroll down to them.

On the other hand, it also helps Facebook to become a gatekeeper to the Internet, and there have been many who have raised doubts about the openness and fairness of a model like Facebook’s Instant Articles.

(Also see: Facebook Instant Articles and the Slow Death of an Open Web)

Internationally, Facebook has seen a fair number of major publishers join Instant Articles, with publisher partners such as the New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, Bild, Huffington Post, Vox Media, and several more.

In India, five partners have been announced so far; India Today, The Quint, Aaj Tak, Hindustan Times, and The Indian Express. Facebook will monitor how different types of content are being consumed and open the platform to other publishers in 2016.

Bringing Instant Articles to India now that the service is on Android and not just iPhones makes a lot of sense, and the fact that the company has already signed up Indian publishers highlights how it has been getting more involved with India – as shown by Zuckerberg’s visit to IIT, even in the face of pushback from people in India who feel that Facebook’s Internet.org – now Free Basics – is a threat to net neutrality.