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Cyber Corner

August 24, 2018


NEW YORK (AP) — Google says it has disabled dozens of YouTube channels and other Google accounts linked to a state-run Iranian broadcaster for a political influence campaign.

The company said Thursday that it disabled 39 YouTube channels, as well as six blogs on Blogger and 13 Google Plus accounts. Some of them were sharing English-language political material in the United States.

The security firm FireEye says the overall operation originates from Iran but is aimed at audiences in the U.S. and elsewhere to promote Iranian interests.

Google says its own forensic research shows the accounts were set up by actors associated with the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, or IRIB.

The broadcaster didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment Thursday.

Google says its own forensic research shows the accounts were set up by actors associated with the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, or IRIB.


UNDATED (AP) — Facebook has pulled one of its own products from Apple’s app store because it didn’t want to stop tracking what people were doing on their iPhones. Facebook also banned a quiz app from its social network for possible privacy intrusions on about 4 million users.

The twin developments come as Facebook is under intense scrutiny over privacy following the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year. Allegations that the political consultancy used personal information harvested from 87 million Facebook accounts have dented Facebook’s reputation.

Since the scandal broke, Facebook has investigated thousands of apps and suspended more than 400 of them over data-sharing concerns.

The social media company said that it took action against the myPersonality quiz app, saying that its creators refused an inspection. But even as Facebook did that, it found its own Onavo Protect security app at odds with Apple’s tighter rules for applications.

Onavo Protect is a virtual-private network service aimed at helping users secure their personal information over public Wi-Fi networks. The app also alerts users when other apps use too much data.


NEW YORK (AP) — A New York man who was arrested for falsely claiming he was owed half-ownership of Facebook but then fled the country has been captured in Ecuador.

Prosecutors notified a judge presiding over his case in Manhattan federal court that Paul Ceglia was arrested Thursday morning. They said he’ll appear in a court in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, within a day.

Robert Ross Fogg, Ceglia’s defense lawyer, said he was surprised at news of his client’s capture, but “mostly relieved that he was located without incident and hope the family has maintained good health.”

Ceglia was arrested on fraud charges in October 2012.

While under house arrest in Wellsville, New York, in March 2015 he disappeared with his wife and two young sons and the family’s dog. Authorities said he sliced off his electronic monitoring device and created a crude contraption to make it seem he was moving around his home.

Ceglia claimed in a lawsuit that he gave Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg $1,000 in startup money in exchange for 50 percent of the future company in 2003 as part of a software development contract.

The lawsuit was tossed out by a judge in Buffalo, New York, in 2014. Prosecutors then filed fraud charges after a forensic analysis of Ceglia’s computers and Harvard’s email archive determined he had altered an unrelated contract and falsified emails to make it seem Zuckerberg had promised him a half-share.


CYBERSPACE (AP) — The national chain JOANN Fabric and Craft has created an online petition asking customers to support the privately held company’s efforts to obtain exemptions for tariffs on products imported from China.

A spokeswoman for the Hudson, Ohio-based chain said Thursday more than 20,000 people have signed the petition since Monday.

JOANN’s Amanda Hayes says the 25 percent tariffs target hundreds of imported products from China and sold to U.S. customers, with the biggest “hit” on fabrics, fleece and yarn.

Hayes says about 20 percent of JOANN’s customers are small businesses and charitable organizations that buy material from the company to create handmade products for sale.

Hayes says no U.S. companies can provide JOANN with the quantity and quality of material it sells online and at its 870 retail stores.

Update hourly