Digital Skirmishes

Weyman Holton
Jul 16 · 3 min read

Facebook Weapon / Airline Bug / College Ransom / iOS App-In-The-Middle / Tech Headlines

2 People Doing Karate during Sunset
2 People Doing Karate during Sunset
Image from Snapwire on Pexels
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Natasha Lomas: UK Facebook users now have a tool to report scam ads

Facebook has provided a new feature that allows users to report suspicious ads when they find them. The reporting tool is purported to help alert Facebook’s monitoring team so they can take action. But I wonder, why is this necessary? When ads are purchased shouldn’t they be evaluated first? And where is Facebook’s artificial intelligence on this…was it always low-paid workers doing the filtering?

So in the age of unscaleable technology, rather than spend money and expend resources to improve the system, Facebook will farm its own users to do the work for which they are responsible. Worse, you can bet that the system will be abused just as YouTube’s strike policies are, with those who stand to lose the most (in views, clicks and income) forming raids against their foes and using the tool to get those foes suspended while the platform locks down accounts for investigation.

Rather than deal with ants in the school yard, they’ve given all the kids pellet guns. What could possibly go wrong?

You can read how to use the tool today from TechCrunch.

Shaun Nichols: Amadeus! Airline check-in bug

An insecure object allowed bug hunters to discover that half the world’s airlines use a system that can uniquely identify traveler boarding pass information. That’s a real issue for the industry and it may have been exploited by intelligence agencies and bad actors all over the planet.

This article is over at The Register.

Lisa Vaas: Ransomware attackers demand $1.8m from US college

A New York college of 8000 students are doing things the old-fashioned way this week after the institution suffered a malware attack. Administrators are taking the disruption in stride and explained that it will create more opportunities for personal interaction. Since the college has been around about 80 years they were prepared for how things “used to be” and fell back to paper processes. With bitcoin prices over $10,000 it remains to be seen if the ransom will be paid or if the hijackers will be told to go pound sand.

You can get the details over at Sophos’ Naked Security blog.

Pierluigi Paganini: iOS URL Scheme expose users to App-in-the-Middle attack

Insecure methods for apps that interact with each other are beginning to pose a problem for Apple and others. Take for instance the Facebook app launching the Messenger app on a phone. Since these applications have not been merged together, the Facebook app opens Messenger and passes user credentials over to log in automatically. But does Messenger check to see if its the Facebook app that did the action? Not likely. Malicious apps can intercept these credentials during an attempt to automatically launch another app.

Get the technical details over at the Security Affairs blog.

In other interesting tech news around the web:

Tesla workers charge that production quality suffered as they did during Elon Musk’s push to drive out cars in Nevada. Sour grapes or safety hazard?

TechDirt has a story about how a Russian spy was tracked using his smartphone. How? Well, the Russian privacy law doesn’t cover people who don’t exist so the spy’s cover had no privacy rights. Zing!

Cornell’s prepublishing system shows an article will be published about how artificial intelligence can predict what a person looks like by listening to a snippet of their speech.

And Engadget reports that the online game Apex Legends has decided to match cheaters against other cheaters as a form of punishment and entertainment.

T-Mobile and Taco Bell will marry and have a baby store. T-MoBell? Is this for real or a marketing stunt? We have seen banks turn their branches into coffee shops.

It’s an all out war over cable fees. The FCC’s Ajit Pai proposes eliminating localities from assessing taxes and fees for broadband services. Is this a win for Big Cable?

Frontier is West Virginia’s biggest telecom operator but claims its business is unsustainable. The company has enjoyed a near monopoly but customers complain of low quality service. Should government investments to provide rural broadband come with strings on how that money is spent to ensure tax dollars are hitched to quality?

This entry originally appeared at

Weyman Holton

Written by

author of “The Dirty Deeds Playbook” out now in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.

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