WhatsApp bans over 2 million accounts monthly for spam, platform abuse
WhatsApp on Tuesday said it banned over 2 million accounts per month for bulk or automated behaviour over the last three months. Over 75% of accounts were blocked without needing the user report whereas 20% were caught and blocked at the time of registration.
In a white paper on how it detects and tackles bulk messaging and automated behaviour, WhatsApp said that the app was built for private messaging and not as a broadcast platform. It disclosed that approximately 90% of the messages sent on WhatsApp are from one person to another and that majority of groups have less than 10 members.
“As with any communications platform, sometimes people attempt to exploit our service. Some may want to distribute click-bait links designed to capture personal information, while others want to promote an idea. Regardless of the intent, automated and bulk messaging violates our terms of service and one of our priorities is to prevent and stop this kind of abuse,” said the company in the white paper.
WhatsApp also explained how it dealt with malicious accounts on its platform.
At the time of registration, users must verify the account with a temporary code sent via SMS or a phone call. WhatsApp identifies whether the account is in sync with the location of the user by verifying the country code, local network and other related tools. If the account shows suspicious behaviour such as sending bulk messages at a fast rate shortly after the registration, WhatsApp can ban the account.
“Because we ban accounts that send a high volume of messages, coordinated campaigns often try to spread their activity across many different accounts. We therefore work to understand the behavioural cues indicating bulk registrations. For example, our systems can detect if a similar phone number has been recently abused or if the computer network used for registration has been associated with suspicious behaviour. As a result, we’re able to detect and ban many accounts before they register — preventing them from sending a single message,” WhatsApp added.
WhatsApp admitted that the platform gets targeted by accounts that are operated by emulators or machines with an intention to spam users. To deal with this, the company has built detection mechanisms for such automated accounts. For instance, it can identify accounts that continuously send messages without triggering the typing indicator.
Google Expands Dark Web Monitoring for Gmail Users: Protecting Your Online Security
Google has made an announcement stating its plans to extend Dark Web monitoring to all Gmail users in the United States, with a later expansion to international markets. This new feature will allow Gmail users to conduct scans to check if their Gmail address appears on the Dark Web, and they will receive guidance on how to take necessary actions to protect themselves.
Previously, the Dark Web scan feature was exclusively available to Google One subscribers in the US. However, within the next few weeks, it will become accessible to all Gmail users. Google also mentioned its intention to expand access to the Dark Web report to selected international markets.
Jen Fitzpatrick, SVP of Google Core services, highlighted that the company already safeguards Gmail users from approximately 15 billion unwanted messages on a daily basis. They achieve this by blocking over 99.9 percent of spam, phishing attempts, and malware. Furthermore, Google intends to enhance spam protection within Google Drive. They will introduce a new view that simplifies the sorting and reviewing of files, allowing users to identify potential spam and protect themselves from unwanted or harmful content.
To further enhance user safety, Google Drive will automatically classify content into a spam view, similar to the functionality in Gmail. This will prevent users from encountering dangerous or undesirable files. Additionally, Google is launching a new tool called “About this Image” to assist individuals in evaluating the credibility of visual content discovered online. This tool will provide users with important contextual information about images, such as the date of first indexing by Google, where it was initially found, and where else it has appeared online, including news, social, or fact-checking sites.
Google has recently become the first major technology company to enable passkey sign-in on its platform. Passkeys combine the high level of security offered by 2-Step Verification (2SV) with the convenience of simply unlocking the device.
Mobiles & Tabs
Google Authenticator Introduces Google Account Synchronization for Easier 2FA Code Backup
Google Authenticator is a valuable Google service that is underutilized by many people. With the increasing adoption of two-factor authentication (2FA), it is becoming apparent that relying on text messages as a second form of verification is not secure enough. Therefore, using a service like Google Authenticator is an easy alternative to switch to.
Although using Google Authenticator is generally easy, it can become complicated if the device storing your 2FA codes is lost or stolen. However, Google has announced a change to Google Authenticator that should help users deal with this situation. The service now supports Google Account synchronization on both iOS and Android, allowing users to back up their one-time codes to their Google Account. This is a significant improvement.
Google has received feedback over the years regarding the complexity of dealing with a lost or stolen device when using Google Authenticator. The account synchronization feature should make this less of an issue, as your codes can now be stored in your Google Account. The new version of Authenticator with account synchronization should be rolling out as version 6.0. Users simply need to update the app to the newest version and follow some prompts to get started.
The update process is straightforward, with the first prompt asking users to choose their Google Account to sync to. From there, users can start adding codes, switch between light and dark mode, transfer accounts, change accounts, and more. Additionally, the app icon has been updated from the old grey “G” logo to a more colorful image.
Govt blocks several social media handles circulating fake, inciting content
In the midst of the enormous lockdown on contemptuous posts, sources said that the hostile substance actioned related to the counterfeit video of a cupboard instructions, an enlivened phony video showing viciousness against the Prime Minister, and disparaging posts focusing on Hindu ladies transferred via web-based media handles.
The public authority has hindered a few web-based media handles that were coursing “counterfeit and affecting” content on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, Minister of State for IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Saturday.
Proprietors of these records are being recognized for activity under the law, he added.
“Taskforce on Safe and Trusted Internet at @GoI_MeitY at work. Handles that attempted to push counterfeit/inducing content on twitter, youtube, fb, insta have been impeded,” Chandrasekhar Tweeted on Saturday.
The pastor said proprietors of such records are being distinguished for activity under the law, and declared that stages will be investigated on their due steadiness.
On Friday evening, the pastor had reacted to a tweet that encouraged him to make a move against the “makers of an exceptionally fierce video that includes the PM”, which “has been in the public area since December 2020”.
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