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Anonymous has claimed it has been “hacking” and vandalizing social networking profiles linked to North Korea.
The hacking group has issued several warnings since North Korea’s threats have intensified.
Uriminzokkiri, a news site, has been forced offline – while Twitter and Flickr accounts have been breached.
Anonymous also claimed to have accessed 15,000 usernames and passwords from a university database.
As part of action which the loosely organized collective has called “Operation Free Korea”, the hackers have called for leader Kim Jong-un to step down, a democratic government to be put in place – and for North Koreans to get uncensored internet access.
Anonymous has claimed it has been “hacking” and vandalizing social networking profiles linked to North Korea
Currently, only a select few in the country have access to the “internet” – which is more akin to a closed company intranet with only a select few websites that are government-run.
North Korea recently allowed foreigners to access mobile internet, but this service has since been shut off.
In a message posted online, members of Anonymous wrote: “To the citizens of North Korea we suggest to rise up and bring [this] oppressive government down!
“We are holding your back and your hand, while you take the journey to freedom, democracy and peace.
“You are not alone. Don’t fear us, we are not terrorist, we are the good guys from the internet. AnonKorea and all the other Anons are here to set you free.”
Urminzokkiri’s Twitter feed started displaying messages reading “hacked” at around 07:00 BST. The account’s avatar was changed to a picture of two people dancing, with the words “Tango down”.
On Urminzokkiri’s Flickr photo page, other images, including a “wanted” poster mocking Kim Jong-un, were also posted.
Anonymous has posted what it said was a sample of the hacked information.
However, some have questioned the reliability of the details as some of the email addresses were in fact Chinese.
Also unreachable on Thursday was the website of Air Koryo, North Korea’s airline, which launched its online booking site late last year.
Like the main Urminzokkiri homepage, it is suspected the Air Koryo site has been hit with a Distributed Denial of Service attacked (DDoS) – a technique which involves flooding a website with too much traffic for it to handle.
Although a highly secretive nation, North Korea puts considerable effort in to having a strong presence online.
Various YouTube accounts attached to the North Korean regime post news items and propaganda videos on a regular basis.
Facebook announces it is cracking down on services that allow users to purchase Likes in bulk to boost the appearance of their page’s popularity.
Celebrities, organizations and brands all vie for fans to show their support by clicking the Like button on the social networking website.
But Facebook admitted on Friday that the Likes of a particular page might not necessarily reflect actual Facebook fans since marketers have increasingly circumvented the website’s policies and have been offering Likes for purchase, to bulk up numbers.
New Facebook security measures will work to make it more difficult for third parties to deceptively garners Likes.
Facebook announces it is cracking down on services that allow users to purchase Likes in bulk to boost the appearance of their page's popularity
“A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one,” the company explained in a posting by their security team entitled “Improvements To Our Site Integrity Systems”.
“When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person.”
“We have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms,” the announcement added.
The changes will likely mean a subtraction of about one per cent of the Likes on any given page.
Facebook maintained that it never sanctioned any of the rampant services available to purchase Likes and warned Page owners to be wary of marketing services that offer to build a brand’s presence on the website.
Facebook’s announcement seemed to be well received by users – the posting garnered over 700 Likes in the first few hours.
The admission that all Likes on a page may not be legitimate comes as Mark Zuckerberg’s empire struggles to prove it can monetize its popular web presence.
Advertising on the social networking website, one of the top destinations on the internet, is closely connected to a brand’s engagement with users and can often be quantified by the number of Likes a page earns.
In a crushing blow to the company before its highly anticipated IPO on May 18, General Motors pulled its $10 million advertising campaign on Facebook.
The auto-maker said they were reassessing how their marketing dollars were being spent and decided to make necessary adjustments.
But The Wall Street Journal cited sources who said GM execs were unimpressed with the effectiveness of Facebook as an advertising platform and just decided the partnership didn’t make sense.
Despite initial excitement about Facebook going public, the company stock has continued to plummet.
Shares of Facebook fell below $19 for the first time on Friday to $18.14, putting the shares about 52% below their IPO price of $38.
Analysts say Facebook’s innovation in terms of advertising will be key to generating revenue and boosting investor confidence in the viability of the company.
Facebook’s stock plunged to an all-time low today as the market braced for the company’s insiders to dump their stock after the expiration of a lock-up period.
Investors ranging from Accel Partners to Goldman Sachs, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus and Facebook board members James Breyer, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman are among those free to sell stock they own now.
By 10:30 a.m., the price was down 7% to $19.69 a share. By noon, it had climbed back to $19.95 a share. In May, the initial public offering of the stock was $38.
If the stock hits $19, it will have lost half its value since Facebook went public in May.
Before noon, the company lost $4 billion in market value, due to the plunging prices.
Facebook's stock plunged to an all-time low today as the market braced for the company's insiders to dump their stock after the expiration of a lock-up period
Mark Zuckerberg himself lost an estimated $1 billion Thursday morning alone.
It’s not yet known whether anyone had sold shares. The stock price decline could reflect investors’ anticipation of such a move.
More than 270 million shares have been unlocked – more than one-half of the 421 million shares sold in the May initial public offering of the social networking company.
Roughly 64 million shares of Facebook traded hands in the first hour of trading, more than double its 50-day daily average of just under 30 million shares.
“Pressure will be back on the shares now that liquidity is back in the market,” said Frank Davis, director of sales and trading at LEK Securities in New York.
“If (the value of) your holdings has been cut in half, are you going to sit around and risk the rest of that?”
It’s conceivable no one would sell those extra shares, but if too many do, Facebook’s stock would decline even more because the market would be flooded with additional shares.
It’s been a rough run for Facebook. After one of the most-anticipated IPOs in history, Facebook suffered what may be the most-botched public offering as trading glitches marred its first day.
Facebook, the world’s No. 1 Internet social network with 955 million users, has seen its shares pummeled since the market debut in May that put its value at more than $100 billion.
Investors have been concerned about Facebook’s ability to keep increasing revenue and make money from its growing mobile audience, even as many analysts hold positive long-term views.
Those eligible to sell additional shares Thursday were the investors and directors who had participated in the May IPO. The exception was CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who will be ineligible until November.
Other shareholders, including many Facebook employees, will be able to sell beginning in October. The last lockup period expires next May, a year after the IPO.
In all, up to 1.91 billion more shares could flood the stock market over the next several months – more than four times the 421 million shares that have been trading since Facebook’s IPO. Of the 1.91 billion, 271 million shares became eligible for sale Thursday.
What are lock-ups?
Lock-ups prevent company insiders from selling their shares in a newly-floated firm.
They usually start to expire 90 days from the initial public offering (IPO).
They are designed to prevent the share price from fluctuating wildly if too many investors decide to sell their shares all at once.
The lockup expired for initial investors on Thursday. It expires for Facebook employees in October.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg must keep his shares until November.
Apple is reportedly considering buying a stake in Twitter worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The technology giant, which has stumbled on the social media front, has been in talks with Twitter in recent months about the strategic investment, according to The New York Times.
Apple’s hefty injection of funds would value the social networking powerhouse at more than $10 billion, up from an $8.4 billion valuation last year, the newspaper’s sources said.
Apple has had huge success selling its iPhones and iPads but has had little traction in the fast-growing social media world.
As social media, accessed on computers and mobile devices, increasingly influences how people spend their time and money, Apple, which also sells applications, games, music and movies, is keen to get in on the action.
Apple is reportedly considering buying a stake in Twitter worth hundreds of millions of dollars
The New York Times said it’s not a done deal and the companies are not in negotiations at the moment. But are likely to form a strong partnership against intensifying competition from the likes of Google and Facebook.
Facebook is aligned with Microsoft, which owns a small stake in it, and Google, which rivals Apple in the smart phone market, is pushing its own social network, Google Plus.
“Apple doesn’t have to own a social network,” Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said at a recent technology conference.
“But does Apple need to be social? Yes.”
Twitter and Apple have already been working together, with the technology leader embedding Twitter features into its software for phones, tablets and computers.
Meanwhile, Twitter has been working to bolster its relationship with Apple, according to The Times.
An investment in Twitter would not be a big financial move for Apple, which has $117 billion in liquid investments, but it would be one of Tim Cook’s most important strategic decisions since taking the helm after Steve Jobs’ stepped down due to illness.
For Twitter, having the backing of a tech icon like Apple would see its valuation shoot up overnight.
Like that of other start-ups, the company’s valuation has languished in the wake of Facebook’s lackluster market debut.
But Twitter does not need Apple’s cash injection. Earlier this year, chief executive Dick Costolo, said the company had “truckloads of money in the bank”.
The Times’ sources reckon this “truckloads” adds up to more than $600 million in cash on hand thanks to a healthy flow of advertising revenue.
Both Apple and Twitter refused to comment in the article, but Dick Costolo said of Apple in a recent interview: “Those guys are a great partner. We think of them as a company that our company looks up to.”
Microsoft confirms it has bought the office social network site Yammer for $1.2 billion.
The business, which is four years old and has five million users, operates like Facebook for communication within companies.
There had been reports the two were talking about a deal but Microsoft only confirmed the plan on Monday.
Yammer is used by firms including the motor giant Ford and the business services firm Deloitte.
Microsoft confirms it has bought the office social network site Yammer for $1.2 billion
Microsoft hopes the acquisition will make its range of software products more appealing.
Last year it bought the communications business Skype and is integrating it into its products, including its Office software which contributed 60% of its profits last year.
Yammer plans to continue to offer its service in the way it does currently.
Yammer’s chief executive David Sacks said: “When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big.
“We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we’ll need to scale and innovate.”
Facebook will pay $10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit over the way it used “social” ads.
Known as a “sponsored story”, the ads popped up on a user’s friends’ pages after the user clicked to “like” a firm’s advert.
The lawsuit was brought by five members of Facebook who said the ads violated Facebook members’ rights to control the use of their activity on the site.
Facebook has declined to comment on the lawsuit and settlement.
The deal with users who sued was reached in May, but court documents were made public this weekend.
Facebook will pay $10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit over the way it used "social" ads
The Facebook users filed their lawsuit in December 2011 in a federal court in San Jose, California, claiming that the social network had violated the state law by making their “likes” known to others without allowing them to opt out or paying them.
According to Reuters news agency, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is quoted in the lawsuit as saying that such friend endorsement is the “Holy Grail” of advertising.
But the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
“California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage,” Judge Lucy Koh wrote, reported Reuters.
Facebook said the settlement funds would go to charity.
It is just another court case involving the social networking giant, which listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in May.
One of the most recent cases involves Mark Zuckerberg and the banks leading the firm’s flotation being sued by shareholders who allege that the site’s revised growth figures were not disclosed to all investors.
In a different case, Yahoo has filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social network has infringed 10 of its patents, including systems and methods for advertising on the web.
Facebook denies the allegations.
LinkedIn is investigating claims that over six million of its users’ passwords have been leaked onto the internet.
Hackers posted a file containing encrypted passwords onto a Russian web forum.
They have invited the hacking community to help with decryption.
LinkedIn, which has over 150 million users, has not released a formal statement, but tweeted: “Our team is currently looking into reports.”
LinkedIn is investigating claims that over six million of its users' passwords have been leaked onto the internet
The news comes as the social networking website was forced to update its mobile app after a privacy flaw was uncovered by security researchers.
Skycure Security said the mobile app was sending unencrypted calendar entries to LinkedIn servers without users’ knowledge.
The information included meeting notes, which often contain information such as dialling numbers and passcodes for conference calls.
In response LinkedIn said it would “no longer send data from the meeting notes section of your calendar”.
The company stressed that the calendar function was an opt-in feature.
However, the researchers who uncovered the flaw said the transmission of the data to LinkedIn’s servers was done without a “clear indication from the app to the user”.
In a statement posted on the company’s blog, LinkedIn’s mobile product head Joff Redfern said a new “learn more” link would be added to the app so users have a clearer picture about how their information is being used and transmitted.
A video presentation released ahead of the E3 video games conference has showed that Nintendo’s new Wii U console will embrace social networking.
Wii U console will promote the Miiverse in which users can see what others are playing, share self-created game content and swap gaming tips.
Nintendo said members would eventually be able to connect to the network via its 3DS handheld, PCs and smartphones.
The Japanese firm posted its first annual loss in April.
Its share price has nearly halved since it first announced the Wii U last year after investors expressed doubts about the potential of the next-generation device.
The revelations, ahead of the Los Angeles trade show, may be designed to create a new buzz about the product ahead of a more detailed press conference on Tuesday.
The presentation, by the firm’s global president Satoru Iwata, said that when users turned on their console it would show animated avatars on the television screen flocking towards the most popular games at that time.
However, the focus of the network is on a smaller touchscreen on the Wii U Game Pad.
This can be used to send typed or handwritten messages to other Miiverse members as well as drawings.
Wii U console will promote the Miiverse in which users can see what others are playing, share self-created game content and swap gaming tips
A video trailer showed one player using the device to quiz other gamers about how to kill a zombie. The actor then placed the handset next to his television to launch a video chat with another user.
“We believe it can solve the issue of ‘alone together’,” said Satoru Iwata.
“We believe it enables the sharing of more smiles, more laughs and more empathy.”
However, Patrick Garratt, founder of gaming website VG247, expressed reservations.
“The social aspects in the presentation show Nintendo realizes people now need to be constantly connected through their digital devices, but my concern is that the entire system appears to be closed,” he said.
“Without a wholesale embrace of Twitter and Facebook I think you have to ask serious questions about how well Nintendo understands the social networking space.”
The presentation also showed changes made to the game pad from the version displayed last year including redesigned thumbsitck controllers, extra buttons and a card slot to add data to the device.
Video games publisher Konami also opted to release a pre-show announcement video.
It included trailers for the firm’s upcoming Metal Gear Rising Revengeance – an action title featuring a cyborg ninja due out “early 2013” – and the latest in its vampire series, Castlevania: Lord of Shadows 2.
The coming days will bring a plethora of announcements from other firms at the trade show. Close to 200 are hosting exhibits.
Keynote presentations from Microsoft and Sony will be the focus of the event’s first day.
Both companies have said they would not debut their next-generation consoles at this year’s event. So the focus will instead be on how they will attempt to maintain interest in the seven-year-old Xbox 360 and six-year-old Playstation 3.
News site Examiner.com has reported that Microsoft’s announcement might include a new service called Xbox Smart Glass.
It said the product would allow users to control their console remotely via devices running Windows, Windows Phone, Android and iOS systems.
It added that the software would also work the other way, allowing consoles to screen content streamed to them by third-party devices.
Microsoft’s presentation is also likely to focus on its Kinect motion and voice recognition sensor, possibly including footage from a recently announced Harry Potter title.
There has been speculation that Sony will announce a tie-up or even a takeover of a cloud gaming company. This could allow Playstation owners to continue playing games when they do not have access to their consoles by streaming titles off remote servers to other types of devices.
Trade magazine MCV has reported a deal could involve one of two California-based companies: OnLive or Gaikai.
It noted that Gaikai had sent out a press release promising news that had “the potential to change the future of video games, game consoles and how we play”.
Cloud-based gaming services have had limited appeal to date because of issues including compromised picture quality and lag – delayed responses to button presses or joystick moves caused by the fact that commands have to be sent to a remote server.
However, one analyst noted that new technology might be about to solve these problems.
“A few weeks ago we saw Nvidia come out with a cloud GPU [graphics processing unit] product,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner’s consumer services group.
“Up until now cloud gaming vendors had to cobble together their own servers and graphics solutions and you can’t build those in a way that is easily maintainable and extendable over a long period of time.
“Now all of a sudden you can have standard Nvidia graphics with the same drivers you use on your desktop in a virtualized environment, and it provides a really great production environment for someone who wants to deliver cloud games.”
Tech site Engadget has also reported that Sony is expected to cut the price of its Vita handheld console. A similar move helped boost sales of Nintendo’s rival 3DS last year.
Away from the hardware manufacturers, extensions of existing gaming franchises are likely to dominate this year’s show with a raft of sequels, prequels and reboots set to be shown off.
Titles including Halo 4; Assassin’s Creed 3; Tomb Raider: Crossroads; Hitman: Absolution; Gears of War: Judgement; Dead Space 3; New Mario Super Bros 2; Disney Epic Mickey 2; God of War: Ascension and Star Wars 1313 are all set to be teased at the event.
However, hopes that the much anticipated Half Life 3 would be finally unveiled have been confounded by PC-developer Valve’s announcement that it would not announce any new products despite hosting a booth at the show.
Social games specialist Zynga is also exhibiting at the event – its first appearance. However, it has also signalled it would not launch any new products.
“We don’t have a big flashy show presence – it’s all business,” said the firm’s head of partner publishing Rob Dyer.
“We are focused on finding and signing partners to publish on our platform.”
Yahoo has decided to file an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook claiming that the social network has infringed 10 of its patents including systems and methods for advertising on the web.
Facebook denies the allegation.
The move comes ahead of Facebook’s planned flotation later this year.
Patent litigation has become common between the smartphone makers, but this marks a new front in the battles between the tech giants.
A statement from Yahoo suggested the web portal believed it has a strong case.
“Yahoo’s patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online products, including in messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls,” Yahoo suit said.
“Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.”
Yahoo has decided to file an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook claiming that the social network has infringed 10 of its patents including systems and methods for advertising on the web
Facebook signaled that it believed that Yahoo had not tried hard to settle the matter without involving the courts. It described Yahoo’s action as “puzzling”.
“We’re disappointed that Yahoo, a longtime business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation,” it added.
The case has echoes of Yahoo’s decision to sue Google ahead of its flotation in 2004. That dispute centred over patents that Yahoo had acquired the previous year as part of its takeover of pay-per-position specialist Overture.
Google ultimately settled the case by issuing 2.7 million shares to its rival.
“It’s reasonable that Yahoo would want to try this tactic again as it worked in the past,” said BGC Partner’s New York-based technology analyst Colin Gillis.
“But there’s an air of desperation about this – it’s unlikely that they will get easy money from Facebook. This isn’t going to derail the IPO.”
Yahoo recently overhauled its board appointing Scott Thompson as its chief executive in January. The former Paypal executive replaced Carol Bartz who had been ousted in September.
Yahoo’s co-founder, Jerry Yang, also resigned from the board in January. The firm’s chairman and three other board members announced their decision to step down shortly afterwards.
The Wall Street Journal had reported that many Yahoo employees expected fresh job cuts following consecutive quarters of revenue declines.
Scott Thompson’s decision to sue may secure fresh funds or other assets if the courts rule in his favor.
“This is particularly interesting as it is one of the first patent cases concerning social media,” said Andrea Matwyshyn, assistant professor of legal studies at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
“The patentability of computer code is uncertain and recently several groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Computer and Communications Industry Association have asked the US Supreme Court to examine the state of the law and accept a case to clarify when computer code can be protected through patent.
“This may be a case that advances past the district court and at least reaches the appellate court level – one notch below the Supreme Court – if the two parties do not settle first.”
The latest suit was filed in the US district court for the northern district of California.