Cyber Week in Review: Google Pixel Phone, Fake News on Facebook & Casino Rama Resort

Media Division | November 25, 2016

It’s a big week in cyber news, in one way maybe the biggest: try more than 1 trillion US dollars.  Some big companies and industries made headlines this week, and just for fun here is how they add up in US dollars: Google is reportedly worth $527 billion, Facebook $306.4 billion, and when you talk about the revenues of the global land-based casino industry, you are looking at $317 billion (yes, that’s just casino profit).

So take a look at the big dogs making a big splash this week in the cyber verse.

Hack Google’s Phone in Under a Minute

White hat hacking serves a purpose, one of them being to reveal potential security breaches.  The FBI reportedly paid more than a million dollars to hack into an iPhone.  Google isn’t a 500 billion dollar company for nothing!  They paid to have their own phone hacked with just $120,000.

Google’s brand-new Pixel phone hopes to rival the popularity of the iPhone.  Security breaches can cost a company millions.  Once a product is on the market and a security flaw is identified, dangerous zero day attacks can launch, causing companies to, often at great cost, quickly issue a software update.

How much more efficient then, to just pay for an exploit up front?  At least, that was Google’s approach when they issued the challenge at a security conference in Seoul on November 11, 2016.  A security team out of China, Qihoo 360, the team behind the Tesla hack, successfully launched an attack and won the bounty in under a minute.  Their attack revealed a remote code execution vulnerability, a weakness that could potentially allow cybercriminals to eavesdrop, steal data and utilize the phone in botnet attacks.

Google plans to issue a patch for the Pixel

Did Facebook Ruin the Election?

Moving on to news about the seventh most valuable company in the Standard & Poor’s 500, Facebook.  And unlike news you may have seen leading up to the election, this is real news.

NPR (National Public Radio) ran a story entitled “Did Social Media Ruin Election 2016?” which examined inherent flaws in political discussions via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Many a conversation has been had about one-dimensional feeds (reinforcing our own viewpoints by surrounding ourselves with “friends” who have similar opinions), and even about friendships ruined over insults and upsets on what became a rather unsocial “social” activity.

But here’s another way Facebook may have impacted the election: with fake news.

We are all familiar with “clickbait” stories, from celebrity gossip (and even fake deaths) to “You won’t believe #7!” traps, items on your crawl have a vested interest in your click-through: Google payouts through the AdSense program.  Up until now, payout on ads has been based on an algorithm that did not ask if the website was reporting truth or fiction.  While Facebook and Google both claim to have tried to screen against fake news, it has come to light that electronic monitoring was insufficient.

As updates rollout, we will likely see a mix of human and artificial intelligence monitoring sites.  In the meantime, Mark Zuckerberg is denying all responsibility for the election results.

Not Another Ocean’s Movie, a Real Casino Breach

Casino’s handle billions of dollars, which is why they are known for top-notch security measures.  From good old-fashioned safes, to armed guards and digital protection, a casino’s reputation depends, in part, upon their ability to take your money seriously.  So when news broke that a major Canadian casino suffered a data breach, the cyberverse was all a twitter.

Casino Rama Resort, a major Canadian casino in Ontario, on land belonging to the Rama First Nation, sees about 3 million visitors a year.  A data breach reportedly leaked customer, employee and vendor data.

While the information has not yet been published, it could be. The cost of such a breach, while difficult to measure, would be high for Casino Rama, but also potentially for other casinos.  The gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with land-based casinos seeming possibly safer than online gaming.  However, a breach like this could shake user confidence.

Hacking for All

Given that almost every business has been hit by a cyber attack, and even large-scale companies like Apple and Google are not exempt, it’s safe to say that you will be hacked, if you haven’t already.  So implement security measures and outline your action plan.

We’ll see you next week.

Massive's Media Division publishes timely news and insights based on current events, trends, and actionable cross-industry expertise.