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Hackers have tried to convince potential buyers—and the BBC Russian Service—that they had cracked Facebook’s security and extracted private messages from 120 million accounts. However, according to an outside expert reported by the BBC, it appears likely that at least 81,000 Facebook accounts had their privacy breached. And according to Facebook, the breach is due to malware-containing browser extensions.
“We have contacted browser makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores and to share information that could help identify additional extensions that may be related,” Facebook’s vice president of product manager, Guy Rosen, said in a statement.
The hackers originally published an offer in September for personal information related to 120 million Facebook accounts on a English-language forum. This included a sample of data that the BBC had an expert examine, confirming that over 81,000 profiles’ private messages were included. An additional 176,000 accounts had data that could have been scraped from public Facebook pages.
Facebook’s Rosen said that its security wasn’t compromised, and urged people to remove any plug-ins they don’t fully trust. Rosen said the social network had notified law enforcement, had the website hosting the Facebook account data had been taken down.
Depending on the browser, plug-in extensions may be able to monitor a user’s activity on any web page. This typically doesn’t include keystrokes, but extensions can sweep in anything rendered on a page for a user to see, such as public and private messages.
Plug-ins that provide toolbars or insert links for coupons for e-commerce are common. However, with so many extensions available, malicious parties have many options: compromise existing software through insiders or poor developer security; release their own seemingly benign plug-ins that provide a useful function alongside snooping; or buy extensions from developers and then update them to include malware.
So, install at your own risk.
About 8 months ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned his troops that building the Model 3 would require “production hell.” For once, the man known to sometimes be a bit too optimistic about timelines nailed it. Last year’s Tesla’s production numbers were dismal; now, according to numbers released this week, they’re looking up.
Meanwhile, WIRED’s Transpo team explored why self-driving car crashes look different from human ones; how the electric car could fare after Environmental Protection Agency rolled back fuel economy standards this week; and why an electronic logging rule has truckers shaking their horn-honking fists at the Trump administration.
It was a messy week. Let’s get you caught up.
Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week
Last Friday night, Tesla announced that its Autopilot feature was activated when a Model X carrying driver Wei Huang crashed into a highway barrier last week, killing him. As senior writer Jack Stewart reports, the crash comes amidst a wider debate about the role of humans in semiautonomous vehicles. Should engineers ever expect (imperfect) to compensate for (imperfect) tech?
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt went ahead and rolled back rules that would have forced the auto industry to nearly double 2012’s fuel economy standards by 2025. But transportation editor Alex Davies explains why there’s still hope for electric vehicles: China’s aggressive electric vehicle quotas and environment-loving millennials.
When a video showing the fatal collision between a self-driving Uber and a woman on an Arizona road came out, it almost made sense at first—of course the car didn’t see the pedestrian on a darkened road. But as I discovered, self-driving car crashes and fender-benders don’t look like human crashes. Car software can miss things that seem obvious to humans, and yet also prevent collisions that look downright unpreventable.
Tesla’s last week of the first quarter looked pretty good, Model-3-production-wise. But as Jack reports, the electric carmaker still needs to bring consistency to its production line.
Contributor Nick Stockton reports on the hottest topic at this year’s Mid-American Trucking Show: electronic logging devices. The tech, now required by law, replaces the pen and paper logging systems that truckers have used to keep track of their hours for decades. But truckers aren’t happy with the new system—and had hoped the Trump administration would fix it.
Educational Work Distraction of the Week
If your goal is to waste time like a WIRED transportation staff writer, have I got a tip for you. Streetmix lets the armchair urban planner fuss about with the elements of the city street, adding bike lanes, bus lanes, sidewalks, parklets, and streetcars as they see fit. The game—created by Code for America whizzes back in 2014—is a good reminder of the tradeoffs that cities face every day. Because there’s only so much street space!
News from elsewhere on the internet
In the Rearview
Essential stories from WIRED’s canon
Last year, when the Trump administration swept into Washington, Alex anticipated the conversation we’d be having today: Can the federal government really roll back pollution regulations? As he explained then, it will have a hard time—and it’s all because of California.
Partners who are new to OpenStack can take the Oracle OpenStack for Oracle Linux: Getting Started training where they learn the steps involved in …
If you’ve ever donated to a charity through PayPal’s fundraising platform, be warned: A lawsuit filed yesterday alleges that money given through Paypal’s Giving Fund may never actually reach the intended recipients.
How the power of the cloud makes it possible to sentiment mine, machine translate, geocode and map a quarter billion news articles to map global happiness in 2016 as seen through the eyes of the world’s press
According to market researcher Technavio, the global health care cloud computing market will grow more than 21 percent from 2017 to 2021.
From now on, Uber drivers will start their shifts with selfies.
The ride-hailing company is expanding its Real-Time ID Check feature across the US, it announced in a blog post Friday. Drivers submit a selfie through the app to ensure the person driving the car matches Uber’s account on file.
The feature doesn’t connect to a background check or do anything else to ensure the underlying safety of Uber drivers. Instead, it just checks that the person in the car is the same one Uber has on file.
Drivers will be asked periodically to submit selfies before accepting rides, Uber said. The company uses Microsoft’s Cognitive Services API to compare the photo to one it has. If the photos don’t match, a driver’s account will be temporarily blocked. Read more…