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More Than 400m Facebook Users’ Phone Numbers Exposed In Privacy Lapse, New Reports Reveal

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Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse for the social media giant, US media on Wednesday disclosed.

According to technology news site – TechCruch,  an exposed server stored 419 million records on users across several databases — including 133 million US accounts, more than 50 million in Vietnam, and 18 million in Britain.

Technology website, TechCrunch, also  reported that the databases listed Facebook user IDs — unique digits attached to each account — the profiles’ phone numbers, as well as the gender listed by some accounts and their geographical locations.

The server was not password protected, meaning anyone could access the databases, and remained online until late Wednesday when TechCrunch contacted the site’s host.

Facebook confirmed parts of the report but downplayed the extent of the exposure, saying that the number of accounts so far confirmed was around half of the reported 419 million.

It added that many of the entries were duplicates and that the data was old.

“The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.

Following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, when a firm used Facebook’s lax privacy settings to access millions of users’ personal details, the company disabled a feature that allowed users to search the platform by phone numbers.

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The exposure of a user’s phone number leaves them vulnerable to spam calls, SIM-swapping — as recently happened to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — with hackers able to force-reset the passwords of the compromised accounts.

AFP

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Education

Ibadan Poly unveils Nigerian made ventilator, automated handwashing machine

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The Polytechnic Ibadan, on Thursday unveiled made in Nigeria mechanical ventilator and automated hand washing machine produced by the department of Mechatronics Engineering.

The development, according to the institution, is aimed at combating the COVID-19 disease in the country and other related diseases. The ventilator is an essential equipment in the treatment of coronavirus patients and went through all necessary procedures. It was tested at the University College Hospital, Ibadan (UCH) last week.

The research team  who carried out  the development under the Deanship of Engr. Tijani B.O and the Rectorship of Prof. Adebiyi Kazeem include;   Engr. Olaiya Kamourudeen, Mr. Olanlere Oladeji, Mr. Oluokun Tolulope,  Engr. Bello Abdulrahaman,  Mr. Sanusi Babatunde,  Mr. Azeez O.R, Mr. Ajayeoba Israel and a consultant from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, (UCH) Dr. Adebayo Oluwaseun. Interestingly, these students are still undergoing their Ordinary National Diploma (OND).

It was also gathered that the ventilator and hand washing machine housing a dryer, were among the new innovations of the department which has just been accredited to run Higher National Diploma (HND) Programme.

The citadel of learning has equally produced hand sanitizer and face mask which were donated to the Oyo state government in support of the fight against coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Rector, Prof. Kazeem Adebiyi, while addressing newsmen shortly after unveiling the devices,  informed that  the institution  In its bid to complement the efforts of the government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,  produced mechanical ventilator and smart hand washers.

Smart hand washers

Adebiyi disclosed  that the institution spent  about N2,000,000 (Two million naira) to produce the ventilator, noting that the cost  will be lesser if it was a mass production process. He lauded the Seyi Makindele led government for releasing grant to the institution which he claimed made it possible for the management to embark on several projects that were long overdue.

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He stressed that this was the first time since 2009 that the institution would receive grant from the state government to embark on accreditation process, adding that before now, the management sometimes go as far as taking loans from banks for accreditation.

“We are just using this avenue to appreciate the government for what they have done for us. When we received the letter from NBTE that we passed all our accreditation, we were very joyful. We did accreditation for thirteen programmes and we passed all the thirteen programmes.

“Also, we did three professional accreditation programmes which we passed and that looked like magic to everybody that how were we able to achieve that and then we said, since we have the support of the government.

“When we looked at the records, the last time the institution benefitted from such accreditation grant from government was in 2009 and when the present government came on board, we were bothered because about fifteen to sixteen of our programmes were due for accreditation.

Mechanical ventilator

“I said, look, lets go and meet the governor, they asked if I was sure because we have not received anything from them in years, but I insisted that we make a trial.

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“The governor approved our request  immediately and the grant was used judiciously for various needs; we procured necessary equipments, renovated buildings, secured accreditation for programmes, among others”, the Rector added.

Also commenting, Israel Ajayeoba, a student who was part of the research team, said the mechanical ventilator was designed  in a way that it can be adjusted depending on the rate at which the patient needs it.

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COVID-19: Facebook launches tools to keep faith-based communities connected

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Facebook has launched key resources to help faith groups stay connected and engaged during the current COVID-19 outbreak. The resources include the Faith on Facebook Resource Hub and the Faith on Facebook toolkit  both providing guidance and step-by-step tips that faith-based groups can use to keep their communities engaged while observing social distancing. The tools are part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts in keeping communities safe, connected and informed during this pandemic.

Some of the tools that faith-based groups can use to connect with their communities during the COVID-19 outbreak include:

  • Facebook Pages: Explore how to build an active and engaged audience of faith communities, advice on posting interesting content, as well as creating events and using Groups for discussions.
  • Facebook Groups: Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, discussing issues and ideas, posting photos and sharing related content.
  • Facebook Events: Host virtual events using Facebook Events to spread the word.
  • Utilising WhatsApp: Consider sending bite sized sermons or recordings through the voice note feature on WhatsApp to members, using either the dedicated broadcast list function or creating a New Group list.
  • Watch Party: Host a Watch Party for your Group, choosing videos that are relevant to your community and invite members to join and discuss.
  • Facebook Live: Stream live stream events and performances on Facebook, utilizing interactive features such as reactions, shares and comments enabling you to further engage your audience.
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Commenting, Facebook Africa Regional Director Nunu Ntshingila said, “At a time like this, our mission has never been more relevant, to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. We know that faith leaders across Africa are grappling with the unexpected challenges in serving their members digitally, and we’re committed to providing them with the resources and tools to support them as much as possible”. She added, “Our ultimate goal is to equip faith-based communities with the tools to help them continue faith conversations throughout the pandemic.”

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Belarus, Egypt sign $1m contract to make drones

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus on Thursday disclosed that it has signed a $1m contract with Egypt  to make drones.

The official said: “We’ve held negotiations with Egyptian partners and have come to terms on a good contract – roughly $1 million – on supplying and setting up an enterprise in Egypt to train specialists and make drones.”

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