By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
by Steven Musil / February 26
The company says two vulnerabilities are being actively exploited and recommends that Windows and Mac OS X users of the browser plug-in update their systems immediately.
Adobe Systems released an emergency security update today that addresses a trio of vulnerabilities in Flash, two of which the company said were already being exploited by hackers.
Today's surprise update -- the company's third for the browser plug-in this month -- patches holes "that could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system," Adobe said in a security bulletin.
"Adobe is aware of reports that CVE-2013-0643 and CVE-2013-0648 are being exploited in the wild in targeted attacks designed to trick the user into clicking a link which directs to a Web site serving malicious Flash content," the advisory stated, identifying the vulnerabilities by their Common Vulnerabilities & Exposures. "The exploit for CVE-2013-0643 and CVE-2013-0648 is designed to target the Firefox browser."
Adobe assigned a Priority 1 rating to the vulnerabilities being exploited on Windows and Mac OS X and advised users of both operating systems to install the update within 72 hours. That rating -- Adobe's highest threat level -- identifies "vulnerabilities being targeted, or which have a higher risk of being targeted, by exploit(s) in the wild." The bulletin also assigned a Flash vulnerability facing Linux users a Priority 3 rating, which refers to "a product that has historically not been a target for attackers."
Adobe recommends users update to the latest versions:
The update is Adobe's third this month and its second emergency update in less than three weeks. A fix for two zero-day threats issued on February 8 addressed vulnerabilities that affected all versions of Flash on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.