Galaksion blog News digest 22.06.2020
Mon Jun 22,2020
News digest 22.06.2020

Massive spying on users of Google's Chrome shows new security weakness

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A newly discovered spyware effort attacked users through 32 million downloads of extensions to Google’s market-leading Chrome web browser, researchers at Awake Security told Reuters, highlighting the tech industry’s failure to protect browsers as they are used more for email, payroll and other sensitive functions.

Google said it removed more than 70 of the malicious add-ons from its official Chrome Web Store after being alerted by the researchers last month.

Most of the free extensions purported to warn users about questionable websites or convert files from one format to another. Instead, they siphoned off browsing history and data that provided credentials for access to internal business tools.

Based on the number of downloads, it was the most far-reaching malicious Chrome store campaign to date.

WhatsApp launches payments for people in Brazil

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The Facebook-owned messaging service announced that users in Brazil would be the first to be able to send and receive money by way of its messaging app, using Facebook Pay, the payments service WhatsApp owner Facebook launched last year.

WhatsApp says in its blog post that the payments service — which currently is free for consumers to use (that is, no commission fee taken) but businesses pay a 3.99% processing fee to receive payments — will work by way of a six-digit PIN or fingerprint to complete transactions.

Disney+ hunts for SG-based marketing and comms talent ahead of SEA debut

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The Walt Disney Company has opened up several marketing and communications roles ahead of streaming platform Disney+’s debut in Southeast Asia.

Earlier this month, Disney confirmed in a Facebook post that its Disney channels have been removed from Singtel and StarHub. While it did not publicly confirm Disney+’s launch in SEA markets, Disney said it continues efforts to make its content available in Singapore. 

With more consumers working from home, streaming platforms are more in demand than ever. A report by streaming analytics firm Antenna, reported on Forbes, said the likes of Disney+ in the US have more than tripled in signups over a three-day window of 14 to 16 March 2020. This coincided with the school closures, and with companies moving to a work from home measure. Disney+ wasn’t alone in its spike. Premium streaming services HBO Now too saw a 90% gain in users. The figure is inclusive of free trials, active users as well as subscribers.

Meanwhile according to Antenna, Apple TV+ had a 10% rise in new subscribers on the week of 14 to 16 March 2020 compared to the week before, while Netflix saw a 47% increase in the number of subscribers in the US alone.

There is also no doubt that streaming services are flocking to Southeast Asia. Netflix has since been growing its local content in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia to resonate with audiences and propel its subscriber growth here. In October last year, Netflix also rolled out its content strategies, clearly unfazed by the upcoming arrival of Disney+, Apple TV+, and HBO Max.

India’s Reliance Jio Platforms to sell $1.5 billion stake to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, said on Thursday it will invest $1.5 billion in Jio Platforms for a 2.32% stake in the top Indian telecom operator.

With this deal, Jio Platforms, which is India’s largest telecom operator with more than 388 million subscribers, has secured $15.2 billion from 10 investors, including social giant Facebook, in the past nine weeks by selling a 24.7% stake in its business. For some comparison, India’s startup ecosystem raised $14.5 billion last year — in what was its best year.

Users will be able to block political ads on Facebook and Instagram

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Facebook has announced that users can now block political ads, along with increasing transparency around ads, and a spend tracker for political advertisers.

“With so much of our discourse taking place online, I believe platforms like Facebook can play a positive role in this election by helping Americans use their voice where it matters most – by voting.” – Mark Zuckerberg.

Rolling out on both Facebook and Instagram is a new feature called the Voting Information Center. Among the myriad features it will showcase, there’s one that users are likely to be happiest about: since June 17 they will be able to opt out of political advertising.

Google has announced the verification of advertisers from Russia, Ukraine, Canada and India, as well as a ban on clickbait advertisements

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Advertisers will be notified via email and in the account interface with a list of documents necessary to confirm identity. If the verification is ignored, Google will stop all campaigns.

Profiles that promote goods and services, educational or government regulated content will be checked first. Advertisers will be required to provide official documents according to Google's list. The maximum check period is 10 days.

Also in July Google will be updating its Clickbait Ads Policy to prohibit ads with clickbait headings and pictures. The new rules prohibit not only scandalous, fake or sensational texts and pictures, but also ads that induce the user to act out of fear, guilt and other strong negative emotions.

Google to prohibit demographic, zip code targeting for housing, employment, credit ads

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Google is updating its advertising policies around housing, employment and credit opportunities. Employment, housing and credit advertisers will no longer be permitted to target or exclude their ads from being shown based on demographics — gender, age, parental status, marital status or zip code. This adds on to existing policies that prohibit targeting based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.

The new policy will roll out in the U.S. and Canada “as soon as possible” and by the end of the year at the latest. Affected advertisers will be notified about the potential impact on their campaigns in the coming weeks.