Monday Grok: 600,000 Facebook accounts compromised

Hack Siri onto your iPhone 4, unless you're on Android, which is most of you

600,000 Facebook accounts were "compromised" yesterday, or thereabouts. And 600,000 the day before that. It happened again on Friday. How do we know? Facebook told us so. Why don't we care? The law of giant numbers and its corollary, the law of tiny percentages.

Facebook has 800 million users, so 600,000 is just an echo amidst all the shouting. Still, it feels like a big deal, or at least that it should be. But thanks to the decimal point Facebook's user community will almost certainly let it slide, again.

After all, if someone's gone to that much trouble to get into your account, maybe you really are that interesting, just as you always suspected — a prejudice Facebook reinforces every time you log in. That, of course, is the genius of Facebook. Which reminds me — Update anyone? I am writing this blog in my pyjamas. Actually, they're broadshorts, very colourful red ones with Hibiscus-like patterns on them. #3secondsofyrlifeuwillnevergetback.

Reporting on the security update on the Facebook blog, <i>Mashable</i> writes, "The factoid, first noted by security site Sophos, was in the context of an entry introducing new security features for the social network. The figure was extrapolated by a stat showing .06 per cent of 1 billion logins per day are compromised. Less than 0.5 per cent of Facebook users experience spam on any given day."

In an update to its account of the report, ReadWriteWeb (RWW) notes that Facebook, obviously alarmed by the increasing interest and amusement all its corporate transparency has engendered, sought to clarify what "compromised" actually means. "Compromised in this sense refers to logins where we are not absolutely confident that the account's true owner is accessing the account and we either preemptively or retroactively block access. We are being preventative and helping make sure people secure their account even if they aren't actually compromised on Facebook," ReadWriteWeb wrote.

There's a great little infographic with the Facebook blog, as well as some other useful data, beyond the obvious point about those maybe-maybe-not hacked accounts. One in particular is quite stunning: Of the 750 million users registered at the time the infographic was designed, (it's now 800 million) half of them log in every day.

One final Facebook Factoid. Regular readers of Grok will know that Grok is a regular reader of the Uncrunched, Michael Arrington's new blog. Arrington has been tracking sales of Facebook shares on Secondary Market, and in particular the fact that in recent weeks, the price seems to have found its limit. Buyers and sellers were eyeballing each other across the counter but no shares have been moving. Now, it looks like the sellers have blinked. Arrington reports, "The weighted average offer (sell) price in today’s auction was $32.37 (down from $32.42 last week). The weighted average bid (buy) price was $28.47, unchanged from last week. The clear price was an even $30 per share."

More hacker love

iPhone 4S has been out there for less than a month and Siri, Apple's big win for this release, has already been ported back to the iPhone 4, not by Apple, of course, but by the Fanboys.

Techcrunch reports on the hack, which it learnt about on Twitter. "The hack requires a jail broken device. By copying the app onto the device, the iPhone 4 can call up Siri and, more important, connect to the Siri servers," Techcrunch wrote. Techcrunch then links to instructions, should you wish to violate Apple's user policies yourself, and note that the hack also seems to work on the iPhone Touch 4G, "although those instructions are forthcoming."

Maybe it doesn't matter

While Apple owns the limelight, Samsung increasingly owns the customers. Take that Fanboys! Henry Blodgett, in this column for <i>Business Insider</i> notes that all the excuses are wearing thin now that Samsung is “Blowing Past Apple To Become The Biggest Smartphone. Vendor.” Well, at least it did in the last quarter. And it wasn't a small gap either. Samsung shipped 28 million units to Apple's 17 million iPhones. Blodgett writes, "Android has become an increasingly viable and important platform for developers (and, if past is prologue, is on its way to becoming the most important). No matter how you look at it, in a race for global smartphone platform domination, this is a worrisome trend for Apple."

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments. Email him from your brand new Samsung smart phone at And iPhone users...meh... you Noobs are sooo yesterday. But you can still follow him on Twitter @ag_birmingham.

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