EncryptoTel weekly digest(05.05.19)

Vodafone confession, censorship and cryptocurrency ambitions of Facebook and what Russian security services are afraid of

Vodafone had already found vulnerabilities in Huawei equipment back in 2011

British telecom giant Vodafone admitted that back in 2011, it discovered security flaws in Huawei’s telecommunication equipment supplied to the Italian division of Vodafone. This information first appeared in Bloomberg’s article citing Vodafone’s internal documents and information from anonymous sources. According to Bloomberg, Vodafone discovered a vulnerability in Internet routers back in 2011, which they mentioned as “backdoor telnet” in the report.

The world’s second largest mobile operator confirmed this information later, but noted that the problems were identified during an independent security testing initiated by Vodafone as a part of routine check. Vodafone reported their discoveries to Huawei, and the Chinese manufacturer has eliminated these vulnerabilities. But none of them implied that Huawei could establish unauthorized access to Vodafone networks, the British telecom giant said.

Recall that the US intelligence agencies insist that Huawei equipment may contain backdoors and spyware chips for remote access to telecommunications networks, and this puts national security at risk. Therefore, the United States calls on its allies to prohibit telecom companies from installing Huawei equipment. But the business is not ready to abandon products of one of the largest manufacturers of telecommunications equipment in the world, especially when the race for the deployment of 5G networks begins. The ban on the use of Huawei products will lead to delays in the launch of 5G networks, telecom companies warn.

Content filtering or censorship: Facebook has blocked the accounts of radical public figures

Facebook said it blocked the accounts of public figures with ultra-right views for violating the social network’s policy regarding hate speech and incitement to violence. So, religious leader Louis Farrakhan, famous for his anti-Semitic views, nationalist Paul Nelen and a conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson were subjected to ban.

They are also prohibited from using Instagram.

“We have always blocked individuals or organizations that promote or participate in violence and hatred, regardless of their ideology,” said Facebook in a statement. “The identification of potential violators occurs in an extensive and comprehensive analysis, and it led us to our decision to delete these accounts today.”

Facebook’s actions were expectedly criticized, first of all, by supporters of conspiracy theories. British radio host and conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson tweeted that “a handful of giant corporations” have the power to decide who had the right to freedom of speech and who had not.

Facebook again: social network uses cryptocurrency to stimulate users

Facebook’s cryptocurrency project revealed details. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook, whose project, as it turned out, is called Project Libra, plans to pay users cryptocurrency to view ads and give cashback.

Facebook cryptocurrency will be provided with fiat assets stored at bank deposits. Facebook has already negotiated with Visa, Mastercard and First Data, a major payment operator, to raise $ 1 billion to secure tokens. This should limit the sharp fluctuations typical of cryptocurrency.

Facebook negotiates with dozens of e-commerce companies and mobile payment services about integrating future cryptocurrency.

However, considering the previous news about one-sided blocking of Facebook accounts, social networks are unlikely to entice cryptocurrency users, especially those who appreciate the lack of censorship and the lack of centralized control over payments.

In Russia, mobile operator has introduced eSim support for the first time

Tele2 is the first Russian operator to support eSim technology. Now Tele2 users can refuse to use a physical card. However, while switching to eSim they need to come to Tele2 office and sign the corresponding agreement. Moreover, if a person has not previously been a Tele2 user, then he must first receive a physical SIM card, and then sign a statement of rejection and transfer to eSim.

The advantage of eSim technology is that it blurs the boundaries for the new generation of smartphone manufacturers. So, Apple and Google will be able to supply smartphones to the Russian market along with communications contracts.

The director of Tele2 Vladimir Pavlov, who is responsible for subscriber equipment, told Vedomosti that the presence of physical cards is necessary, as this is a regulator’s requirement.

The technology is supported in iPhone XS / XS Max and XR, as well as in the latest Google Pixel, iPad, Microsoft Surface and Apple, Samsung, Huawei smart watches.

In early April, the FSB and three major operators opposed the introduction of eSim technology. Security officials fear that the inability to use Russian cryptography in the devices of foreign companies carries a risk to national security.

The best is the enemy of the good: we continue to eliminate the bugs

Our team has an unanimous opinion — user experience should be perfect. Therefore, the process of testing our virtual PBX with a high degree of confidentiality is carried out continuously.

Over the past week, our testers discovered several errors in the process of registering new users, and the developers have eliminated the found bugs.

The developers also improved the work of web interface by making the tariff change process more user-friendly with the help of notifications.

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