News in brief: computers trained to spot catfish; Trump cautioned on blocks; Apple locks out older phones

Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news

Algorithms trained to spot fake profiles

We’ve all seen them: implausibly beautiful young women and rugged retired US officers on social media, sometimes just there to spread links to their porn sites but also sometimes aiming to make contact with real human beings, offering friendship and love and seeking … your money.

Those fake profiles, known as catfishes, are increasingly common, and now researchers at Edinburgh University have trained computer models how to spot those fake profiles. The algorithms were trained on information from some 5,000 real profiles on Pornhub, an adult entertainment “tube” channel, learning how real men and women of different ages wrote posts and interacted with each other.

The researchers then let the algorithms loose on Pornhub, reported the BBC, and found data suggesting that some 40% of the site’s users were lying about their ages, while around 25% lied about what sex they are.

Dr Walid Magdy of Edinburgh University said: “Adult websites are populated by users who claim to be other than who they are”, and added that the algorithms they developed “could lead to useful tools to flag dishonest users and keep social networks of all kinds safe”.

Trump warned on blocking Twitter followers

President Trump uses his Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, to communicate his thoughts to nearly 32m people – and, like most Twitter users, he’s not afraid to use the “block” button when he doesn’t like what people say back to him.

That’s potentially illegal, argue lawyers, who have sent the president a letter arguing that his Twitter account is a public forum protected by the US constitution.

The lawyers, from the Knight First Amendment Institute at New York’s Columbia University, say that “your Twitter accounts are forums in which you share your thoughts and decisions as President, and in which millions of people respond, ask questions, and sometimes have those questions answered”.

The lawyers go on: “This Twitter account operates as a ‘designated public forum’ for First Amendment purposes, and accordingly the viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional. We ask that you unblock them and any others who have been blocked for similar reasons.”

Neither the White House nor Twitter responded when Reuters asked for a comment on the letter.

Apple shifts to 64bit

One of the big events in the Mac and iOS world is WWDC, held every year in California, when the Cupertino giant announces new and tweaked products. However, this year Apple has annoyed some of the faithful by announcing that iOS11, the next version of its mobile operating system, will only run on 64bit devices – thus meaning some older hardware whose processors won’t support 64bit won’t get the next upgrade.

Those devices are the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5c and the iPad4, while the oldest devices that will get the upgrade – and are thus presumably next for the chopping block – are the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air.

The move to 64bit also means that even if your device will get iOS11, not all your apps will work either if they’re 32bit-only.

While iOS malware isn’t very common, it does exist, and there’s an increasing volume of it in the wild. At Naked Security we always recommend making sure your device’s operating system is up to date and that you’re running anti-malware software and making sure all your apps as well as the OS are regularly patched, so the news that these devices won’t be getting the latest version of iOS means we’d urge you to think about what you’re planning to do when Apple stops updating iOS10.

Catch up with all of today’s stories on Naked Security


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