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May 13, 2013

Technology News Briefs — May 13, 2013

Trojan Trying to Hijack Facebook Profiles

A malicious browser extension targeting Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox is attempting to hijack Facebook accounts, Microsoft announced in a security bulletin.

The malware, known as Trojan:JS/Febipos, attempts to keep itself update using genuine browser extensions, Microsoft said.

The Trojan keeps track of when the infected computer is logged into a Facebook account and then tries to download a configuration file from the social network. This file includes a list of commands of what the browser extension will do.

This, then, enables the malware to complete a number of different Facebook actions such as liking a page, sharing, posting, commenting, joining a group and chatting with friends of the account holder.

Microsoft observed a Facebook page the malicious plug-in was posting on regularly and found its likes and comments were increasing, which likely signifies an increasing number of Facebook members are being infected.

“There may be more to this threat because it can change its messages, URLs, Facebook pages and other activity at any time,” the security bulletin reads. “In any case, we recommend you always keep your security products updated with the latest definitions to help avoid infection.

Google SMS Latest Service to Get Axe

Google’s SMS search has gone dark for good as the technology giant continues its spring-cleaning process.

Users of the service first noticed SMS was no longer working May 10 and began posting questions and comments on a Google’s Product Forums page, as well as on Reddit, over the weekend.

A Google employee, identified only as Jessica S., confirmed Google had axed SMS search in a Google’s Product Forum post.

“Closing products always involves tough choices, but we do think very hard about each decision and its implications for our users,” she said. “Streamlining our services enables us to focus on creating beautiful technology that will improve people’s lives.”

SMS, a mobile phone short message service, allowed users’ search queries to be sent as a text message. The results were then sent as a reply. There was no charge for the service.

Google to Launch Socialized Games Platform

Google is reportedly launching an enormous update to better socialize mobile games on its Android platform, according to the Android Police.

The report indicated Google Play Services will include multi-player abilities, leaderboards and cloud syncing.

“For comparison, the current Play Services that most people have is v3.0.27. 3.1 is a massive update — the strings file, for instance, has more than doubled from 300 to 700 entries,” the report said. “This is how Google is pushing out all the shared files for Google Play Games.”

The social sharing aspect of the update is a bid to make the games go viral, thereby attracting new users.

Because the service is not yet fully functional, Android Police has hypothesized that another update or a central Play games client is on the way.

It is thought the update could be unveiled at Google’s I/O developer conference this week.