Symantec to Acquire Identity Protection Service, LifeLock

The deal, worth $2.3B, is intended to create a more powerful AV tool

symantec_lifelock

2016 was a big antivirus year for me. I had two articles on how anyone could pick up malware. I followed it up here. Its true. Anyone can get a bug, so if you aren’t running a malware scanner or antivirus product, you really should be. Soft32.com has a number of GREAT antivirus products available. Some are free to try, or are completely free. Others, may cost you a subscription fee. Regardless of its payment structure, you need to run a virus scanner, whether you’re using a Mac, a Windows PC or a Linux machine.

Better safe than sorry…

And in that light, an interesting development occurred the other day. Antivirus maker Symantec is going to acquire identity protection service, LifeLock in a deal that’s currently valued at $2.3B dollars.

The deal, a combination of cash and $750M in new debt is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2017. The merger of LifeLock and Symantec is anticipated to provide comprehensive online protection for consumers. They’ll have premier antivirus protection coupled with identity theft protection, according to Symantec’s CEO, Greg Clark.

Symantek is interested in moving away from just providing malware protection. They’re looking to go into the “digital safety,” an estimated $10B business. With personal information and data becoming an increasingly larger tarket, Symantec is “stepping up to defend [them] through innovation and vigilance.”

LifeLock shares rose 14% in the aftermath of the Symantec announcement, while Symantec shares were flat. LifeLock is best known for its former CEO K Davis sharing his social security number with the public. Since 2010, he had been a victim of identity theft at least 13 times. In 2010, the FTC said it reached a deal with LifeLock where the company would pay $12M to settle claims it used false advertising to push its identity protection services. Then, it reached another deal with the FTC to pay $100M for violating the terms of a 2010 court order to secure consumer’s personal information and stop deceptive advertising practices.

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Facebook apps accidentally leaking access to third parties – change your Password now!

According to an investigation by Symantec, third parties (advertisers, analytic platforms, and other third parties), have accidentally had access to Facebook users’ accounts (profiles, pictures, chat,etc.) and also had the ability to post messages and mine personal information. However, these third-parties may not have realized their ability to access this information.

Facebook applications are Web applications that are integrated onto the Facebook platform. According to Facebook, 20 million Facebook applications are installed every day.

Symantec has discovered that in certain cases, Facebook IFRAME applications inadvertently leaked access tokens to third parties like advertisers or analytic platforms. We estimate that as of April 2011, close to 100,000 applications were enabling this leakage. We estimate that over the years, hundreds of thousands of applications may have inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties.

Access tokens are like ‘spare keys’ granted by you to the Facebook application. Applications can use these tokens or keys to perform certain actions on behalf of the user or to access the user’s profile. Each token or ‘spare key’ is associated with a select set of permissions, like reading your wall, accessing your friend’s profile, posting to your wall, etc.

Note: Symantec reported this issue to Facebook, who has taken corrective action to help eliminate this issue, however, Symantec advises Facebook users to change their passwords on Facebook in order protect their accounts from being mined.

Source: Symantec

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