Facebook Says SMS Spam Received by Two-Factor Authentication Users Was a Bug

Facebook Says SMS Spam Received by Two-Factor Authentication Users Was a Bug

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook users had been getting SMS notifications after signing up for 2F
  • Users’ responses to notifications would appear as status updates on Faceb
  • Facebook acknowledged the issue and promised a fix

Facebook users, over the past week, have reportedly been getting SMS notifications from the social media website after signing up for the two-factor authentication security feature. While the two-factor authentication is a vital part of protecting online accounts by adding a second layer of security, the text messages, interestingly, were not related to any security features. This gave rise to speculation that Facebook was trying to increase user engagement However, Facebook has now responded to the issue saying that it was a bug, and that such notifications were not meant to be sent.

While two-factor authentication is considered a vital measure of security, requiring an attacker to have both the user’s password and physical access to a registered device before being able to log into the user’s account. However, on Facebook, the system appears to have ended up being a problem for its users, thanks to SMS notifications. Interestingly, users also complained that if they replied to the SMS notifications, these would appear as status updates on Facebook.

Alex Stamos, Facebook Chief Security Officer, explains in a blog post that it was not Facebook’s intention to send non-security-related SMS notifications to phone numbers, and also apologised for the inconvenience caused to users. He wrote, “The last thing we want is for people to avoid helpful security features because they fear they will receive unrelated notifications.”

Facebook has also promised that the bug will be fixed soon. “We are working to ensure that people who sign up for two-factor authentication won’t receive non-security-related notifications from us unless they specifically choose to receive them, and the same will be true for those who signed up in the past. We expect to have the fixes in place in the coming days,” said Stamos.

Responding to why users responses to SMS notifications would appear as status updates, Facebook again said it was an unintended consequence, and was enabled by an older functionality where users could post to Facebook via text message. This functionality would soon be deprecated, Facebook said.

While you wait for Facebook to come out with a fix, you can go to Settings > Notifications to switch off text notifications. You can also use a code generator app and a U2F key instead of providing your phone numbers to Facebook when enabling 2FA.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Microsoft’s Cortana Assistant Gains IFTTT Integration, Supports More Smart Home Products

Microsoft's Cortana Assistant Gains IFTTT Integration, Supports More Smart Home Products

In a bid to expand into the growing home automation market, Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana will now support more smart home devices and integrate with IFTTT – a free web-based platform that helps users connect their apps and services together, the company has announced.

Cortana now supports devices from ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa and Geeni.

Cortana running on Windows 10 Operating System (OS), iPhone, Android and the Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, can be used to control these devices.

“Say ‘Hey Cortana, set the living room thermostat to 72 degrees’ to control your ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, or Honeywell Total Connect Comfort thermostat. With vivid colours from your LIFX Wi-Fi connected light bulbs, you can set the mood just right for movie night,” the company wrote in a blog post late on Friday.

To set up their connected home with the digital assistant, users need to open Cortana on Windows 10 or go to the Cortana app on their phone, click Notebook and then click Connected Home.

“From there, you can connect your favourite smart home accounts and control your devices from anywhere you use Cortana,” the post added..

The tech giant also announced Cortana’s support for IFTTT.

IFTTT (If This Then That) is both a website and a mobile app that was launched in 2010.

“Using IFTTT, you will be able to customise your experience by creating your own phrases to use with services on IFTTT. You can also use Applets on IFTTT with Cortana to trigger multiple actions with one phrase,” Microsoft said.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

12 Google Messaging Apps: A Grand Tour

12 Google Messaging Apps: A Grand Tour

Get this, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has not one, not two, not three but 12 messaging apps. You would think that a tech giant like Google would be interested in developing a single app that does everything for everyone, but that’s not the case. In fact, the tech giant seems focused on improving each app to be the best at what it does, so that users can choose the service that best suits their needs.

Here’s a quick look at how each app works.

Google Messaging Apps

Google Voice

Launched by Google on March 11, 2009, Google Voice is the tech giant’s oldest VoIP product. The app includes a free phone number for U.S. users and you can instruct it to ring your cell phone, work or home phone, or all three, whenever someone calls your Voice number. You can also instruct the app to send SMS texts and voicemails to Hangouts.

Google Hangouts

This is a unified communications service that allows you to initiate and participate in video, voice and text chats, either one-on-one or in a group. Hangouts is built into Gmail and Google+. The mobile app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Project Fi

This is a phone carrier from Google that works by giving you mobile data service on three mobile networks that your phone will intelligently switch between. It uses WiFi to send texts and to make calls. Unlike traditional carriers that bill you after you use their service, Project Fi is a “prepaid” carrier, which means that you pay upfront for your service in the trailing month. Fi is currently available only to U.S. users who own either Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6 or Pixel smartphones.

Google Duo 

Google Duo is a simple video-calling service that allows you to connect with your customers on both Android and iOS. It is one of the two communication apps launched by Google at the 2016 I/O conference. Its standout feature is Knock Knock, which gives you a preview of who is calling by firing up the camera on the other end of the line. 

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail is an email service that was developed and launched by Google in limited edition on October 2014 and later released to the public in May 2015.

Inbox intelligently bundles similar messages together, allowing you to dismiss all of them with a single click. It also highlights important events such as trips and clusters together hotel and flight information.

Gmail

One of the most familiar of Google’s messaging options, this is a free, advert supported email service that’s available on the web and also through mobile apps for iOS and Android. Unlike the newbie Inbox, Gmail has an All mail folder, experimental “Labs” add-ons and extensive options in settings that include Blocked Addresses and Filters.

Google Chat 

Before the standalone Hangouts app came, you could still place VoIP calls and instant messages from Google+ and Gmail using Chat. The instant messaging service is colloquially known as gchat, gtalk or gmessage, but they are not Google endorsed. Chat remains embedded on Gmail.

Google Allo

Launched in May 2016, Google Allo is a Smart messaging app for iPhone and Android. Allo works for group chats, allows you to send pictures, share fun stickers and so on. Allo is great for talking to the Google Assistant.

Google Groups

Launched in February 2001, Google Groups is 16 years old! The service provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests.  A good number of people still use Groups because they at some point joined a group and that’s where the conversations still takes place.

Google+

During its first years, Google+ allowed users to send texts, emails, edit and share photos as well as make video calls. A few years ago, Google changed its all-in-one approach, becoming more like a cross between Facebook and Reddit. The platform’s content is organized by “Collections” that make it easy for you to find relevant content.

Google Spaces

This social service by Google is less than a year old. Spaces makes it easier to find and share images, articles and videos without leaving the app as Google Search, Chrome and YouTube come built in. 

Google Messenger

Messenger from Google is a communications app that helps you to send and receive MMS and SMS messages to any phone. The app has a great interface and supports text, pictures, emoji and GIFs. You can make it your default texting app that people can always text you on. Messenger is only available to Android users.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

25 Android and iPhone Apps to Add a Second Phone Number for Business Only Calls

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls

A smartphone is just as much a business communication device as it is a personal one. But using a single number for both on your phone is unprofessional and unnecessarily problematic. But smartphone technology and the many apps available in the marketplace allow you to easily get a second phone number avoiding these problems entirely.

If your phone can accept a second SIM card, you can get another number from your service provider. However, if you don’t want to use this option or can’t because you don’t have a secondary SIM slot, you can use an app to get a second number on your phone.

Why Get a Separate Business Number?

First, it clearly separates your personal and business conversations, while at the same time protecting your personal private number. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about figuring out who is calling you because the dedicated line identifies it. Last but not least, it gives you a professional appearance.

Some apps may have either a free version or trial period, so if you can, try them out before you purchase a plan. And be sure to read the fine print, because unlimited calls, SMS and text are in most cases between users of the app.

Second Phone Number Apps for Small Businesses

Here are 25 apps you can use to add a second number. All of the second phone number apps are available for Android and iOS, except for LineUp, Numbers Plus, Second Phone Number, and Swytch, which are only for iOS.

GoDaddy Smartline

The GoDaddy SmartLine was just announced recently by the domain name company. You can get a local phone number with a US area code plus customizable voicemail, business hour ring option, text messages and more. You can try it free for 30 days.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - GoDaddy Smartline

Burner

Burner is one of the more popular apps for creating a secondary number. It was originally designed to create a temporary number, but permanent options are now available. The mini burner will give you 14 days with limited talk time and text messages, while the permanent version is a monthly plan for as long as you need the number. There is also a three-line plan if you happen to need more numbers.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Burner

Google Voice

With Google Voice, all you need is a Google account to get a new phone number. The calls can be routed to your mobile phone, computer, home, office or another location. In addition to standard calling features, the app also transcribes voicemail messages to text.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Google Voice

Hushed

Like Burner, Hushed has temporary and permanent options for your second phone number. It starts with a free number for three days, followed by seven-day and permanent plans you have to pay for. Features include custom voicemail messages and call-forwarding.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Hushed

Dingtone

Dingtone gives you a free US number so you can make calls or text to any landline or mobile device in over 230 countries. The company uses its dedicated VoIP network to deliver HD voice and also provides instant messaging to share photos, videos, locations and contacts. Yearly and monthly subscriptions are available in the US, UK, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Dingtone

Free Tone

Free Tone says it gives you unlimited free calls and texts to U.S. and Canadian phone numbers when you get your own number from any area code with no trials or hidden costs. The company uses VoIP technology to deliver the service. The free calls only apply to the contiguous US and Canada, so make sure you check if you plan calling anywhere else.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Free Tone

CoverMe

CoverMe gives you end-to-end encryption to make secure private calls and send texts with your new number. The app also has a private vault to hide photos, videos, passwords and files. You can get US and Canadian numbers for many different area codes.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - CoverMe

Cloudphone

Cloud Phone  describes itself as a business phone system for managing your business and personal calls. It includes one touch access to call recording, conference calling, eavesdrop, voicemail transcription and flip call features. The app includes a professional company greeting and an auto attendant for call routing, voicemail and call forwarding.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Cloudphone

iPlum

iPlum has domestic and international functionality with support for 22 global languages on smartphones and tablets. You pay as you go by only purchasing the credits you need for your second number. You can port your existing phone number with caller ID, dedicated voicemail, call forwarding and picture and video messaging.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - iPlum

Line2

Line2 offers full feature business phone systems for your second number starting with 1,500 minutes of outbound calling or forwarding. You can get a number in any city in the U.S. or Canada with visual caller ID, group calling and messaging, number blocking and more.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Line2

LineUp

The second number LineUp provides offers texting, photo messaging, calling and voicemail. The subscription-free pricing lets you use the number for a single call or long-term use. The company also provides vanity numbers for your business with calling and texting features. The calling and texting minutes you pay for roll over instead of expiring, and they are good for any LineUp numbers you have.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - LineUp

Numbers Plus

Numbers Plus lets you create multiple numbers and keep them as long as you want. Currently it only supports US and Canadian numbers for making calls and texting. You can try it for free and use the in-app purchase feature for additional time and numbers.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Numbers Plus

Phoner

The Phoner app has a random phone number generator to quickly give you a temporary or permanent number. Once you get the number, you can access reverse phone number lookup, phone call recording functions, anonymous texting and calling, along with SMS and MMS.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Phoner

Ring4

Ring4 gives you a local or international number in 20 countries with features such as text with emoji, call recording, do not disturb mode and more. If you make international calls, you can make or receive calls and texts overseas with a US number, with no roaming charges.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Ring4

TalkU

TalkU gives you a free second number to make and receive calls in the US and internationally. Call any mobile or landline phone number in more than 200 countries with unlimited free calling and texting between TalkU users. Features include Visual voicemail with instant listening, call screens, group calling with free group conference calls, and walkie-talkie.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - TalkU

Talkatone

Talkatone gives you a free US or Canadian phone number to make free calls in those countries. Inbound international calls are also free, with monthly subscription fee for making calls to select countries. The app supports ads, but you can pay for the service to have them removed.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Talkatone

Swytch

Swytch has designed its app so businesses can give their employees work mobile numbers, instead of work mobile phones. This is a great cost effective option for many small businesses. For the employees it means not having to change personal handset, network operator or SIM card. And for business owners, it means saving on the purchase of increasingly expensive smartphones.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Swytch

Sideline

Sideline built its business with a free version loaded with features, but now it is only available as a paid service. Still the high-quality features such as auto-attendant, along with standard calling options seem worth the price for many businesses.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Sideline

Second Phone Number

Second Phone Number  gives you as many numbers as you want with monthly or yearly subscriptions. The phone numbers are available for 31 countries with features including contact management, numbers for specific business use, texting, SMS and more.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Second Phone Number

Telos

Telos gives you unlimited calling and texting with a second phone number. You can get a US phone number in any area code as well as international numbers in several countries. Calls can be forwarded to any landline or mobile number with voicemail, auto reply messages and blocking features.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Telos

Textfree

Textfree starts with free text messages, inbound calls and limited outbound calls for your second number. It is important to remember you have to use your free number at least once within a 30 day period or the company will reclaim it. You can keep the paid numbers for as long as you want.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Textfree

TextMe Up

TextMe Up lets you manage as many numbers as you like and switch between multiple numbers in one screen. Features include HD voice and video calling, as well as group messages with texting, photo and video sharing. You can call numbers in the US, Canada, UK and 200 countries with monthly plans.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - TextMe Up

Textplus

Textplus provides real free US phone numbers with unlimited free SMS text and MMS to any US or Canadian number. While inbound calls are free, you can only make ad-supported free calls. If you don’t want the ads, you can opt for the paid service. The app uses push notifications to instantly deliver text messages. You can also send emojis, stickers, animated GIFs, and voice notes with support for group blast messaging.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Textplus

Virtual Phone

You can place and receive calls and text messages to any phone number or SIP device with Virtual Phone. The app includes features to keep track of all caller information, such as geographical location, time zone, caller’s name, and phone. Advanced business call management and routing rules, interactive voice menus, custom greetings, multiple voice mailboxes and more are also available.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Virtual Phone

WhatsCall

WhatsCall lets you make calls to users even if they don’t have the app or an internet connection. It includes one touch recording for incoming and outgoing calls, call block and caller ID. The company has different offers to earn credit for free calls, including watching ads, playing games, completing tasks and inviting friends.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - WhatsCallMan With 2 Smartphones Photo via Shutterstock

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]