Oh 2018, just when we thought you couldn’t get any worse, Russia gets its hands on our data.

In what is increasingly turning into the plot of a spy thriller, earlier this week top dogs from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube told Congress they’ve found accounts linked to Russian operatives.

Conservative MP Damian Collins is leading a parliamentary investigation into online meddling. He told CNN that Facebook user data tangled up in the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal was accessed from Russia and other countries.

He cited the recent discovery by the UK regulator, the Information Commissioner Office, which is investigating the data misuse by Facebook.

“I think what we want to know now is who were those people and what access did they have, and were they actually able to take some of that data themselves and use it for whatever things they wanted," he said.

“So is it possible, indirectly, that the Russians learned from Cambridge Analytica, and used that knowledge to run ads in America during the presidential election as well?”

Aleksandr Kogan, who was passing information to CA after launching a Facebook app, has said this could all boil down to an innocent coincidence, such as a representative of CA’s parent company, SCL Elections, remotely accessing the server to see the files while in Russia.

Elon musk be sorry after comments

In proof that no good deed goes unpunished, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has apologised for calling a diver who helped rescue the Thai boys stuck in a cave a ‘pedo’ on social media.

He says he spoke ‘in anger’ because British diver Vern Unsworth mocked a mini-submarine he had sent in to help rescue the boys. Unsworth called it a ‘PR stunt’ and told him to stick it ‘where it hurts’.

Obviously there are no winners in a mud-slinging match like this, but at the same time calling the guy a paedophile is way too far.

"His actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologise," Musk said.

It may be too little too late though, as the diver is saying he might sue.

Insta-security

Hackers are finding ever-more interesting ways of stealing people’s data – which is why platforms need to come up with ever-more secure ways of protecting it.

Social media is playing a big part in the latest trend, which is where hackers call up phone providers and pretend they want to move their number over to a new SIM.

They then use this new Sim to reset as many of the users’ passwords as they can, which is fairly easy because most people link their social accounts to their phone number in some way.

They then steal users’ social media handles and sell them for Bitcoin – you’d be amazed at what some of the more in-demand handles can get.

Instagram told TechCrunch that it’s planning to release a non-SMS two-factor authentication system that works with security apps like Google Authenticator or Duo.

This means that when you try and log into an account, you’ll be asked for a second method of identification to go alongside your password – but it won’t be something linked to your phone.

In this case, the new system gives users a special code to log in that can’t be generated on a different phone, just in case your number is moved to a hacker’s SIM card.

It’s so important to be aware of things like this as hacking techniques evolve as it’s so easy to get lazy about security, while attackers have an increasing number of doorways to our data.

How fake are your followers?

We wear our Twitter followers like a badge of honour – but with bots and the ability to buy followers, it’s best to take numbers with a pinch of salt.

Twitter recently announced it would be culling accounts that seem fake, hiding them so they wouldn’t be counted in a user’s followers.

Earlier this week I took a look at how many fake followers some of the top tech tweeters had, and you might be surprised at who has the best rating…

If you’re feeling brave you can also use the tool to find out how many of your own followers are real.

→ READ MORE: How many fake followers do top tech execs have?

Am I addicted to tech?

‘This time last week I wasn’t addicted to tech’ begins the fantastic blog from our new work experience student Amber.

In a piece of prose that’s full of highs and lows, Amber monitors her tech usage for a week and let me tell you, it’s pretty harrowing for her - which is exactly why I don’t intend to try it myself.

→ READ MORE: Am I addicted to tech?

SVPER social media

This might seem a little counterintuitive, but there’s now a social network that rewards you for meeting up offline.

SVPER is a blockchain-based network that replaces user profiles, pictures and text messages with instant video invitations.

This means that when they log in they can see what people near them are doing, or planning to do, choose the event they would like to join, and meet them in person straight away. The more users socialize, the more cryptocurrency tokens they get.

The team behind the app say they want to fight offline loneliness and social isolation by bringing the online dating and friends-seeking experience closer to reality.

In an era where loneliness is reaching epidemic levels, this could be the SVPERhero we need!