Tag Archive for: Facebook

Facebook over SSL

28 Jan 2011
January 28, 2011

A few months ago I mentioned the firesheep extension for Firefox. This is a nifty/scary little critter that does some potentially scary stuff with respect to your social networking accounts.

Back when I wrote that post I mentioned one good way to protect yourself is to ensure you’re using SSL (https) when browsing the vulnerable sites.

This week the Facebook blog announced a new security option to force SSL when visiting your Facebook pages.

Starting today we’ll provide you with the ability to experience Facebook entirely over HTTPS. You should consider enabling this option if you frequently use Facebook from public Internet access points found at coffee shops, airports, libraries or schools. The option will exist as part of our advanced security features, which you can find in the “Account Security” section of the Account Settings page.

Sadly, it isn’t on by default, but it is very simple to turn it on – I encourage all Facebook users to do so – especially if you’re using Facebook while “on the go” via open wireless networks. But even if you’re not using wifi, it is still a good practice to follow.

One welcome side-effect? FB chat now works over SSL. Up until this release, that never worked for me.

ReclaimPrivacy: Another Facebook Privacy Checker

18 May 2010
May 18, 2010

ReclaimPrivacy logoRight after I wrote about SaveFace last night, I learned about another Facebook privacy tool. This one can be found at ReclaimPrivacy.org and is another JavaScript bookmarklet like SaveFace.

The ReclaimPrivacy privacy scanner, however, presents a little differently and leaves you with a status once completed. If it finds anything it doesn’t like, you’ll get notified and a link to the proper profile setting page to fix it.

ReclaimPrivacy.org privacy scanner

And again, it is up to you to determine if these sorts of things are to be trusted. If you are curious as to what is up, you can see the source here: http://static.reclaimprivacy.org/javascripts/privacyscanner.js

SaveFace Helps With Facebook Privacy

17 May 2010
May 17, 2010

Untangle NetworksThe folks behind the Untangle Firewall released an interesting little “bookmark utility” called SaveFace today. If you’re concerned about the assorted Facebook privacy issues and not sure you’ve caught everything, this might be worth a shot.

No install necessary, just drag the little bookmarklet to your browser’s Favorites bar. Then head over to your Facebook page and click the bookmark and turn it loose.

SaveFace sets your privacy settings back to Friends Only, for all the following:

  • Contact Information
  • Search Settings
  • Friends, Tags and Connections
  • Personal Information and Posts

Best of all, it’s free. Untangle collects no personal information from you or your Facebook when you use this Bookmark utility.

Small caveat here though: Like any code you pull off of a website, it is up to you to decide if you trust it… I, personally, run the untangle stuff at home so I’ve already invested some level of trust here. But, I’ll also admit that I haven’t the foggiest idea what exactly this critter is doing! It does give some status updates as it runs though, for what that’s worth.

If you’re a JavaScript guy, you can see what’s going on with a review of http://www3.untangle.com/_js/pr.js, as that’s what gets loaded from the bookmarklet (at least, from mine at any rate).

If you have friends (or family) just too bewildered about all the Facebook privacy hoopla you could at least walk them running this thing. They’ll get some protection and won’t have to deal with the headache of researching all the options…

Facebook Privacy Again

25 Apr 2010
April 25, 2010

The folks at Facebook continue to take the “share everything by default” approach which is probably great for their monetization efforts but is really starting to upset me. This past week they announced something called Instant Personalization (read more).  When you visit select Facebook partner sites, they can get your [public] Facebook data to “enable a personal and social experience.”

And yes, this is enabled by default.

If privacy is at all a concern for you, this may not be happy news. I know it wasn’t for me.

Firstly, you might revisit what you’re sharing publicly. I covered this in an article a few months ago cleverly titled, “Facebook Privacy.”

EFF logoSecondly, you’ll want to address the new Instant Personalization. There is a good article over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation that gives a good walkthrough titled, “How to Opt Out of Facebook’s Instant Personalization” that is a good resource. Some good stuff there including a video.

Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, but you really do need to keep up with all their privacy shenanigans and make sure you opt-out of them as they come along.