Just Kidding!

May 18, 2011

So I know I said I was going to quit blogging for now, but I lied. I just can’t curb the enthusiasm. I also am no longer being graded on my posts, nor am I busy with other schoolwork.

This article is what brought me back, folks.

At a presentation in Australia, a security problem with Facebook photos was uncovered and shown for all to see: The vulnerability allows for any hacker with enough time to be able to hack into a Facebook account and have access to photos, regardless of “friend” status. This means that potentially, with enough time and a quick crash course on hacking, anyone could go into a person’s Facebook account, grab their photos, and publish them elsewhere.

The presenter demonstrated that even with the highest level of security enabled in the site, any user is vulnerable to these attacks. Which brings me to my biggest point- no matter how protected you think you are, you might not be. The Internet has always been a “best effort” project- from conception the Internet has never been perfect, and you can hardly call what oversees the Internet a “governing body.”

The point is that the loophole lies in the CDN’s that social networking sites like Facebook use, which operate outside of the private servers of Facebook. CDN stands for content delivery network. This works to help serve Facebook users more efficiently and quickly. But because the CDN operates outside of the Facebook servers system, the privacy settings I have taught you all about won’t apply to these networks and this content delivery, allowing for a competent hacker to get into a user account and take the photos.

So not to scare or be crazy paranoid- but always remember that you can be susceptible to attacks regardless of how good your privacy settings are. So NEVER post anything you think might potentially be a problem- never post pictures that could damage reputations, post comments that can be used against anyone, or anything that, aside from the heat of the moment, might come back and bite you later.


Last Video and Sign Off Post

May 2, 2011

Hi everyone!

So the semester is over, and I’m leaving you with one last video I made about the history of Facebook privacy. I’m leaving the blog open, because summer might be boring- so keep me bookmarked and come back periodically!

New Video on YouTube!

April 30, 2011

Hey everyone! Here’s a new video I’ve finished that is a quick how-to guide for privacy and account settings!

Video Argument

April 7, 2011

Hey all- this is a short video I made in Windows Movie Maker to throw together some ideas I had- enjoy!

Careful what you post!


Facebook Through the Years

April 5, 2011

Click here to celebrate Facebook’s 7th Birthday!

This is a very interesting article that discusses how Facebook has evolved through the years from the very beginning. This year marks the 7 year anniversary of the social networking site.

Marching through the slides, you can see that not only the look of the site has changed, but also the features. And every year, a new feature was invented that made sharing even more important to the success of the network. Likewise, privacy has also evolved. As I’m looking towards a final project for this research blog, I’m noticing that the evolution of Facebook has affected very much the way its users view privacy. Take a look and see what you can find that you think made privacy a bigger deal along the way. I found it very interesting to see in a rolling slideshow those changes which affected the perception and necessity of privacy the most.

And as always, continue to be careful what you post!

Step by Step

March 30, 2011

Here’s a sweet site that gives you LITERAL step by step instructions on how to protect yourself from applications on Facebook.


Remember, not having the application installed on your own computer doesn’t mean you are protected- just having a friend who might have used the application once but never removed it leaves you unprotected from that third party accessing the same information from your account as it could from your friend’s.

Which is especially ridiculous when your friend is someone you met at a bar three years ago and casually had drinks with once, before realizing they were a total creep and you just never got around to removing them from your friends.

So follow these directions! It definitely pays off.

And as always, careful what you post, readers!

The Ambivalent Facebooker

March 30, 2011

What would you do if you received a message on Facebook from your own account, letting you know that someone had hacked your account and knew your location?

Surely you would be alarmed. But say for instance you weren’t, because maybe you think Facebook is glitchy sometimes (don’t get me wrong, it is) and that it was some weird spam thing. Deleting it will make it go away, right?

What if then you received another message. One that was spookier, creepier, and more detailed.

I know I’d probably flip out.

That’s what privacy experts do for research- and this article details the process and the results of trying, and failing, to alert individuals of their lack of privacy measures.  It goes along with my question regarding the consumer aspect: the work of these researchers shows that people seem to be ambivalent about privacy, regardless of the amount of press or information they are exposed to about the risks.

There’s a large group of consumers that will make the biggest impact on Facebook and privacy, and it’s those 2/3 Americans who are what the article calls “privacy neutral.” What exactly does this mean? It means that they claim to care about their privacy, but then make no concrete efforts to actually do anything.

It seems like on one end there is the attitude- and on the other end is the behavior. So what do we have to do to have the two meet together in such a way as to understand the risks, guard against them, and not end up paranoid anti-social-networking activists?

The article’s best analogy was this: it’s like when you are in line to buy lunch, and there’s this cookie that’s screaming your name. You buy it, knowing it’s not good for you, but figuring it’s just once and it won’t hurt. But then it becomes a learned habit, and you buy one the next week, or even the next few days, and eventually you’re adding to your svelte swimsuit bod.

We don’t think that it’s going to be problematic to sign up for that Kroger card. But it could end in annoying junk mail. Still not a huge deal. But then it could become intense profiling by marketers, and could ultimately lead a your medical insurer to think that your habitual purchase of 500 calorie cookies requires an increase in your health premium.

So some of these researchers think that creating government sponsored legislation will bring an end to the long list of 27-page privacy policies and user agreements, and might actually benefit the consumer. Even the consumers that read my blog and know what to do to protect themselves.

What I would like you all to take from this is that this isn’t exaggeration- it isn’t hyperbole or me standing on a soapbox. This issues are real and can become even more real if nothing is done.

So until then, as always, be careful what you post.

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