I think we all know by now what the most popular social networking site on the Internet is. Twitter is quickly making it’s way to the top of the heap but for now Facebook is still king of the mountain. One of the more popular features that Facebook has added in the past couple of years is the ability to create an application for the people logged into Facebook to use. There have been many companies that made a lot of money off of this feature.
Unfortunately there has also been a lot of nefarious characters that have exploited this feature as well.
They too are making lots of money from it.
I will go over some of the risks of Facebook applications and how to keep yourself safe –
Keep Private Information Private
One thing that Facebook pulls out of people is their private information. On any other site people would never give the amount of information that they seem give on the Facebook platform. Through most people’s profiles you can find out their first, last and maiden names. You can also find out where they live, where they went to school, and even worse most people will offer up the information of where they lived in the past.
A lot of these answers are the answers to questions that you will fill out any kind of credit check online. This is perfect for anybody looking to exploit your credit history or steal your identity.
Facebook applications, if you allow them, have access to this information as well. Once you give them permission they can get all of the information that is about you from your Facebook profile. If a person that has evil intentions makes a Facebook app, they can now target all of the people who have allowed the application in their Facebook ecosystem and target them for identity theft.
Make sure that before you give an application access to all of your information that you check on the company who has made the app.
It is best to Google them to see if they are legitimate or not.
Facebook applications, for the most part, run in a sandbox that is provided by Facebook themselves. A sandbox is when you have the ability to use a language but certain features of the language that might cause security problems are stripped away. The sandbox that Facebook gives developers to make applications is pretty secure but there have been holes found.
So not only can the hackers use an application that was built for malicious use intentionally, they can also find holes in pre-existing applications and exploit them too. If you install an application and it is doing anything weird be very suspicious and uninstall it.
In the world of the Internet being paranoid is a good thing!
So I have gone over a couple of ways that Facebook applications can be used to exploit the average user. I do not want you to get the wrong idea, Facebook applications for the most part are safe. Just like anything else on the internet they can be exploited so it pays to be careful.