| By Scott Mace |
A year after I first looked at Facebook privacy for Windows Secrets, some safeguards of user privacy have improved slightly.
But by other measures, user privacy on Facebook is worse — here’s what’s changed.
Proliferating hacker attacks on FB users
When I first wrote about Facebook privacy settings in the May 20, 2010, Top Story, “Tighten your Facebook privacy settings,” personal privacy threats on the world’s leading social-networking site were limited mostly to overexposure — revealing personal information to people you never intended to see it. Soon after that story, Facebook made some improvements to its privacy settings (I wish I could take the credit), but new threats arose in the form of social-engineering hacks perpetrated on Facebook users.
So many of these Facebook hacks now exist that security-software companies have webpages dedicated to Facebook security — Sophos’s “Facebook security best practices” page, for example — in addition to Facebook pages such as Sophos, McAfee, and Symantec. In a recent Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog, Nick Eaton quoted Microsoft Malware Protection Center program manager Jeff Williams’s statement that “the company has seen a 1,200-percent increase in the presence of phishing via social networks” in the second half of 2010, versus the first half.
But the biggest threat to your Facebook security/privacy remains rogue applications that also use social-engineering tricks. Facebook users are fooled into giving these apps access to personal profiles, and links to the apps get posted on both the users’ and their friends’ walls.