Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Design could help Facebook members limit security leaks

05.12.2011
A sign-up interface created by Penn State researchers for Facebook apps could help members prevent personal information -- and their friends' information -- from leaking out through third-party games and apps to hackers and identity thieves.

When Facebook members sign up for apps developed by third-party companies, they may not know that these apps are sometimes overriding their global settings on privacy preferences and information sharing, said Heng Xu, assistant professor of information sciences and technology.

"One illusion is that people think that they have set global privacy settings, so it's secure," said Xu. "But the broken element is in the third-party applications that people use to play games and interact in different ways with each other on Facebook."

Members who sign up for an app must agree to new terms of information disclosure that are often different from their main Facebook privacy settings when they sign up for an app, Xu said. The sign-up screen currently is a general agreement that shows information third-party developers are requesting. If the member does not agree, the member cannot use the app.

The screen designed by the researchers allows members to decide what types of information they are comfortable sharing and with whom they want to share it.

Xu, who worked with Na Wang, doctoral candidate, and Jens Grossklags, assistant professor, both of information sciences and technology, designed two alternative third-party privacy agreement screens to clearly show members what data and privacy details they agree to share with the developer.

The researchers, who presented their findings today (Dec. 4) at the Association for Computer Machinery Symposium on Computer Human Interaction for Management of Information Technology, Boston, asked a group of Facebook members to try two app sign-up page designs, a single-color scheme and one that used three colors -- green, yellow and red -- to designate critical information. The design also features three boxes to offer members the option to share their app activity history with all the members of their network, just specific people, or keep all of the information private.

Of the 11 participants, all said that improving the security and privacy of the sign-up pages is important. Six of the testers preferred the multiple-colored scheme to the monochromatic version.

Privacy settings allow members to determine how much information the member wants to display or share with their members of their network and Facebook. This data can include birthdate, hometown and current city, as well as pictures the members uploaded to their pages.

Members may not consider data like hometown or birthdates vital information, but Xu said that hackers can use such information to guess social security numbers.

Xu said that people may not even know that they may expose their friends' personal data if they use apps. A calendar app, for example, could allow developers to access the member's birthdate, as well as the birthdate of friends who are part of the member's network.

"Some people may know that they are allowing these companies to access their data," Xu said. "However, they might not know that their info will be leaked through their friends, use of games and other applications on Facebook."

According to Xu, many Facebook app developers try to make money from their games and tools by selling or sharing the data with advertisers and other companies.

"The only way to find out how the information is going to be used is to go to each app's website and review the terms of use," Xu said. "And many people won't do that."

The National Science Foundation supported their work.

Matt Swayne | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

Further reports about: Design Thinking Facebook Information Sciences third-party games

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano
20.10.2017 | Brown University

nachricht New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>