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 Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
05.12.2016 | University of Sussex

nachricht UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>