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 Football through the eyes of a computer
14.06.2018 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht People recall information better through virtual reality, says new UMD study
14.06.2018 | University of Maryland

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel method for investigating pore geometry in rocks

18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Diamond watch components

18.06.2018 | Process Engineering

New type of photosynthesis discovered

18.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>