"We all have gotten used to connecting our apps with our Facebook ID and just clicking Ďagreeí on whatever permissions pop up. Instagram, SocialCam, Spotify, AngryBirds or CityVille -- we connect with thousands of different apps through Facebook because itís easy and convenient," says Christian Sigl, founder of secure.me.
"What many people arenít aware of is that social apps linked to your Facebook can essentially track your life -- your current location, your behaviors and who you interact with. Your entire data halo that has accumulated around your online activities is given to every social app the instant they get access to your Facebook ID -- regardless of your privacy settings," Sigl added.
Like an app reputation system, secure.meís App Advisor browser extension provides users with transparency around an appsí data access and sharing habits before connecting a new app to the Facebook profile. Users will be warned as soon as a new app is connecting with their Facebook profile, whether itís on Facebook or somewhere on the Web while browsing.
The browser extension, available for Safari, Firefox and Chrome browsers, helps protect usersí personal data before it is shared via Facebook.
secure.meís App Advisor uses a comprehensible system of five reputation rank levels ranging from very poor (red) to very high (green). The reputation levels are influenced by three factors:
Facebook permissions: secure.me shows the user in detail which data an app retrieves and which activities it can perform on the userís profile and in its friends network.
App behavior: secure.me points out how an app behaves. For instance, the user will learn whether an app sends unwanted emails or posts in the userís name. secure.me also highlights if an app includes malware or adult content.
User rating: secure.me utilizes valuable recommendations and reviews of millions of users to provide Facebook members with transparency around the experience others made with an app.
Key-findings of secure.meís analysis of 500,000 social apps:
- About six out of ten of the apps (63%) can post on the userís timeline behind the userís back
- More than two thirds of the apps (69%) know the userís email address
- Nearly every third app (30%) knows the userís birthday
- 5 out of 100 apps (5%) access the userís photos and videos, going beyond the profile picture
- Every tenth app (10%) is informed about the userís hobbies and interests
- 12% of the apps have access to the userís geo information including check-ins, hometown or current city
- 1 out of 5 apps (21%) can access personal data of the userís friends including friendsí birthdays, education and work history.
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