Social Media Security Podcast 36 – Your Cats Metadata, Facebook Messenger, User Risk Awareness

social media security podcastThis is the 36th episode of the Social Media Security Podcast sponsored by SecureState and the Streetwise Security Zone.  This episode was hosted by Tom Eston and Scott Wright recorded August 20th 2014.  Below are the show notes, links to articles and news mentioned in the podcast:

Please send any show feedback to feedback [aT] socialmediasecurity.com or comment below.  You can also call our voice mail box at 1-613-693-0997 if you have a question for our Q&A section on the next episode.  Don’t forget  to subscribe to the podcast in iTunesfollow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.  Thanks for listening!

Social Media Security Podcast 32 – The Privacy Paradox, Twitter Hacks, Facebook Home

avatarThis is the 32nd episode of the Social Media Security Podcast sponsored by SecureState.  This episode was hosted by Tom Eston and Scott Wright recorded April 25, 2013.  Below are the show notes, links to articles and news mentioned in the podcast:

Please send any show feedback to feedback [aT] socialmediasecurity.com or comment below.  You can also call our voice mail box at 1-613-693-0997 if you have a question for our Q&A section on the next episode.  You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunesfollow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.  Thanks for listening!

The New Facebook Graph Search: How to Protect Your Privacy

Over the last several months, Facebook has been making significant design and UI changes. Besides the newsfeed changes announced several weeks ago, Facebook has recently begun rolling out a large change in the way you search for information through the platform. While this feature is still in “beta” status, you can tell if you have the new Graph Search by looking at the top left side of your Facebook profile (Figure 1). You will see a search area called “Search for people, places and things”.

 

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Figure 1 – Location of the Facebook Graph Search on Your Profile Page

 

The Facebook Graph Search is a new implementation of search which retrieves information that comes from Facebook’s Graph. This new feature brings powerful capabilities for finding out more about your friends’ “likes” and activities. It also provides attackers with a more efficient way to glean information for social engineering attacks and other intelligence gathering activities.

What’s the Facebook Graph?

Think of the Facebook Graph as a very large database of personal information from (literally) a billion Facebook users. This information is categorized by what you and your friends like as well as what you’ve posted, what’s in your profile, locations you’ve visited, and tagged pictures. The Facebook Graph has evolved over the years in order to correlate as much information as possible, making it very easy to search.

What’s the Privacy Concern?

The issue is that anything you’ve ever posted publically, “Liked,” or were ever tagged in can be quickly searched. Additionally, other information that you’ve posted in your profile, such as your hometown, relationship status, and employer now become searchable. For example, those party pictures you were tagged in four years ago doing things you would never do anymore can be searched by your friends and possibly the friends of your friends; or worse, anyone with a Facebook account.

The Graph Search opens up lots of new and interesting search possibilities that we’ve yet to see on a social network. Here’s one example: Suppose you are a single male looking for single females. You can simply search for “photos of friends of my friends who are single and female” and find pictures of all the single females that are friends of your friends. Interesting, huh? How about the intelligence gathering aspects of these types of searches? For example, search for “<Insert Company> employees located in <Insert City> and you will have a list of targets for social engineering or more. For some other eye opening searches, I recommend you read this blog which shows some interesting privacy ramifications of creative searches.

How to Protect Your Privacy

First, check out Facebook’s “Activity Log” (Figure 2) which can be found under Privacy Settings and Tools in your Privacy Settings.

 

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Figure 2 – Location of Facebook’s Activity Log

 

Next, if you want to change the privacy settings for all posts you’ve shared with Friends of Friends or with the Public, you can select “Limit Past Posts,” which will automatically change the privacy settings on all past posts (Figure 3).

 

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Figure 3 – Selecting “Limit Past Posts” changes privacy settings for all posts set to Friends of Friends or Public

 

 

You will also want to make sure you review the following items in your Activity Log (Figure 4): Your Posts (especially those set to Public or Friends of Friends), Posts You’re Tagged In, Posts by Others, and Your Photos. It doesn’t hurt to also review your Likes to make sure there is nothing you liked that you don’t want coming up in a search.

 

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Figure 4 – Items to Review in Your Activity Log

 

Lastly, carefully review your Facebook Privacy settings especially if you haven’t looked at them in a while. The Facebook Graph Search makes these settings more important than ever. Be sure to download SecureState’s recently revised Facebook Privacy & Security Guide which walks you through the recommended privacy settings while still allowing you to be social. The updated guide includes details on Facebook Graph Search and other important privacy settings. I encourage you to share this guide with friends and family.

Looking For More Information on Social Media Privacy?

SecureState has just released a comprehensive whitepaper by Ken Smith of SecureState’s Profiling & Penetration Team entitled “The Problem with Privacy”. I highly recommend you download and read this whitepaper to find out what the latest threats to your privacy are when using Social Media.

Cross-Posted from the SecureState Blog

Facebook Privacy and Security Article on ConsumerReports

I wanted to pass along a really good article on Facebook Privacy that was released on ConsumerReports.org.  There are some good quotes from others in the security and privacy community including Kevin Johnson and Ed Skoudis.  Check out the article here:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/06/facebook-your-privacy/index.htm

 

Social Zombies Gone Wild: Totally Exposed and Uncensored

Kevin Johnson and Tom Eston gave the third and final “Social Zombies” talk at Notacon 8 this weekend.  This talk focused on how social networks are using geolocation and the abuse of location based services.

“Social networks have jumped onto the geolocation bandwagon with location-based tweets, status updates, check-ins, mayorships, and more. This doesn’t take into account EXIF, QR codes, and advancements in HTML 5 geo implementations, which are being built into these location-based services. This is often implemented and enabled without the user even knowing it. In fact, geolocation is one of the hottest technologies being used in everything from web browsers to mobile devices. As social networks throw our location coordinates around like candy, its only natural that bad things will happen and abuse will become more popular. This presentation will cover how social networks and other websites are currently using location-based services, what they plan on doing with it, and a discussion on the current privacy and security issues. We will also discuss the latest geolocation hacking techniques and will release custom code that can abuse all of the features being discussed.”

Slides are on SlideShare below:

Facebook Privacy & Security Guide Updated to v2.3

Just a quick post that I have updated the Facebook Privacy & Security Guide to include information on configuring the privacy settings for Facebook Places.  You can find this on the first page under “Sharing on Facebook”.  Stay tuned for more information on Facebook Places in the next day or so!

Download the updated Facebook Privacy & Security Guide here (pdf download).

Users Bamboozled and Policies Eroded – Is Facebook still the valuable tool you thought it was?

Geek level: Very Low. Editorial observations and deep, introspective questions…

I just wanted to give props to some folks who are really getting the impact of the changes to  Facebook privacy policies and settings, and trying to get the message across in different ways.

Facebook privacy settings are getting so complicated, few people seem to know the implications. And as a result, most don’t bother changing them. For those of you who remember what it was like to try to program a VCR back in the 1980’s and 90’s, what goes around comes around. The comparison is scary, as tweeted by Robert Nunez and Tom Watson – “Facebook privacy settings are the new programming your VCR”

(See http://www.preoccupations.org/2010/05/facebook-2010.html )

I heard about this observation while listening to This Week in Google (at http://www.twit.tv), when Jeff Jarvis mentioned it. Leo Laporte then added, “It’s like we’re all on flashing 12:00’s”  (If you don’t remember, it’s sort of like having a digital clock that loses power and forgets what time it is.) For the old VCRs, you had to go in and reset the time, then you had to set the channels and times you want to record. It was so complicated, many people just left them with the flashing 12:00’s. I can relate to that, along with many others I’ve heard from, regarding Facebook’s increasingly convoluted privacy settings.

Facebook just seems to want people to give up on protecting their privacy. To paraphrase Jarvis, it seems strange that instead of leveraging the trust of its 400 million users, and taking the opportunity to establish itself as the “protectors” of our identities on the Net, Facebook is carelessly exploiting that trust to its fullest extent for short term profit. Too bad for them, and for all of us.

Also in that same episode of TWIG, Jeff Jarvis referred to the Electronic Freedom Foundation’s (EFF) timeline of Facebook privacy policies over the years. It’s interesting to see how convoluted it’s become since their first privacy statement in 2005, which read:

No personal information that you submit to Thefacebook will be available to any user of the Web Site who does not belong to at least one of the groups specified by you in your privacy settings.

(from http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-timeline )

Now, as of April 2010, the policy reads…

When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. … The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” … Because it takes two to connect, your privacy settings only control who can see the connection on your profile page. If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.

So, did you know this? Or have you quit Facebook – for good, or in protest – due to these moves? Or will it take one more move toward the cliff?

Not surprisingly, I don’t use Facebook for anything very personal. The stuff I put there is all pretty boring, say my friends. But if you joined a long time ago and have a significant amount of personal information in Facebook, you might want to read today’s Facebook privacy policies and consider how likely it is that what you thought was protected (by the default settings at the time you joined) may inevitably become public at some point.

Today’s trending topics might as well be “Facebook privacy settings changed” and “Facebook privacy policies changed“. So, if you still feel that privacy represents a fundamental personal value, we’d all like to know, “What value does Facebook continue to bring you as a tool, and is it worth the cost?”

Social Media Security Podcast 12 – New Facebook Privacy Changes, Social Gaming Threats, Social Media in the Workplace

This is the 12th episode of the Social Media Security Podcast recorded March 28, 2010.  This episode was hosted by Tom Eston and Scott Wright.  Below are the show notes, links to articles and news mentioned in the podcast:

Please send any show feedback to feedback [aT] socialmediasecurity.com or comment below.  You can also call our voice mail box at 1-613-693-0997 if you have a question for our Q&A section on the next episode.  You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Thanks for listening!

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