Posted by: David Harley | January 16, 2011

Facebook anti-privacy, scams and lurve…

Stardate 2011: Captain’s Log… Sorry, I was losing concentration there. Too many interesting stories at once.

1) A story from today (January 16th) by Sophos’ Graham Cluley, who notes in “Rogue Facebook apps can now access your home address and mobile phone number“. Missed the announcement on FB? Me too… I don’t make that sort of information available, but if you do, you might want to reconsider. Clearly, Facebook is not to be trusted with any sensitive data. If that is news to you, check your settings!

2) Not a Facebook mis-step as such, though it would be nice if the company would take some positive action against survey scams: Graham also reports a bizarre, virally spreading FB scam claiming that people’s zodiac signs have changed. Apparently lots of people take seriously not only their horoscopes but stuff that gets posted willy-nilly to Facebook to fall for this rubbish and allow a rogue app to forward it in their names.

3) Well, that’s the star bit. What about the date? For that, I refer you to a Reuter’s article by Kristina Cooke on “Online dating is not just for kids, seniors say“. (Tip of the hat to @FSecure for tweeting that.) I could say more about this, having first got to know my wife through email at an age when some might think we were old enough to know better. However, since we actually got to know each other through work rather than through a dating site, I won’t.

If I were younger, I might remind older readers to bear in mind that on the internet, no-one knows that you’re a dog (or a con-man, or a paedophile, or whatever), but I prefer to believe that most silver surfers have not lost all their brain cells along with their natural hair colour, and probably resent all those books on “The Internet for Braindead Oldsters” as much as I do.

Nonetheless, it’s often even harder to sort out fact from fiction online than it is in real life, and (misused) technology is not always your friend. But that’s a depressing fact of life that we all need to keep in mind.

Small Blue-Green World


  1. […] As Chester Wisniewski has reported on the Sophos blog, Facebook has had second thoughts about allowing apps (rogue or otherwise) to access your address and phone number. At least, the feature has been temporarily disabled in response to “useful feedback” which I take to mean criticism from the Sophos blog and many others, including me, in my own small way. […]

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