Tag Archives: facebook-apps

Computer Malware: There's a Facebook App for That

The newly-published results of the 2010 Consumer Reports State of the Net survey are interesting, to say the least. While much of the findings discuss privacy in general, one item that was glossed over stood out to me. According to the study:

Of the estimated 18.4 million adult Facebook users who used apps (games and quizzes), 38 percent were either confident apps were secure or hadn’t thought about it. Meanwhile, a projected 1.8 million computers were infected by apps obtained through one or another social network in the past year.

Nearly two million computers were infected with malware from apps on sites such as Facebook. It boggles my mind that this was glossed over. Some of the infections may consist “only” of adware or other mostly-harmless (just annoying!) junk, many of them are likely far more dangerous. Some pieces of malware will dig into your computer without your ever knowing it and then proceed to steal your information. Still other types will use your computer as a part of botnet… attacking innocent sites and people.

With the risk of becoming infected being so great these days, I would think there would be a way for sites like Facebook to regulate the apps they allow. Sure, there is a “disclaimer” whenever you add an app to your profile. However, it just seems to me that more can – and SHOULD – be done to help keep site users safe. Heck, if FB isn’t going to police these apps, at least do something to warn users more clearly about the potential dangers.

When you’re surfing around your favorite social site installing things, please make sure you’re smart about it. Check out the source of the application, and research them. Are there complaints running around the web which talk of malware being installed or found with that app? Go one step further and ASK for other opinions before you click to allow access to something new. What are others saying about that little game or quiz?

As always, make sure you keep your machine protected with proper Windows updates and security software. Trust your instincts… not your lust for the newest time-wasting game.

Happy Birthday, Facebook

For Facebook’s sixth birthday this past week, they unveiled a new look for the home page. Facebook’s population grew by more than 200 million people in the last year alone, to a total of 400 million users now! If you aren’t one of those people, I think you may have lost your mind. Facebook seems to be where everyone is these days – in addition to Twitter.

Social networking online is starting to become just as important as face-to-face conversations were in the past. We have insulated ourselves from the “real” world and tend to bury our visage in the computer screen for too many hours. We’re busy, yes… but are we really so busy that we can’t take the time to network outside of websites? Anyway, I digress…

As to the Facebook changes, they appear to be minor cosmetic ones that will benefit all of us. You can now more easily access your favorite games and applications, along with those friends who are currently online. The search function for the site is more prominent than it was before. Also, the news feed is now divided into categories for “top news” and “most recent” posts from your friends. This will help clean up the deluge of information we had clustered together before.

It’s also now easier to find friend requests and new messages. Now, when you receive a notification about someone writing on your Wall or tagging you in a photo, you’ll see a red bubble appear in the left-hand corner – near the search bar. When you click on the icon, you’ll see a drop-down menu with your most recent notifications. I don’t know about you, but this part is definitely a change I welcome. It was, at times, a complete cluster-you-know-what in the notifications area. The way they have it streamlined now makes me a much happier camper.

Are you a fan of the changes rolled out this week? Do you feel they help enhance your Facebook experience?