Ok, we *all use Facebook. Something that makes Facebook unique (and MySpace started doing this toward the end too) is apps. Facebook lets you install applications – e.g. Farmville (my personal fav). Well, these apps are developed to utilize everything about your Facebook profile. Facebook provides an API (Application Programming Interface). This allows developers to write apps that can do anything to your Facebook profile – e.g. post to your feed, send messages to your friends, etc.
So what’s my point? Don’t install any and every app you come across. Some apps aren’t games or “surveys” – some are “give so and so a flower” or “send so and so a hug”. The majority of these are traps. They seem harmless – “oh, sure, I’ll send my friend a hug!” Why would you need to install an app that “requires full access to your Facebook profile”? It’s just not worth it.
So safety tip #1 – do not install apps on Facebook unless you KNOW who the software vendor is. Games such as Farmville come from legitimate software developers. These little “hug” or “flower” apps can be developed by pretty much anyone. Is it worth it to send a hug, just to have your profile hacked?
That brings us to safety tip #2 – don’t click on links in messages or posts that you do not trust 100%. It’s the oldest trick in the book. “Hey, look at this” and then wham, you’ve been had.
Another benefit of using Firefox is add-ons. These are plug-ins developed to enhance Firefox. Just like Facebook, there are good apps and bad apps. Because Firefox is open source and because everyone – good or bad – has access to the code, it makes for an extremely safe and stable product. Seems odd doesn’t it? It’s the beauty of community. I don’t use a bunch of add-ons for Firefox simply because it just doesn’t need them. There are a few that are worth their weight in gold though:
- AdBlock Plus
All of these products are free and easy to use. To download Firefox, visit:
Once you have Firefox installed, click Tools > Add-ons…
Search for NoScript and install it. Once that’s installed, search for AdBlock Plus and install it. You’d be amazed what ESET Nod32 as your anti-virus and the above Firefox setup can do in the name of securing your computer. Add to that, you don’t have to see annoying ads when you visit a site (and even ads can be a security issue if they lead you to another site).
If you need any assistance with the above, just call The Computer Peeps!
One thought on “Facebook Safety 101”
You have to have your wits about you when you’re on the Web. Think about what you’re about to click when you click it. Think, “is it worth it to me?” Even the link I put above – I would personally look at and wonder, “is this guy legit?”
Just treat the Internet like you would a side street in New York City and you’ll do well. If you think, “I have a Mac – I’ll be safe,” you’re wrong. Your browser doesn’t care which operating system you have. Windows, Mac, Linux – no one is safe.