Loading....

Facebook Tracks You Even AFTER You Log Out

Did you know Facebook is tracking you everywhere you go on the Web?  Even after you log out of Facebook, they’re still tracking your footsteps and that data is tied to your Facebook User ID.

I’m a big fan of the Do Not Track option in Firefox, but why is Facebook tracking every website you visit after you log out?  Because they can.  This is done with a tracking cookie.

This morning, Nik Cubrilovic outlined the details in an article on his blog:

http://nikcub.appspot.com/logging-out-of-facebook-is-not-enough

To quote Nik:

Facebook are only altering the state of the cookies instead of removing all of them when a user logs out.

So what does Facebook have to say about all of this?  According to Facebook Systems Engineer, Gregg Stefancik, this was essentially an “oversight.”  Here’s his response to Nik’s findings:

Facebook Engineer Gregg Stefancik's Response | Click to Enlarge

Whatever Facebook was or was not tracking you around the web for, they were tracking you around the web.  They can say they’re not using that data, but it still stands – they have that data.

To enable Do Not Track in your browser:

  • FirefoxFirefox Button > Options > Privacy > Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked
  • ChromeKeep My Opt-Outs Extension
  • Internet Explorer 9Tools > Safety > Tracking Protection > Personalized List > Enable (We strongly recommend NOT USING Internet Explorer)

Liberty Version Numbers

When helping our clients that run Liberty4 Consignment in their consignment/resale business, something we’re commonly asked is, “Why are Liberty’s version numbers different?”  Let’s take a look at what they’re referring to.  When you launch Liberty4 Consignment, you’re actually launching a very specific program – i.e. Liberty Inventory Module (RWD.exe):

Liberty4 Consignment Inventory Module
Inventory Module | Click to Enlarge

This is the core program in a suite of programs that comprise Liberty4 Consignment.  There are other programs that are part of this suite – e.g. Liberty POS (RWPOS.exe), Liberty Report Writer (RWReport4.exe), etc.  Each of these portions of Liberty are separate programs.

As new updates are released, each and every module won’t necessarily receive an update.  Typically Liberty Inventory and Liberty POS will receive updates and you’ll see their version numbers are commonly the same.  The Report Writer tends to not receive updates as often as the other modules though.

For example, you’ll see in the latest version of Liberty (as of 9/14/2011 v3.8c), its Report Writer actually shows v3.7e:

Liberty4 Consignment Report Writer
Report Writer | Click to Enlarge

Just because the module numbers are different, doesn’t mean the program hasn’t been properly updated.  Make sure not to confuse this with different program versions when running Liberty in a network environment.  A separate issue altogether is running a different version of Liberty on the database server as compared to any/all of the network workstations.

If you’re uncertain as to which version of Liberty you’re running or if you think there are any issues with the version numbers on your system, you can contact The Computer Peeps for a free checkup.  You can contact Resaleworld Support directly via [email protected] if you have any questions as to which version of Liberty is currently available to you.

[Warning] New Facebook Threat

Computer BugThere is a *new threat floating around Facebook.  It’s another one of those “See Who’s Viewing Your Profile” scams.  I’m not surprised so many people are dying to see who’s viewing their profile.

It’s such a common desire that the “bad guys” know they’ll be able to fool at least one person (well, clearly more) into falling for their trick.  This is akin to some scam artist trying to sell you something you don’t need.  Stop and think, “wait, is this REALLY going to show me who’s viewing my profile…and is it worth it?”  This is how you get viruses, get your personal information stolen, get your email hacked, etc.

This latest scam was around when MySpace was popular, so the actual tactic isn’t new.  The post that’s making its way through Facebook looks like this:

Facebook Stalker
Fake View My Profile Post | Click to Enlarge

Notice they’re using a URL shortening service (Bitly) to mask the true URL.  They’re trying to mask something from you, which should be the first clue.  If you’ll also notice this was posted via the Stalker-Viewer app.  Even ESET Nod32 Antivirus knew this was a potentially unwanted app and blocked it long before Facebook even knew about this rogue app:

ESET blocking rogue Facebook app
ESET blocking rogue Facebook app

ESET notifies that it has blocked the URL long before the website had a chance to harm your system:

ESET Nod32 blocking rogue Facebook app's site
ESET Nod32 blocking rogue Facebook app's site

The main thing to take from this article is that threats on Facebook are-a-plenty.  You want to use Facebook to help your consignment or resale store gain exposure.  Make sure you sit down and discuss this with your employees though.

No matter which antivirus or security software you have, there should never be a sense of “I can click whatever I want.”  Those that switched to Macs years ago because they thought they could do just that, are finding out the hard ware that malware exists on Mac OS and phishing/stealing login information can happen on ANY computing platform.

You wouldn’t send your friends into an unknown city and tell them to go walking down the back alleys in the middle of the night.  The same is true with the Internet.  You want to empower your employees with information so they can be informed while browsing the web.  Make sure you view our additional articles in our blog that discuss other Facebook threats, ESET, Malwarebytes and NoScript.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Pro

Malwarebytes' LogoWe’ve utilized a variety of antivirus and anti-malware tools over the years.  ESET Nod32 Antivirus is the only antivirus product we recommend.  We’ve even given Avira, G-Data and Microsoft Security Essentials a shot, just to test the options on the market.  No antivirus software compares to ESET Nod32, especially for systems running hi-demand database applications such as consignment software.

Antivirus alone is no longer enough though.  Threats come in all shapes and sizes and “virus” no longer covers the gamut of threats out there.  Once a system is compromised, it can be very difficult to regain control over.  The most effective tool in regaining control over a compromised system, in our experience, is Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Pro.  Malwarebytes was released in 2008 and its free version is great at removing infections.  The paid Pro version runs in real-time, actively protecting your system against unwanted applications and threats.

Why do I need Malwarebytes?  I thought you only recommend ESET Nod32.

A few years ago, prior to Facebook being so widely utilized, viruses seemed to only show up by “obvious” methods.  e.g. An email with an attachment, a disc or external drive that is infected, etc.  That’s not to say obscure threats didn’t exist back then, but less people were exposed since they weren’t congregating in online forums and sites such as Facebook.

Since both businesses and individuals are utilizing Facebook on a daily basis, it’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel.  If you post one malicious link, by sheer statistics alone you’re going to get a large amount of people who fall for the trick and <click> away.

In addition to Facebook there is Google and Google Image search results.  Many consignment and resale stores will search for items on Google to verify anything from authenticity to current market value.  The people writing and deploying these malicious applications know that people are searching Google for a variety of keywords.  They do everything they can to get their websites and poisoned images into the top results on Google.  One <click> and wham, you’re infected.

The best response I have found @”Why Malwarebytes?” is on MBAM’s Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/Malwarebytes:

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a complementary program and defined as an anti-malware program which detects and removes malware; malicious programs and files, such as viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, dialers, spyware, and rogue applications that some antivirus software doesn’t detect or can’t fully remove. With that said, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts, though exclusions may need to be set in your antivirus for Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware’s exe’s to get the best possible system performance.

In a PC Magazine article, Malwarebytes’ COO Marcus Chung provides a great analogy for Malwarebytes:

“My favorite analogy,” said Marcus “relates to seatbelts. People used to think seatbelts were enough, but then airbags came along. It’s a solution from a different direction, not competing with the seatbelt. We are the airbag!”

So Malwarebytes is not an antivirus replacement.  Don’t let anyone try and tell you that Malwarebytes is the only security program you need.  It is intended to provide a mesh approach to security and is intended to compliment your existing antivirus software.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Pro is completely compatible with all of the major consignment software programs on the market.  We’ve tested Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Pro with the following consignment software programs:

  • ConsignmentTill
  • Consignment Success | Consignment Ease | Best Consignment Software
  • ConsignPro
  • Liberty
  • SBS

Unlike other security programs that have done everything from block Liberty from communicating with Microsoft SQL Server, to deleting files that ConsignPro requires in order to run, Malwarebytes has done a perfect job of helping consignment software programs continue to run as intended.

The Computer Peeps recommend (and if we could, we’d require it) that any computer connected to the Internet run ESET Nod32 Antivirus + Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware Pro.  There are just too many threats and variants out there today and even with the best antivirus software out there (ESET Nod32), unwanted programs can still sneak by.

People think viruses have to be these big, bad programs that delete files, cause pop-ups, etc.  Not so.  Any software that is considered unwanted and any program that was brought onto the system without your knowledge or doing, can be considered a virus.

Malwarebytes can be purchased for $25 and it’s a lifetime license.  We strongly recommend downloading Malwarebytes and letting it run a QuickScan.  The Pro trial lasts for 14 days, but do yourself a favor and pay the one-time fee for a lifetime license.  Their developers and testers deserve every penny of it.

As always, if you have any questions or if you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to ask!

New Facebook Settings You Should Enable

Facebook has added new privacy options that we recommend enabling.  The first is a feature called Profile Review.  This lets users preview posts other users tag them in.  Since rogue Facebook applications can tag users in posts, this is a great way to prevent bogus posts from spreading.  The second option is called Tag Review.  Follow the instructions below to ensure both are enabled.

To enable Profile Review, click Account > Privacy Settings:

Facebook Privacy Settings
Step 1: Account > Privacy Settings

Click the Edit Settings link to the right of How Tags Work:

How Tags Work
Step 2: Edit Settings

Your Profile Review option will show as Off.  Click it to turn this option On:

Enable Profile Review
Step 3: Edit Profile Review settings

Now click the Turn On Profile Review button:

Turn Profile Review On
Step 4: Turn-on Profile Review

When you’re finished, you should see that Profile Review is now On:

Profile Review On
Step 5: Verify Profile Review is on

Your Tag Review option just under Profile Review should now be on as well.  This lets you review any tags a friend might add to your posts, such as pictures you have uploaded.

Give your Facebook posts some TLC!

When you’re sharing a link via Facebook, Facebook does a really good job of collecting information about the website/link you are about to share.

Facebook is usually able to find pictures and information about the page you’re about to share.  This can be exactly what you were looking for – e.g. the title of the article – or it could end up being not quite what you were looking to share.

For example, here’s what Facebook finds when we attach the following blog post of ours -> http://thecomputerpeeps.com/tcpblog/?p=1464:

Sample Peeps Blog Post
Sample Peeps Blog Post | Click to Enlarge

Not bad!  Facebook found our official page Title, our site’s Meta Description and even our logo.  But I don’t want it to just show our website and the standard-issue stuff.  I took the time to write up a nifty blog article, with plenty of cute pictures and quippy remarks.  Notice when I hover over the title – i.e. Help & support for consignment software – that it turns yellow…

Edit Facebook Post Title
Edit Facebook Post | Click to Enlarge

I want the title to reflect the name of my handy-dandy article, so in this case, I want it to show “Spiders, oh my!

Edit Facebook Title
Edit Facebook Title | Click to Enlarge

I’d like my Facebook post to show a little snipit from my blog post, not just the default website description.  When I hover over the page description, it turns yellow as well:

Edit Facebook Description
Edit Facebook Description | Click to Enlarge

I can then type (or copy/paste) the text I want to see:

Facebook Edit Description
Edit Description | Click to Enlarge

My favorite is the thumbnail.  This lets us select from the images Facebook was able to detect.  In our example, Facebook found 3 possible images it can use as the thumbnail.  I can use the little left/right arrows to select the thumbnail I want, in this case, my spider:

Facebook Choose Thumbnail
Facebook Choose Thumbnail | Click to Enlarge

That might look like a lot of editing, but it’s really not.  It only takes a few seconds to copy/paste.  I just wanted to have the steps broken down so you could clearly see each of the components in a Facebook post and how you can customize it.  The right title, description and image can help set your post apart from the “noise” out there in the Facebook Feed.

Don’t be afraid to say something extra too!  That’s what the Say something about this link… box is for…

Say something about this link...
Say something about this link... | Click to Enlarge

In my experience, the worst thing you can do is share an “ugly” URL or an article that doesn’t properly format when you attach it to a Facebook post.  Since you’re using Facebook for your business, take the extra 30 seconds to spruce up your post before you push it out the door.

Back To Top