Stalker apps on Facebook are scams to access your information - East Valley Tribune: Data Doctors

Stalker apps on Facebook are scams to access your information

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Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 2:50 pm

Is it really possible to see who is looking at your Facebook profile with a special program?

- Nancy

Social media networks have become a connecting point for hundreds of millions of people from the comfort of their home computers.

A natural extension of this type of connectivity is wondering who might be looking at your pictures and posts.

The myriad of so-called "stalker or creeper" apps are ALL bogus as Facebook does not provide any third parties with the ability to track who sees what on your profile page.

From Facebook's Help Center: "Facebook does not provide applications or groups with the technical means to allow people to track profile views or see statistics on how often a particular piece of content has been viewed and by whom. If an application claims to provide this functionality, please report the application by going to the application's About page and clicking ‘Report Application' at the bottom of the page, or by clicking ‘Report' at the bottom of any canvas page within the application."

This curiosity is being used to trick lots of users into allowing rogue third-party apps access to your profile to post spam links on your friends' Facebook walls, which is really all they are interested in doing.

Here's how it works:

You see a post from one of your friends such as "I just saw who CREEPS around my pics the most on Facebook. You can see who creeps around your profile too! http://Bogus Web Site/stalker."

When you click on the link, it takes you to a standard ‘Request for Permission' box that asks to access your basic information, post to your wall and e-mail you ‘notifications' from the stalker app.

If you click on the ‘Allow' button, you have just started an automated process that secretly posts other ‘bait' messages to all your friends walls from you that will likely snare some of them as well.

You will be taken to a fake ‘Security Verification' test that claims it wants to make sure that you are a human and not a computer (it's just another clever social engineering trick to make you think the service is legit).

Once you complete the quiz, test or fill out a questionnaire (which is often designed to trick you into giving up more personal info), it will take you to a page that claims to be the ‘report' which is just showing you random people since this feature is completely impossible to execute (once again to trick you into thinking that the app really works).

Your friends may get the same bait message or other spam messages encouraging them to click on the link that looks like you are endorsing and snare them into this or a number of other scams which will then post to all their friends' walls to continue the spread.

Remember, you can set your privacy settings such that only people that are your friends can see your pictures and posts, so I'm not sure why it would be so important to know who's looking at what since they are only the people that you have connected with.

To check this setting, click on the ‘Account' pull-down menu (upper right corner) and select Privacy Settings (Facebook's default settings that allow everyone to see your status, photos and posts) and click on ‘Friends Only' or the ‘Customize' settings link if you want pinpoint control of each item.

If you have already fallen for this scam, make sure you edit the settings for ‘Apps and Websites' at the bottom left corner of the ‘Privacy Setting' menu to remove the scam stalker/creeper app from the ‘Apps You Use' list.

Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services, Data Doctors Data Recovery Labs, Data Doctors Franchise Systems, Inc., and is host of the "Computer Corner" radio show.

 

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Ken Colburn
  • Ken Colburn
  • E-mail: evtrib@datadoctors.com
  • Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the Data Doctors Radio Program, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio
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