Using Facebook? Get BitDefender Safego (beta)

I’m a longtime (over 3 years) user of Facebook and have become hardened to their ever changing designs and privacy policies. I know to be on my toes and continuously scrutinize my privacy settings to have as much control as I want over my data. As I watch the more people joining Facebook, I wonder just how careful they will be with giving their data to applications, rogue or otherwise. Add the relative unsavvy-ness of the older generation and you have a feast of data for bad guys to dine on.

That said, I was pinged several weeks ago about a Facebook app by BitDefender called “BitDefender Safego” and at the time, I wasn’t sure I was their intended target because I largely avoid attempts at social engineering me into clicking malicious links or enabling malicious apps to have access to my data or my friends’. I finally activated the BitDefender Safego app and this is a summary of the process:

  1. Activating the Safego app means going to this link:
  2. When installing the app, you will be asked to grant the app a bunch of permissions. Only 2 of those permissions are required for the BitDefender Safego app to function and they are to:
    • Allow the Safego app to send you email
    • Allow the Safego app to access your Facebook basic information like name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends and other info you’ve shared with everyone.
    • BitDefender Safego Facebook Permissions Requested

    You’ll probably be asked to share your latest app find with friends, but I always like to keep my ‘noise’ level down.

  3. After activating the BitDefender Safego app, you’ll be presented with a shiny Dashboard where the Safego app presents an overview of issues that may require your attention, notices of infection on your wall or inbox. This is what it looks like:
    BitDefender Safego Dashboard

If you’re lucky, your dashboard will remain squeaky clean as mine was for several weeks until when a hapless Facebook acquaintance posted some spam-driven links to my wall. However, I didn’t get to see those malicious links because BitDefender Safego ‘quarantined’ the link from posting to my wall. This was GREAT because it’s one less task I have to do especially when said acquaintance continuously spams your wall.

However, what was NOT so great was the implication of turning ON the “Publish to Wall” setting in the Safego dashboard. This means that with every detection of a spam link or infected content, you will get a notice posted to your Facebook wall by the BitDefender Safego app. In my case, I got over 5 notifications from the Safego app about one or several malicious links that were detected. Here’s what my wall looked like after several attempts by a compromised Facebook account to post to my wall:
BitDefender Safego Facebook Notifications

I promptly turned off the “Publish to Wall” setting for now although my Weekly Stats will still get published to my wall (for now also).
BitDefender Safego Detection

In summary: The BitDefender Safego facebook app is a Set It and Forget It application which proved its usefulness by blocking a malicious link from being posted to my wall. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen friends’ walls overrun by compromised Facebook accounts posting spam links. Don’t let this happen to you: Get BitDefender Safego to save yourself some time. 🙂

Three reasons your Facebook account keeps sending me spam

So, I’ve always wanted to write a “best practices” style post for users of the popular social networking website, Facebook. The blast of fame that Facebook has experienced has expectedly drawn the lowest scum of the earth, spammers. Thankfully and for the most part, Facebook’s engineers have tried to combat that by actively encouraging users reporting of spammy profiles, etc. They also have a powerful ally in their privacy permissions which can be very daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, you might think it’s the next best thing since the the redesign. 😛

So, in my years of using Facebook, I’m very proud to say that I have NEVER been hacked/tricked into using a sketchy app or have my wall/profile hijacked. I’ll delve into the reasons why my account has been relatively secure so far, but here’s why I *think* your facebook account won’t stop spamming others:

  1. Number 1 is the biggest culprit of all: Facebook applications. Do you realize that enabling Facebook applications without tweaking certain privacy settings means the apps developer has access to a LOT of information about you? Don’t believe me. Take this quiz to see for yourself what Facebook apps know about you AND your friends, courtesy of the ACLU. There are a bunch of things that applications can do including posting to your profile. If you enabled a sketchy app, guess what it can do? Post all sorts of NSFW or embarassing links on your profile. Please if you are a serial quiz taker, you need to check your Applications Settings STAT and remove any apps you’re done with.
  2. Number 2 is one that’s not very publicized, but I suspect is a biggie based on what I’ve experienced: Friends from Hell. Not your true friends of course, but my rule of thumb is: if I don’t know you (by that I mean, interact with you either in person or online), I won’t approve you no matter how many friends we have in common. I almost wish I’d started a study of the number of suspicious friend requests I’ve had and taken note of the people he’s managed to friend in order to back up my big suspicion that a prevalent route of “infection” is through approving friends that aren’t really your friends. Then again, there’s a certain percentage of facebook users who aren’t very discerning about whom they friend. Remember that being online is partly about social networking so please interact with a hefty dose of suspicion.
  3. Number 3 is a newbie mistake and often rectified quickly: enabling Facebook to update all your friends with every update/sneeze/breakup/makeup that happens to you. For simplicity’s sake, if you’re on Facebook to reconnect with friends or family, all you really need to let everyone know about your business is: status updates, photos of you/you+friends/pets. Anything else: video, notes, external applications need to be scrutinized before you let them appear in your news feed.

These are the 3 biggest things (or pet peeves) about users and I hope that this post will, at least, cause any current offenders to re-think their ways. 😛