Have you played with Facebook’s Open Graph search yet?
Facebook’s new search tool is now available to all American users. The rest of the world still has to request its preview here.
Your search bar is now much more prominent in the interface and you should expect it to start playing a much bigger role in how people use the site. The tool mixes a little bit of fun with a little bit of creepiness. And while it’s definitely more useful that Facebook’s old search, it could get you in some trouble.
The good news is that the search respects your privacy settings. The bad news is a lot of people don’t seem to be that careful with their privacy settings.
We tested out these searches and were shocked by how many many profiles actually came up:
How do you know if you’re protected from embarrassing searches?
We’ve made it easy to check. You can use our Safe Profile Beta app and get your privacy score and recommendations now.
Or you can check manually by clicking on the lock on the upper right corner of any Facebook page for “Privacy shortcuts”.
Click on “Who can see my stuff?” then “What do other people see on my timeline?”
You’ll see what’s available to the “Public” your “Friends” or a specific person could find as they search for you.
If you’re not happy with anything that may come up, here’s an excellent guide for locking your profile down.
Open Graph search makes the information on your “About” page as well as the privacy settings of your “Friends”, “Photos” and “Likes” more important than ever. So be sure to check out the first four sections of this guide.
And — to be extra safe — I’m going to remind you to run Safe Profile beta, again. And if you do, let us know what score you got in the comments.
[Image by Eugene Zemlyanskiy via Flickr.com]
Not good enough. That's the assessment of the Parliament's Joint Committee that has been investigating the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, which will set the guidelines for how the UK carries out intelligence gathering in this era when terror and cyberthreats are merging. And our Cyber Security Advisor Erka Koivunen who testified in front of the committee, agrees. "Sharper, clearer definitions are required in order to protect both the privacy of citizens and viability of the British tech industry," he said after reviewing the 198-page report. Legislators hope to pass the bill before the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 expires in December of this year. A few major problems stood out for Erka. "The committee’s case for Equipment Interference, known by some as 'hacking,' is persuasive and also give voice to the equally persuasive critics of the Government having the power to intrude upon communications in way that lawfully captures evidence," he said. "However, there appears to be little discussion about collateral damage caused by bulk equipment interference activities. We’ve seen in the Stellar Wind and Belgacom cases that equipment interference activity on non-terrorist and non-combatant organizations can be used to create stepping-stones to the intended targets, or as way to hide the intelligence traces that would point the operation back to GCHQ." Limiting the scope of investigations is key, along with allowing developers that ability to preserve the integrity of their products. "We support Mozilla and the open source community in the insistence that all vulnerabilities should be identified and fixed, regardless of who put them there," Erka said. The committee made a strikingly straightforward case for bulk collection of data, noting that search tools can make such information relevant. "However, the justification for such powers -- 'why would the authorities request the bulk powers if they didn't believe them to be effective' -- is simply naïve," Erka said. "It has been demonstrated many times over that GCHQ and NSA have invested lots of time and resources in bulk collection. It is only natural for them to defend their investment and seek to continue their work without interruption. Doing otherwise would put past conduct under scrutiny and future activities in question." Privacy advocates generally agree that the bill should not become law in its current form. "It needs more than mere tweaking, it needs to be fundamentally rethought and rebuilt," said Lord Paul Strasburger, who was on the committee. "Like the other two committees, [we] found the Bill to be sloppy in its wording and short on vital details," he said. Erka notes that the clock is ticking quickly. "The 'sunset clause' now forces the UK Government to work against the clock as the old RIPA authorities will cease to exist in the near future. Talk about "going dark!'" The threat of a complete lapse in surveillance will be wielded by proponents of a purposely vague and broad law. That should not happen, especially given the abundance of input the government has. "The bill, as written, fails to address our concerns about the potential for abuse and lack of oversight. We applaud the committee for addressing these shortcomings—and encourage the Government not to use the rush to pass the law as an excuse to pass a flawed bill." Photo: GCHQ/Crown Copyright/MOD
Today is Safer Internet Day – a day to talk about what kind of place the Internet is becoming for kids, and what people can do to make it a safe place for kids and teens to enjoy. We talk a lot about various online threats on this blog. After all, we’re a cyber security company, and it’s our job to secure devices and networks to keep people protected from more than just malware. But protecting kids and protecting adults are different ballparks. Kids have different needs, and as F-Secure Researcher Mikael Albrecht has pointed out, this isn’t always recognized by software developers or device manufacturers. So how does this actually impact kids? Well, it means parents can’t count on the devices and services kids use to be completely age appropriate. Or completely safe. Social media is a perfect example. Micke has written in the past that social media is basically designed for adults, making any sort of child protection features more of an afterthought than a focus. Things like age restrictions are easy for kids to work around. So it’s not difficult for kids to hop on Facebook or Twitter and start social networking, just like their parents or older siblings. But these services aren't designed for kids to connect with adults. So where does that leave parents? Parental controls are great tools that parents can use to monitor, and to a certain extent, limit what kids can do online. But they’re not perfect. Particularly considering the popularity of mobile devices amongst kids. Regulating content on desktop browsers and mobile apps are two different things, and while there are a lot of benefits to using mobile apps instead of web browsers, it does make using special software to regulate content much more difficult. The answer to challenges like these is the less technical approach – talking to kids. There’s some great tips for parents on F-Secure’s Digital Parenting web page, with talking points, guidelines, and potential risks that parents should learn more about. That might seem like a bit of a challenge to parents. F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen has pointed out that today’s kids have never experienced a world without the Internet. It’s as common as electricity for them. But the nice thing about this approach is that parents can do this just by spending time with kids and learning about the things they like to do online. So if you don’t know what your kids are up to this Safer Internet Day, why not enjoy the day with your kids (or niece/nephew, or even a kid you might be babysitting) by talking over what they like to do online, and how they can enjoy doing it safely.
Tuesday February 9th is Safer Internet Day this year. An excellent time to sit down and reflect about what kind of Internet we offer to our kids. And what kind of electronic environment they will inherit from us. I have to be blunt here. Our children love their smartphones and the net. They have access to a lot of stuff that interest them. And it’s their new cool way to be in contact with each other. But the net is not designed for them and even younger children are getting connected smartphones. Technology does not support parents properly and they are often left with very poor visibility into what their kids are doing on-line. This manifests itself as a wide range of problems, from addiction to cyber bullying and grooming. The situation is not healthy! There are several factors that contribute to this huge problem: The future’s main connectivity devices, the handhelds, are not suitable for kids. Rudimentary features that help protect children are starting to appear, but the development is too slow. Social media turns a blind eye to children’s and parents’ needs. Most services only offer one single user experience for both children and adults, and do not recognize parent-child relationships. Legislation and controlling authorities are national while Internet is global. We will not achieve much without a globally harmonized framework that both device manufacturers and service providers adhere to. Let’s take a closer look at these three issues. Mobile devices based on iOS and Android have made significant security advances compared to our old-school desktop computers. The sandboxed app model, where applications only have limited permissions in the system, is good at keeping malware at bay. The downside is however that you can’t make traditional anti-malware products for these environments. These products used to carry an overall responsibility for what happens in the system and monitor activity at many levels. The new model helps fight malware, but there’s a wide range of other threats and unsuitable content that can’t be fought efficiently anymore. We at F-Secure have a lot of technology and knowledge that can keep devices safe. It’s frustrating that we can’t deploy that technology efficiently in the devices our kids love to use. We can make things like a safe browser that filters out unwanted content, but we can’t filter what the kids are accessing through other apps. And forcing the kids to use our safe browser exclusively requires tricky configuration. Device manufacturers should recognize the need for parental control at the mobile devices. They should provide functionality that enable us to enforce a managed and safe experience for the kids across all apps. Privacy is an issue of paramount importance in social media. Most platforms have implemented good tools enabling users to manage their privacy. This is great, but it has a downside just like the app model in mobile operating systems. Kids can sign up in social media and enjoy the same privacy protection as adults. Also against their parents. What we need is a special kind of child account that must be tied to one or more adult accounts. The adults would have some level of visibility into what the kid is doing. But full visibility is probably not the right way to implement this. Remember that children also have a certain right to privacy. A good start would be to show whom the kid is communicating with and how often. But without showing the message contents. That would already enable the parents to spot cyberbullying and grooming patterns in an early phase. But what if the kids sign up as adults with a false year of birth? There’s currently no reliable way to stop that without implementing strong identity checks for new users. And that is principally unfeasible. Device control could be the answer. If parents can lock the social media accounts used on the device, then they could at the same time ensure that the kid really is using a child account that is connected to the parents. The ideas presented here are all significant changes. The device manufacturers and social media companies may have limited motivation to drive them as they aren’t linked to their business models. It is therefore very important that there is an external, centralized driving force. The authorities. And that this force is globally harmonized. This is where it becomes really challenging. Many of the problems we face on Internet today are somehow related to the lack of global harmonization. This area is no exception. The tools we are left with today are pretty much talking to the kids, setting clear rules and threatening to take away the smartphone. Some of the problems can no doubt be solved this way. But there is still the risk that destructive on-line scenarios can develop for too long before the parents notice. So status quo is really not an acceptable state. I also really hope that parents don’t get scared and solve the problem by not buying the kids a smartphone at all. This is even worse than the apparent dangers posed by an uncontrolled net. The ability to use smart devices and social media will be a fundamental skill in the future society. They deserve to start practicing for that early. And mobile devices are also becoming tools that tie the group together. A kid without a smartphone is soon an outsider. So the no smartphone strategy is not really an alternative anymore. Yes, this is an epic issue. It’s clear that we can’t solve it overnight. But we must start working towards these goals ASAP. Mobile devices and Internet will be a cornerstone in tomorrow’s society. In our children’s society. We owe them a net that is better suited for the little ones. We will not achieve this during our kids’ childhood. But we must start working now to make this reality for our grandchildren. Micke