Secure.me unveiled App Advisor, a solution protecting users from data-hungry apps. Secure.me has analyzed app activities of 50 million Facebook users and more than 500,000 apps to build the largest App Security Network in the world. This knowledge is integrated in App Advisor, making the data access and activities of apps completely transparent for everyone.
“We all have gotten used to connecting our apps with our Facebook ID and just clicking “agree’ on whatever permissions pop up. Instagram, SocialCam, Spotify, AngryBirds or CityVille — we connect with thousands of different apps through Facebook because it’s easy and convenient,” says Christian Sigl, founder of secure.me.
“What many people aren’t aware of is that social apps linked to your Facebook can essentially track your life — your current location, your behaviors and who you interact with. Your entire data halo that has accumulated around your online activities is given to every social app the instant they get access to your Facebook ID — regardless of your privacy settings,” Sigl added.
Like an app reputation system, secure.me’s App Advisor browser extension provides users with transparency around an apps’ data access and sharing habits before connecting a new app to the Facebook profile. Users will be warned as soon as a new app is connecting with their Facebook profile, whether it’s on Facebook or somewhere on the Web while browsing.
The browser extension, available for Safari, Firefox and Chrome browsers, helps protect users’ personal data before it is shared via Facebook.
secure.me’s App Advisor uses a comprehensible system of five reputation rank levels ranging from very poor (red) to very high (green). The reputation levels are influenced by three factors:
Facebook permissions: secure.me shows the user in detail which data an app retrieves and which activities it can perform on the user’s profile and in its friends network.
App behavior: secure.me points out how an app behaves. For instance, the user will learn whether an app sends unwanted emails or posts in the user’s name. secure.me also highlights if an app includes malware or adult content.
User rating: secure.me utilizes valuable recommendations and reviews of millions of users to provide Facebook members with transparency around the experience others made with an app.
Key-findings of secure.me’s analysis of 500,000 social apps:
- About six out of ten of the apps (63%) can post on the user’s timeline behind the user’s back
- More than two thirds of the apps (69%) know the user’s email address
- Nearly every third app (30%) knows the user’s birthday
- 5 out of 100 apps (5%) access the user’s photos and videos, going beyond the profile picture
- Every tenth app (10%) is informed about the user’s hobbies and interests
- 12% of the apps have access to the user’s geo information including check-ins, hometown or current city
- 1 out of 5 apps (21%) can access personal data of the user’s friends including friends’ birthdays, education and work history.