Learn How to Properly Secure your Facebook Applications

Many of the articles on this website primarily deal with exploiting facebook vulnerabilities. However, now I am going to teach you how to make sure that your facebook is as secure as possible. If you want a facebook hack try facebook view photos of non friend hack. Otherwise, continue reading this article. One of the biggest problems with facebook security is in the application privacy settings. Most people are extreamly confused when it comes to their settings. I personally did not know much about this until I did some research. Most people have no clue what the settings to their applications mean. I figure that I could try to unvail some of the secrecy behind these mysterious facebook applications.
Now you can learn how your widgets (Facebook Applications) are configured.

Adding an Application
Facebook made adding an application very easy. In two clicks I already had my vampire application up and running. The site is lax on everything but ease of use. First thing you do is click on the go to application button:
Click on go to to install
Click on go to to install
Then you simply allow the application to to access all of your data and be able to basically do what ever it wants with your account and you’re all set!
Click Allow to Let this application access your data
Click Allow to Let this application access your data
Now this application can pretty much do what ever it wants to your facebook. You first agree to facebook’s long terms of service and you also agree to anything the facebook application wants you to agree to, including your information, pictures, albums and any other content that they see fit. … Not the safest thing to allow. But pretty quick, easy and painless (for now).
Now that we have the insecure little application activated, lets check out the application settings (under facebook settings) and see if we can make this a little safer. If I go to my application settings I will see all of my current applications including my just installed vampire app.
Vampire settings
Vampire settings
Now you can click on edit settings in the left hand side of this row. This will allow you to change various aspects of the add on and increase your security a little.
Edit Settings
Edit Settings
Simple enough. That’s how you edit your settings. So far so good. How can we increase security. There’s not much you can do, but the best thing I would suggest for this specific application is to check the “prompt me before posting anything” button (i.e. don’t spam the hell out of my friends button). And that’s only if you REALLY want vampire posts on your feed at all. For most applications I’d recommend turning it off as I will state below. But still, this changes very little about the security of this application. The owner still has complete control over your facebook and can do as he or she wishes. And all of your information is given to them by facebook.
Publish stories in my News Feed and Mini-Feed
MAKE SURE THIS IS TURNED OFF FOR MOST APPLICATIONS! I left it on for vampire, just to show you a better alternative to keeping it on full force, but 99% of the time you will not need this. It will constantly spam your friends with random things that are usually unimportant. The mini feed is the place where new friends and comments normally show up. Why replace useful information with “Your vampire just reached level 10.” If you have multiple applications your friends will start hating you after they log in and see 12 mini-feed updates about your virtual puppy.
Box – Insert a box into your profile.
The next option that you can change (as shown in the image below) allows the application to place a box in your profile. This can be turned off, but the owner and application will still have access to your mini-feed, which can be spamed, unless you followed the previous step and turned it off, so make sure that it’s off.
Tab – Place a link in my left-hand navigation
This allows the application to show up in your navigation. The navigation is the column with your friends, basic information and photo albums. Allowing too many applications to edit this fills up the left hand navigation and makes life very annoying for you.
Box and Tab Options
Box and Tab Options
Place a link below the profile picture on any profile
This puts, sometimes useful information about the application (depending on what it is) in underneath your profile picture. It may put the number of songs you’ve uploaded or various other things. Try to limit the amount of applications that you put here. If you put to many with will start to get out of hand.
Adjusting the Privacy Settings
Some applications (particularly the ones made by Facebook) have privacy settings specific to certain applications that you can adjust from within your “application privacy options” or by editing your application settings. I don’t understand why they didn’t make it uniform, but that is where you go in order to change the settings.
When you edit the settings of an application you will be given more options than when you originally installed it. Because of facebooks ease of use policy, these are hidden at first to supposedly make life easier on you, but at the same time hindering your security. That’s why you need to make sure that you’re securing facebook applications and not leaving them to malicious hackers who try to hack facebook
Control who can see the application on your profile
This is a drop down menu give you the option between everyone, all your networks, some of your networks, your friends, yourself, or none. If you changed it so it does not show a box in your profile then it will be defaulted to none.
Individual control of mini-feed and news feed setting
The first time you add the application, you only have a few options in regard to the facebook mini-feed, but when you go to the applications setting page you get a lot more. Make sure that at the very least it informs you before making any notifications, unless the point of the application is for it to make updates periodically without you having to do anything, such as a twitter application. However, in most cases less is more when it comes to mini-feed spamming.
Applications and Limited Profile
You can control which of the official Facebook apps are shown on your limited profile under Privacy Options >> Limited Profile. All apps not made by facebook (unofficial applications) are never shown in your limited profile. What is your limited profile? People can get access to your limited facebook profile if they are not friends with you and they do one of two things, either message you or poke you.
Even if you don’t use an application it can get information about you!
These options can be changed in Settings > Privacy Settings > Applications
What Other Apps can see
What Other Apps can see
By default Facebook allows your friend and random peoples applications to see a great deal about you. Practically all of your information is shared with them. I would uncheck all off the items except maybe the name and picture. There is no reason why you should share all of this with people you don’t know. When it comes to security, less is more and you should never give you information that does not need to be given out for some reason. If you have never seen this settings page and you own a facebook, make sure you go there now and configure it to be way more secure. Applications are unsafe and with these features as lax as they are you don’t even have to have an application installed for it to do major damage to your well being.
In order to use ANY of facebook’s applications this option must be checked: Know who I am and access my information. Like I said, gives the owner permision to know everything about you and change it on whim. All the private data you have provided for facebook is handed to them on a silver platter.
Control the Information Given to Third Party Applications
This is very important as it determines what applications can know about you. This should be as little as possible. There is know need in giving random people full information about you. In order to find this go here:
Under Privacy Options >> Applications >> Other Applications
You can control what other applications find out about you before you have them installed. It is advisable to uncheck almost all of them. If you don’t know what something means, chances are it shouldn’t be checked in this category.
Blocking Applications
Did you know that you can block certain and specific applications from bugging you all the time in your mini-feed? Well, now you do. This is one of the best options. Do you get sick of constantly being spammed by an application by one of your looser friends who decided to install a my little pony app and turn the mini feed spamming to full blast? Simply add all of the applications you don’t want to show up here.
Removing applications
Removing and application does not get rid off all of the pictures and other items that you uploaded / installed while using that application. So if you have incriminating or embarrassing things on an application make sure you DELETE IT BEFORE removing the application. You can always reinstall an application if you forgot to delete items and they will show up again for you to delete, but don’t think you’re safe just cause you deleted the application.
In summary,
  • ~ Don’t annoy your friends: If an application updates frequently, turn off the mini-feed settings or limit them
  • ~ Limit who can see your info: share apps with just your friends. Anything else is too much.
  • ~ Delete BEFORE removing: if you don’t, it will still be accessible
  • ~ Stop getting frustrated: you can block apps
Additional things to keep in mind. Posted front facebook itself:
  • ~ “When you authorize an application, it will be able to access any information associated with your account that it requires to work.”
  • ~ “When a friend of yours visits an application or authorizes it, the information that the application can access includes your friend’s friend list and information about the people on that list.”
Identity thief is more common than you think. Make sure you protect your private information.
The Facebook applications are very in depth when it comes to settings. And everything is defaulted to go against your privacy. So if you must use applications, which I suggest you don’t for security reasons, make sure you take the time to make it as secure as possible. You don’t want to have incriminating evidence made public through your applications. In fact, be careful in general about what you post on facebook. Everything can be made public.


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