Security App of the Week: App Advisor for Facebook

A browser extension that works on Firefox, Safari and Chrome

By on October 12th, 2012 20:41 GMT

This week we’ll take a look at an interesting browser extension that could be of great aid for Facebook users who like to test out various apps designed for the popular social media website. App Advisor for Facebook is developed by secure.me and it’s available for web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Currently, there are a lot of Facebook apps out there. From an information security standpoint, many of them are harmless, but others are outright malicious.

That’s why a simple browser extension that could warn users when they’re utilizing an app that requests too much information, or too many rights can be of great aid.

A recent analysis uncovered the fact that around 63% of Facebook apps post messages on the customer’s behalf without his/her knowledge. 69% of them collect email addresses, and 30% “know” the users’ birthdays.

Although they’re not many, some applications want to access photographs, videos, information on hobbies, geographical data and even the details of friends.

This is where App Advisor steps in. The extension acts as a reputation system that rates applications based on how data-hungry they are.

There are five reputation levels, from poor (red) to very high (green), these ranks being influenced by factors such as Facebook permissions, the app’s behavior, and user rating.

These mechanisms can not only raise red flags if too much information is leaked, but also in case adult content or malware is identified.

”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,” Christian Sigl, founder of secure.me, said at the time when the app was launched.

App Advisor for Facebook for Chrome is available for download here
App Advisor for Facebook for Firefox is available for download here
App Advisor for Facebook for Safari is available for download here

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