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Facebook Messenger And 3 Other Apps With Privacy Concerns

Facebook Messenger And 3 Other Apps With Privacy Concerns

Facebook 's (NASDAQ: FB) Messenger has become one of the most controversial apps available after users discovered how much access and control it gives Facebook over the devices on which the app is installed.

The app allows Facebook to send texts and make calls, among other powers. Users were very upset by this permission (which appears to be a bigger problem on Android than iOS), but some security experts argue that there is nothing to worry about.

Either way, the Facebook Messenger app is just one example of why apps are coming under fire. Read on to see what other apps are causing a problem.

1. Snapchat

Snapchat, the popular app that Facebook tried to acquire for $3 billion, reminded consumers to be careful what they send over the Internet.

The app initially claimed that videos and images would be deleted immediately after they were sent, but users could get around that by using other apps outside of Snapchat. The Federal Trade Commission also learned that Snapchat collected location-based data despite the firm's claim that it did not attempt to access any location-specific information.

Related Link: Privacy And Security Reigned Supreme At WWDC 2014

Last fall, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) released the results of a massive study that examined more than 2,000 apps from more than 600 companies. HP found that 97 percent of those apps "inappropriately accessed private information sources within a device."

2. Starbucks

Earlier this year, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) customers learned that their favorite app could be hacked.

The app stored a significant amount of information, including the user's full name, home address, username and e-mail address. This data was stored in plain text, which allowed hackers to gain access to the information if they obtained the user's phone.

More than 10 million users were thought to be at risk, but since hackers could not break in remotely, security experts weren't very concerned.

"It is a risk -- but that risk is far-fetched," security expert Kevin Baranowski told Benzinga.

3. Fake Facebook Color Changer

Those apps are the legitimate ones, but there are fake apps that consumers must avoid as well.

The latest is a virus that claims to change the color of Facebook. When users click to download, they are taken to a tutorial video. If the user agrees to watch it, hackers will be able to access his or her profile and spam that person's friends.

Thinking ahead, hackers included a dangerous option for those who don't agree to watch the video. On a smartphone, they'll be directed to an antivirus app; on the PC, a pornography video player. Both downloads are nothing more than malware.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.


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Posted-In: Facebook Facebook Messenger hewlett-packard HP Kevin BaranowskiTopics Tech General Best of Benzinga