Minimizing information disclosure to third parties in social login platforms

Kontaxis, Georgios; Polychronakis, Michalis; Markatos, Evangelos
October 2012
International Journal of Information Security;Oct2012, Vol. 11 Issue 5, p321
Academic Journal
Over the past few years, a large and ever increasing number of Web sites have incorporated one or more social login platforms and have encouraged users to log in with their Facebook, Twitter, Google, or other social networking identities. Research results suggest that more than two million Web sites have already adopted Facebook's social login platform, and the number is increasing sharply. Although one might theoretically refrain from such social login features and cross-site interactions, usage statistics show that more than 250 million people might not fully realize the privacy implications of opting-in. To make matters worse, certain Web sites do not offer even the minimum of their functionality unless users meet their demands for information and social interaction. At the same time, in a large number of cases, it is unclear why these sites require all that personal information for their purposes. In this paper, we mitigate this problem by designing and developing a framework for minimum information disclosure in social login interactions with third-party sites. Our example case is Facebook, which combines a very popular single sign-on platform with information-rich social networking profiles. Whenever users want to browse to a Web site that requires authentication or social interaction using a Facebook identity, our system employs, by default, a Facebook session that reveals the minimum amount of information necessary. Users have the option to explicitly elevate that Facebook session in a manner that reveals more or all of the information tied to their social identity. This enables users to disclose the minimum possible amount of personal information during their browsing experience on third-party Web sites.


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