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Naming and Shaming Toxic Web Apps 52

Posted by Soulskill
from the running-this-requires-access-to-your-neural-patterns dept.
itwbennett writes "Stanford Law School has released a wiki called WhatApp?, where users can rate all manner of web apps, browsers, mobile platforms, mobile apps, and social network apps on their security, privacy, and openness. Currently, the wiki 'lists some 200+ apps, but most of them have not been reviewed yet. So they need a lot of help,' writes blogger Dan Tynan. 'To review an app you select it from the list, then fill out a 9-question form rating its privacy, security, and openness, ranging from 5 (very private, secure, and open) to 1 (a steaming pile of vulnerabilities and violations).'"
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Naming and Shaming Toxic Web Apps

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  • Wait (Score:3, Funny)

    by malkir (1031750) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:00PM (#31738548)
    So all I have to do is download some shitty app and rate it, potentially exposing myself to the spyware/malware/security vulnerabilities were looking to avoid? Where do I sign up?
    • ....someone is missing the point here.
    • So all I have to do is download some shitty app and rate it, potentially exposing myself to the spyware/malware/security vulnerabilities were looking to avoid? Where do I sign up?

      I'm surprised they don't have at least a 9 question application to signup and qualify the suckers, um, volunteers. I guess they'll let anyone test the apps? So it's Yelp but without the sales pressure?

    • I've got a better idea. Let me rate the apps without downloading and installing them. I'll be the judge of whether or not they're probably safe to use and free of malware.

      I'm betting that most of us here at /. could make some very accurate educated guesses as to whether something should be downloaded and installed without having to risk actually getting infected with malware. In many cases, we could probably do it based on the URL alone.

      Just put us in charge. Oh, and give us the power to punish those wh

    • For this scheme to work, the toxic app host/author has to know and a sense of moral. The very fact these apps exists implies their host/authors either have weaken or non-existent sense of moral, therefor this scheme will never fly.

  • Isn't the whole point of free (as in gratis) web apps to capture and exploit user info? These companies providing them aren't charities.
    • by iYk6 (1425255)

      Yes, presumably web apps will receive low scores. However, the list also includes "browsers, mobile platforms, mobile apps", so maybe you will find something in one of those categories that fits you better.

  • Web of Trust (Score:5, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:04PM (#31738636) Journal

    This rate-the-app project sounds similar to WOT. It sounds like a good idea to me, since Web of Trust has helped me avoid a lot of spybots and other crap. http://www.mywot.com/ [mywot.com]

    • ``OS 10.6 requires 1 gigabyte; no exceptions. But WIN7 runs well on just 1/2 GB. Apple's OS appears *twice* as bloated.''

      I gather you are talking about RAM, not diskspace. But would you perchance have any pointers to reducing Windows 7 disk space usage? It irks me that an OS I rarely use sits there eating up > 10 GB of disk space, but I lack the knowledge of Windows to do something about it. If I could get the disk space

  • Hrm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dread Pirate Skippy (963698) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:07PM (#31738704)
    The people who are downloading these 'toxic' apps in the first place simply aren't going to visit this site before doing so. Folks who are already aware of the risks won't need a site like this to illustrate them...so who is this for?
    • by Jurily (900488)

      All the people who don't fit into your generalizations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by selven (1556643)

      These are WEB apps, not downloadable ones (technically, the client gets downloaded into your browser cache, but that's usually the extent of it). It's about the ongoing security risk and harm that the apps are causing, and if you've been using Rockbox (to use their hall of shame example) for a year and you stop because of the website, they've still done you a service.

      • These are WEB apps, not downloadable ones (technically, the client gets downloaded into your browser cache, but that's usually the extent of it)

        That is incorrect.

        if you've been using Rockbox (to use their hall of shame example)

        Rock You Live != Rockbox!

        You're like a regular font of disinformation here -- distracted much?

        • by selven (1556643)

          These are WEB apps, not downloadable ones (technically, the client gets downloaded into your browser cache, but that's usually the extent of it)

          That is incorrect.

          Please explain.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            Please explain.

            Sure. I'll use a car analogy:

            Salesman: Well I can't _give_ you the car, but I _can_ let you have this little number for practically nothing: only $38,000.
            [bullets hit the car]
            Homer: [suspicious] Hey, what are all these holes?
            Salesman: [quickly] These are speed holes. They make the car go faster.
            Homer: Oh, yeah. Speed holes!
            [bullets riddle the car and smash the windshield]
            Salesman: You want my advice? I think you should buy this car.

            Any questions?

          • by Rary (566291)

            These are WEB apps, not downloadable ones (technically, the client gets downloaded into your browser cache, but that's usually the extent of it)

            That is incorrect.

            Please explain.

            The summary says "web apps". The actual website, however, says "online and mobile apps". What they're actually rating are mostly downloadable applications, although some really are web apps.

      • You've made a mistake; RockYou Live [whatapp.org] is in their "penalty box", not RockBox [rockbox.org]. The two are totally unrelated; RockBox isn't even a webapp, it's an (excellent) open source firmware for portable music players. They don't ask for your personal information at all.

  • WhatApp (Score:4, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:40PM (#31739384)
    So near and yet so far.

    They could have used WhatsAppDoc.
  • How is anyone qualified to actually rate a WebApp on its security most of the time??? Certainly not the average user, and I doubt even a security researcher unless they are given access by the developer. Until it's too late, you won't know that the developer set all the server passwords to 'LOL' or is selling your information to criminals....
  • Oooooo eeeeee! WhatApp with that? WhatApp with that?
  • I don't see an entry for itself
  • Those, IMHO, are the two most annoying wastes of time evar. EVAR! Should be rated toxic as such.
  • Someone write up a warning about the [ProductName], I heard it's a Killer App!

    How to play: substitute ProductName for iPad, Android, JooJoo etc
  • Thanks for the great update http://www.bankruptcyattorneyincalifornia.com/ [bankruptcy...fornia.com]
  • I rated the “WhatApp?” wiki as really crappy and unable to overcome a singular bias towards the opinion of the most powerful entities. ;)

  • Thanks for all of the /. feedback. Love it. So, just to clarify: ratings and reviews are based on a lot of things---technical knowledge, close reads of supporting documentation, etc. We don't let "anyone" review apps. We have 20+ approved experts at this time, some with computer science backgrounds, others with legal knowledge, still others with a background in privacy compliance. That said, we don't want to raise the bar excessively high. If you read a review, you can judge for yourself based on the

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