Spotify is a quick and easy-to-use way to listen to your favorite tracks or albums without downloading, purchasing or waiting for buffering. While this new system for listening to music satisfies the need for tunes instantly, it doesn't come without drawbacks.
The Spotify Virus
In early 2011, a hacker used Spotify's third-party advertisements to spread a virus to users' computer systems. The malware infected computers without users clicking the ad, with a technique called an anti-virus hoax that used what is referred to as a Blackhole Exploit Kit, which is a tool kit for exploiting weak spots in software.
While using Spotify, the malware installed a virus called Windows Recovery AntiVirus. This fake security software scam is intent on convincing computer users that their systems are infected with viruses and that they need to buy an upgraded version of Windows Recovery to fix the problem. Of course, the only thing the users' computers are infected with is the Windows Recovery virus. Often, hoax software like this not only tries to scam you out of money, but it can also slow your computer down and spread to other computers in your network.
Interestingly, only a few people were affected by this virus because most users' computer security software blocked the malware and destroyed it before it could become a problem. This shows how important it is to install security software and to keep it updated while using software like Spotify.
Originally, you could sign up for Spotify using your personal information on a secure website. Now, to use the software, you must link it with a Facebook account. Users with older accounts also have the option to link their accounts with Facebook. This move has put a lot of people on edge.
When your account is linked to your Facebook account, updates are added in your Facebook status, alerting your followers to what you are listening to. While this isn't a major security issue, a grandmother may not want her followers to know she listens to rap music, for example.
Unfortunately, there isn't a way to shut off the Facebook updates if your accounts are already linked. If you haven't made the move to link your accounts yet, you may want to opt out if you don't want your friends to know what you listen to.
You can set your Facebook account to private, or open a new Facebook account specifically for your music player to hide these updates. Another option would be to delete the post from your Facebook wall before anyone sees it.
Regrettably, even if your Facebook account and your Spotify accounts aren't linked, people can still spy on your music choices. If your account is viewable to the public, the songs you have listened to are posted on your profile page.
You can hide your choices by opening your profile and clicking on the Cancel button next to your Public options.
While there aren't many ways you can control your security and privacy with Spotify, at least you can prevent viruses by using good security software and making your profile private.
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