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Blocking Strangers From Following Me


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I’ve had a bunch of randos who’ve never even once posted here start “following” me in the last few weeks... I am notified when they begin following.

My understanding is that the follow function is basically a subscription to get updates every time I post.   

My intuition is that it’s not being done for any positive purpose or because they wish to learn from me etc., and may in fact be a coordinated effort to learn more about me and plan for a social engineering attack of some sort. Maybe (hopefully) I’m wrong, but I’d simply rather not have followers. 

Can followers be blocked? Can I disagree to their desire to follow me, or be given an option to Approve/Deny the subscription to my posts? Can the feature be disabled entirely sitewide?

Any other options available besides crossing my fingers and hoping I’m just being paranoid?

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9 minutes ago, iNow said:

I’ve had a bunch of randos who’ve never even once posted here start “following” me in the last few weeks... I am notified when they begin following.

My understanding is that the follow function is basically a subscription to get updates every time I post.   

My intuition is that it’s not being done for any positive purpose or because they wish to learn from me etc., and may in fact be a coordinated effort to learn more about me and plan for a social engineering attack of some sort. Maybe (hopefully) I’m wrong, but I’d simply rather not have followers. 

Can followers be blocked? Can I disagree to their desire to follow me, or be given an option to Approve/Deny the subscription to my posts? Can the feature be disabled entirely sitewide?

Any other options available besides crossing my fingers and hoping I’m just being paranoid?

 

Like this  ?

follow1.jpg.a0d854f27dd4790369c97a75595c9e66.jpg

 

Maybe @Sensei has some ideas  ?

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1 minute ago, studiot said:

Like this  ?

Exactly, though it’s at least reassuring to see it was a carpet bomb approach to many users and not a rifle targeted at me. 

+1 for the extra intel 

3 minutes ago, studiot said:

Maybe @Sensei has some ideas  ?

I suspect he can comment on why people might do this, but likely isn’t aware of what specific configuration options are available here on SFN in the Admin Panel. 

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25 minutes ago, iNow said:

I’ve had a bunch of randos who’ve never even once posted here start “following” me in the last few weeks... I am notified when they begin following.

My understanding is that the follow function is basically a subscription to get updates every time I post.   

My intuition is that it’s not being done for any positive purpose or because they wish to learn from me etc., and may in fact be a coordinated effort to learn more about me and plan for a social engineering attack of some sort. Maybe (hopefully) I’m wrong, but I’d simply rather not have followers. 

Can followers be blocked? Can I disagree to their desire to follow me, or be given an option to Approve/Deny the subscription to my posts? Can the feature be disabled entirely sitewide?

Any other options available besides crossing my fingers and hoping I’m just being paranoid?

Sounds like your safe space might have been breached and crossing fingers might not be enough. Enforcing real measures could be the only hope.

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

Can followers be blocked? Can I disagree to their desire to follow me, or be given an option to Approve/Deny the subscription to my posts? Can the feature be disabled entirely sitewide?

Go to your profile. On the left is a list of the people following you. Choose "Options". You can select to not allow others to follow you.

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All my life I've dreamed of having followers. . . . Well, nightmares really. . . .I think they are closing in. . . .Someone's at the door.  . . .I'll be back in a moment.

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46 minutes ago, studiot said:

Like this  ?

That looks very suspicious...

46 minutes ago, studiot said:

Maybe @Sensei has some ideas  ?

If somebody truly wants to just read the all messages that you posted, you can't do anything with it because in the worst scenario he or she will write crawler/harvester which will visit person profile every couple minutes or seconds (script with wget/curl in a loop), parse it, and check if sonebody wrote anything new and then parse new messages and add to the database.

ps. Beware of attaching photos. Remove meta-data from photos. Don't add photos from smartphone on mobile version of this site directly! Use PC. You have no idea what meta-data they contain! Always check them if you took photo. The details of the device, once automated (with millions other photos), also can be used for identification and tracking.

ps2. Beware of attaching links from newsfeed or links from search engine etc. They have your personal GUID (global unique identifier) to track you and activity ("xxx was shared by yyy number of people" there is such field on FB). Always remove query string to absolute minimum (on mobile it is very unpleasant job)..

 

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1 hour ago, zapatos said:

Go to your profile. On the left is a list of the people following you. Choose "Options". You can select to not allow others to follow you.

5 minutes ago, geordief said:

When I go to my profile and look at my one "follower "there is a tab to the right that allows me to "stop others from following me".

That not do the trick?

Thank you both (and also sensei for the tips... and even koti for being consistent and true to his character). 

I’ll need to check in the morningas these options don’t seem to appear on mobile (which is likely why I missed it when attempting to address it on my own). 

1 hour ago, Sensei said:

Beware of attaching photos. Remove meta-data from photos. Don't add photos from smartphone on mobile version of this site directly! Use PC. You have no idea what meta-data they contain! Always check them if you took photo. The details of the device, once automated (with millions other photos), also can be used for identification and tracking.

Does this situation improve at all if I take a screenshot of the photo and share the screenshot instead?

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

Does this situation improve at all if I take a screenshot of the photo and share the screenshot instead?

Absolutely, yes. It will solve problem with metadata.

 

Lens can have unique imperfections added intentionally or non-intentionally. Analyze of enough amount of raw photos can be used to determine if they came from the same device. Change of resolution i.e. rescale down more than 2x with bi-linear interpolation can help to hide them.

The same is with printers, copiers and scanners. Printed page has invisible by naked eye details which can be used for identification of exact printer device and/or model and indirectly person (if he/she is unique user like in home office).

If you download document from some websites e.g. government web page, there are added unique metadata to each downloaded file. If somebody will share it on-line, analyze of metadata can reveal who downloaded and from what IP and when it happened. If you download some such important file, use VPN/proxy/Tor to download it again, and compare them e.g. 7zip adds branch to Windows explorer. RMB on file, pick CRC SHA branch, then pick one of them e.g. SHA-256. Repeat with other file from alternative computer with alternative network transmission via VPN/proxy/Tor. Compare checksum. If they differ, document has unique metadata and/or was generated dynamically and they can be used for tracking leakage.

Edited by Sensei
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9 hours ago, Sensei said:

ps. Beware of attaching photos. Remove meta-data from photos. Don't add photos from smartphone on mobile version of this site directly! Use PC. You have no idea what meta-data they contain! Always check them if you took photo. The details of the device, once automated (with millions other photos), also can be used for identification and tracking.

Nice tip. Would 1) save to PC, 2) edit with the Gimp, 3) Export to JPG, do the trick? Or do you recommend to strip metadata by "brute force", e.g., with ImageMagic or similar?

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10 hours ago, zapatos said:

Go to your profile. On the left is a list of the people following you. Choose "Options". You can select to not allow others to follow you.

Thank you. Never noticed that (each time we update the software, I am less interested in poking around to explore all the features). Looks like blocking followers is all or nothing.

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Thanks to iNow for introducing the subject, sensei for those comments I value highly and others who replied.

So the price of innocnce is eternal vigilance.

Where have I heard that before ?

Edit I have just started 'following' the new member concerned.

This is the first and probably only time I will do this as I have never seen any use for the facility on a forum.

When I clicked on follow I was offered a tickebox to 'Let othere see you are following'

Perhaps we should include the significance of this in the scrutiny ?

Edited by studiot
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16 minutes ago, studiot said:

When I clicked on follow I was offered a tickebox to 'Let othere see you are following'

Perhaps we should include the significance of this in the scrutiny ?

Indeed.That option seems mad.

(Unless the "followee" is automatically notified)

Edited by geordief
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8 hours ago, Sensei said:

Absolutely, yes. It will solve problem with metadata.

Many thanks. Appreciate the guidance. 

The button to block followers did indeed appear when using a proper sized browser on a non tiny mobile device and the request from my OP has been satisfied. Thanks all.

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7 hours ago, joigus said:

Nice tip. Would 1) save to PC, 2) edit with the Gimp, 3) Export to JPG, do the trick? Or do you recommend to strip metadata by "brute force", e.g., with ImageMagic or similar?

You can open photo in viewer and take screenshot. Open built-in Windows Paint and press Paste and "Save As..". But iNow reminded me that you can also take screenshot of gallery on mobile too. Search net "how to make screenshot (mobile model name)". Different brands/models have different procedure. Of course if you are unsure how to do it (there is no magic "print screen" key after all).

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