Whenever you post a photo on the Internet, there’s alway the risk of someone stealing your pictures without permission and do with them what they will. In the case of Facebook’s Download features for photos, the social network won’t even notify you if someone had downloaded a high resolution version of your pictures. To protect against such acts, McAfee, the security software company, is releasing the McAfee Social Protection app that will lock your photos against downloads or screen captures straight from the thief’s computer.
If you don’t already have your Facebook privacy settings extensively set up, the app might help you take photo sharing privacy one step further to ensure only the people you want to share the photos with are the ones seeing them. One feature of the McAfee Social Protection app lets you do exactly that. For example, if you post a photo onto your friend’s wall and set it so that only this particular friend can see it, everyone else will only see a blurred version of the picture. The Share button to repost the photo on your own wall will also be disabled.
Another feature of the McAfee Social Protection app is a straight lockdown against people who want to download photos by putting a giant black block on top of the protected picture, claiming that these photos are unavailable for download. The app will also recognize when people try to use the Print Screen button on their computers to manually screencap. Not sure if this also applies to Mac’s screen grabbing feature, which comes in both the application Grab or the keyboard shortcut Apple + Shift + 3 or 4.
McAfee says this lock feature is possible because when you upload protected photos, you have to do it through the app which forces those files to go onto McAfee’s server rather than Facebook. This means that even even right clicking the picture for a direct URL won’t yield a viable result for thieves. The only way for them to really claim your photo is if they manually take a picture of their screen with a separate camera, but that’s definitely at a desperation level.
Preventing your photos from getting stolen off Facebook is never foolproof, but the app provides a quick way around that issue. As of now, no announcements have been made about a mobile edition for those who upload pictures from their smartphones — but if the app takes off with rave reviews, we don’t see why McAfee wouldn’t pursue such options. The free app will be available in the upcoming week; to be the first to sample the app, sign up with your e-mail via the official app page.