I just partnered with a company that is conducting a Facebook ad study. They sent me this CanaKit to attach to my computer in order to observe advertising info on facebook. I am not a programmer or in IT and have no idea if this is a good idea. Can someone who is more familiar with the device let me know if there is a reason I should be concerned and not proceed?

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    Safe how? Electrically? Privacy-wise? What do you fear could happen? One of my Raspberry Pis ran uninterrupted for more than a year once and almost all Linux systems are safer than a Windows machine in terms of malware susceptibility and more privacy oriented than both Windows and Apple systems.
    – jDo
    Apr 7, 2016 at 21:02
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    I now realize that you're not really asking "Is the Raspberry Pi safe" but rather "Should I let company X do whatever it wants to my computer and digital identity for money?" (thanks, Steve Robillard♦). It would be interesting to see the code running on the Pi and what sort of connections it's making; it's also the only way to really understand what the company is doing. Anyway, the Pi is probably not the main issue here and you should be aware that connecting anything directly to your PC gives it unlimited access to you passwords/bank accounts/webcam/etc. It's a matter of (dis)trust.
    – jDo
    Apr 7, 2016 at 21:15
  • The canakit is just a raspberry Pi with some electronic protoboard stuff. If then sent you one that has not been tampered with I fail to see how they could use it to do anything to you that you can't do worse by clicking on email attachments from them with your own computer. What have they asked you to do with it? Apr 8, 2016 at 4:43
  • @CandiedOrange that ignores what software may be added to the SD card. It also is worse because by being inside the network it has a trust relationship. At the very least this is going to permit unfettered access back to their servers. Apr 8, 2016 at 20:20
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    @Erika there's a good chance it's a scam. There should be no reason an ad study needs to sniff your network (even if it's only looking for packets tied to a specific ad service). Apr 11, 2016 at 12:11

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How much do you trust this company? You don't specify how this device will be connected to your computer, but I assume that it will be able to see every site you visit - this would include your bank, medical info, what you shop for, your email etc. Therefore, your question comes down to are you comforable sharing this info with them, and any person/group they may share or sell your info to.

You may also want to read very carefully their TOS, and search the web for tracking beacons used by facebook and others to track your web activity. You may also want to read the story about target outing a teen mom based on her purchase history.

The Pi itself is not unsafe to connect to your computer/network, but without knowing the software it is running there is no way of knowing what other issues it may preesent. Can they turn on a microphone or camera remotely. Can a vulnerability in the software allow others to access your data? or other computers on your network. What does the company value more data or security. Do they harden the Pi and its OS to protect you? How do they protect the data both on the SD card and while in transit? How will they provide updates to ensure your security/privacy.

You don't mention what you will get out of this, but you are trading your privacy for whatever it is. Is the loss of privacy worth the $100 that the kit costs? Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch.

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    @XGundam05 thanks for sharing I had not seen this. It should also be mentioned that the cow may already be out of the barn if the OP shared there facebook login details, as most users reuse passwords. Apr 8, 2016 at 12:44
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    @XGundam05 Step 1 - make a bunch of fake Facebook accounts. Step 2 - make them all friends with each other, join a load of communities and make the whole thing look legit. Step 3 - Contact scammers and hand over credentials. Step 4 - FREE PI!
    – jDo
    Apr 8, 2016 at 20:16

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