Information Technology

Social Media Security

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Large social sites are naturally a magnet for hackers and are particularly vulnerable because of their use of web applications, which are an easy conduit for spreading viruses. Currently most viruses/malware are spread on social websites via what's called 'social engineering.' Social engineering simply relies on sloppy practices encouraging clicks, links, and attachments of malicious code to friends to spread the virus or the agent of the virus.

Social networking sites are all designed to allow you to decide what information you want to share, and how often and with whom you want to share it. What makes these sites so powerful is how easy it is to share with others and watch and learn what others are doing. However, with these amazing capabilities come many risks.

1. Posting Personal Information About Yourself

Problem

Social websites allow you to post and share a tremendous amount of information. If you’re not careful, this information can harm you.

Criminals and attackers look for highly personal information. Based on details of your life you’ve shared, they may be able to

In addition, organizations hiring new employees or universities reviewing new students often do background checks on popular social networking sites such as Facebook.

Solutions

2. People Posting Information About You

Problem

Even more challenging to control is information others publish about you on their own sites. Photographs, videos, or online chat sessions can easily be shared.

Solutions

3. Third Party Apps and Games

Problem

Some social websites have additional third-party programs, such as games you can install. These programs are usually not developed or reviewed by the social networking website.

Solution

4. Knowing Who to Trust

Problem

One of the exciting features about social networking is the ability to quickly and easily interact with others. The issue is these websites make it easy for attackers to impersonate people you trust. If you blindly accept any request to join your network, then you have no privacy protection.

Another common attack occurs when criminals hack an account on a social networking site and pretend to be the victim. The criminal posts messages to all of the victim’s friends, pretending to be the victim and tricking their friends to visit a website or install a program.

When people visit the websites or install the program, their accounts or computers are often hacked. Criminals are using your trust of others to attack you.

Solutions

5. Complex Privacy Settings

Most social networking sites such as Facebook offer privacy controls. These are settings you can configure to determine who can and cannot access information on your page.

Problem

The problem with most privacy controls is that they are complex. You may think your information is protected, but you may be surprised to learn others can access it, such as Friends of Friends.

Also, privacy controls may not work as you expect, so in some cases people who are not your friends or even third-party applications can still access your information.

Finally, even once you figure out the privacy options they often change.

Solutions