...social networking is a one-stop data shop for social engineers, corporate spies and identity thieves that want access to your very valuable data
Denver, CO (PRWEB) January 24, 2011
Facebook Safety will make headlines in 2011, as it will be the year when identity theft, data breach, cyber stalking and cyber-bullying will move heavily into social networking. Social networking is the perfect platform for these crimes, as it aggregates vast quantities of sensitive personal information that are highly useful to social engineers (con artists), corporate spies, identity thieves, stalkers or old-fashioned smash and grab burglars. It’s a one-stop data shop, and personal information is the inventory.
According to fraud expert John Sileo, social networking fraud is moving into the business world. Sileo, the author of The Facebook Safety Survival Guide, shared the most common security mistakes he sees users making:
1. Setting up a weak password to get into Facebook, making account takeover an easy and attractive proposition for hackers. Not only does account takeover allow criminals to run Friends in Distress scams on a user's contact list, it also allows thieves to conduct illegal activity as someone else, shielding them from any criminal charges.
2. Sharing too much personal identity information when setting up a Facebook profile (e.g., full name, birth date and hometown – small pieces of data that when added together, give a thief every thing he needs to reverse-engineer a Social Security number).
3. Failing to customize Facebook Privacy Settings. Users who take the default privacy settings in Facebook (most users do this without thinking), are: allowing everyone in the Facebook network to see wall posts, profile information, photos, videos, friends and groups. In addition, default settings can allow contacts to share information (unknowingly) with outside users, vendors, and non-friends, including search engines that index your profile, posts and personal information. Finally, allowing contacts to publish someone else's current location in Places (even if you aren’t there) and allowing Facebook to copy, store, print and utilize sensitive data in any way they see fit.
4. Posting travel plans or location data (geo-tagging) allows thieves to know exactly when to rob a user, informs unhealthy ex-spouses of a user's whereabouts and makes it easy for law enforcement to deliver that subpoena.
5. Accepting friend requests from people that aren’t actually friends extends social networks to a group of people who could potentially take advantage of sensitive data.
6. Posting photos or videos that put children, friends, family or self at risk. 99% of Facebook users are there for the right reasons – to connect in a healthy way. Unfortunately, the other 1% are made up of pedophiles, stalkers, burglars, identity thieves and sick individuals who use photos and videos to identify users in person.
7. Failing to monitor a child’s online presence for bullying, inappropriate content, conversations or contact.
In Sileo's experience, uninvolved parents and employers end up being sorry that they didn't take steps sooner to educate their employees and children about the risks of sharing too much information.
John Sileo trains organizations on how to protect their private information against identity theft, social engineering fraud, corporate espionage and cyber crime. He is the award-winning author of Stolen Lives, Privacy Means Profit and The Facebook Safety Survival Guide. Learn more at http://www.ThinkLikeASpy.com or 800.258.8076.
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