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Social Networking July 20, 2009

Posted by ctcoberon in Uncategorized.
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Social networking sites rely on connections and communication, so they encourage you to provide a certain amount of personal information.

When deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person because: the internet provides a sense of anonymity; the lack of physical interaction provides a false sense of security; they tailor the information for their friends to read, forgetting that others may see it; they want to offer insights to impress potential friends or associates.

While the majority of people using these sites do not pose a threat, malicious people may be drawn to them because of the accessibility and amount of personal information that’s available.

The more information malicious people have about you, the easier it is for them to take advantage of you. Predators may form relationships online and then convince unsuspecting individuals to meet them in person.

The personal information can also be used to conduct a social engineering attack. Using information that you provide about your location, hobbies, interests, and friends, a malicious person could impersonate a trusted friend or convince you that they have the authority to access other personal or financial data.

Visit Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networking for more information about social networking sites.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Limit the amount of personal information you post – Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine;
  • Remember that the internet is a public resource – Only post information you are comfortable with anyone seeing; Be wary of strangers – consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal or agreeing to meet them in person.
  • Be skeptical – Don’t believe everything you read online.
  • Evaluate your settings – Take advantage of a site’s privacy settings. The default settings for some sites may allow anyone to see your profile.
  • Use strong passwords – Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed, if your password is compromised, someone else may be able to access your account and pretend to be you.
  • Check privacy policies – Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam.
  • Use and maintain anti-virus software – Anti-virus software recognizes most known viruses and protects your computer against them, so you may be able to detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage. Because attackers are continually writing new viruses, it is important to keep your definitions up to date.
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