New Year’s Resolution: Smart Social Networking

“You’ve been hijacked!”

That isn’t a phrase you’d expect to hear too often, but a growing number of social network members would disagree. Welcome to the “dark side” of social networking — where, unbeknownst to you, prowlers lurk in the shadows waiting with baited breath for you to slip up. If your online security is compromised just once, it could be hard to stop the snowball effect, which wreaks havoc on dozens, if not hundreds, of your online “friends.” After all, when one account is hacked, it’s easier for the cybercriminal to gain access to that individual’s social contacts.

Recently, a highly ranked employee at an IT security company told CNN : “We are on the verge from shifting from the Web being the No. 1 victim of infecting to social network[s].” The CNN article also highlights an Indiana University study conducted a few years ago that shows about 70 percent of phishing attempts on social networks actually work.

So why have social networking sites become such a hotbed for cyber fiends? Apparently, those with deceitful motives see this as a very lucrative opportunity.

For starters, the FBI has said that such Web sites “provide a gold mine of personal information” — not surprising, since we often fill our profiles with details that we may not realize are sensitive. For example, pets’ names, mothers’ maiden names, birthdays and home addresses oftentimes serve as clues for criminals to decode passwords and hack in.

In one case,…

Deanna Hartley


Posted in Opinion|


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