Almost everyone has a Facebook profile, many use Pandora, Twitter, Google Plus. We voluntarily put vast amounts of personal data out into the cloud. Should we worry about it falling into the wrong hands? IT professor Bill Thomas discusses social network security:
Do social networking sites generally have good security against hacking/profile hijacking?
Security is often balanced with usability. The social networking sites want ease of use, which means at times security suffers. Security used to be very weak, but because of user concerns and industry exposure many sites now have better security tools. Default security still tends to be weak. Users must understand and implement the tools. A year and a half ago Facebook had pretty poor security, and it’s often only when people get concerned that sites react. Again, it’s usability versus security.
Are people overly concerned with their online safety or not concerned enough?
I think most are not concerned enough, many simply do not understand the consequences. Beside security, account hijacking, cyber-bullying, identity theft, actual thefts, 419 scams, social engineering attacks and stalking are just some of the consequences. I also believe that users really do not think about the privacy issues. Your online data is being shared and sold over and over again.
Are their any real-life cases of people stalking others using a networking site?
Absolutely, just google “Facebook stalking cases”, there are plenty of cases.
What can people do to increase their security while using social networking?
Protect your email account. Once I have that I can simply ask for a password reset which is typically sent to your email. Use secure passwords, and do not use the same password on your Facebook page, Juniata account and banking account. Don’t post your vacation plans for all to see, as an example. Does everyone need to know where you are in real time? Think about the risks.
There are many great guidelines out there that help you do this step by step. If you google “Securing Facebook Account” you will find help. Choose well-known sites. For instance Sophos, a security company, as well as Facebook itself, has some great guidelines. Take an hour to work through these guidelines and start the path to securing your social networking.
-Joe Aultman-Moore, 2012