Social Networking Security Threats

Why you should limit access to personal data

Social networking privacy issues have dominated the headlines in the first half of 2011. With most social networks, the default settings share everything and users have to reset their options to make their accounts more private. This opens up a host of security issues because so many people—both friends and not—have access to your information.

And to see just how many security issues social networks pose, we recently conducted a social media poll that asks whether respondents have seen spam, phishing or malware incidents. Of the nearly 2,000 people polled, 71% reported that they, or one of their colleagues, had been spammed on a social networking site, 46% had been phished and 45% were sent malware. The remaining respondents were divided—some were not victims, others were unsure.

Cybercriminals can steal information about you from your social networking profile and posts and then tailor their attacks based on your interests and likes. This is known as “social engineering” and it makes security threats much more difficult to recognize. Here’s a closer look at some of the recent attacks and privacy issues plaguing three major social networking sites—Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and a sneak peek at Google Plus.

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