Social Networking has spread like wildfire, and many of these sites are still gathering hordes of new members every day.
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Tagged, LinkedIn, YouTube and many others are an automatic must view every time many people sign on to the internet. How safe is your personal information on social networking sites?
Many of these 2.0 web destinations have a common theme, they encourage the sharing of information in one form or another with authorized followers. Granted a lot of the information people share is not harmful, though some can turn out to be very harmful, consider the following
- The Lori Drew case, where Lori established a false online profile with the intent of bullying her daughters online rival. The rival ended up committing suicide. Lori is in prison. How many other cases like this are out there?
- Some users make the bad guys job just too easy, by posting things like their social security number in their profile, or even when they register, these sites have no need for your social security number.
These examples are similar in that they are common mistakes.
- Some things that get posted seem to be very innocent and not dangerous. A recent burglary was facilitated by a young woman who posted her plans to go out one evening on her social networking page. While she was gone thieves broke into her apartment and stop more than $ 10,000 worth of electronic and other equipment. Luckily they overlooked the CCTV equipment that recorded their actions, when the police released the video to the news media one of the young woman's followers recognized the thieves as other registered followers who she knew from high school. This particular incident turned out okay, just imagine though what could have happened if the young woman had come back to her apartment while the thieves were still there!
The above incidents point out some of the things you need to be careful about when interacting with social networks. Aside for authorized followers being able to access the info you post. Think about every way you interact, for example;
- There are reports of hackers getting into social networking member files and finding information that can help the identify users.
- A newer attack is the posted false false that attract followers, then the persons behind those profiles will solicit information from those followers.
So what are some of the steps you should take to stay safe on social networking sites?
- Be careful of what information you provide on profile pages as well on your own page. Your age or birth date, your social security number, your location, your phone number, your email address, your job, your friends or family names, your photo, all could have been used to find information about your real identity.
- Do not post information about your schedule schedule, your vacation schedule, even your work schedule, if a potential bad guy gets that kind of information, they will know when you are not home.
- Never respond to invitations to share user names or passwords.
- Be careful about exposing any personal information unless you know exactly who you are interacting with.