Beware of Facebook Dangers

This came as a information security mail in office…n I think it is worth sharing.

Facebook is currently the most prevalent social networking web site enabling its users diversified communication methods. With more than 400 million users, Facebook sometimes fails to sufficiently protect its subscribers’ private information. This might enable criminals and scammers of all kinds to violate the privacy of Facebook users. 

Why is Facebook’s private information poorly protected?

Facebook has a never ending lease on your online life when you upload valuable private information. Although it has a well-defined security policy, its security controls can be easily bypassed. In addition, Facebook has been known to change its security policy and controls without giving its subscribers advance notice.

What are Facebook’s privacy threats?

Ÿ Identity theft. Depending on how much information you put into your profiles, you might be at risk of identity theft.
Ÿ Personal information. Criminals and scammers set up fake profiles of companies and individuals. These social media identity theft profiles are designed to get people to provide data for free gift cards or other offers that ultimately allow for financial fraud.
Ÿ Friends list. Some people accept any Friend request that they get, whether they know the person or not. Whoever you accept will be able to see all your personal information. They will also be able to see personal information about your friends. 
Ÿ Applications. Any application that asks to access your profile information puts your information at risk. If any of your friends use these applications, they also put your information at risk. 
Ÿ Third party applications. Third party applications in the form of games and quizzes share data that is not meant to be shared. Thus, valuable private data might leak out. 
Ÿ Malicious code infection. Ads appearing on Facebook are sanctioned in some way by Facebook, but some can be malicious. When clicked, they can infect your PC and plant a Trojan horse in it. 

How to avoid risking your private information

Ÿ Don’t display your birth year. Put the city name instead of your actual address; if you live near a large city, enter that name instead of your actual town. And be careful what you post on your wall.
Ÿ Make sure your personal settings are restricted to “friends only”, not “friends of friends.” You can create several different lists of friends and then assign different permissions to each list. This will allow you to accept a friend request and still restrict what they can see.
Ÿ Avoid running suspicious applications. As soon as you run an application, you have given it permission to do anything it wants to any and all of your information, as well as any information you can see about your friends. 
Ÿ Be very careful using any application that asks to access your profile. The danger is the ease of running malicious programs that can hack your account. 
Ÿ Be selective when taking quizzes on Facebook. Keep in mind that if your account is compromised, not only is your personal information exposed, but the personal information of all your friends as well. 

How to recover after being hacked

Ÿ Change your password to prevent future unauthorized access.
Ÿ Figure out how your account got hacked. If you suspect a certain application, remove it. If you ran a new application, maybe you want to block it.
Ÿ Notify your friends. If your account has been hacked, your friends are in danger of being hacked as well. If you know the cause, warn them not to click on the application, message, etc. 
Ÿ Check your account settings. Malicious software often tries to spread as much as possible. By letting all people view your information, you will increase the chances that somebody else might get infected with whatever trashed your account. 

~ by Neha Sinha on July 1, 2010.

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