Security Misconception 5: Facebook is safe enough; no need to worry

When Kindsight took to the streets, we found five key misconceptions about cybersecurity including the one in this video: Facebook is safe enough; no need to worry.

Of those individuals interviewed, Facebook users didn’t seem to worry about their security. What consumers don’t realize are how many times Facebook has been used as a platform to launch malicious attacks.

In the last couple of months, there has been a wave of spam claiming to be from Facebook Support, which actually downloaded a Trojan to the victim’s machine. One study reported that 20% of Facebook users are exposed to malware which can hijack your account. Another scam promises a list of who’s blocked you, and then obtains information from your profile. These examples are just a couple of the issues in the headlines.

Things that seem incredibly simple such as Facebook statuses, tagging photographs and geotagging actually give cybercriminals pieces to the puzzle of your identity. For example, by adding GPS coordinates to your photos, or linking your Facebook account with location-based social networking services like Foursquare invites criminals to track your lifestyle patterns and steal personal information.

As we discussed in our Online ID Protection Tip 3 post, the amount of information people share on Facebook can be easily mined to guess passwords, initiate scams and steal identities. It may be obvious not to post private information such as your Social Security Number (SSN) but what about your birthday, school, maiden name, etc? This information is often used to form passwords or answer the questions to reset them on other sites so it’s potentially very dangerous to have it out in public.

These attacks are not limited to Facebook — other social media sites, such as Twitter, face similar types and numbers of attacks. You do need to be careful of what information you share on these sites, what links you click even it they appear to be from a “friend,” and how you public you make the elements of your profile.

As this will be our last post of 2010, we want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy holiday and all the best in 2011.

Happy holidays