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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

May - 2010 - issue > Technology

What is Social Media Insecurity?

Gary Bahadur
Monday, May 3, 2010
Gary Bahadur
One of the greatest challenges to privacy and security in the next several years is Social Networks and Social Media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and others can spell the downfall of valuing information. The ability to share and provide information is completely opposite to network security requirements. This is really encouraging people to do things that are not security conscious activities.

Millions of people have multiple accounts in Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and Linkedin, just to name a few. But sharing of information has moved beyond your personal circle of friends and family. Social media is becoming less social and more… well, more corporate. You can equate it to many people shouting in a bar, you are all in close proximity, but you can’t distinguish the individual conversations, you can’t make out who the people really are, or who is a potential quality relationship. Someone you do not want contacting you in that bar can easily find you if they want to, because you have put yourself out there.

How many random friend requests do you get now from Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, and so on? Too many is the case with most people. Twitter is a bit different obviously, but that is a whole other security nightmare waiting to happen. People are also getting bombarded with corporate Fanpages, Groups, and other means of luring you to their sites, brands, and social following. This is the erosion of your true social circle. You have basically joined a public forum rather than a social network.

Social Media Security is really more about ’insecurity’. The distribution of your information across multiple platforms used to be in a restricted circle. Now it’s pretty much everywhere. You can find a person’s LinkedIn profile with a generic Google search. This should be restricted to the LinkedIn environment, but it’s not. You can then find their Facebook page, get to know all their family, and compile a pretty extensive list about that person. A new site www.gist.com does basically that. It can be a great sales tool to find out everything about a prospect, or it can be a great tool to stalk someone.

With the advent of location based services, we will see physical insecurity based on social media usage on the rise rather quickly. A recently popular site Please Rob Me (http://pleaserobme.com) has already begun taking advantage of the Twitter location feature. Imagine what can be done by a stalker following someone on Twitter or a deranged ex-boyfriend following the girl based on the events she is attending on Facebook and LinkedIn? It’s easy to see how you can give away all your personal information without even thinking of it.

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