Mistakes in Social Media and Social Networking

Social media can be made safer if you take simple steps to strengthen your accounts. In fact, it has been found in many cases that with a little care and effort, you can lessen or avoid many common security issues and risks. You can reuse some of the guidance from earlier chapters and apply it to these new platforms:

Password Using the same password across multiple sites means anyone who gets controls of the password can access whatever data or personal information you store on any of those sites. In a worst-case scenario, for example, a Twitter password hack can give the hacker the key to an online banking account. Keep in mind that if you use a password on a site that doesn’t protect information carefully, someone can steal it. Many social-networking sites have grown so large so fast that they do not take appropriate security measures to secure the information they are entrusted with until it is too late. Additionally, many users never or rarely ever change their passwords, making their accounts even more vulnerable.

Too Much Information With the proliferation of social networking, the tendency to share too much has become more common. Users of these networks share more and more information without giving much thought to who may be reading it. The attitude nowadays tends to skew toward sharing information. People increasingly see sharing as no big deal. However, an individual’s or company’s brand and reputation can easily be tarnished if the wrong information is shared. In some cases, companies have taken the brunt of the public’s ire because an employee posted something that was off-color or offensive. It may not initially seem like a security problem, but rather a public relations issue; but one of the items you must protect as a security-minded individual is the public’s perception of your company.

Many types of scams can ensnare users by preying on an aspect of human nature that entices people to investigate or do something they would not normally do:

Secret Details about <Some Celebrity’s> Death This type of post feeds on people’s insatiable desire for information regarding celebrities or public figures.

I’m Stranded in a Foreign Country—Please Send Money These types of scams target users by claiming that the message is from someone the user knows who is trapped without money in a foreign country or bad situation. The scammer says they will gladly pay the person back when they get home. Once the victim’s trust is heightened to the point of sending money, the scammer comes up with plausible reasons to ask for increasingly larger amounts, eventually fleecing the victim for much greater sums.

Did You See This Picture of J-Lo? Both Facebook and Twitter have been plagued by phishing scams that involve a question that piques your interest and then directs you to a fake login screen, where you inadvertently reveal your Facebook or Twitter password.

Test Your IQ This type of scam attracts you with a quiz. Everybody loves quizzes. After you take the quiz, you are encouraged to enter your information into a form to get the results. In other cases, the scam encourages you to join an expensive text-messaging service, but the price appears only in extremely small print.

Tweet for Cash! This scam takes many forms. “Make money on Twitter!” and “Tweet for profit!” are two common come-ons that security analysts say they’ve seen lately. Obviously this scam preys on users’ greed and curiosity, but in the end they lose money or their identities.

Ur Cute. Msg Me! The sexual solicitation is a tactic spammers have been trying for many years via e-mail and is one that has proven wildly successful. In the updated version of this ruse, tweets feature scantily clad women and include a message embedded in the image, rather than in the 140-character tweet itself.

Amber Alert Issued!! This one is not so much as scam as it is a hoax. Amber alerts are pasted into status updates that turn out to be untrue. Although such attacks don’t gain information, they are designed to cause panic and concern as well as increase traffic among recipients.