Saturday, September 7, 2013

Facebook: A compromise of security or a way to keep in touch?

Information security is paramount when dealing with social media sites that gather and store private, personal information on all of its users. While most will never have any issues with their identity or compromising of their family's information, it is best to know what you are agreeing to when you sign up for these sites.For this reason ,this week we discuss the social media connection site, Facebook and the potential risk to information security.

Facebook, a social media website continues to grow in popularity and has millions of users worldwide which update their status and post messages daily to others throughout the world. While this is not necessarily a risk to the user themselves it does pose the question, what information is stored or being kept on the users for retrieval at a later time? After researching this question, I found that Facebook has an updated  privacy policy which helps us understand about some of the items collected from usage of this site. For starters, it records your IP address, your mobile number, and gains the right to all personal identifiable information placed on the site to be used for any commercial ad purpose Facebook may need or want to give it out to.

I also found it interesting to see in a post that Facebook does a practice known as cross-site tracking. This is when Facebook will track the users habits on what the reader is clicking on and reading even if the user is not using the" like" or "social plug in" button. This enables the company to better target advertising towards certain individuals.

Finally, the most serious implications with using these social media sites comes from the risks of "phishing" scams that contain viruses that can either steal information or compromise your system. There are countless stories of identity theft, email scams, and social media links that are really malware intended to harm the person who clicks on it. These threats increase daily and have the potential to destroy someones life.

Everything I discuss here is only a small portion of the risks associated with open source social media sites and as technology continues to grow the risk increase substantially. As more and more people subscribe to these sites, more attacks on the site will occur. While you do not have to choose to refrain from using these sites, it is best to understand the risks and mitigate them as much as possible by limiting what you post that is personal and harmful to your identity and not accepting or clicking on links or sites that you do not know the origin of.

If you would like to learn more on these potential risks. You can read the following links:

Facebook. 2013. Section-by-Section Summary of Updates. Retrieved from

Jaycox, M. & Rainey, R. 2012. Facebook's Conspicious Absence From Do Not Track Discussions. Retrieved from

Mills, E. 2008. Facebook BOTNET Risk Revealed. Retrieved from

Siciliano, R. 2010. Social Media and Identity Theft Risk PT 1. Retrieved from


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