In light of the recent news of Facebook being hacked, now is probably a good time to write about another one of the dangers of using a social network. It is common for users to complain about the difficulty of understanding each social networking websites’ privacy filters. However, attackers do not pay attention to privacy filters, permissions, or accounts that are “invisible” to searches. As of this week, Facebook has reported that attackers did not compromise any user data in the latest breach, but users should be concerned about what would happen to their personal Facebook data if it were compromised.

What if…

  • What would happen to the pictures they had shared with just a few friends?  
  • What about their private messages that could be potentially embarrassing if they were made public? 
  • Would geo-location details that are often embedded in digital photos taken by today’s cell phones be used by criminals to locate where certain users live?  

These are important concerns that all social networking users should be aware of.

Use the Newspaper Rule

Even knowing the dangers of using social networking sites, they are just too convenient and fun to use for us to shut down our accounts.  But an important step to using social networking sites safely is to consider them as easily read as a newspaper. By assuming that any data entered into a social networking site- be it text or photos- will be read by EVERYONE, we will be less tempted to post private sensitive data that could lead to our embarrassment, or worse, posted publicly. If we follow that guideline, and there is a breach of the social networking website by attackers, it will be of little importance to us. Read Part 1 of this blog entry

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