Not a day goes by, it seems, when Facebook and the opportunities it presents for cyber criminal activity, isn’t in the News. Not mainstream News, of course, since cyber crime rarely involves sex, or violence.
Mainstream media, where salacious and violent news reports rule the airwaves, determined, it seems to me, it had nothing to gain by advising you of the following, very unsexy, non violent, Facebook threats – all from this week incidentally.
But, throw Facebook and sex into the equation, and mainstream media are out of the gate as if shot from a cannon.
The discovery, that a pedophile ring which used Facebook as their communication channel had been broken up, and the perpetrators arrested, made headlines around the world, just yesterday.
And why not? This is the kind of news event that allows the media to exhibit their moral outrage and indignation. But, when it comes to occurrences that can effect you, if you are a Facebook subscriber, for example – no outrage; no moral indignation. Curious, no?
Maybe I’m missing something here. Could it be that there’s consensus, in the mainstream media community, that Facebook users who become victims of cyber criminals are getting exactly what they deserve?
At one time, I gave the benefit of the doubt to Facebook users, since most typical computer users (I believed), made assumptions that sites like Facebook, and other social networking sites, were essentially safe, and harmless – that Facebook, and others, were looking out for their users interests.
I’ve long since given up on this rather naive view of Facebook users lack of culpability in any harm they were exposed to though. I find it difficult to be supportive of people who throw common sense out the window, and behave irrationally on the Internet.
Despite my hardened view that Facebook users who fall victim to cyber criminals are not entirely innocent, I was still taken aback by the results of a study conducted, and just released, by BitDefender.
For study purposes, BitDefender asked the participants to “friend” a test profile of an unknown, attractive young woman.
Selected stats from the study:
More than 86 percent of the users who accepted the test-profile’s friend request work in the IT industry, of which 31 percent work in IT Security.
The most frequent reason for accepting the test profile’s friend request was her “lovely face” (53 percent).
After a half an hour conversation, 10 percent disclosed personal sensitive information, such as: address, phone number, mother’s and father’s name, etc — information usually requested as answers to password recovery questions.
Two hours later, 73 percent siphoned what appears to be confidential information from their workplace, such as future strategies, plans, as well as unreleased technologies/software.
The study sample group included 2,000 users from all over the world registered on one of the most popular social networks. These users were randomly chosen in order to cover different aspects: sex (1,000 females, 1,000 males), age (the sample ranged from 17 to 65 years with a mean age of 27.3 years), professional affiliation, interests etc.
In the first step, the users were only requested to add the unknown test profile as their friend, while in the second step several conversations with randomly selected users aimed to determine what kind of details they would disclose.
Given the state of the current, and increasing cyber criminal activity on the Internet, it’s almost certain that exposure to cybercrime on Facebook will continue to escalate, and with it, the dangers that this presents. Given the type of behavior reveled in this study, cyber criminals are sure to have a field day.
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