I like the idea that technology makes it easier to stay “connected”, but Facebook , Twitter and the like, take that connected feeling well past my comfort zone. While I do have several Twitter accounts, those accounts are dedicated to professional tweets only.
Despite my personal reluctance to be “hard connected”, I can certainly understand the attraction of social networking – particularly for the “wired” generation. I have no problem accepting that the social relevancy of Twitter and Facebook, is substantial.
Although, I must admit, I fail to see the social relevancy of the inane “look at me” tweets, posted to Twitter by celebrities like Demi Moore, or Ashton Kutcher. I’m just not driven by the paparazzi mentality, I guess.
Despite the obvious benefits of social networking, these sites are not without risk. Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites, are now a veritable snake pit of nasty socially engineered malware attacks.
The “wired” generation, who are anything but “wired”, in my view, when it comes to good security practices, have taken their inadequate security habits over to Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere. As a result, social networking sites have proven to be a gold mine for cyber-criminals.
Not a day goes by, where I don’t report in my Tech Net News column, on another virus, worm, or Trojan, targeting Twitter and Facebook users. Despite constant warnings NOT to click on embedded links, or respond to social network generated emails, a considerable number of users blithely ignore this critical advice. Go figure!
On balance, social networking is a good thing – it’s opened new doorways of opportunity to stay connected. But, with those positive opportunities, comes a new set of opportunities for cyber-criminals. Now, more than ever, if you are a social network aficionado, you need to be aware of the risks.
Minimum social networking safe practices:
Don’t let your guard down – assume every link in Twitter is potentially unsafe – including links from friends.
Be particularly cautious of shortened URLs.
Don’t trust social network e-mails – including emails that are purportedly from Twitter support.
Be aware that a single wrong click can lead to a drive-by-download infection.
It should go without saying that you must keep all applications (including your operating system) patched.
Install anti-virus/anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet.
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