We use it at home, we use it at work, we use it on our mobile phones whilst out and about, our children use it.
Such a useful tool yet it can be one of the largest threats about. Social networking now comes hand in hand with internet access. It is pre-installed on mobile phones, new technology and now children younger than ever are ‘playing with’ social networking.
If you haven’t created your own Facebook page people think you are strange and cut off from the world.
Facebook’s privacy settings are under regular criticism for vagueness. Do we really know what information is available to whom and how they can use it?
Is there more to the term “You have authorised these apps to interact with your Facebook account” ?
A recent feature in Tech Week states how ‘Cybercrooks’ are now attacking social networking sites instead of e-mail services and according to an estimate 67 percent of the users on such sites such as facebook have already been spammed in the year 2010.
Security experts have warned users to remove details such as addresses and mobile phone numbers.
Looking at security from an alternative online angle, why do people use the novelty ‘location’ and ‘check in’ applications? “Joe Bloggs is at Manchester Airport with Mrs Bloggs”
Or aptly translated for any browsing thieves “Me and my wife will not be at home for at least a week. Come rob us”.
You may be proud to tell the world that you are watching JLS in concert at the MEN arena, but when you have left your child at home with the babysitter, why risk the possibility of that kind of security threat to your family.
Back in the days, people would buy timers for their lights so to appear at home whilst out for the evening or away. Now they splash the news of their absence for all to see over the internet.
However, location check in all becomes clear as Facebook unveils its new ‘Facebook Deals‘ app. Sharing your location with friends gains you incentives to deals as local retailers get involved in this new craze. ‘Check in and receive 20% off’.
Recent news on OSM told how prison inmates are even offending from the inside with the helping hand of social networking.
Even if you have all your Facebook security locked down to the tightest level, are you 100% confident that what information you have on there is as private as you would like it? Do you really have 350 close friends that you can trust? or are some of them old school friends that you don’t really know and didn’t particularly speak to even when you were at school?
Just for interest, please click on the answer to the question below. (Doesn’t require name/email or any form of identity!) Please share with your friends too!
Many of us are guilty of letting our underage children use sites such as Facebook, even if it is just for them to keep in touch with family and play on games such as Farmville and bejewelled. But do you have control of who they add or accept as friends?
As TechEye recently quoted, “Technology is changing the world to such a large extent that many children know how to use a computer or a smartphone but cannot ride a bike, swim, make breakfast or even tie their own shoelaces.”
Would you let your young child walk the streets alone wearing personalised clothing advertising their first name for them to be approached by any stranger? If your child is on Facebook and the privacy settings aren’t correctly set, this is just what they could be doing online, only the stranger can talk to them without anyone witnessing. For parents that are on Facebook themselves and have privacy setting knowledge, this may not be such a worrying factor, but what about those parents who aren’t tech savvy.
That’s not the only threat for children as more social sites have been used as platforms for bullying – even death threats.
It’s not just networking sites that can cause threats, many gaming sites catch the attention of children, some of which have chat facilities such as Miniclip. As far as kids gaming sites go, Club Penguin is said to be the safest, however there is always some risk involved if your children are using unsupervised, such as being ‘lured’ over to use other sites where chat is not so heavily monitored.
As Sophos pointed out in their 2011 Security Threat report, “Cyber Criminals use curiosity and vulnerability to snare online users into their traps.” So your unsuspecting child may be unaware of the link they are about to click onto, and as young people are less likely to use email now as they are communicating through Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, online security is becoming more of an issue.
Whilst we can not stop the threats around us, we can take certain steps to prevent them affecting us.
- Be aware – think about what information you are putting online
- Check your family’s social network privacy settings
- Check your family’s online contacts/friend lists
- If you allow your young children to use social networking sites, make sure their identity is in the form of a nick name and not their full name
- Ensure your child’s privacy settings protect them as best they can from the open public world wide web
- Think twice before you use applications such as ‘Location’ and ‘Places you check into’
- Apply parental settings
- If you have younger children, know their online passwords and check their history
- Set online rules for your children so they know exactly what they are and aren’t allowed to access/do online (Make sure not speaking to strangers is top of the list and depending on their age, disallowing all downloads is a good idea to avoid accidental exposing to spyware or other unwanted nasties)
- Protect your computer with appropriate antivirus and antispyware software
- Create different user accounts for all the family if sharing computers. Your children can then have limited access.
Do you think it is about time that social networking sites did more to help protect us?
What threats could you be up against if you lost your blackberry or iphone?
Do you think you will discontinue using sites such as Facebook over security worries in the future or do you think all the worry is exaggerated?