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Social Networking

Keep Information Safe, Secure, and Protected
by

Charlotte Henschel

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of Social Networking

Learn How to Keep Safe While Using
Social Networking Sites. Using Social Network Site. Know How to
Protect Yourself Traveling the World Wide Web? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Tips to Stay Safe, Protected, and Secure. What about the Privacy Policy? How Do Social Networking Websites work? What are some of the Threats and / or Risks? What Information is Public? How does it become Public? Reference List What are Social Networking Websites and its Purpose. Social Networking Websites What are Social Networking Websites and its Purpose. Because social networking sites rely on connections and communication, they encourage the user to provide a certain amount of personal information.

These websites store this information on their website, rather than on the user’s personal computer.

Keeping that in mind, one should consider social networking in cyberspace the same as your network of friends in real life but when online you are exposed to additional threats and risks.

When deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person.

Some reasons for this may be:
The internet provides a sense of anonymity.
The lack of physical interaction provides a false sense of security.
Social network users tailor the information to their friends to read, forgetting that others may see it too.
They want to offer insights to impress potential friends or associates. How Do Social Networking Websites work? Social media networking sites, sometimes referred to as “friend-of-a-friend” sites, build upon the concept of traditional social networks where you are connected to new people through people you already know.

The purpose of some sites may be purely social, allowing users to establish friendships, while others may focus on establishing business connections.

Although the features of social networking sites differ, they allow users to provide information about themselves and offer some type of communication mechanism (forums, chat rooms, email, instant messenger) that enables you to connect with others.

On Wilkipedia.org there is a list of major active social networking websites.

Today that list totals 198 active sites which exclude dating sites. The list is not exhaustive, and is limited to notable, well-known sites.

Topping this list in registered users is Facebook followed by Twitter. Other popular sites are, MySpace and Windows Live Spaces.
What Information is Made Public?
How Does it Become Public? There are two kinds of information that can be gathered about a user from a social network. Information that is shared and information gathered through electronic tracking.

Information a user shares may include:
Photos and other media
Age and gender
Biographical information; education, employment (current and history)
Geographical location; place of residence
Status updates (also known as posts)
Contacts
Interests

This Information becomes public in a variety of ways:

A user may choose to post information as public.
Certain information may be publicly visible by default. With some sites a user may be able to change the privacy setting to make the information private so that only approved users can view it.
A social network can change its privacy policy at any time without a user’s permission. Contents that were posted with restrictive privacy settings may become visible when a privacy policy is altered.
Approved contacts may copy and re-post information, including photos, without a user’s permission, potentially bypassing privacy settings.
Third-party applications that have been granted access by the user may be able to view information that a user or a user’s contracts posted privately. Information Gathered Through Electronic Tracking: Information Gathered Through Electronic Tracking:

Information may also be gathered from a user’s actions online using cookies. Cookies are short strings of text stored on one’s hard drive. Some of the purposes of cookies may include:
Tracking which websites a user has viewed.
Storing information associated with specific websites (such as a shopping chart).
Tracking the user’s movement from one website to another website
Building a profile around a user
 
Make it a habit to clear your cookies often through your internet options! Many people skip over the privacy policy when joining a social network.  However, users can glean a lot of useful information by reviewing a privacy policy before signing up for service.  

A social network’s privacy policy will explain how the social network will collect and use information about people who visit the site.  

Start at the end.  The most important portions of a privacy policy are often at the very end. For example, the end of the document typical provides contact information for a privacy contact at the company as well as the most important facts about how personally identifiable information is used. So, when pressed for time, look to the end of the document.

Note the location and language of the privacy policy. Is it hidden away on a hard-to-find webpage or can it be found easily?  Does the language seem excessively vague or incomprehensible? This could be a warning sign.

Canceling your account. If you decide to leave the social network, can you delete the account and remove all of your information?  Can all data be removed entirely or will some information be maintained by the social network?  Be aware that some social networks may make it difficult or confusing to cancel an account and instead direct dissatisfied users to “deactivate” accounts. 

How long is personal information stored? Note that some information may be made ‘anonymous’ after a certain period of time, some may be deleted entirely after a certain period of time, and some may be maintained in perpetuity. 

What happens when a user dies? Does the privacy policy discuss what happens to personal information after a user dies? Will it remain online or be removed? Who owns the data that a user posts?  Does a user lose rights to information that he or she posts? Can it be used by marketers without the user’s explicit consent?  For example, can a user’s name and photos be used for advertisements?

How can a user complain?  Look for a physical address, email address, website address or phone number where users can voice concerns. Some online social networks utilize independent companies to review their privacy practices.  In such cases, users who are dissatisfied by a company’s compliance to the posted privacy policy can submit complaints to the certifying company.

How will a social network notify users about changes to the privacy policy? Will changes be posted to the homepage or will it only be posted in the privacy policy itself? Can users connect with a public profile on the social network that will inform them of changes to the privacy policy, or is there a way to receive an email if changes are made?

Does the social network participate in seal programs? Social networks that participate in third-party seal or certification programs show some level of awareness of privacy concerns.  This also gives users another place to voice concerns if any should arise. Some well-known companies include the Better Business Bureau, Verisign and Truste.  However, never assume that a third-party certification means the social network will always respect users’ privacy and security.   

Finally always remember, there is no technology that can effectively protect content once it is publicly accessible. Do’s
Set a strong password to reduce the risk of stolen account;
Learn how to use the site’s privacy settings.
Be cautious about whom you allow to contact you or how much and what type of information you share with strangers online;
Take the time to read and understand the privacy policies that are published on social networking sites.
Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing and knowing about you;
Use separate email accounts for registration on a social networking site and your personal communication;
If you no longer need an account and there is private information in it, deactivation is not sufficient. You should submit a request to the official website for account deletion.


Do not post personal information such as your address, date of birth, personal IDs, telephone number, credit card number or information about your schedule or routine.
Do not use easy guessable password or the same password for various social networking sites. Do not share your account and password with others;
Do not trust everything you read online especially from strangers. People may post false or misleading information even their own identities. Some Good Practices on Privacy Protection Do's Do Not's Users are Exposed To? What are Some of the Threats and Risks While the majority of people using social networking websites do not pose a threat, malicious people are drawn to these sites because of the accessibility and amount of personal information that’s available.

The more information malicious people have about a user, the easier it is for them to take advantage of that user.
 
Some of the threats and risks include:
Identity theft
Malicious content or code
Social-engineering attacks
Hackers, spammers, virus writers,
Cyber-stalking or cyber bulling
Online grooming. Identity Theft Cyber-
stalking,
Cyber-
bullying Malicious
Content
or Code Identity theft is a form of fraud in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name.

Social networking sites typically do not authenticate new members. The people you meet on a site may not be who they claim to be. Malicious people may even impersonate celebrities, corporations, government officials, etc. to persuade users to visit these fake profile pages to their advantage. They may also steal your personal information to masquerade as you online.

The followings are some ideas to avoid being a victim of identity theft:


Be judicious when accepting a friend’s request, following a friend, or joining a group;
Check the authenticity of the account by all means to ensure you know who you are connecting with;
Report to the service provider or related authorities if suspect any fake user profile;
Regularly check your account to identify any suspicious activity;
Report to the service provider and police if you suspect your personal account is hijacked or being impersonated by others.


Do not try to impersonate other people;
Do not rush to accept invitation from someone seems you know;
Do not give out your personal information unless you know whom you contact is the genuine user. What is Identity Theft? Do's Do Not's Social networking sites are growing in popularity as attack vectors because of the volume of users and the amount of personal information that is posted.

Attacker may make use of this channel to spread malicious content or code. Attackers are able to create customized applications that appear to be legitimate while infecting your computer without your knowledge.

The followings are some ideas to avoid malicious exploits:


Install Anti-Virus
Enable spam filtering function where applicable, some of the social networking sites may provide spam control plug-ins to filter out comment spam;
Regularly look for software applications news and updates directly from the vendor’s website;
Before accepting an application, verify its safety by checking the information and reviews of it;
Regularly check the settings of applications that you used or allowed; remove applications that you no longer need.


Do not click on unsolicited links from stranger or sources you do not know.
Nevertheless, even you are visiting pages of someone you know, always be cautious when clicking on links or photos, because links, images or other file formats may include malicious code;
Do not accept to download and install applications or plugs-ins that you do not know well. What is Malicious Content or Code? Do's Do Not's What is Cyber-stalking or Cyber-bullying? Cyber-stalking or cyber-bullying is a situation when someone is repeatedly tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another person using text messaging, email, instant messaging or any other type of digital technology.

Cyber-stalking or cyber-bullying is unwelcome behavior that is intrusive and unnerving for the victim. Cyber-stalkers or cyber-bullies often will monitor the victim's online activities and attempt to gather more information about their victims.

The followings are some ideas to avoid being cyber-stalked and cyber-bullied:


Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing and knowing about you;
Block or ignore unwanted people that you do not trust;
Keep a detailed account of all the stalkers or bullies activities;
If a situation places you in fear, consult someone you trust and contact the police if consider appropriate;
Use separate email accounts for registration on a social networking site and your personal communication;
Create different user lists and allow only authorised users to view your online status.
Log out the systems if a situation online that has become hostile.


Do not post anything which could be used to embarrass you;
Do not share personal information, in public spaces anywhere online, nor give it to strangers, including in email or chat rooms;
Do not post personal information as part of any user profiles;
Do not respond to online provocation;
Do not confront the stalker, this could only arouses more anger or emotional attacks;
Do not response to cyber-bullies, as this may usually encourage more bullying messages being received. Do's Do Not's Use a strong password. For help on creating strong passwords see “10 Rules for Creating a Hacker-Resistant Password.”

Use caution when you click on links that you receive in messages from your friends on your social network. Treat links in messages on these sites as you would links in email messages

Know what you have posted about yourself. A common way that hackers break into financial or other accounts is by clicking the “forget your password?” To break in, they search for answers to your security questions within your profile; your birthday, hometown, pet’s names, parents’ names, etc. .

If at all possible, try to create your own security questions.

Don’t trust that a message is really from who it says it’s from. Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like they are from your friends, but are not. If you have any doubt about the authenticity of a message, use an alternate method to contact your friend to confirm if it is indeed from them or indeed a hacker.

Avoid giving away your email address book of your friends. Some social networking services ask to scan your email address book to see if your contacts are on the network. Search out for your contacts on your own.

Type the address of your social networking site directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks. If you click a link to your site through email or another website, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen.

Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network. Identify thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you.

Choose your social network carefully. Evaluate the site and make sure you understand the privacy policy. Does the site monitor content that people post? You will be providing personal information to this website, so use the same criteria that you would to select a site where you enter your credit card.

Assume that everything you post is permanent, even if your delete your account.

Be careful about installing extras on your site such as third-party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Tips to Stay Safe, Protected, and Secure when Using Social Networks Protected Be Safe Enjoy the World Wide Web While Staying Connected with
Family, Friends, and Acquaintances. Secure McDowell, Mindi, (2006) Revised January 26, 2011, Security Tip (ST06-003): Staying Safe on Social Network Sites, Retrieved Jan 26, 2013, from US-Cert, United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team Web site: http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST06-003.html

Pipes, Sarah, University of Michigan (2010) Revised February 2013, Fact Sheet 35: Social Networking Privacy: How to be Safe, Secure and Social. Retrieved Feb 17, 2013, from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Empowering Consumers, Protecting Privacy Web site: https://www.privacyrights.org/social-networking-privacy

Wey, Melody, (2012), Protect Yourself While Using Social Media, Retrieved Feb 17, 2013 from British Columbia Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Website: http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2012LCITZ0002-000086.htm

No author listed, (2002) Last Update / Review: February 2013, Protecting Yourself, Safe Online Social Networking, Retrieved Feb 17, 2013 from InfoSec, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Website: http://www.infosec.gov.hk/textonly/english/yourself/socnetwk.html

No author listed, Microsoft Safety & Security Centre, 11 tips for Social Networking Safety, Retrieved Feb 17, 2013 From Microsoft Website: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/social-networking.aspx

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, List of social networking websites, Retrieved Jan 26, 2013 from Wikipedia Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites References Privacy Policy - A User Should Read it! (continued) Privacy Policy - A User Should Read it!
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