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A List of Security Tips of Social Networking 17/07/2009

Posted by cibercult in Sin categoría.
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The following article is from SANS Institute  (http://www.sans.org  copyright 2009)

The Dark Side of Social Networking
If you are not already engaging in social networking, statistics
indicate you will be soon. Visits to social networking sites now account
for 10% of the total time people spend on the Internet, according to
Nielsen Online. Two-thirds of Internet users in the U.S., Europe, Brazil
and Australia visit social networking or blogging sites. Internet users
total almost 156 million in the U.S. alone. Add in over 29 million in
the United Kingdom and over 25 million in Brazil, and the numbers are
just too large for the Bad Guys to ignore.

Ordinary Internet users have fallen in love with social networking.
While the amount of time users spent on MySpace decreased from April
2008 to April 2009, the use of Facebook increased by 700% and of Twitter
by 3,700% during the same period. Cybercriminals love social networking
sites, too, because they have to remain easily accessible in order to
grow their memberships. That means social networkers are in effect
attending an open party where just about everybody is welcome, and who
knows if anybody is watching the door.

The openness of these sites is an invitation to the Dark Side. No email
verification is required, for example, when new users set up a Twitter
account. It’s hard to imagine an easier system in which to create
counterfeit accounts. Social networking sites rely on a username and a
password for security, which means that anyone who finds out your
username and password can gain access to your account, assume your
online identity, use it mischievously or maliciously, and leave you with
little, if any, control over the situation. Until social networking site
security evolves with time and improves by necessity, here are 12 Tips
for Safer Social Networking.

* Think about how a social networking site works before deciding to join
it. Some will allow only a defined community of users to access posted
content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings. Don’t join
any social network that asks you to share your address book or contacts.

* Always think before you click. Be wary of visiting the blog or webpage
of other members because that other “member” may be a scammer, whose
blog or webpage has been rigged to deliver a drive-by download of
malware to your computer. If you think you have clicked on the wrong
thing, contact your local computer support staff, your Internet Service
Provider, or a computer consultant knowledgeable about security.

* Don’t click on shortened (or “condensed”) URL’s, like those created
by TinyURL and Bit.ly. There’s no telling where these links lead to, and
that makes it easy to funnel you to malicious websites. Watch out for
“misspelled” links, like http://www.yuotube.com. Could be a typo or a trick.

* Keep control over the information you post. Consider restricting
access to your page or postings to a select group of people, like
friends, members of your team, your community groups, or your family.

* Keep your information to yourself. Don’t post your full name, or any
personal information about yourself or about anyone else. Be cautious
about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate
you offline, such as where you work or work-out.

* Make sure your screen name doesn’t say too much about you. Don’t use
your name, your age, or your hometown. Even if you think your screen
name makes you anonymous, it doesn’t take a genius to combine clues and
figure out who you are and where you can be found.

* Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing –
and knowing – about you. Many people will see your page or postings,
including the people who will be interviewing you for a job five years
from now.

* Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it
back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions are
stored on other people’s computers and may be archived for years by Web
search services.

* Think hard before posting your photo. It can be altered and broadcast
in ways you may not be happy about. If you do post one, ask yourself
whether it’s one you’d include in your professional resume. Posting
pictures of children invites exploitation and could expose them to
real-world danger.

* Flirting with strangers online could have serious consequences. Some
people lie about who they are; you never really know whom you’re dealing
with.

* Be wary if a new online friend wants to meet you in person. Do some
research about them. If you decide to meet them, be smart about it: meet
in a public place, during the day, accompanied by friends you trust.

* Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by
someone or uncomfortable because of something online, report it to the
police and to the operators of the social networking site. You could end
up preventing someone else from becoming a victim.

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