No doubt social media networks are experiencing explosive growth, these are inherently more vulnerable to security attacks. Since most people use social media as a network for interaction with their friends and relatives and businesses use these sites to reach a wider audience, promote their brand, and increase visibility, there are potential security risks associated with these networks, which have the potential of causing data privacy breach on social media.
Dangers of Social Networking
Since social media sites encourage use of real names and personal information, including education and employment history, birth date, age, mobile number, relationship status, photos, home address, email address, and other intimate details, there is a great risk of breach of privacy, as attackers and hackers get information required to conduct security attacks, including identity theft and credit card fraud.
According to Internet security experts, today’s online communities are on the top of the target list for hackers and criminals that use different techniques to launch identity theft and other social networking scams. Adding strangers to your friend list on any of the social networks leaves you vulnerable to security threats. One of the risks of social media is that your account may be compromised or with insufficient use of privacy controls, you might end up exposing personal information with strangers, which might pose a threat of security breach.
Moreover, criminals can launch any real-life targeted attack if they have access to additional information available on social networks about the intended victim. They may even use the information to secure passports, birth certificates, and fake real-life identities. According to TrendLabs researchers, the price of personal information ranges between $50 for every stolen bank account credentials and $8 per million email accounts.
Hackers may use profile cloning to identity of a social network user, especially those that set their profiles to be public. Since personal information can be easily obtained from public profiles, attackers can duplicate the information to create false identity by creating a duplicate profile using the name, pictures, and personal information to increase reliance. Then attackers can use the cloned id to send friend requests to the victim’s friends, who, are most likely to accept the same mistaking it to be the same person, thus allowing attackers access to their personal information and making themselves vulnerable to security breach.
Risks of Social Media: Spam Attack on Networking Sites
Wall posts, messages, page requests, advertisement, and news feed are quite common on social networks. However, in most of the cases, these turn out to be spam. Since users spend a lot of their time on social networks, they end up being victims of identity theft. Social networks are also replete with spam advertisements, and click on any such link may lead you to malware sites or harmful phishing sites.
Undoubtedly, the rise of social media has been an innovation in the field of communication, allowing users to seamlessly interact with others online; however, the risks of social media and the challenges to security and privacy posed on these networks cannot be ignores. Social networking sites are key targets for breach of security and privacy, and anyone breaching a site’s security can easily steal private and sensitive information of a large number of users and exploit the same to their benefit.