Due to rising popularity of social networks, it is little surprise that there have been several high
profile breaches of security on sites like Facebook and Myspace. Over 350 million members
combined, all it takes is one single person to cause significant damage.
A security and privacy issue are two different things. A security issue occurs when a
hacker gains unauthorized access to sites protected coding or written language while privacy
problem involves the unwarranted access to private information. One doesn’t necessarily
need to bend security breaches. In fact, a hacker can gain access to your confidential information by merely
watching you type your password or standing next to you with a cloning device.
The reason social network security and privacy lapses exist result directly from the astronomical
amount of information sites process every day that ends up making it that much
easier to exploit a single flaw in the system. Features that invite user participation are message
invitations, photos, open platform applications and many others.
This potential privacy breach is built into the systematic framework of apps like Facebook, and
unfortunately, the flaw renders the system almost defenseless. “The question for social
networks is resolving the difference between mistakes in implementation and what the design of
the application platform is intended to allow,” David Evans, Assistant Professor of computer
science at the University of Virginia, says. There is also the question of whom we should hold
responsible for the over sharing of user data?
The problems are plaguing social network security and privacy issues, for now, we all can only be
careful and be mindful of what we share and how much on social media platforms. With the
growth of social networks, it is becoming harder to effectively monitor and protect users and
their activities because the tasks of security programmers grow increasingly spread out and cumbersome.
Despite this insecurities, users still post tons of personal data on social networks without batting an eye. Its only
natural, anonymity and the fact that you are communicating with a machine instead of an actual
person makes sharing a lot easier. “People should exercise common sense online, but the
problem with common sense is that it’s not very common. If you don’t invite this person to see
your cat, you certainly won’t let them see pictures from holiday”. Says Cluley.
To finish with, the only tried and true solution to social network privacy and security issues is to
limit your presence altogether. Don’t post anything you would not mind telling a complete
stranger because in reality that is the potential for access. Be careful who you add as a “friend” because there is simply no way of verifying a user’s actual identity online. Cluley compares it to a rep from your company’s IT department calling to ask for your login passwords- “most people
will give it over with no proof of the IT rep actually existing. The caller might be your IT rep, or
they might not. “This kind of scam happens at all the time,” says Cluley.