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Study: Social Network Users Put Their Data At Risk

Users of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter leave themselves -- and their wallets -- open to attack
Members of online social networks may be more vulnerable to financial loss, identity theft, and malware infection than they realize, according to a survey released earlier this week.

In a survey of more than 1,100 members of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, and other popular social networks, security vendor Webroot says it has uncovered numerous behaviors that put social networkers' identities -- and wallets -- at risk.

Two-thirds of respondents don't restrict any details of their personal profile from being visible through a public search engine, such as Google, the survey says. More than half aren't sure who can see their profiles. About one-third include at least three pieces of personally identifiable information.

More than one-third use the same password across multiple sites, and one-fourth of respondents accept "friend requests" from strangers, the study states.

"Three in 10 people we polled experienced a security attack through a social network in the past year, including identity theft, malware infection, spam, unauthorized password changes and 'friend in distress' money-stealing scams," said Mike Kronenberg, CTO of Webroot's consumer business.

Details of the survey can be found here.

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