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.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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