Half of social networkers post risky information, study finds
Consumer Reports survey finds social network use in U.S. doubled over the past year
Computerworld - More than half of all users of social networks in the U.S. are posting information that could put them at risk of being targeted by cybercriminals, according to a Consumer Reports study.
The magazine, which released its State of the Net survey today, noted that 52% of adults who use social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, have posted personal information like their full birth dates and other revealing facts that criminals could use to victimize them.
Consumer Reports, which publishes product reviews and ratings, also noted that the number of U.S. households that use social networks has doubled in the past year.
"Many people use social networking sites to share personal information and photos with their friends quickly and easily," said Jeff Fox, technology editor at Consumer Reports, in a statement. "However there are serious risks involved, which can be lessened by using privacy controls offered by the sites."
Of 2,000 U.S. residents that Consumer Reports surveyed in January, 9% said they had experienced some kind of trouble -- such as malware infections, scams, identity theft or harassment -- as a result of their presence on a social network.
They study found that people who post personal information, such as their full birth dates, photos and names of children, home addresses, and times they'll be away from home, put themselves at the most risk of being victimized.
Consumer Reports said the results of the survey indicate that 42% of the people on Facebook post their full birth dates, 16% post their children's names, 63% post photos of themselves and 7% reveal their home addresses.
The magazine offered social network users several tips to lessen the chance of being targeted by cybercriminals.
First, don't post a phone number or a full address online. Be vague when posting information about vacations or business trips so criminals won't know when your home will be unoccupied. Also, the magazine suggested, use strong passwords, mixing upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
Users should not post their children's names, even in photo tags or captions, Consumer Reports added.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Social Business in Computerworld's Social Business Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping through Big Data Analytics Many organizations have limited insight into big data. These limitations have significant opportunity costs and can have a negative effect on identifying and...
- The Brave New World of Customer-Centric Manufacturing The Unique Opportunity for Manufacturers to Better Understand their Consumers
- AIIM SharePoint Industry Watch AIIM surveyed its 65,000 community members to look at how the enterprise is reacting to social aspects, why organizations are exploring social, who...
- Creating a Smarter Workforce for Market Leadership IBM executives, clients and industry experts will discuss how leading companies are building a smarter workforce and why it is key to an...
- Secrets to Corporate Communications Success Watch this 60-minute webinar to discover how how other companies are successfully creating advocates out of their employees and help them to better... All Social Business White Papers | Webcasts