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Safety on Social Networking Sites
If you are anything like me, and I daresay, like most young(ish) people of my generation, I would hasten a guess that you are on Facebook or MySpace. I would also lay money on the fact that you randomly update your page with mindless comments about you day- you know the sort of thing I mean. 'I missed the bus on the way to work', 'my boss is in a lousy mood', 'can't wait for my much deserved and longed after glass of wine this evening' etc etc. Dare I say it? You may even be doing this from the comfort of your desk whilst your boss believes you are analyzing some important company figures?....Harmless right?
It's one of those things everybody knows is going on but nobody actually wants to talk about it- well, I am raising my hand- I DO want to talk about it, and this is why.
Yesterday morning I stumbled across a Technology4Media press release from Cloudmark discussing concerns regarding safety whilst on social networking sites.
Full of useful advice, there was one sentence which leapt of the page, 'Remember the internet is Permanent' WHAT?! Perhaps it's just me but this small fact seemed to have crept by without my noticing. Every comment, status update, picture, poke, smiley face- can these all really be traced and used against me if someone chooses to?
I suppose it isn't the fact that people are likely to do this that gets to me, more the fact that it IS POSSIBLE! Surely this was not why social networking sites were created? If the best case scenario is your boss is snooping around on your page and discovers you are wasting company time, what is the worst?
Now of course you have privacy settings and I’m sure in most cases this is fine and dandy but let’s face it, if people can hack into NASA and the White House, accessing your information on Facebook, is probably going to be a walk in the park. And what would they find out about you if they did hack in? Well judging from some of the profiles I have seen, quite a lot. Some people seem to document each moment of their life however tawdry and enhance this information with photos and videos which leave little to the imagination. Some people list birthdays, full names, where they work, email addresses….maybe it’s just me being cynical but surely this is a security nightmare waiting to happen?
But this threat is real and perhaps a less obvious one than the standard security threats that concern most of us. I for one will be more cautious about chronicling my life with such enthusiasm. I will be adopting the ‘less is more’ attitude and making every attempt to be aloof and mysterious- hence the reason my avatar looks nothing like me... After all; you never know who might be watching.