Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tests Show Facebook Users Readily Provide Their Info For Identity Theft

A recent test by the security firm Sophos on Facebook
revealed 41% of users readily hand out their personally
identifying information to complete strangers.

The story, provided by Information Week, continues:

Of the 200 people contacted, 87 responded
and agreed to be friends -- despite the
fact that Freddi wasn't even a real, live
person. O'Brien noted that 82% of them
gave "Freddi" an open view of their profiles,
listing enough personal information that an
identity thief could easily take advantage of

He added that 72% divulged at least one
of their e-mail addresses, 84% gave up
date of birth, and 87% offered
details about
where they went to school
and where they work

Sophos also reported that 78% gave their
current address.

The information they're offering up could be
just as valuable as credit card information
for someone trying to build a profile of you.

So, our tip for today is targeted for any Facebook users
and/or their parents. Besides the somewhat obvious
reason to shield your personal information from stalkers
and pedophiles, identity thieves can just as effectively
victimize you online with the type of information those
unsuspecting Facebook users provided.

Be smart - don't reveal your personally
information. If you feel it
necessary to engage in data exchange on the
popular social networkingsites like Facebook,
then create a fictious persona including
personal information that would not be
harmful to you should it fall outside your
direct control.

Also, make sure to warn your friends and associates
of this important security tip and the recent test
involving Facebook.


At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok - this is really starting to freak me out.

Facebook, who my teenage son uses, is now yet another threat I have to worry about with my kid's safety.

Your article was a real wakeup call, Agent99 and here's an even more frightening but related development I excerpted from yesterday's Mashable.com:

"Facebook is announcing Public Search Listings today, meaning profiles will be searchable through Facebook, and soon turn up on Google, Yahoo and MSN Search.

As of tomorrow, search will be available through Facebook; users will then have one month to change their privacy settings before profiles get indexed by the major search engines. These results will include, at most, your name and profile picture."

If I'm understanding this new development, anyone with Google access can now get access to Facebook profiles if not restricted by the user.

In the case of my clueless son, then am I to understand that someone identity theft criminal fraud ring anywhere in the world could get access to his confidential data?


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