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Social Network Sharing Makes Users an Easy Target for Cybercriminals

A quiz from Kaspersky Lab, with more than 1,000 Filipino respondents, has found that almost a third (30%) of social network users share their posts, check-ins and other personal info with everybody who is online – not just their friends. This is leaving the door wide open for cybercriminals to attack, as users remain unaware of just how public their private information can be on these channels.

Despite over three quarters (78%) of Internet users having a social media account, the quiz showed a distinct lack of awareness amongst social media users.

One in ten (9%) quiz respondents didn’t think people outside of their friends list could be seeing their pages and posts, making it easy for their personal information to fall into the wrong hands, or even be used by criminals for identity theft and financial fraud.

The research found that users are putting themselves in danger when adding friends, with a surprising 12% admitting adding anyone to their list – regardless of whether they know them or not.

A third (31%) of users will also accept connections from people they don’t know, if they have mutual friends in common, although this could expose them to more unknown people – even advertisement agents or cybercriminals.

When it comes to trusting their “friends”, a quarter (26%) of those surveyed would have no hesitation to click on a link sent by a friend without asking what it is, or considering the possibility that the sender’s account has been hacked.

“Social network users are playing a dangerous game by not being cyber-savvy and essentially giving strangers easy access to their personal details and private information. With social media profiles containing a raft of insight – from birthdays through to addresses and holiday plans – It wouldn’t take much digging for a cybercriminal to find and exploit valuable information, or steal your identity for their own gain. This is even easier if you have unwittingly made them your friend,” comments David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab at Kaspersky Lab.

Survey Methodology

Our inability to recognize a potential Internet threat may lead to consequences that are as unpleasant as in the real world – the loss of money or valuable things, an interference with privacy, etc.

With this in mind we carried out testing in the form of an online survey to check how cyber savvy over 18,000 Internet users are. Respondents were all over 18 years old from 16 countries around the world.

Figure 1_Kaspersky Lab_Social Networks

The aim was to learn what their online habits were, whether they could make the right decisions about their cyber security and whether they could recognize a threat when they encountered one.

The respondents were asked to consider several potentially dangerous situations, which often occur on the Internet while users are, for example, web surfing, downloading files or using social networks (in total there were eight scenarios, which are all dealt with in this report).

Tips for Safe Social Network Sharing

To ensure your social network sharing doesn’t leave you exposed to danger, Kaspersky Lab advises Internet users to be cautious about whom they befriend and trust on these sites, as all might not be as it seems.

If in doubt, don’t accept a friend request or click on a link that you are not expecting. It is also essential that privacy settings within social network accounts are at their highest, to ensure it is only your real friends you are sharing your status updates with.

Because Facebook is also the top social networking site used in the Philippines, with more than 47 million users*, Kaspersky Lab also has a few Facebook security tips to help keep you safe:

• Verify every Facebook contact
– Make sure that the person you’re talking to… really is the person you think they are. Try to verify their identity.

• Protect your banking and financial information
– Never disclose anything about your bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, or other financial information on Facebook.

• Be wary of strangers
– Don’t add or accept friend requests from people that you don’t know.

• Keep your password secure
– Taking a little extra care over your password can be a vital element in your Facebook security:
– Devise a complex password that will be difficult for others to guess
– Ideally, your password should use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols
– Remember to change your password frequently
– Don’t use the same password for Facebook and other websites. If the security of your password is compromised on one site, it may then be used to access your Facebook account

• Secure your computer, your mobile devices, and your data
– Install a rigorous anti-malware solution on your computer, smartphone and tablet – to protect your devices against the latest computer viruses, worms, Trojan viruses and other threats.