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Social Networking Security
By: Bruce Coker
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    2009-06-17

    Table of Contents:
  • Social Networking Security
  • Twitterank Issues
  • Password Sharing Hazards
  • Other Social Network Security Hazards

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    Social Networking Security


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Developers and regular users alike learned all the key points necessary for online security back in the 1990s, when email first became dangerous, right? Well...maybe not. Recent attacks on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others have left users exposed to having their accounts hacked into, or worse. Keep reading for an overview of the phenomenon, and some hints for protecting yourself.

    Being hacked is almost a badge of honor these days. With a number of high profile individuals recently having their Twitter accounts compromised - and profiles don't get much higher than the President of the USA - the potential security risk posed by sites such as Twitter and Facebook has finally made an impact on the national consciousness appropriate to the seriousness of the situation.

    The Twitter vulnerability that was announced on January 5 was not just another typical phishing or social engineering scam. In a move that could be interpreted as an escalation of intent, it used the microblog site's internal support tools to broadcast tweets purporting to come from Mr. Obama, along with other luminaries such as Rick Sanchez and Britney Spears.

    Coming on the back of a long sequence of security issues that plagued social networks during the second half of 2008, this raid has been interpreted in some quarters as a sign that web 2.0 is finally maturing to the point where it is attracting attention from the usual selection of crazies and mavericks. But while it's certainly true that being targeted by hackers is usually an indication of having achieved a certain status or size, the approach to security of many such sites continues to invite trouble.  

    If the Twitter hack were the only symptom, it would barely deserve comment. After all, many web sites have been compromised over the years without it signaling the end of the world. What is concerning is that the event seems to be part of a whole series that indicate a serious failure by web 2.0 site developers to absorb the security lessons of the previous decade.

    In rapid succession during the weeks leading up to the breach, we saw professional photographers losing valuable images as Digital Railroad fell victim to the recession, watched the Twitterank experiment spiral out of control , were warned of viruses lurking in 'secret' videos , and were even asked to question whether we were really looking at Facebook or Twitter or some carefully crafted imitations of these sites designed to steal our personal information.

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