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4 reasons why Facebook and Vanity don't mix

Joan Goodchild | March 14, 2011
My colleague, Bill Brenner, has a t-shirt he likes to wear that basically says social networking feeds the darker sides of human nature. The shirt is a parody of a Venn Diagram and shows the relationship between sites like Facebook and Twitter to what some might called undesirable character traits, such as ADHD, stalking and narcissism.

Additionally, so-called "friend collectors," who typically have 2,500 friends or more, are considered soft targets by spammers who are more likely to friend them knowing they will be accepted and will then have access to thousands of potential spam victims.

Bragging too much

Of course you're really proud of your promotion or the award you received at work. But you may want to think it over before you post too much information about it in your status update or broadcast it to everyone who follows you on Twitter. According to Attorney Pria Chetty, founder of Chetty Law, a recent global survey finds that the unauthorized disclosures of trade secrets by employees is among the top five intellectual property risks on social networks.

"This refers to the risk of employees who are not bound to appropriate internal policies sharing confidential information or trade secrets (formulas, know how) to their contacts through social media," Chetty said in a recent post.

But disclosing private information isn't always intentional, and is instead often leaked just by way of a good-intentioned employee who wants to share with social networking friends.

As Sophos' Wisniewski points out, even posting information on LinkedIn, generally seen as the lowest-risk social network, still poses a reasonable amount of risk.

"For someone looking for information about your organization or looking for targeted bits about your company it's fantastic," he said. "I can go and search for your company name and three-quarters of your employees probably have profiles that tell me exactly what they do, what their position is. I can learn a lot about the company and, if I wanted to, I can then take on a social engineering attack and use that LinkedIn information for my attack through Facebook or email."


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