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Joe Lipscombe | July 9, 2013
"The lack of control over the use of social media in the workplace could cause irreparable damage to the person and the company he or she represents"

On top of this, LinkedIn itself has spoken out and claims that as much is being done as possible to protect its users and secure their data.

"LinkedIn are constantly looking for ways to improve the security of member accounts. All LinkedIn accounts are already protected by a series of automatic checks that are designed to thwart unauthorised sign-in attempts. Now, LinkedIn are introducing a new optional feature that adds another layer of security to LinkedIn sign-in— two-step verification," a spokesperson said.

"Most Internet accounts that become compromised are illegitimately accessed from a new or unknown computer (or device). Two-step verification helps address this problem by requiring users to type a numeric code when logging in from an unrecognised device for the first time. This code will be sent to users' mobile devices via SMS. When enabled, two-step verification makes it more difficult for unauthorised users to access user accounts, requiring them to have both personal passwords and access to the user's mobile phone."

Social malware
The challenges faced by LinkedIn should highlight the need for a far sterner view on social security risks. The multi platforms from which we access these certainly increases those risks, but the fundamental issue is always the same.

Mahesh Venkateswaran, Managing Director, Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud, Cognizant, explains that subtle and common attack methods are effective when targeted at social networks. And as we evolve our communications, the threats evolve to counteract this. Though the given names might not be terrifying, the consequences certainly are.

"Phishing is one of the key threats, even more so with variants such as Vishing — the social engineering approach that leverages voice communication — and Smishing, a form of social engineering that exploits text messages," he says.

"Short URLs can readily become a destination of malicious links — users do not know the links are malicious unless they click them. There is also the risk of malware spreading through mobile devices to others on the contact list. Access to online shopping accounts through mobile devices is another potential threat."

Jamil Ezzo, General Director of ICDL GCC Foundation, concludes, suggesting that public awareness must improve to better promote safer use of social media channels. But the attacks will continue to come, it's a simple case of having the correct steps in place to react to post-breach, as well as the awareness to recognise potential threats.

"The lack of control over the use of social media in the workplace could cause irreparable damage to the person and the company he or she represents. To avoid this, we encourage the promotion of public awareness in order to eliminate the misuse of this technology," says Ezzo.


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