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Survey finds Social Networking Sites Exposed to Hackers

Of late, Ireland has witnessed a sudden increase in the number of users visiting social networking Websites such as Facebook. However, computer experts are forewarning about privacy problems.

Facebook is one of the leading social networking Websites on the net, with approximately 100,000 consumers daily enrolling as members. There are more than 34 Million users throughout the world.

Till October 15, 2007, over 46,000 persons had joined the Irish network of Facebook. The actual figure could be much higher since numerous Ireland-based users who haven't yet joined any other network have enlisted with the site.

The sudden growth of the Website is another story, but probe a little deeper and problems soon become evident. The listed users of Facebook are presently being asked if they want their profiles to be viewed openly through searches.

An online trial carried on by Sophos in August 2007 reflected that more than 40% clients of Facebook would agree to a "friend request" from a complete stranger and over 75% of them divulged their birth date, contact address plus their educational and company particulars. A few disclosed their entire resumes and also their maternal name, a fact regularly utilized by banks and other Internet services to assist users recover their forgotten passwords.

As reported by SiliconRepublic on October 15, 2007, Sophos' Senior Technology Consultant, Graham Cluley, alleged that he was stunned to discover that several settings of his (supposedly protected) profile registered on Facebook had been altered by the social networking site itself, making him visible to innumerable outsiders. He questioned efficacy of Facebook's security in checking the easy entry of hackers into their network? He also raised serious doubts about the functioning of Facebook.

Cluley, while commenting in the October 5, 2007 issue of Newsinfo.inquirer, stated that Facebook matter is as good as identity-on-demand for hackers who are experts at exploiting unaware Facebook users. It's necessary that consumers take some time to examine their privacy settings before getting involved in the complete joy of Facebook.

Examining the findings of Sophos, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) admonished consumers that social networking Websites may not be as secure as they seem.

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