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Webroot - Risky Behavior Put Social Networkers at Risk

Security firm Webroot recently conducted a survey, according to which, there are greater chances of online social-networking members becoming victims of malware infection, identity theft, and financial loss compared to what they can realize.

Surveying around 1,100 members of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other frequently-visited social-networking websites, Webroot discovered a number of behavioral patterns that placed the wallets and identities of users of social networks at risk. The firm notes that 66% of respondents allow nearly all personal details to become public through search-engines such as Google.

Furthermore, around 50% do not know who the viewers of their profile are, while 33% include a minimum of three personally identifiable details in their profiles. Around 33% apply a single as opposed to multiple passwords for different websites and 25% respond to "friend requests" arriving from unknown people.

The findings of the survey suggest an overall absence of knowledge about the various security risks associated with social networks and the programs exist for personal information safeguards. Awareness lacks of dangerous behaviors when the younger generation uses the social networks.

Elucidating on this point, Mike Kronenberg, Chief Technology Officer of Consumer Business at Webroot, said the rise in the use of social-networking sites provides a massive target to hackers, as reported by SOA World Magazine on June 24, 2009.

According to Kronenberg, the total time users spent in browsing Facebook during 2008 increased threefold compared to the overall percentage growth of the Internet. Three in 10 individuals that Webroot surveyed encountered an online attack via a social-networking site during 2008 that comprised malware infection, illegal password modifications, spam, identity theft and money-defrauding scams related to friend in supposed trouble, Kronenberg revealed.

The security researchers said cyber criminals, to take advantage of the risky behaviors, commonly use 'phishing' through which hackers lure victims into taking down a malware-infested file, accessing an untrustworthy website alongside the social-networking site, or sending funds to a 'relative or friend in trouble.'

Thus, to remain protected, Webroot suggests users to be aware of the different attacks along with their preventions, while remaining vigilant of suspicious behavior.

Related article: Webroot Detects Malware in Presidential Campaign Videos

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