While many people are using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, many are putting themselves at a security risk for web-borne identity theft.
The online survey conducted by AVG and the CMO Council reveals that while the social networking community has serious concerns about the overall security of public spaces, few are taking the most basic of steps to protect themselves against online crimes. The survey shows that while the majority of social networking users are afflicted by web-borne security problems, less than one third are taking actions to protect themselves online. Participants indicated concern over growing phishing, spam and malware attacks, and nearly half of those surveyed are very concerned about their personal identity being stolen in an online community.
According to the poll results, despite widespread use (86 percent) of social networks at home and/or at work, most fail to perform the following basic security measures on a regular basis:
• Changing passwords (64 percent infrequently or never)
• Adjusting privacy settings (57 percent infrequently or never)
• Informing their social network administrator (90 percent infrequently or never)
Despite the apparent security risks and dangers of engaging in social networking sites, respondents identified several common practices that could cause harm to unprotected users:
• 21 percent accept contact offerings from members they don’t recognize
• More than half let acquaintances or roommates access social networks on their machines
• 64 percent click on links offered by community members or contacts
• 26 percent share files within social networks
As a result of this widespread proliferation of links, files, and unsolicited contacts, users have experienced high levels of breaches and threats:
• Nearly 20 percent have experienced identity theft
• 47 percent have been victims of malware infections
• 55 percent have seen phishing attacks