I thought that it was necessary to give further clarification to
explain my reluctance about social networking website (SNS) as
described in the Elluminate meeting. I had no time to read the blog entry beforehand and was caught unprepared for the topic, as it probably came across.
I am sure that Social Networking Platforms , which I will call
SNP in this post, can be a wonderful tool to interact with otherpeople and communities. However I think this is a risky environment.
Are the rewards really worth the risks?
There are several aspects to the problem:
1. your public profile can be used, with other elements of publicly available information for the purpose of ID theft. You could minimise you profile, but SNPs have been hacked in the past and data stolen.
2. The gadgets made available in these site can be used by hackers to steel your data and/or take over your account. I remember reading on the BCS website the testimony of a journalist who had a lot of damage done to his reputation after this happened to him. The company running the SNP was extremely unresponsive and he had to take legal action.
3. There has been cases of computers infected with malware (trojan- keyloggers) when their owner were visiting SNP and looking at other profiles. This is not specific to SNPs and can happen any number of ways (rogue email attachment and infected/hacked web sites being the main causes).
4. As for email, social engineering can be used to extract information from you, which can put you in situation 1 or 2. Never trust anyone you do not know on line. If you know them, check they are really who they pretend to be...
If you feel that you have to use a SNP I would advise you not to enter real details into them, check the site track record for security (Google), and at the very minimum have a computer with a good antivirus and firewall up-to-date. This would not protect against zero day attacks, only against known problems.
You can find further info on:
I have found Young People and Social Networking Services interesting, but think that the security part of it lack depth. Does it surprise you?
I have reluctantly joined the Online Facilitators network on Grou.ps.
So we could use SNP, but it comes with a health warning. I would be uncomfortable to ask young adults/teenagers to use this as a learning tool. If I had to use SNP, I would start by a compulsory session and test on how to minimise the risks associated with them.
I am more comfortable with a closed environment where you can control the membership of the group and moderate the content.
Course miniconference: I have been left high and dry with no speaker, and no ideas. Help!