Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin…oh my! Danger Ahead
Hackers and criminals are not the only ones who misuse information on social networks.
Our previous article about Facebook and social media focused on ways the various social networking portals can be used by criminals. This segment is about activities by legitimate companies and how they use or misuse the information on social networks.
Uses of Social Network Information
Social Security Numbers
- We all are aware that personal information can be used for identity theft. But did you know that by monitoring what is shared on Facebook, MySpace and Linkedin, enough data can be compiled to figure out Social Security numbers.
Knowing the date and state of an individual’s birth was enough to predict a person’s SSN. Through a process called “tumbling,” hackers can exploit instant online credit approval services — or even the Social Security Administration’s own verification database — to test multiple numbers until they find the right one.
Although these services usually block users after several failed attempts, criminals can use networks of compromised computers called botnets to scan thousands of numbers at a time.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to develop a system to find exact Social Security numbers with only two pieces of information.
Human Resources and Employment
- Human Resources Departments are setting procedures to search all social networking sites including Youtube to prescreen applicants before making hiring decisions.
- HR wants to know what you said about your previous employer.
- Everything on your resume will be checked against the internet.
- Your company will want to know whether you dislike working there and are saying aloud on the net.
- If you brand yourself, there is no leeway for mistakes.
- Your private chats aren’t private. It will be used against you.
- Marketers are using psychology to target and get you to buy.
- Your online behaviors will be monitored so that you are lured to spend money.
Lawsuits and Frauds
- Personal chats will be used against you in lawsuits.
- Your friends on social networks will be dragged into your cases.
Don’t think that monitoring social network sites is time intensive. There are numerous programs out there that provide easy searches for companies. In fact, it is quite simply to set auto searches and alert so that automatic updates can be provided daily via email.
The decision to be involved with social networking is an individual one but if you are going to be on the internet, be aware of how your actions can be retrieved years from now.
Take that one extra second to visualize a scenario. Would you be comfortable repeating this to a hiring manager, a lawyer, on television at a Senate hearing?
Don’t think of the net as building celebrity or brand. Think of how your words and actions can be used against you even by people who you think are your friends. Think also of how things can be twisted or altered to look worse when someone is trying to sabotage you at work.
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