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Status Jacking Ruins Reputations

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

Feeling secure on Facebook?  Well a recent report from AVG warns users against social networking sites and the potential for pages that compromise security and "friends" who may status jack your reputation.

Given the popularity of social networking means it is hardly surprising that AVG's research shows that the top 50 social networking sites have 20,000 compromised pages containing web threats that could harm your computer or lead to your personal data.  Through their research of social networking sites, AVG found 20,000 compromised pages in all, 11,701 of which are on Facebook. YouTube tallied 7,163 compromised pages.

“The fact that we found almost 20,000 compromised web pages should make social media users sit up and take notice,” said Tony Anscombe, AVG’s head of free products. “And in particular, it is the audience most active on these sites, the under 25s, who are most at risk.”

Similarly, in July 2010 the VeriSign Online Fraud Barometer looked at the Australian online fraud landscape and noticed those most affected by online ID fraud were 18–24 year olds with victims suffered average losses of $1,619 in the previous twelve months and one in ten expect never to recover their lost money.

Coinciding with the release of this research, AVG also launched an anti-status jacking campaign.  AVG wants to highlight this growing trend particularly among students. Status jacking occurs when someone gets hold of your login information and takes over your account. Obviously, this can be confusing to those who follow you at the very least and potentially serious at the worst given that one of the most important elements of your online presence is your reputation. All it takes is a few posts saying defamatory, libelous, or outright obscene things, and the damage is done

There are two important steps to take to protect your social media accounts. First, never leave your laptop unprotected. When you are in a semi-private area, such as a shared space like a college campus dorm room, make sure you lock your screen before leaving your seat.  Second, create a strong password and don't share it!  It’s important not to err from the side of caution, especially when dealing with Facebook pages and applications.

A recent Communications Market Report found that just 15% of 16 - 24 year olds were concerned about Internet security and even fewer (just 9%) were concerned about Internet privacy.  Everybody, but especially this age group, needs to watch who you give permissions to.  Being safe on the Internet is easily manageable as long as you use some simple common sense.

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