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Computer Security: Social Networking Essay

1624 words - 6 pages

Computer Security: Social Networking
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn memberships are growing daily. Facebook being the largest with over five hundred million active users, from which fifty percent logon daily (Bamnote,Patil,Shejole, 2010, p.151). With the raise in these social networking websites the potential for an attack also raise. With the overwhelming amount of data stored on the internet the amount of effort needed to effectively “hack” someone’s account or information is increased exponentially. These attacks can lead to loss of money, damaged computer software, and even identity theft. Attackers tend to attack in one of three different ways: phishing and malware attacks, as well as utilizing Facebook’s facial recognition software. There are preventative measures to keep personal data safe on the internet having a strong password and the diligent maintenance of this password. Another preventative measure is the being aware of internet and how permanent the internet really is.
Risks
Social media grows in membership daily. This growth has many positive attributes including the reconnection of friends and family. There are also inherent risks which have varying degrees on consequence. These risks range from identity theft to have a user’s account sending out harmful spam that could infect the user’s computer as well as others on their friends list. Most of these attacks are phishing attacks which can have varying degrees of severity. Attackers also use malware to attack users of social media websites. Users should be aware of the types of attacks so they can know the signs associated with them.
Phishing
Phishing is one of the most common forms of attacks that attackers utilize on social networking websites. "Phishing is a form of deception in which an attacker attempts to fraudulently acquire sensitive information from a victim by impersonating a trustworthy entity (Jagatic, Johnson, Jakobsson, Menczer, 2007, p. 94)". Phishing first started back in the times when email was the primary form of communication on the internet. Phishing has since evolved into simple Facebook pages asking for relief from national or global tragedies. Once a user clicks one of these pages, one of two different scenarios can come about. The first option, the user is sent to a page where the user is asked to enter their credit card information and the money they are donating to this “good cause” is actually being transferred to the hacker’s bank account. The second scenario would be after the user goes to the same site and the site takes user to a website that turns user computer into a “zombie computer” that sends out the same link that the first user clicked unto, creating an endless cycle (Bamnote, et al., 2010, p.152). This scenario puts not only the user at risk but also anyone that is sent the message is at risk, because there is a chance that they click the link and continue the cycle.
Malware
The other major type of attack over...

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