On a grand scale, social networking is a popular and efficient way of communicating in an expeditious time frame; getting your information out to whomever, whenever. Unfortunately in today’s society there is always a downside to something so convenient.
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), there has been an increase in the number of hijacked social networking accounts reported to www.ic3.gov. One of the more popular scams involves online criminals planting malicious software and code onto to victim computers. It starts by someone opening a spam e-mail, sometimes from another hijacked friend’s account. When opened, the spam allows the cyber intruders to steal passwords for any account on the computer, including social networking sites. The thieves then change the user’s passwords and eventually send out distress messages claiming they are in some sort of legal or medical peril and requesting money from their social networking contacts.
A Heritage research report, “Social Networking and National Security: How to Harness Web 2.0 to Protect the Country” warned that, “even if the organizational and institutional government barriers to Web 2.0 could be overcome, there are legitimate concerns over making Government 2.0 a national security instrument. The most widely voiced concern is information assurance– knowing that the data are precise and reliable. Rumors, perfidy, or inaccurate information can be dispersed at least as fast as facts.” This FBI press release solidifies the proposed concern in Jim Carafano’s report.
It is essential to note that even though social networking may be convenient and beneficial to some, there are always those waiting to disrupt and exploit the system.