Monday, February 8, 2010

Facebook on Your Mobile? Think twice..

How Safe are Mobile Social Networks today? We are now are now able to access social networks through our mobile phones, not just computers. The trend is quite obvious, since mobile phones are turning into computers themselves. A recent report released by the European Network and Information Security Agency (Enisa) pointed at the the security dangers of using social network sites, especially Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

First - some statistics ( acc. to Enisa report - Feb, 2010):

- more than 65 million active users across Europe are currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices;

- according to Facebook Press Room, there are more than 180 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products;

- 17 European countries featured Facebook playing a leading role in the social networking category. The only countries in which Facebook does not hold the No 1 or No 2 position are Germany (No 4), Portugal (No 3) and Russia (No 7).

OK, so what's wrong about social networks being so popular on our mobile screens since they already captured the online ones? The point is that similar risks and threats have been "trasmitted" on mobile phones, too. Among them, the report lists:

- Privacy issues coming from three different types of attackers:

third parties(by stealing and finding the lost mobile);
other users (by leaving your comments and tags on other community users)
platform providers, when they have full access to user data, so that the information becomes available in search results including third-party search engines.

Additionally, the associated risks are:

- mobile phone infection;
- reputation risk;
- data misuse;

Btw, see the spoofed e-mail suggesting you to update your account and change the password? Beware of what it may bring along, except for the tempting link you’re trying to open.

Basically, if you look at the figure below - it shows you what particular actions you employ when using your mobile may result in the distribution of malware:

All right, you may wonder - so what's the best way to protect, since I'm not quiting Facebook anyway?

The Enisa report lists 17 Golden Rules, pointing primarily at what you post and upload and especially who do you share it with. Also, as it's an opt-in function: privacy settings are worth visiting since it's us who decide what information should go public and what should stay behind.

Among the new rules Enisa advices mobile users to disable location-based services on your mobile unless you need them and always reading the privacy policies of social networking sites, to become fully informed and thus - armed and prepared, right?

Would be great to see your view on our new poll (right-hand side): Have you checked your Facebook/MySpace/Twitter privacy settings lately?

P.S. The link below contains a case on reputation risks associated when using Facebook as a "moaning channel" and forgetting that it's in fact - a "Broadcast channel", too.. :

"Teacher is suspended for jibe on Facebook about her class" (DailyMail)
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Anonymous said...

Just to clarify my answers on the voting poll.
I do not use Facebook / Twitter / Myspace.

Therefore, I do not check those settings and because I do not use those social network and therefore, I do not feel that it is necessary to check.

However, I do use a professional networking medium called LinkedIn. Yes, I do check those privacy settings regularly.

Nadya on February 11, 2010 at 1:56 PM said...

Thank you for the answer. Suppose checking privacy settings is just a measure of privacy control, which doesn't take much time and yet saves from potential troubles. Hope the article is useful.

Digital Lunch Team

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