These days, hackers and identity thieves don’t have to go very far to steal someone’s personal information. Often, they just need to look at a Facebook profile.
More than half (52%) of all users of social networking sites post information online that can put them at risk of cybercrime, according to a recent Consumer Reports study. That info includes phone numbers, addresses, birth dates, names of children, and other data that can be used for crimes or to guess passwords and security questions.
The survey also showed many folks who use those sites aren’t aware of the steps they can take to protect the information they do post. For example, 23% of Facebook users said they didn’t know the site offers privacy controls.
Overall, 9% of those surveyed said they’d run into some kind of trouble — including malware infections, identity theft, scams and harassment — as a result of information posted on a social network.
While hackers can use the information from social networking profiles to target consumers’ personal finances, businesses also fear employees could share info that leads to stolen company passwords or phishing attacks targeting the employer.
The key to keeping your company and your users safe: Educate folks on the dangers of social networking.
Here are some security tips you can pass on to users:
- Don’t post phone numbers or full addresses
- Use privacy settings to make sure the profile can’t be seen by the general public, and
- Remind users not to post confidential information about the company.