1 in 60 Facebook posts are malicious

Security threats caused by social networking use are becoming more common — and these experts warn that it’s not just Facebook that companies’ IT departments should be concerned with.

Security and privacy threats on social networks have affected a lot of users, according to a recent survey by security firm Barracuda Networks.

Among the social networking users surveyed:

  1. 91% have received spam
  2. 54% have gotten phishing attacks
  3. 23% have been sent malware
  4. 20% have been negatively affected by information leaked on a social network
  5. 16% have had spam sent from their accounts, and
  6. 13% have had their account hijacked or their password stolen.

The survey also found that one out of every 60 Facebook posts and one out of 100 Tweets contain links to malicious content.

Facebook users surveyed were the least confident in their ability to avoid those security threats, with 40% confessing they feel unsafe on the site, compared to 14% for the more business-oriented LinkedIn. Correspondingly, LinkedIn users are given the most freedom to use social media at work, with just 20% of companies blocking the site, compared to 31% for Facebook.

However, Barracuda warns businesses that they may not be able to fully trust LinkedIn’s security for long. Facebook gets more attacks because it has more users, but the high potential to cause damage by attacking businesses through LinkedIn profiles could mean it’s only a matter of time before more LinkedIn attacks start appearing.

Given the increasing threat of information being stolen and malware spreading through social networks — and the amount of time employees spend on those sites while at work — IT must train users and develop policies to encourage safe social networking behavior.

The good news is that most people are already aware that the dangers are out there — 86% of the users surveyed believe their behavior on social networks can endanger company security. IT can help out by telling them how to minimize the risks.

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