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Social media considered vulnerable to security attacks

Posted In Technology Reviews, Security, Social network - By Techtiplib on Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 With No Comments »

Employees and consumers alike are using social media to connect with colleagues, friends and family on a regular basis. Although websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are valuable websites for both groups of users, the popularity of these channels has opened them to increased security vulnerabilities, especially those involving weak passwords.

One of the most dangerous aspects of social media is that users are often more than willing to provide personal information through these sites, according to Chris Petersen, founder and CTO of a log management firm. In an interview with TechNewsWorld, Petersen explained that young employees have a mindset that it is not “that big a deal” to disclose data in this manner.

“It’s not necessarily malicious, but the sensitivity around the handling of private, confidential data has eroded socially,” Petersen told the news provider. “We’ve gotten to the point where we value privacy and confidentiality less in our personal lives. I don’t know how that doesn’t permeate into the workforce.”

Although companies want staff members to practice effective password protection, doing so can be a challenge. HD Moore, chief security officer at a data security software provider, explained to TechNewsWorld that businesses that try to force employees to constantly change current passwords or create complex ones can end up with a frustrated workforce.

Companies that want effective password security without upsetting employees can use a password manager to achieve both goals. These solutions constantly update corporate credentials using advanced algorithms to keep cybercriminals at bay. Firms using these tools will have happy employees who are no longer required to develop passwords constantly, instead focusing on their jobs and safely browsing the web and accessing important resources.

Twitter breach emphasizes importance of password security
password manager, password tool, tech tipsEarlier this year Twitter experienced a major security breach, prompting the social media site to reset user passwords to minimize the damage. In an official blog post, the company said as many as 250,000 accounts were affected by the attack in which hackers gained access to usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted passwords.

Consumers that want added password protection can also adopt tools to keep their personal information safe. A password generator is great for creating new passwords so people no longer have to constantly remember multiple phrases for multiple accounts, especially social media.

Corporate security efforts ramping up to address social media
Looking ahead, the use of social media among businesses and consumers is not expected to slow, placing greater emphasis on protection solutions to keep malicious hackers from wreaking havoc. A report by Gartner said that 60 percent of companies will adopt programs to monitor social media activity by 2015 to minimize security breaches. Although some firms already have such tools in place, less than 10 percent have integrated them with their current security initiatives.

“The growth in monitoring employee behavior in digital environments is increasingly enabled by new technology and services,” said Andrew Walls, Gartner research vice president. “Surveillance of individuals, however, can both mitigate and create risk, which must be managed carefully to comply with ethical and legal standards.”

Decision-makers who want to address the security vulnerabilities associated with social media must ensure employees understand the significance of disclosing information that may be valuable to hackers. Michael DuBose, cyber-investigations practice leader at Kroll Advisory Solutions, told TechNewsWorld that firms must instruct staff members to be cautious when sharing details of the company and their tasks via social platforms. This is especially important regarding the use of mobile devices, as personnel are bringing their own smartphones and tablets into the office and accessing social websites. 

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