I never trusted Facebook or Myspace from the very beginning. Getting one of these accounts is a little like posting your face and vital statistics on a  billboard along side  an interstate. I joined both sites years ago to see what they where all about, and promptly got bored and forgot about them. occasional I’d be reminded of their existence when I’d get an email informing me that a random acquaintance, or some creeper that I’ve never met really wants to be my pal or worse. I’ve shut off certain parts of facebook to all but my friends, but being social-media-clueless, I really have no idea who’s seeing what when they find my site. I’m almost positive that the information viewable on Facebook is used quite frequently for evil. I know of a few girls who regularly facebook stalk any new guy that they meet, and not only investigate to see if he’s trustworthy or shady, but also to see what kind of person he is and find out is he’s worth their time. I also know that, whether your on facebook or not, someone can take any picture they want of you, and post it with a tag with your name on it. Basically, short of moving to a country that hasn’t managed to acquire photography or electricity yet, you cannot escape the stalking resource that is Facebook. Additionally, it makes a person extra easy to find on internet searches. When I Googled myself, I was amazed to find that nearly three pages of Google results where about me! Number six on that list is facebook, and listed right below my name are many of my facebook friends. So with one search an assassin could locate and wipe out me and all my friends in one fell swoop using one convenient website. Not comforting. A statistical website that I found listed the following numbers

  • 25 percent of households with a Facebook account don’t use the site’s privacy controls or weren’t aware of them.
  • 40 percent of social network users posted their full date of birth online, opening themselves up to identity theft. (I didn’t know this and will have to make an alteration!)
  • 9 percent of social network users dealt with a form of abuse within the past year (e.g., malware, online scams, identity theft or harassment).
  • It’s incredibly easy to get scammed online these days. I had it happen last year, and I know a few people who’ve had the same happen in the last few. The fact of the matter is, none of us truly know how to protect ourselves because everything below a websites flashy skin is a mystery to us. A billion Google searches happen every day, and it’s a little known fact that with every search you do your IP address is recorded, as are your search topics. Supposedly google never sells or misuses this information, but then why are they collection it if they don’t intend to use it? Nearly everything we do online from engine searches to online shopping is recorded and saved, and most of us don’t have a clue as to how secure the things we do really are. When you make an online purchase with a credit card, all you have to sooth your nerves are a few icons like vericheck and others that have become familiar and trusted because the other times we saw these icons during purchases no one stole our credit card information, so we believe that  it must be doing its job, but what the heck does it really do? Couldn’t a thief make up a fake icon that mimics an existed trusted company’s icon and pillage us blind? There are a few trojans floating about the web that mimic a trusted windows antivirus program, but in reality are a trojan that forces its victims pay money to a fraudulent company to get their phony antivirus program off your system. These are getting to be very common, and I’m sure plenty of credit card purchase fraud is ocurring as well. We might not be able to keep up with all the new threats in online security, but this link has a few solutions for the majority of us who don’t know how it all works.

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    Interesting chart dealing with social media and security

                                   Facebook isn’t the only problem however. One would think that Twitter, and possibly some large online shopping sites would be next in line, and Amazon is high on the list of sites to leak information about me, but what really shocked me is how exposed my past job with the Forest Service has made me. With every Forest Service related event that I participated, someone took my picture and information on where I worked and what I did, and who I worked with, and posted it in a lively narrative. I had no idea that this was being done with each event untill just a few days ago, and also have no idea how to undo it. Worse still are these reunion websites, one of  which my dad apparently signed up for. It lists him and my mom and their ages and locations, and does the same for me and my sisters.

                       I didn’t sign up for any of the latter things listed. If you do anything at all in America your information will probably end up online. Many people are deleting their facebook and myspace profiles, and I found a top ten list of reasons to do this. Sadly some of my friends have quickly adjusted to and accepted the security threat, and see this sort of thing as a personal insult to them and their friendship with me, so in essence when I delete my Facebook friends, I’ll be deleting, or at least alienating some real friends as well. As for all the other personal information hemorrhaging sites, sometimes there’s nothing you can do, but for the ones you sign up for such as Linkedin, Myspace, and Twitter, this article explains some steps we can take to avoid making too much information about ourselves available to the world. But in many situations, such as with my job, or my parents reunion website, there’s nothing I can do about it short of becoming a hacker or and orphan, so we might as well accept that fact that the whole world is a stage, and we’re the stars, and protect ourselves as much as possible as privacy inevitably continues to erode away.

    Privacy Is Dead and Social Media Holds the Smoking Gun

    Internet Marketing for Lawyers: Social Media & Privacy Expectations

    Is Facebook Eroding Privacy? Or Does Social Media Require Us to Lower Our Expectations?

    Social Media: The Privacy and Security Repercussions

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