Friday, May 14th, 2010 | Author:

Even CNN is writing about privacy issues associated with Facebook.  Some prominent folks are deleting their Facebook pages in protest.  I never used it much and deleted my account months ago for the same reasons, but for those of you asking, “But how would I stay in touch?” there are some new options:

Clique – privacy enhanced Social Network Site

Decentralize the web with Diaspora

This is not so much an endorsement of these particular projects – although I think they’re on the right track and I’d encourage you to check them out – as it is an endorsement of the free market.

People complain about Facebook and – Boom! – up step some folks offering alternatives.

Ya’ gotta love it.

Update: Even Homeland Security is warning about the risks of social networking sites:

RISK RATING:  High

The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase, especially among teenagers and young adults.

The nature of these sites introduces security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

How to protect yourself now link

Social networking sites rely on connections and communication, so they encourage you to provide a certain amount of personal information. When deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person because

  • the internet provides a sense of anonymity
  • the lack of physical interaction provides a false sense of security
  • they tailor the information for their friends to read, forgetting that others may see it
  • they want to offer insights to impress potential friends or associates

While the majority of people using these sites do not pose a threat, malicious people may be drawn to them because of the accessibility and amount of personal information that’s available. The more information malicious people have about you, the easier it is for them to take advantage of you. Predators may form relationships online and then convince unsuspecting individuals to meet them in person. That could lead to a dangerous situation. The personal information can also be used to conduct a social engineering attack . Using information that you provide about your location, hobbies, interests, and friends, a malicious person could impersonate a trusted friend or convince you that they have the authority to access other personal or financial data.

Additionally, because of the popularity of these sites, attackers may use them to distribute malicious code. Sites that offer applications developed by third parties are particularly susceptible. Attackers may be able to create customized applications that appear to be innocent while infecting your computer without your knowledge.

Hmm … haven’t I heard some Washington Chicken Littles warning about cyber security?  Is this a valid warning, or just another justification for taking over another industry?

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