Viral networks and social sites such as MySpace and Facebook have created a fertile ground for predators, scammers and identity thieves, according to an Australian information security expert.
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CQR Consulting Information Security Consultant Jody Melbourne said the “explosive viral growth” of social networking and media sites had attracted the interest of many business-minded people.
“These new, unregulated platforms are attracting interest from people ranging from entrepreneurs to unscrupulous scammers, spammers and snake-oil salesmen,” he said. “As with any medium of electronic communication or data-sharing, these social networks are being regularly poked and prodded by hackers and identity thieves.”
Although many such sites are simply for social networking, personal profile, chat and sending messages and sharing photos and videos with friends, LinkedIn for example is currently the most popular social site for business networking and recruitment.
Melbourne said the social features being added to major services like Google and Microsoft Live would soon bring social networking capabilities to millions of new users. “For many users, the larger social networks are fast becoming an all-in-one service for communicating,” he said.
“The problem is this rapid, widespread adoption of social networking sites has a number of dangers.”
He said people often failed to consider that many employers researched potential applicants online. “Job seekers are being turned down for employment because of inappropriate or incriminating information and pictures on their social network profiles,” he said.