Social networking is increasing security risk

As more people flaunt their identities online through social networking sites, computer security risk is growing. The Australian Financial Review reports today that “malware”, short for malicious software, is the new computer security threat feeding off the social networking revolution.

Malware can pop up annoying ads on to your browser, or monitor keystrokes looking for credit card numbers and passwords. Details posted on MySpace and Facebook stay there indefinitely, making it easy for identity fraudsters to steal the information.

IT security firm Sophos conducted an experiment last year creating a false identity who then asked people to be its friend. About 40% of people agreed to be friends and to spontaneously pass on information such as who their employer was and the area they live.

Employers also need to be careful about the types of websites that their employees visit and the content they download.

Meanwhile the NSW Supreme Court is so worried about identity fraud that it is changing the way its judgements are written. The Australian reports today that under an edict issued by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, James Spigelman, details of birthdays, anniversaries, addresses and other “unique numbers” will be removed. He says a person’s name and one unique personal identifier is all the information a fraudster needs. 



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