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Many social network users easy prey for cybercriminals

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 09:02 PM February 25, 2016
Suspects in an alleged internet porn operation cover their faces as they stay at the Cybercrime division of the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. RA 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, punishes content-related offenses such as cybersex, child pornography and libel which may be committed through a computer system.  AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

Suspects in an alleged internet porn operation cover their faces as they stay at the Cybercrime division of the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. RA 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, punishes content-related offenses such as cybersex, child pornography and libel which may be committed through a computer system. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

One in 10 social network users was found to be unaware of how public his or her private information can be on popular channels such as Facebook and Twitter, making the individual an easy prey for cybercriminals.

This lack of awareness may likely leave the door wide open for criminals to use private information for identity theft and financial fraud, according to the results of a survey conducted by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.

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“Social network users are playing a dangerous game by not being cyber-savvy and essentially giving strangers easy access to their personal details and private information. With social media profiles containing a raft of insight – from birthdays through to addresses and holiday plans – It wouldn’t take much digging for a cybercriminal to find and exploit valuable information, or steal your identity for their own gain. This is even easier if you have unwittingly made them your friend,” David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said.

The online survey covered some 18,000 Internet users from 16 countries. In the Philippines, more than 1,000 respondents took part in the survey, which seeks to learn more about online habits and the users’ ability to recognize a threat when they encountered one. Respondents were also asked to consider several potentially dangerous situations, which often occur on the Internet.

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Survey results showed that almost a third of social network users share their posts, check-ins and other personal information with everybody who is online and not just their friends. Users are further putting themselves in danger when adding friends, with a surprising 12 percent admitting of adding anyone to their list – regardless of whether they know them or not.

According to Kaspersky, a third of users will also accept connections from people they don’t know if they have mutual friends in common, although this could expose them to more unknown people – even advertisement agents or cybercriminals.

When it comes to trusting their “friends”, a quarter (26 percent) of those surveyed would have no hesitation to click on a link sent by a friend without asking what it is, or considering the possibility that the sender’s account has been hacked.

Kaspersky offered tips to ensure that social network sharing will not leave one exposed to cyber threats.

“If in doubt, don’t accept a friend request or click on a link that you are not expecting. It is also essential that privacy settings within social network accounts are at their highest to ensure it is only your real friends you are sharing your status updates with,” Kaspersky said. TVJ

TOPICS: Cybercriminals, David Emm, Facebook, Kaspersky Lab, Online Survey, Social Media, Twitter
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