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October 11, 2011

Facebook is ‘gold book’ for criminals, says security expert at RSA conference

Everything is becoming a public record in the social networking era, Ira Winkler laments

By CBR Staff Writer

Computer security expert Ira Winkler has said that social networking sites make people vulnerable for loss of sensitive details, and worse, get robbed in the real world.

Speaking at the RSA Internet security conference in London, Winkler said that social networking site users are at grave risk from cyber snoopers, the Inquirer reported.

He said, "Social networking is a treasure trove. Every aspect of your life, interests, family and employer are available. People leave traces showing their vulnerabilities."

Winkler warned that it is coworkers and friends, people must be wary of.

Winkler said, "People are placing sensitive information all over the Internet. Coworkers and best friends could be the people who screw you the most.

"If you know the hardware and software of the system then you know how to hack that system."

However, Winkler added that developing relationships with strangers on social networking sites like Facebook increases the risk.

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He said that it is easier for spies to monitor user movements with the help of social networking sites , including LinkedIn.

He said, "People like the Chinese intelligence can go into LinkedIn, target the company, target the person and go in. All it needs is one bad guy in the organisation to get the information."

However, Winkler believes that Four Square is "even worse." he said that the site shows where you are. "You can watch someone travel across the country and rob their house," he added.

Winkler called Facebook a ‘gold book’ for criminals.

He said, "Facebook’s timeline is like a gold book for criminals, anybody can pretend to be anybody."

Winkler lamented that "Everything is becoming a public record. What about Facebook apps? It uses data about you even when your friends use it.

Earlier, when Facebook launched its new timeline feature, Product Manager Samuel W. Lessin wrote in a blog, "Back in the early days of Facebook, your profile was pretty basic – just your name, a photo, where you went to school… stuff you’d cover in the first five minutes you met someone."

"The way your profile works today, 99 per cent of the stories you share vanish. The only way to find the posts that matter is to click "Older Posts" at the bottom of the page. Again. And again… With timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you’ve already shared. They don’t just vanish as you add new stuff."

"Go to your private activity log. This is where you’ll find everything you shared since you joined Facebook," added Lessin.

"Click on any post to feature it on your timeline so your friends can see it, too," wrote Lessin.

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