I guess we should ask if there are any problems posed by Social Networking sites?  If you think the answer is NO, then you may be part of the problem. 

Social networking sites are really exploding.  There are so many out there it is nearly impossible to keep up with all of them.  But, here are some ways that SNS can be dangerous:

  • They can bring harm to your personal computer
  • They can bring harm to your personal finances
  • They can bring harm to your company network and could end up costing you your job
  • They could end up bringing harm to your children if your children are not careful

But what are “social networking sites?”

“Social networking is the grouping of individuals into specific groups, like small rural communities or a neighborhood subdivision, if you will. Although social networking is possible in person, especially in universities, high schools or in the workplace, it is most popular online. This is because unlike most high schools, colleges, or workplaces, the internet is filled with millions of individuals who are looking to meet other internet users, to gather first hand information or experiences about a medical condition, develop friendships, find vacation spots or to start a professional relationship.” – http://www.whatissocialnetworking.com/

So, you want to know how to find these types of site.  Well there are many that are very specific and if you aren’t into there particular thing, you’ll likely never find them.  For example:  If you’re into reptiles, you can find groups of like minded persons on the Internet to discuss your hobby or obsession with reptiles.  Incidentally, I am providing a link to just one discussion group dedicated to cold blooded friends. 

http://tinyurl.com/snakes-rule

Well, I digress….

Anyway, how can these sites bring harm?  Well, a really good example is Facebook.  What?  I shouldn’t be dissing FB?  Sorry all you devoted FB users.  (I have an account and am quite active myself.)  There are lots of ways scammers and schemers trick you into divulging personal information by creating “harmless” little games and quizzes?  Do you realize how many personal details about yourself you are revealing?  This information is then collected and spammers then  can start filling your inbox with more crap.  And worse, some of these games and harmless activities will actually cause your PC to become infected with malicious software.

An example happened this morning.  I received a notification in “private email” on my FB account that a Sally Smooth, name changed to protect her identity, had found a video that featured me and she had posted a link to it.  Yes, I was quite intrigued so I sent her a private note inquiring if she had really sent me that direct private message.  She had NOT!  She changed her password immediately.

If I had followed that link and clicked on it, I may very well have infected my computer with malicious software that could do all sorts of stuff:

  1. Stolen my login id and passwords to financial sites
  2. Hacked my FB account and started sending my friends private messages without my knowledge
  3. Corrupted my computer thus slowing it down or worse rendering it inoperable without major work and a lot of money

So what is a person to do?  Never ever use any of those games and applications on FB and never play the “How well do you know me?” game.

Ok, so I know some of you won’t go for that.  So, just be careful about how much personal information you reveal about yourself and be sure your Internet Security software is up-to-date and running.  Then also password protect your Internet Security software so the malicious software cannot change your settings and open up your PC.

If you are still reading this long article, thanks and congratulations for taking this seriously.  Your identity may be at stake.

Helpful links:

Dennis “The Computer Guy” Wilson

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