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Do Cyber Crimes Occur On Social Networking Sites Like Facebook?

If there’s a way a criminal can exploit a weakness for financial gain, they will do it. Social networking sites are not immune to cyber crime. According to The Sophos Security Threat Report, criminals have increased their focus on attacking social networking sites. The analysis, done by IT security company Sophos, revealed an increase in cyber crime over the first half of 2009.

According to the Sophos Security Threat Report, cyber crime is doubly focused on using social networking sites to identify potential victims, and then move in for the kill. The report strongly recommends that social network sites focus just as much attention on security as they do on acquiring new customers.

Another study, a part of the latest Web Hacking Incidents Database (WHID), claims that social networking sites are the most commonly targeted vertical market.

Social networking sites have reported being victims of most of the typical cyber crimes: spamming, phishing and malware (viruses, spyware, etc.). One of the more devious cyber crimes is the rise of scareware. As the name implies, scareware attempts to scare users into to downloading their software, often as anti-virus tools. They usually have little to no benefit, and sometimes are even used to spread viruses, adware or spyware themselves.

Individuals aren’t the only ones who should be worried about cyber crime on social networking sites. In fact, there’s a growing concern among corporations that when employees share information via their favorite social networking sites, they are exposing company computer networks to potential cyber crime threats.

A survey from 2006 appears to reveal that social networking users are extremely vulnerable to cyber crime. According to a survey jointly conducted by security software firm CA, Inc. and the National Cyber Security Alliance, about 74 percent of adults using social networking sites have given their personal information out to a third party. That includes their e-mail address, birthday or social security number. About 83 percent of the people surveyed said they have downloaded files from other profiles, which can expose them various cyber crimes. And almost half of those who surveyed said they visited social networking sites at work, exposing companies to cyber crime attacks.

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