My interest in technology and communications began when I was a young boy. I remember sitting at the first computer my dad bought for us kids, a Compaq 386 that ran at 16 Mhz and had a 40 Mb hard drive, and being amazed at what would happen from entering different dos codes (geek alert).
Today, the rapid growth and widespread use of social media has effectively transformed the way individuals and businesses communicate. Social media has become a vital link to a connection the world takes for granted.
Social networking platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter allow users to communicate in real-time without social or geographic boundaries for little or no cost.
Social media creates dangerous risks to the privacy and security of online users.
Discussions about the benefits of social media are easy to find; however, social media is not all favourable. Alongside the well-established and repeated benefits of social media lie the very real and often ignored risks of privacy and security.
Social media has trained users to be too trusting, as people participate and share online personal details about their lives for everyone to see. People are quick to click on links, open photos, download files from their social networks without even thinking about potential risks.
Social media provides cybercriminals with the tools they need to conduct their crimes.
It’s estimated that in 2009, approximately 2.5 million Canadians and 12 million Americans were victims of identify theft alone.
Personal social media risks
As a parent of two young children, I have a personal interest in the lurking dangers of social media so I can stay proactive in learning how to protect my kids online.
Since the Internet is an important part of my children’s daily routines at school and home for research, games and interaction, they are regularly exposed to online dangers such as sexting, cyberbullying, and even pedophiles.
And as a regular participant of social media, for work and social interaction with family and friends, I feel the need to stay informed about the risks for my own online safety. The dangers of fraud and identity theft, social engineering, hacker attacks, data breach, malicious software, and many others have alerted me to the need of better preventive understanding.
Corporate social media risks
The security risks of a corporate social media presence can be considerably harmful to an organizations reputation. Any unhappy employee or consumer behaving emotionally has the ability to post his or her thoughts on Facebook or Twitter for everyone to read.
Also, social media poses a pernicious threat to organizations sensitive proprietary information. Data or company secrets shared online amongst employees is vulnerable to hackers, prying eyes, or careless mistakes.
Education is prevention
To prevent a social media disaster, it is imperative that users of social media be aware of its pernicious effects and stay informed about ways of protecting their privacy and security while online.
Interested in media ecology and the risks of a social media presence.