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The Dangers of Facebook! (and other social networking sites)

It's Not As Bad As You Think


The purpose of this is certainly not to scare you away from social networking. It's just to make you aware that there are dangers out there that you need to watch out for. Social networking can be all fun and games, just like it's meant to be, if a few precautions are taken.

Sites like Facebook, MySpace and many others are no more dangerous than any other form of online media such as email, im'ing, chat boards, uploading music and videos from a p2p, or browsing personal websites. You still need to keep your eyes open for the same things and beware, because the hackers are out there, just watching and waiting for you to click on their tricks.

Facebook Worms

What these Facebook worms all have in common is that none of them are telling you the truth. Another thing they have in common is how they compromise your privacy and the privacy of your Facebook friends. Don't be fooled, just be warned.

  • Koobface Virus - It makes you think you're going to watch a funny video or see a funny photo of your friend.
  • Profileye Worm - Tells you people are looking at your profile which piques your curiosity as to who it could be.
  • Error Check Worm - Tells you that some of your friends are having trouble viewing your Facebook page.
  • Facebook Shuts You Down - Instructs you that Facebook has just shut you down because you did something wrong.

Facebook's Not The Only One

Sure, Facebook's been in the news with worms, but they're not the only social networking site that's being targeted, or can become targeted. Hackers are a talented bunch and will find any hole they can. All social networking sites are vulnerable, just as are other forms of online media.

Protect Yourself

Here are some simple things you can do to protect yourself from online problems:

  • Use antivirus and adware software - This will only protect you against certain things. It won't protect you against many of the worms that are application based, but it will protect you against some of them (and many other things).
  • Only Update From a Software Site - If you go to view a video on Facebook and you're told to update your software, think twice. Don't update it from there. If you think you may really need to update your software, go to the website of the software itself and update it.
  • Don't Click Strange Links - If you get a message saying something like "Facebook has a message for you, click here", don't click there. If Facebook has something to tell you, they would have emailed it to you. If you have a question about a message you received, email them.
  • Ask First - If you're not sure if your friend sent you something, maybe it looks suspicious, ask them. Just send them an email asking them if they sent it before clicking on anything.

Don't Be Afraid

Facebook and other social networking sites are just as safe, if not safer than your standard email client. Definitely safer than downloading music or videos from one of those peer to peer sites. Safer even than browsing some people's personal websites. [\p]

These are not the kinds of worms or virus' that shut down your computer or anything like that. These just send out messages to your friends using your own friend list, or something similar.

Social networking has, in some ways, replaced email. In some ways it's better; less spam, more people get the message. As long as you're careful, social networking can be a great way to make friends and network.

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