Thursday, May 20, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Here are some of the precautions you need to take to stay private and safe:
Make friend lists
Categorise your “friends” into various groups according to what information you want them to have access to, from “Work Friends” (minimal access) to “Acquaintances”, “Family” and “Close Friends” (full access) .
Restrict access to profile
To prevent strangers from accessing your page, it is advisable to allow “Only Friends” to access your profile.
Remove your address and phone number
This may be useful information for your real friends and family but imagine what will happen if the information falls into the wrong hands.
Remove your full birthdate from your profile
Identity thieves can use it to obtain more information on you and even gain access to your bank or credit card account. If you want to remind your friends about your birthday, remove the year.
Be careful when registering for new applications
It is all fun and exciting to try out new games and quizzes but what many don't realise is that you may unknowingly be sharing all your information with the developers who can then sell your data or spam you.
Go to “Privacy Settings” and tick “Applications”, followed by “Settings”. Uncheck the boxes for the personal information that you do not want them to obtain.
Still, according to security expert website, the CSO (Chief Security Officer) Online, Facebook users unwittingly expose themselves to five dangers that might be beyond their control: their information is shared with third parties; their privacy settings revert to a less safe default mode after each redesign; malware from Facebook advertisements; fake profiles from scammers; and real friends who unknowingly make them vulnerable.
from the star newspaper
By HARIATI AZIZAN
The Internet poses various safety issues and Facebook's latest privacy gaffes make it even worse.
A JEALOUS husband murders his wife after becoming enraged that she had changed her Facebook status to single.
It may sound like a Hallmark movie-plot but last year alone saw a few similar incidents around the world. And this does not include the harassment, threats or legal suits that Facebook members faced over their postings.
After Edward Richardson, 41, stabbed his estranged wife Sarah Richardson, 26, to death - the third of such homicide cases in the United Kingdom over 12 months - British authorities were quick to highlight the importance of social media literacy.
Crimes of passion are nothing new but social networking may just have changed the variables. And while Facebook is in no way to be blamed for the violence - she could have used MySpace, Meebo or any other social network - this case is an undeniable example of how increased connectivity, the speed with which information is transmitted, and privacy controls are changing our world.
The main question thrown up in discussion groups was whether Richardson fully understood how Facebook worked.
Was she aware that by changing her status, her estranged husband would instantly receive a post on his Facebook newsfeed? Did she know how to exclude him from such updates if she had wished to?
Malaysia has not recorded any similar cases yet, but with reportedly 2,619,040 Malaysians registered on Facebook, there may be cause for concern.
As psychologist Assoc Prof Dr Khaidzir Ismail from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia highlights, many of the Malaysians who go to social media networks do not realise the consequences of how they act and what they say on the Internet will have on themselves, their families and friends.
“The Internet is a good outlet for people to express themselves and socialise. However, many, especially the young, do not have the skills or etiquette to know how to behave on the social media networks. One problem is that many are IT illiterate,” he says.
Worse, the latest Facebook privacy scandals may make the existing security worries so 2009 for many users.
New privacy issues
While many were still grappling with how to find their way around the social media network and manage their personal information on it, Facebook introduced new privacy settings at the end of last year.
The changes made more private data public by default as users are given the responsibility to opt out if they want to keep their information private, or share it only with a trusted group of friends.
They caused a lot of confusion and many users were unaware that their personal information was available to everyone.
Another Facebook glitch recently further highlighted the vulnerability of its users - estimated to be more than 400 million people worldwide - as the malfunction made it possible for people not friended by Facebook users to access their personal information, including chat conversations, friend lists and more.
Unsurprisingly, censure mounted from the authorities worldwide - US senators reiterated their public calls for Facebook to rethink its privacy safeguards; the American Civil Liberties Union launched a petition against its founder Mark Zuckerberg and European data protection officials slammed the privacy changes.
It also caused a backlash among the tech-savvier user community and technology industry.
A number of high-profile users reportedly deleted their Facebook accounts while other irate users have launched an online campaign to make June 6 a “No Facebook Day”.
This has led to a crisis meeting at the Facebook headquarters last Friday, as it took steps to address the problems. Subsequently, tighter security measures were announced to protect its users' personal information.
Chief executive officer of CyberSecurity Malaysia - the national cyber security specialist centre under the purview of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) - Lt Col Husin bin Haji Jazri (Retired) concurs that users have to practise safe behaviour on Facebook and anywhere else online, he says in an e-mail interview.
According to the Malaysian Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT), there were more than 150 complaints of cyber security breaches last year.
While this included cases of identity theft, hacking and cyberstalking, there were also reports of personal data abuse by estranged dating or married couples who have access to their partners' personal information.
As MyCERT chief Adli Abdul Wahid revealed to a local Malay language daily at the last Computer Security Day celebrations, they have received complaints from Internet users who have found their contact details - with offers of sex service - posted on public toilet walls and Internet forums as well as circulated via e-mail to strangers.
A quick e-mail survey by Sunday Star, however, shows that most Malaysians know how to protect themselves on the Internet, especially on social media networks like Facebook.
“Most of us got onto Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family overseas or reconnect with old schoolmates. But now instead of connecting with them, half the time we have to monitor our privacy setting to make sure that our personal information is safe. It is taking the fun out of socialising,” she says.
Many, like engineer J. Tan, say that they have always been very careful about what they put on their profile page in Facebook.
“I like Facebook because it keeps me in the loop with what my friends and family are doing without me having to speak to them at all. But I am careful about sharing personal details with strangers. There is always the danger of your details ending up on public toilet walls, right?” he says.
Media executive Adibah A. is another who keeps a tight rein on what personal information gets out.
“I don't simply disclose information that I don't want people to know of. To me, it is better to be careful than sorry later. People can always spam my inbox with marketing flyers and any other junk. To protect my privacy, I am very selective of the information shared among friends.”
When audio visual (AV) designer Ruza Jajuli realised how her work and family were spilling into Facebook, she quickly made a list of “close friends”.
“There are things I would not like to share with them (family or office mates) as I wouldn't in 'real' life, so I created a list for the people who I do not want to see my 'crazy' pictures or comments,” she shares.
The fear of having her personal secrets being abused by others, including those who she counts as friends and acquaintances, is why regular Internet user Melissa K. is swearing off Facebook.
“You can say I am a bit paranoid, but I am now careful after a not-so-nice separation from my ex many years ago. He saved everything I said in anger (on voicemail, e-mail and SMS) and gossiped using it.”
Lt Col Husin advises those who have been threatened or victimised to lodge a police report.
“Then the police will do the necessary investigation and determine whether or not a crime has been committed. After which, law enforcement authorities (like the police) will determine if further action can be taken on the said person,” he says.
More importantly, with Facebook being so open, it is vital that users take safety precautions should they start interacting offline with those they meet online.
Just last week, an inquest hearing in the UK revealed how one former army warrant officer Stewart Shaw stabbed his partner Julie Sudlow - whom he had met on Facebook - after their whirlwind romance went sour.
As reported in British daily The Telegraph, the testimony of the investigating officer showed that Sudlow soon discovered that the man she was seeing was not the same as the man she had met on Facebook.
He became violent with her and when she called the police on him, Shaw lost his temper and accused her of ruining his life before murdering her in rage.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Using a Weak Password
Avoid simple names or words you can find in a dictionary, even with numbers tacked on the end. Instead, mix upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. A password should have at least eight characters. One good technique is to insert numbers or symbols in the middle of a word, such as this variant on the word "houses": hO27usEs!
Leaving Your Full Birth Date in Your Profile
It's an ideal target for identity thieves, who could use it to obtain more information about you and potentially gain access to your bank or credit card account. If you've already entered a birth date, go to your profile page and click on the Info tab, then on Edit Information. Under the Basic Information section, choose to show only the month and day or no birthday at all.
Overlooking Useful Privacy Controls
For almost everything in your Facebook profile, you can limit access to only your friends, friends of friends, or yourself. Restrict access to photos, birth date, religious views, and family information, among other things. You can give only certain people or groups access to items such as photos, or block particular people from seeing them. Consider leaving out contact info, such as phone number and address, since you probably don't want anyone to have access to that information anyway.
Posting Your Child's Name in a Caption
Don't use a child's name in photo tags or captions. If someone else does, delete it by clicking on Remove Tag. If your child isn't on Facebook and someone includes his or her name in a caption, ask that person to remove the name.
Mentioning That You'll Be Away From Home
That's like putting a "no one's home" sign on your door. Wait until you get home to tell everyone how awesome your vacation was and be vague about the date of any trip.
Letting Search Engines Find You
To help prevent strangers from accessing your page, go to the Search section of Facebook's privacy controls and select Only Friends for Facebook search results. Be sure the box for public search results isn't checked.
Permitting Youngsters to Use Facebook Unsupervised
Facebook limits its members to ages 13 and over, but children younger than that do use it. If you have a young child or teenager on Facebook, the best way to provide oversight is to become one of their online friends. Use your e-mail address as the contact for their account so that you receive their notifications and monitor their activities. "What they think is nothing can actually be pretty serious," says Charles Pavelites, a supervisory special agent at the Internet Crime Complaint Center. For example, a child who posts the comment "Mom will be home soon, I need to do the dishes" every day at the same time is revealing too much about the parents' regular comings and goings.