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Security Issues with Social Networking Sites

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Submitted to: Jim lentz

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11th May, 2017


In today’s world, social networking sites has gained lot of popularity and attracted lots of users worldwide. Social network sites offer a virtual environment for people to share their activity, interests, and their circle of acquaintance with their family, friends, or even the unknown. Apart from its benefits and popularity, social network sites hold great security issues. Especially in today’s digital world, where we are dealing with World Wide Web technologies and cloud sharing, great influx of users and visitors in Social networking sites has resulted  lots of security issues, both private and social which are of great concerns. This paper will discuss some of the privacy and security concerns on the social networking sites and some case studies also.

Keywords: Social networking sites, Privacy, Security.


Social Networking Sites (SNSs) can be defined as web-based services that allow users to; construct public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users in the system whom they share connection, and view or traverse the list of connections and those made by others in the system (Ellison, 2007). Social networks have become one of the easiest forms of communication these days and In the recent years, user's participation in the social networking sites has moved from its niche phenomenon to its highest level of mass adoption (Rajaram and Kumar, 2014). They reflect the social image of a person and SNSs are used for various purposes these days including Business promotions, advertisements, job search etc. Most popular social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. Rapid influx of users and sharing of personal information in these sites has provided an opportunity to hackers and crackers to take advantage of this information which for the users and business is very dangerous. Majority of social media users post risky information online, unaware of the privacy and security concerns and ease of accessibility of personal information available on these sites have attracted malicious people who seek to exploit this information. Thus security and maintaining privacy in these sites are of great concerns.

In digital world nothing is secured and mostly the information that we put in social networking sites, they are very vulnerable and has very serious security issues. Here are some of the security concerns of social network sites and different attacking strategies that are performed by malicious peoples that we should be aware.

  1. Malware

Malware is short form of malicious software which comprises of viruses, Trojans and worms. Common types of malware in social networking sites are Koobface (worm for Facebook) and Twitter Worm (for twitter) . Survey showed that 70% of companies have had their systems infected with malware through social media in 2010 (Vanheuangdy et al, 2010) is in 2016 it has been raised to 90%. These worms make our personal data vulnerable and through these worms hackers get access with personal as well as company’s information.

  1. Identity theft

When we enter our personal details in any applications related to  social media, some attackers can access these information , pictures , videos and other financial information and they can portrays themselves as you for their own benefit and can misuse that information easily without the user knowledge or permissions.

  1. Phishing

Phishing is very common and is experienced by all of us. Phishing in a sense is a tricking of online users to give out some details such as password, to an illegitimate website (Obiniyi et al., 2014). Email address that we enter in social media is tracked and fake emails are generated and are sent to us. The links are often used to get access to user’s credit card information.

  1. Profiling Risk

Profile cloning is very common these days in which the attackers retrieve the personal information of the users and make a clone of the profile (Lang et al., 2009). They do so to make their social image bad or for other purposes like knowing about friends of victims (Kumar et al., 2013). Social networking sites lacks security for  profile cloning and nowadays attackers are doing profile cloning by retrieving information from one social networking platform and using it in another.

  1. Fake Product Sale

Another security concern of social networking sites is fake product sale. Many people get attractive offers and discounts on their pages and they will be tempted to buy this product through online portal created by attackers through social media, user puts all the financial information in the process of buying the item which can be retrieved by attackers and misuse this information.



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