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‘Only few users of social networks understand associated risks’

‘Only few users of social networks understand associated risks’

A new survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab, the world largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions and B2B International has revealed that only a small number of respondents understand the risks associated with active use of social networks.

The report of the survey titled “Consumer Security Risks Survey for 2014” also shows that communication via social networks is one of the most popular activities on the Internet.

Overall, using social media sites was the third most popular activity after checking email and reading articles or books, and it was even more popular on mobile devices – ranking second.

The study further reveals that people are often careless with what information they share over social media networks. While using social media networks, one out of ten participants discusses private information on social media networks with strangers, 18 percent think they reveal more personal information than they should on social networks, while 15 percent share information online that they would not disclose in the real life. Losing social media network credentials is not a top concern for many, as only 7 percent of respondents included it in their list of top three types of information they would not want to have stolen.

According to the report, “78 percent of the respondents do not think they are of any interest to cybercriminals or are unsure about this issue. However, cybercriminals are always lurking and often look through social networks searching for information inadvertently left by the user. Information such as an email address can be used to help an attacker break an account password or identify a person’s location. In turn, access to a user’s account can give cybercriminals the opportunity to send malicious links and files to the victim’s friends, stealing their personal data as well.”

The survey also shows that 40 percent of respondents received suspicious emails or social media messages with unknown links or potentially malicious files. Twenty-one percent received emails claiming to be from a social media network asking for password and other personal credentials. In addition, mobile users also find themselves at risk. Six percent of all respondents stated their social network accounts had been hacked by hackers. Among the owners of Android based-tablets, this figure reached 13 percent.

Analysis of victims by region shows that unauthorised access to social network accounts was reported by 16 percent of the users in China and the Asia-Pacific region, 19 percent in Russia and 4 percent of North American respondents.

The Consumer Security Risks Survey study was conducted via an online survey from May to June 2014 with users from 23 countries. A total of 11,135 people aged 16 and over were surveyed. As part of the study, users from different countries answer questions about their knowledge of current cyber threats and about incidents they may have encountered.

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Kayode Oladeinde Technology Journalist at Technology Times. Mobile: +234 (0) 7031526929

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