The writers at a website called TechNewsDaily.com recently published an article called, “When It’s Time to Leave Facebook”. In this article, they discuss the different kinds of Facebook users: the ones who access their accounts a multitude of times every day to get the latest updates from their friends, and the ones who create an account to keep in touch with just a few people and don’t access it for months or years in between times. The question that was posed was which type of account holder is most at risk for having their account taken over by an unknown party.
Each type of user assumes some sort of risk simply by having a Facebook account, and in some respects, both are equally open to hacking, scams, and having complete strangers post things under the account holder’s profile that weren’t authorized by the actual account holder. The article pointed out that account holders who rarely access their accounts are highly susceptible to having their accounts taken over by unknown parties because they’re not on the site often enough to be aware of the social networking site’s ever-changing privacy and security policies, which leaves them vulnerable to attack because these changes tend to reset the account holder’s privacy settings to a default (read: public) setting. They are also vulnerable because they stay unaware of malicious or harmful information and statuses being posted by a stranger on their behalf because of their lack of time spent on the site. On the other hand, the frequent user of Facebook who constantly posts status updates, current locations, complete addresses, phone numbers, and birth dates is also quite vulnerable because many times this information is more than what a hacker or scammer needs to steal that user’s identity.
The article states that the very infrequent Facebook users would be much safer in the long run by deactivating their accounts or at the very least making them inactive. Making them inactive won’t completely keep the account safe, but it will provide somewhat of a barrier for malicious attacks. The frequent Facebook user who posts every tidbit of their lives and personal information would also be much safer by being less open about what they post and when. For instance, not posting current location (if away from home) or when they’re going to be or are already on vacation, posting only their birth month and day and not including the year, and leaving their phone number and address off of their personal information. By doing these things, Facebook users will not only help keep themselves from malicious attacks on the site itself, but it will help keep them from being victims of identity theft on a much larger scale outside of the Facebook world.