Online Security: Facebook, Encryption & Data Mining
In light of stories about the NSA monitoring people’s Internet usage and threats from malicious hacker attacks, Facebook has come under a lot of fire for its security, or lack thereof. In response, Facebook has decided to boost its encryption levels, though not as thoroughly as you might like.
According to NewsFactor, Facebook won’t actually be introducing end-to-end encryption. Rather, the popular social network will be encouraging third parties to develop encryption apps to use with Facebook and to provide more support for those apps. The reasoning behind this is that end-to-end encryption involves a highly complicated and expensive process.
Critics are concerned that Facebook isn’t doing enough. The company already works with developers, hackers, encryption experts, and individuals to find glitches and increase overall security. It hasn’t been enough to keep malicious hackers and the NSA out of people’s accounts, though.
This information on Facebook’s half-hearted attempts to increase security brings up a lot of concerns for people using social media and the information they let out on the Internet. If you’re going through a divorce, you may have already been advised to stop using your social media accounts or to watch what you say very closely. There are a few things you may not have thought of that can be used against you when you use Facebook and other social media sites and apps.
Too Much Information
If you’re looking for a new job, but you’re having a lot of trouble getting anyone to call you back or give you a chance, your social network might be to blame. How do you present yourself online? Are there a ton of pictures of you drinking, dancing, smoking, and staying out late on your Instagram feed? Does every status you post on Facebook start with, “I was so wasted last night”?
If you’re looking for a job, you might want to delete these photos and statuses. If, however, you’re going through a divorce, you may just want to leave it all alone. Do make sure that your account is private or friends-only, but don’t delete your account, your photos, or any statuses.
Why? Well, when you go to court, you could be put in a very bad light. Deleting or changing social media photos and statuses can be viewed as tampering with or deleting evidence. This can look a lot worse than any incriminating photographs, as it looks like you have something to hide.
Not as Private as You Think
If you think that you can say what you want and post any kind of pictures that you like, you might be surprised. The NSA has posed as Facebook, itself, to gain access to individuals’ information. While Facebook representatives claim that this is no longer possible, there are still chinks in Facebook’s armor.
Have you ever gotten a friend request from someone you thought you might know, but you weren’t sure? Hackers will take pictures from your friends’ albums. They’ll put out blanket friend requests. In short, they’ll do anything at all to gain access to your information. Before you know it, your statuses and photos could be for sale to the highest bidder.
Data Mining: Consider Everything Public
I have found that when it comes to social networks, privacy and online security, most people are afraid of government agencies, such as the NSA. What the public generally fails to realize that there are thousands of private companies, nationally and internationally, that exist solely to mine data found on the Internet. They stockpile this data on private computer networks, and can collate it, cut it, and re-sell it to whomever they want.
So when you post statuses or pictures that are accessible to the public – keep in mind that they are indeed out there forever.
Even for posts and items that have supposed private status, I try to consider everything that is put on social networks as public and permanent. Why would you put highly sensitive data on a computer that you don’t own? What happens when and if your account is hacked?
Remember: Anything you post online, ever, can come back to you later.
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