05 June 2012
Keeping Secure in a Social World
Social Media continues to grow and become a part of everyday life for people and businesses worldwide. As this growth continues to expand around the globe, government and defense users are increasingly faced with the security challenges posed by such a far-reaching open-platform.
Current estimates show that there is an estimated:
- 1.5 billion Social Network Services (SNS) users worldwide
- 750+ million Facebook users
- 20 million Google+ members
- 70% of Facebook users are based outside of the U.S.
- 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every second
With this great amount of information being shared the question must be asked, what are the dangers and how can we combat them while harnessing the power of such a useful tool?
In part one of a series that will be available from Power Ten, Inc. we will look at some of the challenges posed and how to ensure that you are not providing an opening for others to exploit.
Social Media is Beneficial
There are many pros for using Social Media in the defense industry, some of these include:
- Public Relations
- Connecting with others including colleagues, family, and the public
- Soliciting ideas and feedback
- Information Warfare
What many users do not realize is that while the openness and ease of use of these SNS allows for unprecedented collaboration and sharing, they also allow for potential enemies to engage and obtain information that can prove harmful to an organization’s mission and goal.
5 Critical Knowledge Items for Using Social Media
For any organization or individual that is using Social Media, the following five items are critical knowledge items to be aware of when launching your social presence.
- Do: Verify All Friend Requests – There are numerous ways adversaries can find you on social media including, free people search engines, other Social Network Services, your posts and profile, and your friends’ posts and profiles. For an excellent example of this, read the Robin Sage Experiment.
- Do: Utilize All Available Privacy Settings – There are over 120 security settings available on Facebook. Use the settings that are there to limit who can see what information. Although these are not foolproof, along with verifying your friends, the privacy settings can go a long way to protect your information. Remember everyone means everyone.
- Do: Watch Your Friends Settings – Sure your profile is secure, but what about your 115 friends profile settings?
- Do: Verify Links & Files Before Executing – Links and Downloads and Spam are fraught with phishing scams, malicious coding, viruses, scareware, and spam. Verify before executing.
- Do: Disable location GPS information collection before posting – Digital photos have Exchangeable image file format (Exif) information imbedded that can give your location and security information to the public. Exif is a standard that specifies the formats for images, sound, and ancillary tags used by digital cameras (including smartphones), scanners and other systems handling image and sound files recorded by digital cameras. The Exif format has standard tags for location information. Currently, most cameras and a growing number of mobile phones have a built-in GPS receiver that stores the location information in the Exif header when the picture is taken.
By operating as an informed user of a SNS, the defense community can take advantage of the power that Social Media can provide and utilize another tool to help accomplish the mission.
Read Next Article: Are You Influencing Your Audience?