Social networks connecting to trouble

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The same social networks designed to aid businesses and their employees are potentially putting them at risk..

Sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, are becoming increasingly important to enterprise, but can also compromise corporate and individual security if not closely monitored, say experts.

Web security firm WorkLight pointed to a recent outbreak of phishing attacks on Facebook as an indication that the social networking service has become a legitimate corporate security risk.

"Companies currently gain substantial B2B and B2C benefits by using social networking sites to uplift sales and promote their products and services," said David Lavenda, vice president of marketing and strategy for WorkLight.

"Yet, as phishers target Facebook users, secure access to these sites is a must-have on the security front."

Facebook has long been amongst the list of web-based services and peer-to-peer classified by security experts as "greynets;" programs which pose a security risk because they are difficult to monitor and control with conventional administrative and security software.

However, the risk from social networks may go beyond conventional cybercrime. Security firm Aladdin noted that business networking site LinkedIn could unwittingly become a market for corporate espionage.

Aladdin noted that when users update their information, a list of each company's new hires and promotions is compiled. By analyzing the new hires and promotions, a company could figure out a competitor's strategy and possible new initiatives.

"Corporate 'spying' has never been easier," the security firm declared.

"This new trend brings forth discomforting corporate data issues of both disclosure and control, because companies and organizations have little or no control over the information their employees share on social networks."

"Individuals generally make no distinction between public or confidential corporate data that they disseminate over social networks."
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