Privacy And Security Issues In Social Networking Computer Science Essay

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Social Networking Sites means where the people communicate, sharing their feelings and activates with their friends or colleagues or family numbers over the online using internet. These Social Networking Sites helps to the user efficient way to keep in touch with their old friends, old classmates and other people who are away from users. These Social Networking sites attracted by teenagers and also attracted among on all fields and all ages people. [1]

Social Networking sites are more remarkable sites in the 21st century. MySpace, FaceBook, Orkut, Hi5, Friend finder and so on sites are Social Networking sites. Social Networking Sites are attracted by more users who have age 15 and more. For example in the year June 2007, MySpace users increased by 72% compare to last year June, 2006. FaceBook also attracted by many peoples and increased in the year June, 2007 by 270% compare to last year June, 2006. Remaining other social networking sites also attracted by many users. [2]

Users themselves filling up a form when we want to join in Social networking sites. Users may gives some information about their personal, professional, dating, likes and dislikes. FaceBook, MySpace and other some social networks sites requires photos, so users may also uploads a photo and also requires some multimedia content.[3]

1.1 History of SNS's:

Initially In the year 1995, one site designed for users connect with their classmates. At that users did not create their profiles, but they are included their personal information like which are related to their studies. In the year 1997 the first place able social networking site was developed. In the beginning of year 1998, gave up users to create their profiles, friends list and also gave up surfing but the list of friends could not be share with others. At that time AIM ( AOL instant chatting) and ICQ ( I seek you) also attached to in the later years, these buddy lists were not visible to others. attracted by millions of users because of this site helps to connect people their friends and relatives and also helps to send messages each other. Due to this service closed because turn to fail maintenance in the year 2000. Many other social networking sites are developed in bettween years 1997 - 2001, those are Live Journal, Asian Avenue, Black Planet, Lunar Storm, MiGente, Cyworld and Ryze these companies also provided users to create their profiles with personal and professional information and dating profiles and these sites allowed to identifies friends and provides personal information to other people without taking any permission. Only one way communication allocated to users in the Live Journal company. Users may send friend request to other peoples by accepting some privacy settings in the Live Journal. After Live Journal site another site is developed i.e Cyworld designed by the Korean virtual worlds was started in 1999, after couple of years SNS features added to this site. After these sites was launched in 2001. This helps to the people in the business networks. Firstly this site launched in the Sanfransisco and introduced the friends and also promoted business and technology community. After this site many of other sites also created. Below figure shows the different sites launched dates.[4]

2. Privacy and Security issues:

Social networks Privacy and Security issues � the sites most likely to suffer from issues are the most popular ones� said by the Chief Technology Officer at UK tech security firm Sophos named by Graham Cluley. Social Networks privacy and security issues are two different things, when SNS�s does not allow these things to the users, then users suffers a lot. When the user personal and professional information is viewed by another user without any permission at that time privacy issues are raised. When the cyber-terrorist earns unauthorized access among the sites at that time Security issues are raised. If unauthorized users may login in other users account, at that time other friends who are listed in the victim friend list may harm hardly. Because the hacker might be spoils the victim profile, this effect on the victim communities, this cause to effect on the other users.

In October, 2005 one warm affected on MySpace site named as �Samy� MySpace XSS worm. Due to this worm the MySpace site was shut down for few days. �Samy� virus was not harm on the privacy and security information about the users. But this virus added some words to the top of every profile which affected by this virus those words are � Samy Is My Hero�. Due to this attack MySpace team members severely worked on the security and at last they provided strictly security. [5] Millions of people accessing the social networks sites through the internet. One user would maintain one or more profiles in different social networking sites. Social networks site provides security and privacy to the users, even though users facing some problems with these sites.

Gaining Access:

In recent years Social networking websites increases rapidly like is the second rank Social networks website in the US, 130 million visitors per month only in US. And other social networking sites like MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are placed in top 50 rank most visited websites in the United states of America. When the user wants to register in the Social networking site, user should provide personal information with their username or name, religious beliefs, location, hometown, birth date, photos and videos, likes and dislikes. Registered users links with other registed users in the website. social networking sites used to communicate with friends through their profiles and also gather information from social networking sites. Some Social network websites placed some restrictions to the users who are wanted membership. For example MySpace accepted membership if user at least 13 years old and face Book allows everyone, Due to these restrictions sharing of digital information at a large scale. Social networking sites shares the information over the internet and provides the information to the third parties. [6]

Limiting Control:

User profiles information transmitted over the group of people and this may be stored and collected for vague period of time. The collected information also shows to the other users this may be harmful to the individual user. Due to this social networking provides limited access to their personal information. Many Social networking websites stores and maintain the of the user files to identifies the users. for example FaceBook stores the personal and other information of the users and this stored information is easily identify by the other users in the FaceBook. Due to these limitations leads some dangerous outcomes. If social network websites gathered with free access limitations cause may face difficult to prevent information- based harm. [6]

Privacy safeguards:

Social networks sites provide the trust and this trust linked with information on disclosure and social exchange. If the users believe these disclosures more beneficial to them, then they are agree to take the membership in Social network sites. In the early years researchers research on the Social networking sites and they believes the trust information which is provided by the social networks is not well understood. Even though million of users creating relationship with social networks websites and updating their profiles with more and more personal information. Researches also believe the type of security provides by these social networking sites is vague and deficiently defined. Users not getting any privacy protection with default privacy settings which are given by the Social networking sites. Due to this user�s personal information accessed by other users, this may include photos, videos, blogs and comments. [6]

Business Threats:

Social networking sites is an one place for online cyber activities because of millions of users and users believes these sites. ZDnet Asia increases ideas of business purpose in social networking sites to bring some new security challenges, said by Ronnie Ng who is senior manager of systems engineering at Symantec Singapore and also said social networking sites attacked by hackers increased in the year 2008 and 2009. Most of Asians suffered from security issues on social networking sites.

ZDnet Asia identifies the some major security threats in social networking sites. Those are

1. Harmful effects:

Symantec�s Ng says "Social networking sites are vehicles for malicious attacks to spread malware", users unexpectively download Malwares. Ng gave one example of fake invitations of twitter, instead of invitations hackers sends a bunch of mails and malicious warm. Due to this some malwares attacks when user accept those receives files, and these virus spread over the user system and access shared and copy those files into removable disks. In twitter one profile named Kawasaki have more tharn 139,000 followers identified some non-VC-related tweet sent from the Kawasaki's account, this happened in the year of June 2009. Vincent Goh sent email to Zdnet Asia, "in social networking sites wildfire infections may be increases". He explained the going infections in social networking sites, these infections hijack the websites or creat route to the infected servers and also a spam is sent to one user in social networking sites and these spam sent to victim's friend list. Finally these "friend list" carrying out to infected servers. Many of users run different applications in the social networking sites without knowing any information. Goh also noticed some advertisements, banners and images have some kind of malicious programs. [7]

2. Spammers:

Spammers send unsolicited messages over the social networking sites with their own accounts. Then all users in social networking sites received one new email message. When users got the new messages, users easily identifies the sender that�s why spammers are using latest and newer techniques. These latest and newer techniques misuse the social networking sites behaviors. If sender, profiles hijacked by the molicies programmers then it automatically sends messages to others users who are connected with sender. If the receivers accept the messages, then malware try to load in receiver systems. Ng says "This example serves as a good reminder to all social networking site users that the message may not be from a friend, even if it is from a friend"[7]

3. Attacking on Employees:

Employees which are working in multinational national companies they shares the too much useful information over the social networking sites. Someone users in these sites collect these information and used for bad intentions. [7]

4. Phishing scam: Attackers obtain user's login details by sending a fake login pages. Then attacker easily accesses the victims profile and may also get other users details. More important is attacker may be used victims profiles as for cyber criminal cases.[7]

5. Face Identification: Some Social networking websites offers users to provide their digital photographs. Due to these images users can easily recognized their friends. But some pseudo-anonymous profile users identify user images and send request from different account, due to these users suffers from their privacy.


MySpace social networking sites face some security problems:

MySpace social networking site users attracted by the banner ads, when user�s click on those adds at that time may be some spyware installed via Windows bug. Hacker put advertisements on the MySpace over the browsers. Hackers attack on the MySpace latest security issues. Hacker advertisements not patched in the Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. Advert program is against the windows Metafile (WMF) bugs. In January 2006, the Windows Metafile bug was discovered and Microsoft produced the solution to fix the problems. Some of Windows users installed these patches and some are users to be dangerous.

Some Vulnerable advertisements on the MySpace websites are discovering by the US computer security. Hackers designed the adverts by hidden code; this code exploits the WMF bug. This happens on a images of windows which are weak. If users used the UN patched browsers, the vulnerable adverts quickly and silently installed in their systems and also watch users sharing files and watches what users do in the online.

Advantages of Social Networking sites:

Now a day�s Social networking sites are used in many situations, because these sites are got popularity with users.

1. Social networking sites provides the super chance to marketers with low cast publicity. When one user wants to do business, he can advertise his new business over the users in the site. Using MySpace or FaceBook he can advertise his business with low costs among on all his friends.

2. Using social networking sites we can touch with other people personally.

3. Free advertising is also possible in social networks; business owners also advertise their newly offers and also directly contact with the people.

4. Some good companies also advertise in these social networks sites, this cause people got good opportunity to find a new job. Otherwise users also can created one own profile with academic results, some recruited companies may be discovered and may be recruited by them.

5. With these social networks sites is the perfect place to meet new people.

6. most of the teenagers they might be discussion with their assignments and works with online chatting and gain knowledge, communication skills, increased talents on group works.