Thursday, December 13, 2012

Facebook - more trouble (and danger) than it's worth?

I've complained several times before about Facebook's lack of respect for the privacy and security of its users.  Three recent news reports have me wondering whether the company is being outright dishonest - not to mention being a magnet for the dishonest to target its customers.

First, Janet Tavakoli points out that Facebook's claimed user base may be a whole lot less than the company would like us to believe.

Facebook's reported user numbers appear to me to be off by a country mile. Multiple user accounts seem to be chronic. Moreover, besides run-of-the-mill fakes and duplicates, Facebook's identity-theft-enabling business model is, in my opinion, a disgrace for any U.S. public company. Yet Facebook's prospectus and 10Qs for the periods ending June 30, 2012, and September 30, 2012, make no mention of the words: imposter, impersonator, or identity theft.

There's more at the link.

Next, Bernard Meisler discovers that death is no obstacle to your Facebook account still registering activity - and commercial activity, at that.

Last month, while wasting a few moments on Facebook, my pal Brendan O'Malley was surprised to see that his old friend Alex Gomez had 'liked' Discover.  This was surprising not only because Alex hated mega-corporations but even more so because Alex had passed away six months earlier.

The Facebook 'like' is dated Nov. 1, which is strange because Alex "passed [away] around March 26 or March 27," O'Malley told me.  Worse, O'Malley says the like was "quite offensive" since his friend "hated corporate bullshit".

Again, more at the link.

Finally, the Telegraph reports on an international ring of what it calls 'Facebook criminals' who used the social network to target its users, making off with over eight hundred million US dollars.

Police around the world have arrested 10 individuals, including a British man, on suspicion of involvement in international cybercrime rings allegedly responsible for the loss of more than £500m from bank accounts.

Acting on information from Facebook’s security team, the FBI said the suspects from Britain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru and the United States were arrested in the operation.

They are suspected of having links to “Yahos”, a piece of malicious software that can be used to take control of victims’ computers and steal their banking and other login credentials. The FBI said criminals had created a “botnet” of 11 million remotely-controlled computers.

More at the link.  In this case, Facebook's own security operation helped uncover the criminals, but its users were still the victims of a truly enormous crime.

Based on those three reports, I'm more convinced than ever that the last place I need to be online, is on Facebook!


1 comment:

Stuart Garfath said...

I was in the military 'Intel' communications 'game' for a while, and had I described facebook to my boss, he would've told me not to be stupid, as no-one in their right mind would be on it, it is an Intel gatherer's dream site!!.
Last week, I was asking my 11 year old Granddaughter about what she does on her site, she was put on facebook at age 9 by her Mother, and she now 'lives' there.
After a few answers, it became shockingly clear that she has NO idea whatsoever about the potential dangers she is exposed to. She steadfastly would not believe me when I told her that Facebook owns ALL keystrikes, and her 'secure' password/s are no barrier to hackers.
I left, shaking my head at the fruitlessness of trying to educater her about it.