NetWitness, a Northern Virginia security firm found that between 2008 to January 2010, over 75,000 computers in 2,500 or so firms across the US and the world were attacked by cyber criminals. NetWitness states that these attacks targeted corporate data, credit card information, and other sensitive information at SlimLife hcg drops providers including the health and technology companies in 196 countries including the US, Mexico, and the Middle East.
A NetWitness engineer discovered the intrusion last month and learned that the hackers lured employees to download infected emails or software which when downloaded allowed the hackers to take over the computers, scrape the passwords, and use that data to login other systems.
What this report highlights is the need for more robust security software for companies and individuals. The hackers are getting more and more sophisticated and its time for all of us to really get focused on online security.
If you have a Facebook account, you know how fun it is to get connected to friends and family, how easy it is to share information and photos, and essentially stay connected to others, right?
Well, all this "sharing" is making Facebook a huge traffic source for information. Compete Inc, which is a web measurement firm reports that Facebook has bypassed Google to become the top source for traffic. I don't know about Facebook bypassing Google but it certainly appears to be a site from which I personally click on a lot of links to go find information. When a friend posts something on Facebook that is interesting, and it contains a link, how often do you click on that link? I know that I do and I also share it with my friends when it is especially interesting.
So is Facebook now the new "search engine"? Well if others do what I do and if people are indeed going from Facebook to other sites, the I can see how Facebook can become the new version of an informational search engine. So instead of just being a portal to connect friends and businesses, Facebook is perhaps a great information source too.
On a closing note, did you know that recently Facebook reported that it has 400 million active members! If you are a business NOT yet on Facebook, can you calculate the lost opportunity cost?
Let's do the math:
- Approximately 400 million users on Facebook – most are active users
- Approximately 75 million Twitter users of which about 15 million are active Twitter users
- Approximately 60 million LinkedIn users
(Note: I didn't do the research to come up with the statistics. These came from smarter people who love digging into data)
So why are you NOT on social networks?
Are these your reasons?
"Ah, our industry doesn't have too many computer savvy people"
"Advertising provides us really good ROI, no point in changing what works"
"No one searches on Facebook, isn't that just for family stuff?"
"We spend about $60K in trade shows and industry publication and it works".
"Can't afford it"
Let me summarize the lost opportunity cost as follows:
- If your competition is on Facebook and you aren't, guess who'll get the inquiry when a need arises?
- If you aren't found on the first page of Google, Yahoo or Bing but your competition is, no question about who'll snag that client.
- If you aren't engaging with your constituents, guess who'll get the edge? Yep, your competitor who is engaging.
- If you aren't listening to conversations about your company's products, calculate how much you will be spending on damage control.
Get online. Get engaged. Listen to conversations about your brand.
Online profiles offer a load of personal information to anyone who knows how to search online. Besides your profile on social networks, have you considered the information you are posting online?
Online users in their need to "connect" and "interact" are sharing so much information only that it's making them vulnerable to criminals. The Digital Criminal, published by a reformed burglar Michael Fraser, provides some very eye-opening statistics which I am sharing below:
- Approximately 38% of users publish their holiday plans on Twitter and Facebook. I used to be one of those 38% until last year.
- 33% of people have posted status updates telling everyone that they were away for the weekend.
- 17% of users can see other people's residential information on totally public profiles
Michael Fraser is correct when he calls social network statuses as "internet shopping for burglars". People are not only telling others that they are out but are also providing coordinates of where they are. Do we even realize what we are doing when we are baring all information for others to see.
Are you connecting with perfect strangers? Is your personal information easily viewable? Are you giving out details about vacation and travel plans readily?
So friends and colleagues, THINK whether you are giving out TMI meaning TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
Here are some other findings from the Digital Report – remember, a little is a lot on social networks!
- Younger people share more information with perfect strangers – parents beware
- 34% of study participants shared that they seen personal phone numbers on people's profiles
- People are sharing cell phone and home addresses with perfect strangers
- Men are more open with their information than women
Next time you tweet or update your Facebook or Buzz status, think whether the information can make you vulnerable to a criminal activity.