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Social Networking

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Posting personal Information online? Beware if you overshare!

A new Microsoft study shows that before posting personal information online, more than half of U.S. teens and parents don’t truly consider the potential consequences of their actions.  Teens recognize the importance of limiting what they share online, yet they still reveal more personal data than their parents.  Six in 10 teens also say they have so-called “friends” in their social networks whom they’ve never met in person.

Chances are you already have a “digital reputation,” and you may not even know it.  On the Internet, we create an image of ourselves through the information we share in blogs, comments, tweets, photos, videos, and the like. Others add their opinions – both good and bad – and contribute to our online reputations.  Anyone can find this information and make judgments.  Accordingly, everyone needs to be cognizant of what they’re posting online, and how that aggregated information can tell one’s personal story and shape their digital impression.

A recent Microsoft survey  found that 79 percent of hiring managers and job recruiters in the U.S. said they routinely review online reputational information when considering job applicants.   All of sudden, that photo of you partying hardy or playing a practical joke on a friend may not be so funny after all even if you consider them your private matter. College admissions officers are also looking into social networks. As college board vice president James Montoya points out, the people who evaluate applications at most schools are “often under 30 years old and often Facebook users themselves.” Of course they will check out your online reputation. Should a partying foto matter? I agree – no it shouldn’t. Can it make the tipping point in deciding for or against an applicant? Yes it very well can. As the Microsoft study shows – 70% of employers have turned down job applicants because they didn’t like what they found online.

Managing one’s online behavior and reputation is a key component of being a good digital citizen. Digital citizenship is usually defined as “the norms of behavior with regard to technology use.”  But digital citizenship is more than just teaching social norms – it’s a way to prepare young people for life in a technology-rich society. Digital citizenship empowers young people and helps them develop a sense of ownership and personal responsibility – in order to make appropriate, ethical decisions in the online world.

In an effort to create a culture of “good digital citizens,” Microsoft is committed to helping youth, teens, parents and caregivers think about their online reputations.  Today we are releasing a new whitepaper titled Fostering Digital Citizenship and a Teen Reputation Guide.  The guide notes a series of tips, including …

  • Tip 1 If you wouldn’t wear it, Don’t share it!
  • Tip 2 Don’t use technology as a weapon. Really angry? Walk away from the keyboard – hands off your smartphone.
  • Tip 3 Know what the Internet is telling people about you. Regularly search yourself online.
  • Tip 4 Create strong passwords, change them often, and don’t share them with friends.

We make a host of digital citizenship resources available at our Safety & Security Center.  In addition to our research, reputation guide and whitepaper we’ve recently created three infographics, depicting how teens spend their time online, as well as an “at school” Internet safety tip card. Check them out or contact me if you are interested in learning more.

Rather than relying solely on protective measures, an approach to online safety that includes digital citizenship will help young people interact more safely in the online world. Teaching them about digital literacy, and digital ethics and etiquette is an important part of successfully navigating today’s online and offline world. It can make the difference between getting into the university they want and getting the job they applied for.

New Microsoft Security Incident Report – current and emerging threats

 

This morning the microsoft trustworthy computing team released the new Security Incident Report (SIR). The report provides in-depth perspectives on software vulnerabilities, software vulnerability exploits, malicious and potentially unwanted software, and security breaches in both Microsoft and third party software.

And why is this relevant? While reading a crime novel has certainly more entertainment value, the report gives an impression on where cybercrime is heading and how the threats are evolving. This has relevance for security experts, government officials but also for everybody using the internet. Here are some information that I found especially interesting:

  • Cybercriminals continue in deceiving customers through “marketing-like” campains and fake product promotions.
  • Pornpop is an adware family that attempts to display adult advertising. In the 4th quarter of 2010 it was the most prevalent malware worldwide and was cleaned from nearly 4 million systems by Microsoft’s anti malware desktop products. Cybercrime has definitely moved to becoming a business.
  • Phishing attacks to social networking sites jump 8.3% to 84.5% which shows that criminals have seen success with social engineering based approaches especially on social networking sites.
  • Specifically to Switzerland. The MSRT detected malware on 4.1 of every 1’000 computers scanned in Switzerland in 4Q10. This compares to an average worldwide of 8.7 of every 1’000.

The security incident report is special insofar, that it contains the most comprehensive data coverage of any report in the industry. It includes over 600 million data samples, executing millions of malware removals annually, scanning billions of e-mails, over 280 million active Hotmail accounts, and billions of pages scanned by Bing each day. The data collection is actually quite impressive. The data included is gathered from a wide range of Microsoft products and services globally, including: Bing, Windows Live Hotmail, Forefront Online Protection for Exchange, Windows Defender, the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), Microsoft Forefront Client Security, Windows Live OneCare, Microsoft Security Essentials and the Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer.

You can read and download the report at www.microsoft.com/sir. Maybe not something to put on your bedside table as it will probably keep you awake at night!

About the Author

Reto is partner at PwC Switzerland. He is leading the Cybersecurity practice and is member of PwC Digital Services leadership Team. He has over 15 years work experience in an information security and risk focused IT environment. Prior to working at PwC he was Microsoft's Chief Security Officer for Western Europe and also has work experience as group CIO, Chief Risk Officer, Technical Director and Program Manager.

more about me and contact info

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