The subject of privacy and protection within social media sites has been a critical issue since the creation of sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The issue seems more magnified when it has to do with well-known celebrities and people in the spotlight. Even our own president was just one of the high-profile victims involved in a Twitter hack back in 2009.
Twitter has addressed this issue on multiple occasions, warning users that hacking is directly related to weak password choices. A company recently experienced a hacking that left them with a huge problem. They lost a significant amount of data after “fake followers” were hacking into their company Twitter account, an intricate attack that was later investigated.
According to Twitter, hacking is a lot easier than one may think. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a computer genius to figure out how to hack into a computer and steal information. It is becoming more and more clear that there are flaws in the Twitter site that enable your information to be easily accessible to others. When the site boomed in popularity, it is clear it wasn’t prepared for the mass amounts of people and companies that would join, and therefore privacy settings were not as tight-knit as they should have been.
In response to increasing privacy concerns, Twitter defended their social networking website by stating that people need to be more mindful of what they set their password to. A lot of hackers create sites that offer downloadable material and are able to see anyone’s password and username. Often, people, and especially companies, continually use the same username and password for multiple websites, and the hacker is then able to access their Twitter account.
According to an article in PCWorld, Twitter is predicted to be one of 2010’s top security threats, along with Facebook and various iPhone applications.
Doesn’t it make sense that social media sites with popularity levels as high as Twitter need to be better prepared for hack attempts and have more sufficient privacy prevention?
There is also a fault in the way Twitter is programmed. “Tweets” have a limit of 141 characters. Many users enter URLs that go over this limit, which means they are automatically shortened into a “TinyURL” version. This makes it impossible for users to tell where the link is going when they scroll over to it. What this means is that it is extremely easy for hackers to send out faulty links, which can sometimes be links to spam or even computer viruses that can ultimately ruin your whole computer and release all your personal information that was saved on your computer system.
Another fluke in the Twitter system is the authentication process in signing up. Almost anyone can sign up for Twitter, you don’t need to prove legitimacy in order to create your own Twitter. In fact, you don’t even have to have a valid e-mail address! This is a spammer’s dream. It makes it so easy to create fake accounts and ultimately spammers are creating vast fake networks on Twitter (click to read about even more faults in the world of Twitter).
The real problem is that so many people and businesses turn to social networking sites to expand awareness of their company, increase their celebrity status and sometimes just to join in on the Twitter craze, but could it be causing more good than bad?