Campus News

Facebook users face the facts about security

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Pick a Bethel student at random, and you will probably find an active Facebook user. Bethel accounts are sometimes hacked, with no more serious consequences than silly changes to a relationship status. But recent events have proven Facebook users may be at a greater risk than they realize. The Associated Press recently reported that three subscribers to AT&T logged on to Facebook via mobile phones and found they had access to strangers’ accounts. Other AT&T customers were affected as well. AT&T said the problem was caused by a routing error and it was being fixed. Betanews reported a plan for Facebook to partner with security provider McAfee. This partnership would allow users a free six-month subscription to McAfee’s security services, after which they would be eligible for discounts. However, some are skeptical the partnership would solve the problem. “Facebook itself hasn’t gotten more or less secure,” said senior Matty Sommer, a user of Facebook. “Instead, people have become too careless with how they use the service and what information they share. Nobody reads the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before they agree to them. People continually give permission to third party applications to access all sorts of information from their accounts and use that information; nobody looks to see what the application will do with that information.” Facebook users can protect their accounts. “Users can be smart about the information they choose to post on their profile,” said Rose Geertz, another senior and Facebook user. “If you don’t want the world to have access to it, maybe you should think twice about posting it.” “The biggest issue,” concluded Sommer, “is that people still don’t understand that the name of your cat is not a good password. And even if your password is a good one, sharing it with anybody is a bad idea. That is how accounts get hacked, not through any vulnerability in Facebook.”
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