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Security and Social Media

Published on 07 February 13
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Social media was perhaps the most defining aspect of the last decade - arguably having as big an impact on our lives in the 2000s as the Internet did in the 1990s. Itâs pervasive - some might say intrusive - and itâs not going anywhere.

It does, of course, bring with it a certain amount of security problems. Not only the kind of security problems generated by the head of MI5 posting his holiday photos publicly - although that is a concern - but the kinds of security problems generated by people using Facebook at work.

People using Facebook at work can be a big headache for their employer, not only because of any drop in work output due to their employees playing Farmville, or Draw Something, but also because it presents a very real security risk. Social networks are becoming (if they arenât already) the platform of choice for malicious attacks. From relatively harmless malware that does little more than propagate itself from your Facebook account to every other account it can, right down to the kinds of malicious code that can steal personal information, and even infect networks.

On the other hand, there have been a number of studies that show increased work efficiency in employees who are allowed to check their Facebook page during work hours. Donât get me wrong, weâre talking five minutes every now and again, not a full three hours, twice a day. Not to mention the disgruntled factor of an employee who is told they canât check Facebook on the computer they are going to be sat at all day.

But, is there a middle ground?

The most obvious solution would be to allow employees to occasionally check their social media, but only via their own devices, such as their phone. This eliminates any risk of harmful code getting onto the work network. Of course, many employers are thrilled about their employees having their phones out during work hours, either.

Proxyâs have always been a good fall back for the safety-concerned computer user, allowing you to use a desktop that is, effectively, another computer entirely. Using this method to keep the company systems separate to the machine your employee is using may help to keep the bad people away.

Ultimately, the best defence is to ban social media, but, now that the overly social cat is out of the media bag, can you really expect it to go back in willingly?















Social media was perhaps the most defining aspect of the last decade - arguably having as big an impact on our lives in the 2000s as the Internet did in the 1990s. Itâs pervasive - some might say intrusive - and itâs not going anywhere.

It does, of course, bring with it a certain amount of security problems. Not only the kind of security problems generated by the head of MI5 posting his holiday photos publicly - although that is a concern - but the kinds of security problems generated by people using Facebook at work.

People using Facebook at work can be a big headache for their employer, not only because of any drop in work output due to their employees playing Farmville, or Draw Something, but also because it presents a very real security risk. Social networks are becoming (if they arenât already) the platform of choice for malicious attacks. From relatively harmless malware that does little more than propagate itself from your Facebook account to every other account it can, right down to the kinds of malicious code that can steal personal information, and even infect networks.

On the other hand, there have been a number of studies that show increased work efficiency in employees who are allowed to check their Facebook page during work hours. Donât get me wrong, weâre talking five minutes every now and again, not a full three hours, twice a day. Not to mention the disgruntled factor of an employee who is told they canât check Facebook on the computer they are going to be sat at all day.

But, is there a middle ground?

The most obvious solution would be to allow employees to occasionally check their social media, but only via their own devices, such as their phone. This eliminates any risk of harmful code getting onto the work network. Of course, many employers are thrilled about their employees having their phones out during work hours, either.

Proxyâs have always been a good fall back for the safety-concerned computer user, allowing you to use a desktop that is, effectively, another computer entirely. Using this method to keep the company systems separate to the machine your employee is using may help to keep the bad people away.

Ultimately, the best defence is to ban social media, but, now that the overly social cat is out of the media bag, can you really expect it to go back in willingly?

This review is listed under IT Security & Architecture , Digital Media & Games and E-Commerce Community

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  1. 07 February 13
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