Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano

There seems to be a groundswell of people who are anti-Facebook today.

Google “Facebook” and “Privacy” and 761,000,000, that’s seven hundred and sixty-one million results come up in a quarter second. WHY? BECAUSE THERE IS AN OBVIOUS ISSUE WITH FACEBOOK AND PRIVACY. The major issue here is not that Facebook isn’t private, it’s that some people want it to be private and its not and they can’t have their cake and eat it too. Privacy has always been a hotbed media grabbing issue that sells news too, so the few privacy pundits that there are, get all this attention by pointing the finger.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebooks head dude said “people have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.” Then he went on to say “that social norm is just something that has evolved over time.”

Nick Bilton a New York Times writer interviewed a Facebook employee and shortly after tweeted “Off record chat w/ Facebook employee. Me: How does Zuck feel about privacy? Response: [laughter] He doesn’t believe in it.”

So if the head of an organization is telling you straight out, privacy isn’t really a concern, then why expect anything different? If you are about to book a cruise and you are told the captain of the ship likes to drink ALOT and he has a habit of hitting icebergs, would you get on the ship? If you don’t like the way things are done at Facebook either shut up or delete your profile.

I personally have no hard feelings towards Facebook, I also don’t share intimate details of my life and I understand the implications of the service. My angst is towards its users who say and do things that make themselves vulnerable to crime and online reputational disasters. Like Howard Stern’s dad used to say to him “I told you not to be stupid you moron.”

And now that politicians are stepping in and making a fuss, Facebook is now the new privacy battle ground. These same politicians won’t do anything or accomplish anything. They just love the attention. And with 400 million people on board, I think privacy is deader than dead, a rotting corpse that just smells bad and we will complain as long as the stink lingers. Openness and transparency along with sharing too much information is the norm. But that doesn’t exclude you from at least understanding the risks, taking some responsibility and being smart about how to use it.

Protect yourself:

Use URL decoding. Before clicking on shortened URLs, find out where they lead by pasting them into a URL lengthening service like TinyURL Decoder or Untiny.

Maintain updated security. Whether hardware or software, anti-virus or critical security patches, make sure you are up to date.

Lock down settings. Most social networks have privacy settings that need to be administered to the highest level. Default settings generally leave your networks wide open for attack.

Register company name and all your officers at every social media site. You can do this manually or by using a very cost effective service called Knowem.com.

Protect your identity.

Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Social Media on Fox Boston.

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