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  • 1. Social networking sitesSocial networking sites SUBMITTED BY: AMEEN PI 1
  • 2. Social networking sites CONTENTSTITLE PAGEINTRUDUCTION 1DEFINITION OF SOCIAL NETWORKING 1HISTORY OF SOCIAL NETWORKING 3NETWORK AND NETWORKING STRUCTURE 7BENIFITS 8DISADVANTAGES 9PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS 10 12SOCIAL NETWORKING THREATS 14CONCLUSIONREFERENCES 15 2
  • 3. Social networking sitesINTRODUCTIONSince their introduction, social network sites (SNSs) such as MySpace, Facebook, Cyworld,and Bebo have attracted millions of users, many of whom have integrated these sites intotheir daily practices. As of this writing, there are hundreds of SNSs, with varioustechnological affordances, supporting a wide range of interests and practices. While their keytechnological features are fairly consistent, the cultures that emerge around SNSs are varied.Most sites support the maintenance of pre-existing social networks, but others help strangersconnect based on shared interests, political views, or activities. Some sites cater to diverseaudiences, while others attract people based on common language or shared racial, sexual,religious, or nationality-based identities. Sites also vary in the extent towhich theyincorporate new information and communication tools, such as mobile connectivity,blogging, and photo/video-sharing.Scholars from disparate fields have examined SNSs in order to understand the practices,implications, culture, and meaning of the sites, as well as users engagement with them. Thisspecial theme section of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication brings together aunique collection of articles that analyze a wide spectrum of social network sites usingvarious methodological techniques, heoretical traditions, and analytic approaches. Bycollecting these articles in this issue, our goal is to showcase some of the interdisciplinaryscholarship around these sites.The purpose of this introduction is to provide a conceptual, historical, and scholarly contextfor the articles in this collection. We begin by defining what constitutes a social network siteand then present one perspective on the historical development of SNSs, drawing frompersonal interviews and public accounts of sites and their changes over time. Following this,we review recent scholarship on SNSs and attempt to contextualize and highlight key works.We conclude with a description of the articles included in this specialSocial Network Sites: A DefinitionWe define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) View and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.While we use the term "social network site" to describe this phenomenon, the term "socialnetworking sites" also appears in public discourse, and the two terms are often usedinterchangeably. We chose not to employ the term "networking" for two reasons: emphasis 3
  • 4. Social networking sitesand scope. "Networking" emphasizes relationship initiation, often between strangers. Whilenetworking is possible on these sites, it is not the primary practice on many of them, nor is itwhat differentiates them from other forms of computer-mediated communication(CMC).What makes social network sites unique is not that they allow individuals to meetstrangers, but rather that they enable users to articulate and make visible their socialnetworks. This can result in connections between individuals that would not otherwise bemade, but that is often not the goal, and these meetings are frequently between "latentties"(Haythornthwaite, 2005) who share some offline connection. On many of the largeSNSs, participants are not necessarily "networking" or looking to meet new people; instead,they are primarily communicating with people who are already a part of their extended socialnetwork. To emphasize this articulated social network as a critical organizing feature of thesesites, we label them social network sites."While SNSs have implemented a wide variety of technical features, their backbone consistsof visible profiles that display an articulated list of Friends 1 who are also users of the system.Profiles are unique pages where one can "type oneself into being" (Sundén, 2003, p. 3). Afterjoining an SNS, an individual is asked to fill out forms containing a series of questions. Theprofile is generated using the answers to these questions, which typically include descriptorssuch as age, location, interests, and an "about me" section. Most sites also encourage users toupload a profile photo. Some sites allow users to enhance their profiles by adding multimediacontent or modifying their profiles look and feel. Others, such as Facebook, allow users toadd modules ("Applications") that enhance their profile.The visibility of a profile varies by site and according to user discretion. By default, profileson Friendster and Tribe.net are crawled by search engines, making them visible to anyone,regardless of whether or not the viewer has an account. Alternatively, LinkedIn controlswhat a viewer may see based on whether she or he has a paid account. Sites like MySpaceallow users to choose whether they want their profile to be public or "Friends only."Facebook takes a different approach—by default, users who are part of the same "network"can view each others profiles, unless a profile owner has decided to deny permission to thosein their network. Structural variations around visibility and access are one of the primaryways that SNSs differentiate themselves from each other.After joining a social network site, users are prompted to identify others in the system withwhom they have a relationship. The label for these relationships differs depending on thesite—popular terms include "Friends," "Contacts," and "Fans." Most SNSs require bi-directional confirmation for Friendship, but some do not. These one-directional ties aresometimes labeled as "Fans" or "Followers," but many sites call these Friends as well. Theterm "Friends" can be misleading, because the connection does not necessarily meanfriendship in the everyday vernacular sense, and the reasons people connect are varied (boyd,2006a). 4
  • 5. Social networking sitesThe public display of connections is a crucial component of SNSs. The Friends list containslinks to each Friends profile, enabling viewers to traverse the network graph by clickingthrough the Friends lists. On most sites, the list of Friends is visible to anyone who ispermitted to view the profile, although there are exceptions. For instance, some MySpaceusers have hacked their profiles to hide the Friends display, and LinkedIn allows users to optout of displaying their network. Most SNSs also provide a mechanism for users to leave messages on their Friends profiles.This feature typically involves leaving "comments," although sites employ various labels forthis feature. In addition, SNSs often have a private messaging feature similar to webmail.While both private essages and comments are popular on most of the major SNSs, they arenot universally available. Not all social network sites began as such. QQ started as a Chineseinstant messaging service, LunarStorm as a community site, Cyworld as a Korean discussionforum tool, and Skyrock (formerly Skyblog) was a French blogging service before addingSNS features.A History of Social Network SitesThe Early YearsAccording to the definition above, the first recognizable social network site launched in 1997.SixDegrees.com allowed users to create profiles, list their Friends and, beginning in 1998,surf the Friends lists. Each of these features existed in some form before SixDegrees, ofcourse. Profiles existed on most major dating sites and many community sites. AIM and ICQbuddy lists supported lists of Friends, although those Friends were not visible to others.Classmates.com allowed people to affiliate with their high school or college and surf thenetwork for others who were also affiliated, but users could not create profiles or list Friendsuntil years later. SixDegrees was the first to combine these features.SixDegrees promoted itself as a tool to help people connect with and send messages to others.While SixDegrees attracted millions of users, it failed to become a sustainable business and,in 2000, the service closed. Looking back, its founder believes that SixDegrees was simplyahead of its time (A. Weinreich, personal communication, July 11, 2007). While people werealready flocking to the Internet, most did not have extended networks of friends who wereonline. Early adopters complained that there was little to do after accepting Friend requests,and most users were not interested in meeting strangers. 1997 to 2001 From 1997 to 2001, a number of community tools began supporting various combinations ofprofiles and publicly articulated Friends. AsianAvenue, BlackPlanet, and MiGente allowed 5
  • 6. Social networking sitesusers to create personal, professional, and dating profiles—users could identify Friends ontheir personal profiles without seeking approval for those connections (O.Wasow, personalcommunication, August 16, 2007). Likewise, shortly after its launch in1999, LiveJournallisted one-directional connections on user pages. LiveJournals creatorsuspects that hefashioned these Friends after instant messaging buddy lists (B. Fitzpatricpersonalcommunication, June 15, 2007)—on LiveJournal, people mark others as Friendsto followtheir journals and manage privacy settings. The Korean virtual worlds siteCyworld was started in 1999 and added SNS features in 2001, independent of these othersites(see Kim & Yun, this issue). Likewise, when the Swedish web community LunarStormrefashioned itself as an SNS in 2000, it contained Friends lists, guestbooks, and diary pages(D. Skog, personal communication, September 24, 2007). The next wave of SNSs beganwhen Ryze.com was launched in 2001 to help people leverage their business networks.Ryzes founder reports that he first introduced the site to his friends—primarily members ofthe San Francisco business and technology community, including the entrepreneurs andinvestors behind many future SNSs (A. Scott, personal communication, June 14, 2007). Inparticular, the people behind Ryze, Tribe.net, LinkedIn, and Friendster were tightly entwinedpersonally and professionally. They believed that they could support each other withoutcompeting (Festa, 2003). In the end, Ryze never acquired mass popularity, Tribe.net grew toattract a passionate niche user base, LinkedIn became a powerful business service, andFriendster became the most significant, if only as "one of the biggest disappointments inInternet history" 6
  • 7. Social networking sites Timeline of the launch dates of many major SNSs and dates when community sites re-launched with SNS features.A Global PhenomenonWhile MySpace attracted the majority of media attention in the U.S. and abroad, SNSs wereproliferating and growing in popularity worldwide. Friendster gained traction in the PacificIslands, Orkut became the premier SNS in Brazil before growing rapidly in India(Madhavan, 2007), Mixi attained widespread adoption in Japan, LunarStorm took off inSweden, Dutch users embraced Hyves, Grono captured Poland, Hi5 was adopted in smallercountries in Latin America, South America, and Europe, and Bebo became very popular inthe United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Additionally, previously popularcommunication and community services began implementing SNS features. The Chinese QQ 7
  • 8. Social networking sitesinstant messaging service instantly became the largest SNS worldwide when it added profilesand made friends visible (McLeod, 2006), while the forum tool Cyworld cornered the Koreanmarket by introducing homepages and buddies (Ewers, 2006).Blogging services with complete SNS features also became popular. In the U.S., bloggingtools with SNS features, such as Xanga, LiveJournal, and Vox, attracted broad audiences.Skyrock reigns in France, and Windows Live Spaces dominates numerous marketsworldwide, including in Mexico, Italy, and Spain. Although SNSs like QQ, Orkut, and LiveSpaces are just as large as, if not larger than, MySpace, they receive little coverage in U.S.and English-speaking media, making it difficult to track their trajectories.Expanding Niche CommunitiesAlongside these open services, other SNSs launched to support niche demographics beforeexpanding to a broader audience. Unlike previous SNSs, Facebook was designed to supportdistinct college networks only. Facebook began in early 2004 as a Harvard-only SNS(Cassidy, 2006). To join, a user had to have a harvard.edu email address. As Facebook begansupporting other schools, those users were also required to have university email addressesassociated with those institutions, a requirement that kept the site relatively closed andcontributed to users perceptions of the site as an intimate, private community.Beginning in September 2005, Facebook expanded to include high school students,professionals inside corporate networks, and, eventually, everyone. The change to opensignup did not mean that new users could easily access users in closed networks—gainingaccess to corporate networks still required the appropriate .com address, while gaining accessto high school networks required administrator approval. (As of this writing, onlymembership in regional networks requires no permission.) Unlike other SNSs, Facebookusers are unable to make their full profiles public to all users. Another feature thatdifferentiates Facebook is the ability for outside developers to build "Applications" whichallow users to personalize their profiles and perform other tasks, such as compare moviepreferences and chart travel histories.Impression ManagementLike other online contexts in which individuals are consciously able to construct an onlinerepresentation of self—such as online dating profiles and MUDS—SNSs constitute animportant research context for scholars investigating processes of impression management,self-presentation, and friendship performance. In one of the earliest academic articles onSNSs, boyd (2004) examined Friendster as a locus of publicly articulated social networks thatallowed users to negotiate presentations of self and connect with others. Donath and boyd 8
  • 9. Social networking sites(2004) extended this to suggest that "public displays of connection" serve as importantidentity signals that help people navigate the networked social world, in that an extendednetwork may serve to validate identity information presented in profiles.While most sites encourage users to construct accurate representations ofthemselves,participants do this to varying degrees. Marwick (2005) found that users on threedifferent SNSs had complex strategies for negotiating the rigidity of a prescribed "authentic"profile, while boyd (in press-b) examined the phenomenon of "Fakesters" and the ways inwhich profiles could never be "real." The extent to which portraits are authentic or playfulvaries across sites; both social and technological forces shape user practices. Skog (2005)found that the status feature on LunarStorm strongly influenced how people behaved andwhat they choose to reveal—profiles there indicate ones status as measured by activity (e.g.,sending messages) and indicators of authenticity (e.g., using a "real" photo instead of adrawing). Another aspect of self-presentation is the articulation of friendship links, whichserve as identity markers for the profile owner. Impression management is one of the reasonsgiven by Friendster users for choosing particular friends (Donath & boyd, 2004).Recognizing this, Zinman and Donath (2007) noted that MySpace spammers leveragepeoples willingness to connect to interesting people to find targets for their spam.Networks and Network StructureSocial network sites also provide rich sources of naturalistic behavioral data. Profile andlinkage data from SNSs can be gathered either through the use of automated collectiontechniques or through datasets provided directly from the company, enabling networkanalysis researchers to explore large-scale patterns of friending, usage, and other visibleindicators (Hogan, in press), and continuing an analysis trend that started with examinationsof blogs and other websites. For instance, Golder, Wilkinson, and Huberman (2007)examined an anonymized dataset consisting of 362 million messages exchanged by over fourmillion Facebook users for insight into Frending and messaging activities.Lampe, Ellison, and Steinfield (2007) explored the relationship between profile elements andnumber of Facebook friends, finding that profile fields that reduce transaction costs and areharder to falsify are most likely to be associated with larger number of friendship links. Thesekinds of data also lend themselves well to analysis through network visualization (Adamic,Buyukkokten, & Adar, 2003; Heer & boyd, 2005; Paolillo & Wright, 2005).SNS researchers have also studied the network structure of Friendship. Analyzing the rolespeople played in the growth of Flickr and Yahoo! 360s networks, Kumar, Novak, andTomkins (2006) argued that there are passive members, inviters, and linkers "who fullyparticipate in the social evolution of the network" (p. 1). Scholarship concerningLiveJournals network has included a Friendship classification scheme (Hsu, Lancaster,Paradesi, & Weniger, 2007), an analysis of the role of language in the topology of Friendship 9
  • 10. Social networking sites(Herring et al., 2007), research into the importance of geography in Friending (Liben-Nowell,Novak, Kumar, Raghavan, and Tomkins, 2005), and studies on what motivates people to joinparticular communities (Backstrom, Huttenlocher, Kleinberg, & Lan, 2006). Based on Orkutdata, Spertus, Sahami, and Buyukkokten (2005) identified a topology of users through theirmembership in certain communities; they suggest that sites can use this to recommendadditional communities of interest to users. Finally, Liu, Maes, and Davenport (2006) arguedthat Friend connections are not the only network structure worth investigating. Theyexamined the ways in which the performance of tastes (favorite music, books, film, etc.)constitutes an alternate network structure, which they call a "taste fabric."What benefits can you have?No one can deny that despite all those negative opinions about Social Networks they do havea strong impact on us and taking into consideration how fast their popularity is growing, it isnot difficult to predict that this influence will become even more perceivable in the nearestfuture. So once we can do nothing but watch the development of Social Networks we hadbetter look for and find the advantages they possess rather than point out their negative sidesall the time (don’t be so skeptical, they do have positive sides).In general the main vocation of a Social Network is to be a virtual platform where people cancommunicate and share information with their friends. As you can see there is no danger inthis mission, the vice versa. Nevertheless, nowadays such kind of websites has gone far fromtheir initial destination and that is the main reason why people are ambiguous about theirusefulness. In any case Social websites have fulfilled humans’ long – standing dream that isthe opportunity for quick and reliable information. In addition they enable people to createand strengthen relationships.Social Networks join people with common interests under one roof and makes thecommunication much easier especially for those who have difficulties in interacting withpeople face to face. However you should always remember that once you enter the world ofSocial Networking it will become rather difficult for you to get out of it. So be so prudent inorder not to be caught in the net of Social networking.Social networking is a recent invention that has the Internet still at the edge of its seat due toits popularity with people. This is mostly because it really is for the people. Bringing everykind of social group together in one place and letting them interact is really a big thingindeed. Everything about it lies on the advantages and disadvantages of social networking,and what it can do for you.Low CostsDefinitely, its cheaper to use online social networking for both personal and business usebecause most of it is usually free. While personal use is rather simple for anyone, the businessfunctions are underestimated by many. In a social networking site, you can scout out potentialcustomers and target markets with just a few clicks and keystrokes, adding a boost to yourusual advertisements and promotional strategies. It lets you learn about their likes anddislikes, which is tremendous. If you want to fine tune your business, then this is the way togo, whether on a budget or not. 10
  • 11. Social networking sitesBuilds CredibilityYou definitely can gain the customers confidence if you can connect to them on both apersonal and professional level. Despite having to do a bit of work, it definitely pays off asyou can be tapped for an offer if someone catches wind of your products or services. As longas you dont pursue them too aggressively, you will do well here.ConnectionsYou are friends with people who have other friends, and so on. There is potential in such acommon situation. By using a social networking site, you can do what you can and getconnected with these people to form a web of connections that can give you leverage if youplay your cards right. As long as you give as well as you receive, then they will most likelystick with you. These connections are definitely valuable in the long run.DISADVANTAGESLack of AnonymityYou are putting out information about your name, location, age, gender, and many othertypes of information that you may not want to let others know. Most people would say becareful, but no one can be certain at any given time. As long as people can know who youexactly are, then some can find ways to do you in.Scams and HarassmentThere is a potential for failure of security in both personal and business context. While manysites apply certain measures to keep any of these cases of harassment, cyber-stalking, onlinescams, and identity theft to an absolute minimum, you still may never know.Time ConsumingIf this is not your kind of thing, that it would just be a waste of time for you. The key to socialnetworking is that it is supposed to be fun, whether you are just doing it for kicks or clickingaround for business purposes. That should be reasonable enough for anyone, but there arethose people who dont see the point. For them, it can be a disadvantage.Now there is something to really think about. Nothing is without a blemish, but those of thistype of networking shouldnt really be that much of a concern regarding your safety. As longas you go along without making big mistakes, then it is all good. You can take advantage ofthe Internet phenomenon that continues up to this day.Once you understand the advantages and disadvantages of social networking, then you cancruise through without fail. 11
  • 12. Social networking sitesPrivacy concernsIn August 2007, the code used to dynamically generate Facebooks home and search page asvisitors browse the site was accidentally made public, according to leading internet news sitesA configuration problem on a Facebook server caused the PHP code to be displayed insteadof the web page the code should have created, raising concerns about how secure private dataon the site was. A visitor to the site copied, published and later removed the code from hisweb forum, claiming he had been served legal notice by Facebook.Facebooks response wasquoted by the site that broke the story:“ A small fraction of the code that displays Facebook web pages was exposed to a small number of users due to a single misconfigured web server that was fixed immediately. It was not a security breach and did not compromise user data in any way. Because the code that was released powers only Facebook user interface, it offers no useful insight into the inner workings of Facebook. The reprinting of this code violates several laws and we ask that people not distribute it further. ”In November, Facebook launched Beacon, a system (discontinued in September 2009 wherethird-party websites could include a script by Facebook on their sites, and use it to sendinformation about the actions of Facebook users on their site to Facebook, prompting seriousprivacy concerns. Information such as purchases made and games played were published inthe users news feed. An informative notice about this action appeared on the third party siteand gave the user the opportunity to cancel it, and the user could also cancel it on Facebook.Originally if no action was taken, the information was automatically published. OnNovember 29 this was changed to require confirmation from the user before publishing eachstory gathered by Beacon.Photo recognition and face taggingFacebook enabled an automatic facial recognition feature in June 2011, called "TagSuggestions". The feature compares newly uploaded photographs to those of the uploadersFacebook friends, in order to suggest photo tags. Facebook has defended the feature, sayingusers can disable it. Facebook introduced the feature in an opt-out basis European Uniondata-protection regulators said they would investigate the feature to see if it violated privacyrules.Psychological effectsEnvyFacebook has been criticized for making people envious and unhappy due to the constantexposure to positive yet unrepresentative highlights of their peers.Stress 12
  • 13. Social networking sitesResearch performed by psychologists from Edinburgh Napier University indicated thatFacebook adds stress to users lives. Causes of stress included fear of missing importantsocial information, fear of offending contacts, discomfort or guilt from rejecting user requestsor deleting unwanted contacts, the pressure to be entertaining, and having to use appropriateetiquette for different types of friends. Many people who started using Facebook for positivepurposes have found that the website has negatively impacted their actual lives.Misleading campaignsIn May 2011 emails were sent to journalists and bloggers making critical allegations aboutGoogles privacy policies; however it was later discovered that the anti-Google campaign,conducted by PR giant Burson-Marsteller, was paid for by Facebook in what CNN referred toas "a new level skullduggery" and which Daily Beast called a "clumsy smear." While takingresponsibility for the campaign, Burson-Marsteller said it should not have agreed to keep itsclients (Facebooks) identity a secret. "Whatever the rationale, this was not at all standardoperating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms shouldhave been declined," it said in a statement.Student-related issuesStudent privacy concernsStudents who post illegal or otherwise inappropriate material have faced disciplinary actionfrom their universities, including expulsion. Others posting libellous content relating tofaculty have also faced disciplinary action.Effect on higher educationOn January 23, 2006, The Chronicle of Higher Education continued an ongoing nationaldebate on social networks with an opinion piece written by Michael Bugeja, director of theJournalism School at Iowa State University, entitled "Facing the Facebook".[145] Bugeja,author of the Oxford University Press text Interpersonal Divide (2005), quotedrepresentatives of the American Association of University Professors and colleagues inhigher education to document the distraction of students using Facebook and other socialnetworks during class and at other venues in the wireless campus. Bugeja followed up onJanuary 26, 2007 in The Chronicle with an article titled "Distractions in the WirelessClassroom",[146] quoting several educators across the country who were banning laptops inthe classroom. Similarly, organisations such as the National Association for CampusActivities,[147] the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication,[148]and others have hosted seminars and presentations to discuss ramifications of students use ofFacebook and other social networking systems.The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative has also released a brief pamphlet entitled "7 ThingsYou Should Know About Facebook" aimed at higher education professionals that "describeswhat [Facebook] is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning". 13
  • 14. Social networking sitesSome research on Facebook in higher education suggests that there may be some smalleducational benefits associated with student Facebook use, including improving engagementwhich is related to student retention. Furthermore, using technologies such as Facebook toconnect with others can help college students be less depressed and cope with feelings ofloneliness and homesickness. According to one case study, students surveyed who wereregular Facebook users had, on average, lower grades than those who were not.Social networking threats.1. Social networking worms: Social networking worms include Koobface, which hasbecome, according to researchers, "the largest Web 2.0 botnet." While a multi-faceted threatlike Koobface challenges the definition of "worm," it is specifically designed to propagateacross social networks (e.g., Facebook, mySpace, Twitter, hi5, Friendster and Bebo), enlistmore machines into its botnet, and hijack more accounts to send more spam to enlist moremachines. All the while making money with the usual botnet business, including scarewareand Russian dating services.2. Phishing bait: Remember FBAction? The e-mail that lured you to sign into Facebook,hoping you dont pick up on the fbaction.net URL in the browser? Many Facebook users hadtheir accounts compromised, and although it was only a "tiny fraction of a percent," whenyou realize Facebook has over 350 million users, its still a significant number. To its credit,Facebook acted quickly, working to blacklist that domain, but lots of copycat efforts ensued(e.g., fbstarter.com). Facebook has since gotten rather adept at Whack-A-Mole.3. Trojans: Social networks have become a great vector for trojans -- "click here" and youget:* Zeus -- a potent and popular banking Trojan that has been given new life by socialnetworks. There have been several recent high-profile thefts blamed on Zeus, notably theDuanesburg Central School district in New York State late in 2009.* URL Zone -- is a similar banking Trojan, but even smarter, it can calculate the value of thevictims accounts to help decide the priority for the thief.4. Data leaks: Social networks are all about sharing. Unfortunately, many users share a bittoo much about the organization -- projects, products, financials, organizational changes,scandals, or other sensitive information. Even spouses sometimes over-share how much theirsignificant other is working late on top-secret project, and a few too many of the detailsassociated with said project. The resulting issues include the embarrassing, the damaging andthe legal.5. Shortened links: People use URL shortening services (e.g., bit.ly and tinyurl) to fit longURLs into tight spaces. They also do a nice job of obfuscating the link so it isnt immediatelyapparent to victims that theyre clicking on a malware install, not a CNN video. Theseshortened links are easy to use and ubiquitous. Many of the Twitter clients will automaticallyshorten any link. And folks are used to seeing them. 14
  • 15. Social networking sites6. Botnets: Late last year, security researchers uncovered Twitter accounts being used as acommand and control channel for a few botnets. The standard command and control channelis IRC, but some have used other applications, P2P file sharing in the case of Storm, andnow, cleverly, twitter. Twitter is shutting these accounts down, but given the ease of access ofinfected machines to Twitter, this will continue. So Twitter will become expert at Whack-A-Mole too...7. Advanced persistent threats: One of the key elements of advanced persistent threats(APT) is the gathering of intelligence of persons of interest (eg, executives, officers, high-net-worth individuals), for which social networks can be a treasure trove of data. Perpetrators ofAPTs use this information to further their threats, placing more intelligence gathering (eg,malware, Trojans), and then gaining access to sensitive systems. So while not directly relatedto APTs, social networks are a data source. Less exotic, but no less important to individuals isthe fact that information on your whereabouts and activities can give more run-of-the-millcriminals an opportunity.8. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): While it isnt a specific kind of threat, more like atechnique used to spread a sophisticated social networking worm, CSRF attacks exploit thetrust a social networking application has in a logged-in users browser. So as long as thesocial network application isnt checking the referrer header, its easy for an attack to "share"an image in a users event stream that other users might click on to catch/spread the attack.9. Impersonation: The social network accounts of several prominent individuals withthousands of followers have been hacked (most recently, a handful of British politicians).Furthermore, several impersonators have gathered hundreds and thousands of followers onTwitter, and then embarrassed the folks they impersonate (eg, CNN, Jonathan Ive, SteveWozniak and the Dalai Lama), or worse. Twitter will now shut down impersonatorsattempting to smear their victims, but at Twitters discretion. Admittedly, most of theimpersonators arent distributing malware, but some of the hacked accounts certainly have (egGuy Kawasaki).10. Trust: The common thread across almost all of these threats is the tremendous amount oftrust users have in these social applications. Like email, when it hit the mainstream, or instantmessaging when it became ubiquitous, people trust links, pictures, videos and executableswhen they come from "friends," until they get burned a few times. Social applications haventburned enough people yet. The difference with social networks is that the entire purpose ofthem is to share, a lot, which will result in a steeper learning curve for users. Translation,youll have to get burned a few more times. 15
  • 16. Social networking sitesConclusion We have seen that the social networking is having so many advantages and disadvantages. Ifwe make use of them sensibly they would be a great tool for us. we should make use of itsensibly. In a business perspective, it is a great medium for the promotion of our product andservices. We can also make our thoughts to reach others through this medium. Social networktools have changed the way we interact in our personal lives and are in the process oftransforming our professional lives. Increasingly, they play a significant role in how businessgets done. But theyre also high risk. With hundreds of millions of users, these tools haveattracted attackers more than any other target in recent years. 16
  • 17. Social networking sitesREFERENCES 1) http://www.authorpalace.com/internet-marketing/site-promotion/advantages-and- disadvantages-of-social-networking-sites.html 2) http://lauramdavies.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/timeline-a-history-of-social- networking-sites/ 3) www.google.com 4) http://www.tlmarketing.net/ 5) http://features.techworld.com/security/3230701/top-10-social-networking-security- threats/ 17