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In: Software Development

Every day, it looks like there are more and more occurrences of identity theft via social networking in the news. With the explosion of social networking over the past decade, numerous businesses have taken it upon themselves to grow a social network as part of their overall branding strategy. As always happens with the growth of new technology, there is a large and growing number of malcontents that strive to discover the little security cracks within the social networking schema. These "hackers" are finding a new and thriving means through which they can glean the private information of a business.

Effects of Social Engineering and Networking Hacks
When a hacker gains access to the social pages of your business, a world of private correspondence, email addresses, and possible log-in ID's becomes open to them. Many people do not realize just how much information can be taken from very generalized numbers and passwords on a social engineering or networking site. When you feel a break in the security of your social engineering presence, you are going to feel a corresponding break in your overall business presence in many ways.

Social Engineering Sites are Easy to Hack
It is no secret that social networking and social engineering websites are very easy to hack. Typically, these sites will offer a means through which you can retrieve a lost password or log-in ID. Ironically, the rise in hacking that has been seen through these sites has actually made social networking and engineering sites easier to hack. This is because many hackers that take over a user account will also compromise the user's email account that is linked to their networking account. Because of this, social networking sites will provide an option for users to claim that their account and email have been hacked, providing them with a process through which they can apply for a new password at a new email account. While a question with a "secret" answer is usually asked for during this process, it is not something difficult to get around. This is because many people select answers to questions that can easily be loaded through the public content on their networking page.

Protecting Yourself
There are a number of things that you can do to help mitigate the potential damage that hackers can cause you through social engineering sites. The biggest thing that you can do is to have a specialized log-in and password for your site that is completely unrelated to your business. If you choose a "secret" question and answer, make sure you do not use a factual answer. For example, for a question like "What city were you born in?", Answer with a town on the other side of the world. This makes it impossible for a hacker to glean this information of your public profiles.