Is Facebook the next cybersecurity nightmare?

May 6, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via Government Computer News

Social media is making the world a smaller, more interconnected place. And that’s precisely what worries security experts like Matthew McCormack, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s chief of cybersecurity.

Speaking at the Department of Defense Intelligence Information Systems (DODIIS) conference in Detroit on May 4, McCormack said the increasing use of social media sites, such as Facebook, creates a host of challenges for protecting networks and sensitive data.

Cyberattacks continue to be a major threat to organizations. In 2008 and 2009, $1 trillion in intellectual property was lost to cyberattacks.

However, social networking is a new and growing challenge. McCormack said that users in the U.S. spend about 63.5 billion minutes a month on social networks compared to 26.1 billion minutes for online games or 19.9 billion minutes for e-mail. As of January 2010, average daily use for Facebook was 14 minutes per person, he said.

The size and reach of Facebook represents the prevalence of social media and why security experts need to be aware of the threat it presents, McCormack said. Citing data from Nielson, he said that Facebook has 500 million users globally, 48 percent of whom access it via smart phones, which bypass traditional computer and network security infrastructures.

E-mail providers have experience in deploying security technology on a regular basis to keep hackers and spammers at bay. But social media companies are just starting to become aware of the security challenges facing them, McCormack said. This new awareness is important because criminals are beginning to shift their efforts from e-mail to social media.

Continued here.