OCTOBER 4, 2013
Your regular source of security updates from TrendLabsSM
In This Issue

Security Spotlight
The True Cost of Social Media Post(s)

Security for Home Users
The Ins and Outs of Privacy Policies

Security for Business
Attackers Moving Inside Your Network



Security Spotlight

The True Cost of Social Media Post(s)

Social networking sites have begun tracking what you do while logged in to your accounts. The ads you see are based on the information they get.”



Subscribing to and using social networking sites to connect with people online has always been free of charge, but does it really cost nothing? It must cost a lot to keep sites online all the time, doesn’t it? We dug deep into this question and found out just what a typical social networking site user like you is actually “paying” with.

Not the Customer but the Product

It costs nothing to register for an account on a social networking site because you aren’t really its customer. Instead, you’re the product being sold.

Social networking sites earn revenue by selling ad space. Who buys ad space? Companies that want more people to know about their product, of course. And since no company would buy ad space from a site that doesn’t get any visitors, social networking site owners benefit from having as many users as possible. This is one of the reasons why they make registration and usage free. The more active users a social networking site has, the more it can charge for ad space, and the more it earns.

Social networking sites have begun tracking what you do while logged in to your accounts. The ads you see are based on the information they get. They call this “relevant advertising.” If you list a particular music genre as your favorite on your Facebook profile, for instance, the ads you’ll most likely see would be related to that genre.

A Cause for Concern?

How social networking sites handle advertising may seem a bit invasive, especially to those who wish to simply stay in contact with their loved ones but aren’t comfortable with the idea of anyone tracking their every move. To help protect your privacy, here are a couple of tips:

  • Be careful what you share. Create an account containing only your basic information; you don’t need to give more than your name so family and friends can find you and a working email address anyway. You don’t need to reveal your hobbies or where you live.
  • Use privacy or opt-out settings. If your social networking site has privacy controls that restrict content to chosen contacts, use them. If it allows you to opt out of user activity tracking, enable that, too.

For more useful social networking tips, read “How to Protect Your Privacy on Social Media.”

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