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Welcome to the ProtectMyID Blog

Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


Security Threats: What to Expect in 2010

Mar 08

The start of a new year is a great time for you to evaluate your security practices on social networks.  In 2010, we will see security threats that are more serious and difficult to detect.  It’s vital for you to understand what you can do and how to best protect yourself.

Here are a few of the security threats to keep an eye out for in 2010:

1. Shortened URLs:

Most tweets include links that have been shortened.  Since short URLs give no hint of the destination, fraudsters can exploit them to send you to a malicious site to steal your identity.


Programs such as TweetDeck include options in their settings to display previews of shortened URLs.

2. Data Harvesting of Your Profile:

Personal details you share on social networks, such as your high school, hometown, or birthday, are often the same items used in out-of-pocket security questions. A fraudster who collects enough of this information may be able to access your most sensitive accounts.


Check your privacy settings on any social network you join and make sure you keep your personal information limited to just your friends. Also, don’t tie your passwords or security question answers to information that is publically available.

3. Social Network Impostors:

If you’ve connected with someone on a social network, it’s probably because you know and trust that person.  However, an identity thief can take control of your friend’s online persona and exploit that trust.  Fraudsters can hijack one of your online buddy’s social networking accounts and use the stolen account to steal your personal information or con you out of funds. 


Be cautious when responding to email communications from friends on social networks. Use common sense when you see requests for personal information or money.

4. Web Snooping

So much socializing has shifted online that every Internet user leaves a rich digital trail of preferences such as the books you read, the movies you rent, the people you interact with, and the items you buy.  This can be a gold mine of data for an identity thief.


Be aware of the privacy policies of the social networking sites you use, and restrict your dealings to those people you truly know.