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Safety guide to social networking

Security vendors provide tips to allow employees to access sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and still keep corporate networks safe.
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Written by Vivian Yeo on

Social networking may be the rage now but as with all new and popular technologies, security threats are never too far.

The fast-growing popularity of social networking sites has evoked varying responses from companies and industry observers. Some have barred their employees from accessing such sites, while others have stepped up to support the role of social networking as effective collaboration tools.

Most, however, agree these sites pose potential security risks and usage should be monitored.

Last week, Facebook removed an application dubbed Secret Crush after it was found to serve up adware to users. Security vendor Sophos issued a statement following the incident, calling for Facebook users to exercise care when installing third-party applications.

Short of blocking social networking sites, how should companies keep their networks safe?

ZDNet Asia speaks to Paul Ducklin, head of technology for Asia-Pacific at Sophos and Allan Bell, McAfee's regional marketing manager, who provided five tips on how organizations can allow security and social networking sites to co-exisit, safely, within the work environment.

1. Educate, educate, educate.
Warn employees about the possible risks of social networking sites, and remind them to be skeptical when visiting sites. They should, for example, avoid revealing personal data.

2. Find out how a user's information will be handled.
Review the terms and conditions of networking sites, and get familiarized with privacy policies and practices. IT administrators may consider filtering access to networking sites that do not provide enough clarity on such information.

3. Put in place security measures to fortify your network.
Make sure there is ample network and client protection, and that all security software are up-to-date.

4. Get into the habit of disabling options.
Encourage users to disable options until they need or want these features, rather than selecting every function that is available.

5. Select passwords with care.
Do not reuse an existing password that you already use to access work applications, in particular, your e-mail password.





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