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Privacy issue as a threat: Facebook Assignment Help

An investigation on Facebook privacy issues Specific Requirements: The body of your course paper must be at least four pages with at least five scholarly sources. A discussion board post is not a course paper, a group paper or book review is not acceptable, nor can you combine smaller assignments. To pass this course, you must write a graduate-level paper, receive a grading rubric score on your fully-completed draft, and then improve that grading rubric score to at least a 3 in each category of the rubric in a final revision of your paper.

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Privacy issue as a threat: Facebook

The privacy issues of Facebook seem to be increasing within the past two years. Despite being one of the most popular social media sites, there exists a number of security issues that can put the user at serious risk. The threat of personal information becoming public, increased use of data encryption and analytics, sharing of the phone number, e-mail, and places visited with commercial companies are some of the highlighted issues in this regard (Zlatolas, Welzer, Hericko&Hölbl, 2015).

Open access to information due to default settings

The possibilities for an individual's online account being at risk of being hacked is higher in the present technology-driven world. Facebook further enhances this risk possibility due to its certain unique features. For example, according to Esteve et al. (2017), Facebook includes developer's features in Web 2.0 version, which allows users to design their own profiles, link these profiles to visible social networks and allow users to interact with each other. The default settings present on Facebook makes the users' profiles completely visible to third parties and reveal their personal details that are prone to be used for commercial purpose. In the past, there are few complaints that each time Facebook redesigns the site, the privacy setting of users gets reverted to the default setting. As a result of which, it increases the privacy risk because, the pool of information which were private according to the user-defined settings, becomes automatically public (Hong, & Chiu, 2016).

How Facebook information is used for wrong doings

According to Chalklen, & Anderson (2017), Facebook usually puts out news about the changes made on the site. However, it depends upon the users to discover that their private information turned to be public and is easily accessible to everyone. In this consideration, many of the Facebook users do not the improved settings and thus are at susceptible risk from the potential scammers and cybercriminals. The corresponding result is linked to the breach of their private information and also have the potential to bully or harass at the individual level (Zlatolas, et al., 2015). Another security issue related to Facebook is its standard & recommendation setting being too lax (Esteve, 2017). For instance, in the instant personalization feature, the partner sites are provided with the complete information of the user. This feature has been activated on the default and recommended setting, and for turning it off the user has to access the customize setting page. These issues can be regarded as the alarm state of a future security breach, as the automatization creates open access to the third party. It is also to be noted that Facebook profiles are searchable by Facebook search and other search engines by default (ref). According to recent data, more than 200 million Facebook profiles were mined for accessing public information and ultimately a security expert posted them on torrent sites (Chalklen, & Anderson, 2017). Importantly, the existing provision for Facebook users, which allows them to post their recent activity on their account wall, is a concern within the scope of security issues. This facility gives clear and transparent visibility of an individual's current activity since it gets access to the friends as well as related users (friends of a friend). This makes easy for cybercriminals to track their actions and make identity theft. A common example can be found in conjunction with extortion, kidnapping, and public bullying (Mares, Savino, &Turvey, 2018), especially in Southern Asian regions. The automatic posting of recent activity has become the major cause for most of the Facebook scams. The substantial danger exists for the hackers as they can steal the information present in the account by running malicious programs.

Malicious contents

The certain feature makes it possible for the undiscerning users to connect with other unknown users, leading to a big security risk. For example, "Facebook's friend finder" option suggests friends by obtaining data from an individual's email address and suggesting them accordingly. Also, some Facebook users also get friends suggestions of strangers, with whom they are not related, but their friends are connected. The rogue Facebook apps and ads are also creating menace for users. The example in this concern can be identified with the fact that apps seek permission to access and use user' information in return of the app facilities. It is not possible for Facebook to screen all the unnecessary apps and ads which get into the network. Some of these ads contain embedded malicious codes. One of the examples is the advertisement of antivirus which was shown on the screen of 9.6 million Farmtown players (Choi, & Land, 2016). The add urges to download this antivirus program which was a virus in reality. However, at present Facebook claims that it has fine-tuned the privacy setting and defined the type of information to be shared with others. More specifically, Facebook users can utilize the privacy setting to identify the viewers of their profiles, however, these settings are inactive by default. In addition to this, the automatic transfer of personal information to third-party advertisers is also restricted (Chalklen, & Anderson, 2017). Nevertheless, one has been aware of these settings and associated functionality, in order to protein their private information, intentionally.

Emerging threats in Facebook

It is a matter of fact that Facebook privacy issues are still prevailing despite numerous attempts by the engineering team of Facebook. On September 25, 2018, the company's engineer team recognized that some hackers have employed a set of bugs that are related to a Facebook feature "View As" (Hong, & Chiu, 2016). This feature has been designed to let people see how their profile and privacy setting looks to other users. The first bug showed the video upload tool of Facebook by mistakenly show-up on the "View As" mode which triggered an entry code for the anonymous hacker. The complex set of multiple bugs were successful in breaching users account, and access their personal information like names, emails, phone number, and private messages. Initially, it was informed that 50 million users unaffected from the cyber breach, which was later confirmed the victim were 30 million users. Among them, 14 million user's names, email accounts, contact details, gender, recent activity, and relationship status were exposed (Chalklen, & Anderson, 2017). For the 15 million users, the name and contact information has been breached. The remaining 1 million user's access tokens were stolen, which was later reset by Facebook (Rodriguez, &Obradovac, 2017). It was also revealed that the third party sites being accessed by the affected users were also on the risk of being breached. Similarly, another issue was also revealed about the collection and usage of users personal information by a third party company known as Cambridge Analytica. Since 2014, this data mining company has been harvesting the personal data of users as well as of their friends for commercial and electoral processes. Furthermore, there are incidents that Facebook is being shared as a platform to commercialise illegal drugs, hazardous substance, and links of pornographic materials that can harm community members in a significant manner. The route to outreach this information to the users are learned via artificial intelligence, where information is gained due to a breach of personal information of users (Choi, & Land, 2016). This company has collected personal data of 87 million Facebook users worldwide without their knowledge and consent (Georgalou, 2016). This unauthorized act by Cambridge Analytica violates the security aspects and right to information for data subject.

Awareness among users is important

The privacy features of Facebook have gone far beyond other social networking sites. However, users are not choosing these privacy options carefully. It is the responsibility of each individual to reduce the risk of privacy security breaching. It should be kept in mind that if an individual's account is compromised, not only their personal detail is exposed but also the personal information of their friends is at susceptible risk (Zyskind, & Nathan, 2015). So, every time the user accesses any malicious app or ad on the Facebook account, there an equal risk of being hacked for their friends. For this purpose, Facebook users should not accept a friend request from unknown or strangers. Furthermore, they should be careful while executing any program which requests to access their personal details. Users should also enforce full HTTPS browsing, to avoid snooping of a third party into their conversation (Chalklen, & Anderson, 2017). Similar to that of the security operation in the banking sector, Facebook should also introduce e-tokens for safe access into the user account. In addition to this, Facebook should also make clear which apps are malicious. A regular security check should be conducted to restrict its way to the user's profile. As discussed above, the recommended privacy settings of Facebook are an easy path for an attacker to become a friend and eventually access data needed for password resetting or misusing personal information. Thus, Facebook should make the default setting as ‘visible to only friends'. The user should further decide whether they want to change their data exposure settings or not. Besides this, Facebook should also educate users about the security and privacy aspects through social networks or posting pages related to ‘Facebook privacy', ‘Facebook security', and ‘Facebook safety' (Esteve, 2017). Likewise, the important settings avoid the breach of information must be made default, rather than waiting for the user to activate them.

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