Majority of social network users want better security

Study shows social networks under increasing attack, users not happy with security measures

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Majority of social network users want better security Users think social networks should do more to protect against account hijacking. (Getty Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  October 31, 2011

According to a new study by Barracuda networks, 95% of social network users think that social network providers should do better job of protecting against account hijacking.

The 2011 Social Networking Security & Privacy Study, which was conducted across 20 countries in September and October this year, also showed an increasing amount of threats targeted at social networks, and dissatisfaction among users at the levels of protection available to them.

Across the respondents, 92% had received spam through a social network, 54% had experienced phishing attempts, 23.3% had received malware, and 13% had their account hijacked or their password stolen. 16% had experienced spam being sent by their accounts.

The survey showed that security and privacy are now consider equally influential in a user's choice of social network as its ease of use and whether or not their friends are using it.

Facebook ranked worst among respondents in terms of satisfaction around privacy, with 51% of users unhappy with privacy controls, while MySpace was felt to be the most unsafe, with 84% of users feeling unsafe using the site. In comparison, LinkedIn rated highest, with only 25% of users unhappy with privacy controls and 14% feeling unsafe using it.

"Social networks are a significant part of how we communicate with one another. At the same time, the dangers associated with social networking have climbed exponentially," said Dr. Paul Judge, chief research officer and vice president for Barracuda Networks. "The fact that nine out of 10 users already have been attacked proves that attackers are taking over social networks and users are living in fear.

"The results highlight some deficiencies that must be addressed by social network providers and the security community in order to provide a safe, fertile ground for continued growth and advancement on social platforms," he added.

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