It’s time for the Facebook Timeline and security concerns

If you have been dragging your heels, I mean your fingers on accepting yet another change on Facebook; soon you will have no choice.  The Facebook Timeline is here to stay, at least until Facebook decides to make another not so bigger and better change.  Feb. 11, 2012, Facebook users all over the world may once again post their “I hate the new Facebook” on their status but more importantly they may be posting, “I hate the new Facebook timeline security, which isn’t so secure.”

According to Sophos Security  over 4000 people responded to a poll regarding the new Facebook Timeline.  Almost 52% stated that they were worried about security and another 32% said they don’t “know why they are still on Facebook” and only 7.96 reported they “liked it.”

One major concern is pointed out by Naked Security blog, “Facebook is encouraging users to enter even more personal details about themselves and their life experiences, and making it simpler for others to view the information,” Cluley writes on the Naked Security blog.

“But might this not also make it even easier for identity thieves to put together a profile about an individual, discover the name of their first pet, and so forth? That’s all information which could be put to a nefarious use.”

Cluley tested his out, and was “shocked” to find out how much information he had shared since he first started using Facebook.  I admit that with time running out, I’ve been spending a little “time” working on my Timeline to try to delete those things that I don’t want shared, since sharing seems to be the keyword on the new Facebook Timeline, but in this case sharing is definitely not “caring.”

Cluley has left Facebook saying, “In a nutshell, if I don’t think that I can get my head around how to protect my personal information and updates on Facebook then – as someone who advises others on how to best remain private – I should quit.”

 So what are some of the security concerns about the new Facebook Timeline?

As Facebook’s privacy policy came under fire by the FTC an agreement was made.  But the Electronic Privacy Information Center has asked the FTC to explore whether or not the Timeline violates Facebook’s privacy promises that resulted from that agreement.

  • Information has once again been taken over and shared.  Once again users must go in and update all their privacy settings to make sure that what they want shared with friends and family only really is.  Some things are sure to fall through the privacy cracks.
  • An increase in Spam Apps, both those that promise to help you keep your information private and those that are going to be fishing for information.
  • Identity theft, as users profiles have more and more information available it becomes that much easier for an identity to be stolen. Naked Security says, “Facebook is encouraging users to enter even more personal details about themselves and their life experiences, and making it simpler for others to view the information. But might this not also make it even easier for identity thieves to put together a profile about an individual, discover the name of their first pet, and so forth? That’s all information which could be put to a nefarious use.”

The UnderWater Samurai blog admits they like the format of Facebook timeline but states, “Unfortunately, in its default settings it’s the most unsafe thing I’ve ever seen on the internet to date. An unprecedented amount of your personal life is displayed in perfectly accessible, easily understood, graphical format.

  • Your online activities are now shared whether you want them to our not.  Sites like Spotify automatically post your music listening on your status and many other sites are jumping on board.  Sure, your music tastes are not a state secret but it’s hard to determine which sites are sharing and which aren’t.  Look for auto posts to come from music, movies, news sources and more.

I still haven’t cleared everything off that I wanted to. The process itself is very time consuming.  It’s almost like you are trapped into sharing information that you don’t want to.  What is even scarier is that you get 7 days warning before you go “live.”  I only noticed that I was in the preview period because I had double shared and wanted to delete one of the posts.   After that your timeline goes live and your information is on there.

If all else fails, Facebook isn’t the only social media game in town.  There are still sites like the growing in popularity Google+, Linked In, Twitter and many others.

If you decide to stay with Facebook, this information from PC World and Anson Alex.com are very helpful in once again regaining some of your privacy and sanity.   If you have the same security concerns as the professional, take the time that it takes to “fix” your Timeline.