Do You Know Who Your Friends Are?

Be careful who you friend on Facebook — they just could be part of a terrorist organization looking to steal your private data for nefarious purposes. With about 90% of organized terrorism on the Web today being carried out through social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, it is pertinent to be careful who you trust online, especially if you don’t really know who you are allowing to access your information.

The use of tools provided by social media sites have allowed such organizations as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and others to remain active in the recruiting field in light of recent attempts by the governments of the world to stymie their activities. The use of online social media sites have actually increased the reach of these terrorist groups, allowing them to recruit on a more global scale.

According to http://newmedia-eng.haifa.ac.il/, the use of social media sites has also allowed for the increased use of such tools as posting videos, not normally available on some of the more passive sites, and being more proactive by allowing them the ability to approach possible recruits instead of recruits coming to them.

These platforms are also used for gathering intelligence on potential targets, especially with soldiers who are involved with, or who may guard, those targets. It has even gotten to the point where the U.S., UK and Canadian militaries have instructed their members to remove any revealing personal data in the chance that some unwanted element is perusing what is being put out there.

The sharing of information is also a danger that is ever present with the advent of social media. Let’s say a terrorist group wants to learn how to make an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). All they would need to do is put out a call for information on how to do so on a group’s site. And the fact that this information is so freely available is a danger within itself, as it gives those who might not be a part of such groups the ability to cause harm and mayhem to our national infrastructure. This lessens the effect of those who fight against such activities.

So, next time you get a friend request from someone you don’t know, think about whom that could be. Is it truly a friend or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

For more information about terrorist risks on social media Websites, visit: http://newmedia-eng.haifa.ac.il/?p=5680