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Published Tuesday, June 07, 2011 1:55 AM by Talia James

In a recent article, the Financial Times highlights the evils that come along with the benefits of social networking. While social networks connect millions of people around the world, they simultaneously provide an easily-exploited platform for cybercriminals to operate on. This article calls attention to the imminent dangers of over-sharing personal information via Facebook, and then proceeds to describe criminal social media tactics in other digital spheres like email and Twitter.

The Financial Times highlights Websense for the discovery of a Twitter scam in the days surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden. The scam worked to lure unsuspecting users to a phishing site to capture their login information.

“OMG CNN confirmed they found Osama alive still!!” was one of the hundreds of malicious tweets posted every second that played on the public’s fascination of the death of Osama bin-Laden. The tweets were accompanied by a malicious link using Bit.ly (a link shortening service), making it difficult for users to discern whether the link was legitimate or not.

Remember from our 2010 Threat Report, searching for breaking trends and current news represents a higher risk (22.4%) than searching for objectionable content (21.8%). We urge you to take extra precautions when searching for hot-button topics on the web. You never know if you’re going to click on a malicious link masked by a legitimate site name – it could put you and your entire organization at risk. When in doubt, run suspicious-looking links through AceInsight.com – it’s a free service from Websense that you can use any time to scan URLs for malicious content.