Most social network users court cybercrime, says report

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The majority of social network users are posting risky information, according to Consumer Reports' latest survey.

Only three percent of people admitted mentioning when they were away from home. But 52 percent posted their full birth date, information which could potentially aid fraudsters.

Other dodgy activity included posting photos of children, which 21 percent of people admitted to, children's names (13 percent) and home street address (eight percent).

"Many people use social networking sites to share personal information and photos with their friends quickly and easily," says Jeff Fox, technology editor for Consumer Reports.  "However, there are serious risks involved which can be lessened by using privacy controls offered by the sites."

The company's annual State of the Net survey interviewed 2,000 online households and found that 40 percent of online US households has had at least one virus infection in the past two years.

Nine percent of social network users experienced some form of abuse within the past year, such as malware infections, scams, identity theft or harassment.

The US has lost as much as $4.5 billion to viruses, spyware and phishing, over the last two years, Consumer Reports says.

Facebook users tend to post more risky information than social network users generally - which of course may have something to do with the company's famously lax default privacy controls.