Facebook Hijacking Raises Data Sharing Concerns

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore.

An Oregon boy’s alleged hacking of the social networking pages of two young women he knew is another example of the danger students face by sharing too much personal information on Web sites such as Facebook or MySpace, according to a national expert on social networking.

“The reality is we’re seeing more occurrences of personal identity theft,” said Rodnie Williams, founder of 360 Stay Safe in St. Paul, Minn. “We’re also seeing more instances of stalking and controlling behavior.”

In the Oregon case, the 16-year-old boy promised the girls he would return control of the pages if they sent him nude pictures of themselves. Instead of complying with the boy’s demands, they contacted the police, according to news reports.

The two 18-year-old female victims, whose names have not been released, lived a few blocks away from the suspect, whose name has also not been released.

The boy was able to hack into the victims’ online pages because he was able to guess the likely passwords the girls used because he was so familiar with them. Once he was able to log on to the pages, he changed the passwords.

According to police, the suspect claimed the whole thing was a prank. However, he could face charges of computer crime and theft by extortion in juvenile court.

Members of the millennial generation using social networking sites – he defines that group as anyone born between 1982 and 2001 – need to be more cautious about the personal information they make public, according to Williams.

“Social networking is great, but you need to understand security,” Williams added. “You can’t be as privacy desensitized as you are. [Millennials] don’t think about security the same way an older person would.”

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Tagged with: 360 Stay Safe

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