Researchers at SUNY Buffalo conducted a study on Facebook user habits and found that people who use the site frequently are more likely to fall victim to phishing scams.
The researchers accomplished this by asking 150 college students for information on their Facebook usage habits. Then, six weeks after the survey, the researchers created a phony Facebook page and sent out friend requests to the students. Two weeks after that, they asked the students for personal information, like email address, date of birth and student ID number. Using the information they gathered from the initial survey, the academics concluded that people who use Facebook more are more likely to give up their info.
“We need to next develop remedial interventions that target such individuals and help them develop better cyber-hygiene,” said Arun Vishwanath, one of the researchers on the project. “This would not only help them but it will also protect all of us from phishing attacks, since the Pew Center has estimated that the average Facebook user can reach anywhere from 70,000-150,000 other people through their friends networks.”
Strange as it is, more and more people simply don’t see revealing personal information about themselves online as a problem. That’s likely due to generational factors, but as this study points out, that state of mind could also be the result of pure social media desensitization.