Five Scary Facebook Monsters Just Waiting To Grab You

Facebook is soo fun, right? A place to reunite with old friends, make new ones, a veritable virtual playground just waiting for you to enjoy it — and share your information with the world, for good or for bad, with or without your knowledge. CBS News takes a look at five common dangers Facebook users are at risk from.

Joan Goodchild, senior editor of CSO (Chief Security Officer) Online, discussed the various privacy pitfalls with The Early Show on Saturday Morning.

• Your information is being shared with third parties

Facebook wants to make money, and they can do this by sharing your information with advertisers who want to market their products to you.

• Privacy settings revert to a less safe default mode after each redesign

This means every time Facebook is like, oh hey, we’ve got a fresh look!” make sure to check your security settings and change them back to where you want them. Otherwise Facebook can share your info with advertisers in their quest to monetize the site. And every time you log in to Farmtownvilleland? That application has permission to access your info and could be sharing it with others without your knowledge.

• Facebook ads may contain malware
Basically Facebook is not so good at vetting their ads, says Goodchild, which could result in you clicking on an anti-virus software ad and downloading an actual virus. So not cool!

• Your real friends unknowingly make you vulnerable
If one of your friends’ profiles gets hacked by a third party, that hacker can then see whatever info you’re putting out there to your pal. So if your friends aren’t making good decisions on the Internets, you could be affected as well.

• Scammers are creating fake profiles

If the world knows the name of your mother, father, second-cousin and best friend from grade school, someone out there might just make a fake profile with their identity and beg you to say, wire $5,000 to them after they get mugged in a foreign country. Also, if you have like, a bajillion friends, the odds are that a few of those are scammers who aren’t who they say they are. Winnow that friends list down, Mr. I’ve-Got-2,028-Friends Guy.

Facebook got in big trouble this week when some users realized a security hole in the program made their private chats viewable by anyone on their contact lists. As if that little snafu wasn’t bad enough, 15 privacy and consumer protection organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that the site plays with privacy settings on purpose to make users’ personal information available for commercial use.

You better shape it up, Facebook, or I am NEVER taking another quiz to find out who my most stylish friend is or selling another virtual cow again.

Five Hidden Dangers of Facebook – The Early Show [CBS News]