Eighty-six percent of the 250 people polled by security software maker AVG Technologies and the Chief Marketing Officers Council said they use social networks at home or at work but less than one-third were taking precautions.
Sixty-four percent said they change their passwords infrequently or never, 57 percent said they adjust their privacy settings infrequently or never and 90 percent said they do not report problems to their social network administrator.
Twenty-one percent said they accept contact offerings from members they do not recognize while more than half let acquaintances or roommates access social networks on their machines.
Participants expressed concern over spam and malware attacks and nearly half of those surveyed earlier this year said they were very concerned about their personal identity being stolen in an online community.
“As social networking populations grow globally and the proliferation of niche social networks and mobile offerings extends the reach of social communities, the threats and vulnerabilities are escalating accordingly,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.
“More frequent breaches and outbreaks on popular social sites are a testament to the need for a more preventative mindset and threat-alert culture among community users,” Neale-May said
Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed said they have experienced identity theft, 47 percent have been victims of malware infections and 55 percent have seen “phishing” attacks, in which hackers seek to capture password information.
AVG and the CMO Council, an association of senior corporate marketing leaders, recommended that confidential personal data never be posted on a social network.
They also suggested that passwords be changed at least once a month and that friends or coworkers not be allowed to access one’s personal computer.
The history of websites visited should be cleared at least once a week and friend requests from unknown people should not be accepted.
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