Monday, 31 August 2009

Internet Shopping for Burglars

When Facebook was first hitting the general consciousness, I had an oldish computer. I was curious and tried to have a look. Facebook snottily informed me that my system was too old and that I had to upgrade. I was a tad pissed, so I started a thread at the discussion board I used to belong to titled 'Fuck Facebook'.

Well, looky here.
Users of social networking websites could face higher insurance premiums because burglars are using them to 'shop' for victims' personal details.

Experts from leading insurer Legal & General warn that parents could eventually see their premiums rise even if only their children are members of popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Many of the millions of users of these sites post details about their home, whereabouts and holiday plans on them - effectively an invitation to a burglar.

The warning comes in the wake of a report called The Digital Criminal, commissioned by Legal & General and prepared by reformed thief Michael Fraser, star of the BBC's Beat The Burglar series.

Mr Fraser said: 'There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that burglars are using social networks to identify likely targets.

'They gain confidence by learning more about them, what they are likely to own and when they are likely to be out of the house.

'I call it "internet shopping for burglars". It is incredibly easy to use social networking sites to target people, and then scope out more information on their actual home using other internet sites like Google Street View, all from the comfort of the sofa.'

But Facebookers and Twits were 'unconcerned' about security.
In an experiment, 100 friend requests were issued to strangers selected at random.

On Twitter, 92 per cent accepted the stranger as a friend, as did 13 per cent of Facebook users, potentially allowing the stranger to learn about that person's interests, location and movements.

And what's the result?
Burglaries rose in 2008-09 for the first time in six years. Police recorded 284,445 house break-ins, up 1 per cent on the previous year.

Well, duh.

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