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August 1, 2010

Giving Your Coordinates Can Compromise Your Security

Giving Your Coordinates Can Compromise Your Security

Woburn, MA - August 23, 2010 -Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of Internet threat protection solutions that defend against computer viruses, spyware and all forms of malicious software, warns that location-based services can increase users' security risk profiles immensely.

Location-based services allow users to share their whereabouts with other people by disclosing their own location. The availability of these services reached a new mainstream high-point last week, when Facebook became the first social network to utilize these features.  Other popular examples of location-based networking include Foursquare and Gowalla. iPhone Twitter clients have been known to post GPS coordinates, with Google Places offering users a similar service, but we have never seen location-based software used in such a large-scale as Facebook would enable.  

While location-based technologies provide trend-setting social media services, the potential for their misuse outweighs their usefulness.


Stefan Tanase, Senior Security Researcher

Kaspersky Lab

"Many people fail to see the consequences of the vast amount of personal data that they put out on the Web due to being part of a social network. If we consider that it is estimated that more than a quarter of Facebook users access the site via mobile devices, these users are ideal candidates for such location-based services. Obviously, there are a number of benefits from using this type of service while interacting with your friends; however the security implications are substantial in that other people might be able to track your movements as well.

Criminals usually seek personal data for identity theft. Providing location-based information gives them additional information to further recreate your persona. Criminals used to be more reliant on social engineering to get personal information, but with social networks we see the trend of criminals being able to access publicly available information from the Internet - which gives them an edge - yet despite such security concerns, I think we are going to see more and more of these types of features."

Simple Advice for Users:

1.      Do not post your location online if you don't want people to know where you are and be careful whom you befriend on social networks.

2.      The data you post on social networks could become public.  Consider everything you post as potentially public and potentially a security risk. This includes your home address and now, potentially your current whereabouts.  Do you really want to broadcast when your home might be empty?

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is the world's largest privately-held Internet Security company, providing comprehensive protection against all forms of IT threats such as viruses, spyware, hackers and spam. The company's products provide in-depth defense at work, at home and on the road for home and mobile users, small and medium sized businesses and large enterprises, protecting more than 300 million systems around the globe. Kaspersky technology is also incorporated inside the products and services of approximately 100 of the industry's leading IT, networking, communications and applications solution vendors. For further information about the company, please visit http://www.kaspersky.com/. Friend us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KasperskyLabAmericas. Follow @Kaspersky on Twitter.

For the latest in-depth information on security threat issues and trends, please visit http://www.securelist.com/. Follow @Securelist on Twitter.

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