More reasons for teaching Internet safety, network security, and critical-thinking smarts to young people as well as adults online: MySpace is not only a great place to download viruses for your Windows computer, it is also a popular destination for computer users wanting more spam and looking to become victims of innovative phishing schemes that permit identity theft. According to The Register’s article “Script wreaks havoc on MySpace:”

Spam on MySpace appears to be reaching epidemic levels. Another barrage of junk messages appears to have affected 145,000 MySpace accounts, according to a separate Google search.

Phishing schemes are tricking users into disclosing their login credentials:

Stalkertrack.com advertises a free and upcoming service that tracks the people who visit a client’s MySpace profile. Users are required to divulge their MySpace login credentials, and until we interviewed one of the site owners, terms of service permitted Stalkertrack to log in to MySpace users’ account and send each friend spam messages promoting the site, according to this Google cache. (Those terms were removed in the last 24 hours.)

Social networking sites are powerful, but many that permit webpage customizations and have prolific banner ads (like MySpace) will remain dangerous places to surf in the year ahead.

My best advice? Surf on a Mac or a Linux computer. If you have to use Windows, run Firefox as your web browser with the free no scripts extension running. It will alert you when any type of script is trying to run through your web browser, and you can selectively authorize sites you trust as you surf.

When it comes to social networking, I recommend sticking with Club Penguin until further notice. 🙂 (Seriously, you should check it out. My family and several friends tell me it’s quite addicting!)

Club Penguin - Waddle around and meet new friends!

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