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Social Bookmarking Risks

Updated on January 9, 2018
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


Collaborative bookmarking, sometimes called tagging and social bookmarking, is the sharing of your personal collection of internet browser bookmarks. This lets you see the bookmarks others have and add them to your own bookmarks.You can even subscribe to see when others add new bookmarks to their collection.

Compared to peer to peer sharing of software, this seems a safe form of sharing among "peers". What are the risks of collaborative bookmarking and sharing websites with others indiscriminately?

Social bookmarking bypasses all of the security features that you place on your computer, like this biometric scanner.
Social bookmarking bypasses all of the security features that you place on your computer, like this biometric scanner. | Source

The Risks of Social Bookmarking

1. If you accidentally add a personal financial page, such as your bank account login page or retirement account information, you run the risk of others learning such personal information. This is especially true is you link a deeper page than your the login page which actually contains personal security verifications.

2. If one individual with a social bookmarking site is phished or hacked, a website that contains malware can be added to their collection. By viewing their bookmarks that are assumed to be safe, you may inadvertently slide into a malware site activated merely by your visitation.

3. Social bookmarking is mostly between friends. However, not all friends are truly friends. If social networks are a place to be wary due to phishing attempts or social engineering to get information about you or your business, how much more information do you give when your children's website, your favorite recipes, and personal financial interests are also there for the perusing?

4. Social bookmarking software is a diverse and mostly freeware market. There are dozens of applications out there, with more evolving and distributing through the world. What if you decide to download a free bookmarking toolbar? And then it isn't actually a bookmarking toolbar, but a malware application? What if it is actually be a social bookmarking tool that includes a section to track all your websites and log all information entered there?

Now you've given them the URL you use to access accounts and the login information. The desire to share minor interests with friends has led to a major handover of all personal information.

5. When you use social bookmarking, you could inadvertently reveal behavior you want kept secret, such as sharing links to adult sites or sites for recovering addicts of all types.

6. If you accidentally bookmark a site you would like to refer to but don't want others to know you refer to, you've just shared it with those who share your bookmarks.

For those who want to reduce their IT risks, consider putting a book end on your social bookmarking. It isn't worth the risk.


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