Posted by: David Harley | August 31, 2010

BitDefender social network study

Tip of the hat to Martijn Grooten (love the subtle link to my favourite conference, Martijn) for pointing to the BitDefender study I mentioned yesterday but for which I didn’t have a link. And for pointing out that the study doesn’t actually mention Facebook, but an unnamed social network. As he points out, the emphasis on work stuff, could just as easily be LinkedIn, though the term “friends” obviously suggests FB or something similar. Still, it’s the human gullibility that matters here, not the exact identity of the network.

Virus Bulletin’s take is here. And its Facebook page is here. (Sorry about the compressed URLs, but I can’t get to Facebook to check FB URLs at the moment.)

Mac Virus Administrator
ESET Senior Research Fellow
Small Blue-Green World


  1. […] Networking and the Illusion of Anonymity”, which I’ve previously mentioned here and here, reminded me of a rather nice paper by Mich Kabay that he presented at EICAR in 1998. (I […]

  2. I think it does kind of matter whether it’s FB or LI: I use the former for “personal stuff” and the latter as some kind of online-portfolio. I wouldn’t add a stranger as a FB-friend, but I could well add someone who seems to work in the same industry to my LI-connections.

    (Telling them my mother’s maiden name, or the name of our first guinea pig is a different story though.)

    • @Martijn That’s a fair point, and I’d say that your distinction between the two networks is probably shared by many of us in this business. I’d still say that the real problem lies with those who are not able to make the same distinction and act accordingly. @Sabina, I take your point too, but since I’ve been back at work today (I’ve been at a conference for the past few days) I’ve noticed some posts on a metrics-focused list where the high proportion of IT workers was seen as so high as to cast doubt on the validity of the research, which seems a pity. If the network in question was LinkedIn, that does make a difference.

  3. @Martijn – The study was a more complex one (just think to the fact that instead of only one test-profile there were 4 different test-profiles, w/ 4 different human typologies). Indeed, for me it didn’t matter the social network (that’s why I said: ‘from a social network’ and not ‘from FB/LI/MyS/etc) but the human behavior of the people ‘selected’ from that network. Because it was a little more ‘research’ than it was presented in the paper – but I tried to keep it short (’cause people don’t have the time & the mood to read a whole book w/ my experiment).
    Anyway, this is just the 2nd experiment, and other will follow. (to be read: I’ve just started :))

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