Virtual Worlds and Social Media: Security and Privacy Concerns, Implications, and Practices

Virtual Worlds and Social Media: Security and Privacy Concerns, Implications, and Practices

Greg Gogolin (Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, USA), Erin Gogolin (Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, USA) and Hwee-Joo Kam (Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/ijalr.2014010103
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Abstract

The use of virtual worlds and social media has grown to the point that more than one-quarter of the world's population utilize it in some manner. Security and privacy concerns regarding the use and capabilities of current and emerging technologies such as gaming, blogging, podcasting, virtual meetings, virtual worlds and Web 3.0 is examined. Security and privacy concerns are investigated in the context of exploits, vulnerabilities, and related security risks; confidential access control; communication trends and patterns in the use of massive communication strategies; intellectual property and product risk management; resource management; financial considerations and accountability; and safety. Several technologies and personal practices are reviewed, as well as ways to mitigate or eliminate their associated risks. The core principles of information security - confidentiality, integrity, and availability - provide an overall framework.
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Introduction

Virtual worlds and social media impact a wide range of activities including E-Commerce, business communication, and marketing. People have adapted virtual personas in social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest at a rapid rate. Corporations and organizations have also been aggressive in leveraging social media to further their goals. Not all uses have been for positive activities as virtual worlds and social media have become a commonly used tool by terrorists to plan, execute, and even display terrorist activities (Rosenblatt, 2013). A major challenge is that virtual worlds provide an incredible amount of information and opportunity to potentially exploit businesses and individuals. Crimes such as identity theft, fraud and virtual stalking are becoming so prevalent and damaging that the current incarnation of the Internet may become an insurmountable threat if security and privacy concerns are not aggressively and adequately addressed. The use of virtual worlds and social media by terrorist organizations and organized crime raise issues such as whose responsibility it is to curtail such activities, something that is further complicated by the imprecise laws, regulations, and enforcement in the global environment. In reaction to this use, law enforcement agencies and organizations such as the National Security Agency use and monitor virtual worlds and social media.

This investigation will analyze the use and capabilities of current and emerging virtual technologies including social media, gaming, blogs, virtual meetings and virtual worlds in the context of their productive utility and security risks presented. Security and privacy concerns will be investigated in the following areas:

  • 1.

    Exploits, Vulnerabilities, and Related Security Risks

  • 2.

    Confidential Access Control

  • 3.

    Communication trends and patterns in the use of massive communication strategies

  • 4.

    Intellectual Property and Product Risk Management

  • 5.

    Resource Management

  • 6.

    Financial Considerations and Accountability

  • 7.

    Safety

The investigation will conclude with a summary and a look at emerging trends and future direction in security and privacy of virtual worlds, social media, and E-Commerce.

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