I was complaining about Facebook the other day, but a news story from today pointed out yet another problem: even if you trust the people at Facebook, by encouraging users to enter the private details of their lives, they give virus writers access to ever increasing amounts of information which could be used, for example, to craft sophisticated phishing attacks to trick people into revealing information such as their online banking passwords. After several people were tricked into revealing their campus network account details, Concordia decided to block all access to Facebook from computers it operates, since it couldn’t guarantee they were free of malware (the site is still available via the campus wireless network for people with their own laptops). I’m glad to see they’re being proactive although phasing out the use of Microsoft Windows would be an even better solution. It’s not clear that Facebook can do much about this, but it’s another good reason to be careful with the information you choose to reveal online.
On that topic, I saw an unrelated news article about Rouba El-Merhebi, who’s just been convicted of being an accessory after the fact for trying to help her son, Sleiman El-Merhebi, flee the country after firebombing a Montreal Jewish school’s library in 2004. I wasn’t familiar with this particular firebombing, and I wondered if her son was still in the city, so I googled him, and guess what! The first result was for what appears to be his Facebook profile, from which I learnt that he does indeed still live here. (From other results I learnt that he plead guilty, was sentenced to 40 months, and was released on parole in May 2006.)