By Daniel Hunter

Social media is exposing businesses to cyber crime, according to research by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.

Internet security giants, Kaspersky, said a worryingly low number of respondents understand the risks associated with active use of social networks.

Communicating via social networks is one of the most popular activities on the internet. After checking emails and reading, it is the third most popular. Although it rises to second on mobile devices.

And Kaspersky say that it is the use of social media on mobile devices which poses the greatest risks to users.

Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed don't believe they would of interest to hackers, or even consider the issue. One in ten discuss personal information with strangers on social media, and 15% said they would reveal information on social media that they wouldn't disclose in person.

Kaspersky said: "Careless user behaviour can lead to unpleasant consequences. Attackers often look through social networks searching for information inadvertently left by the user. This information may help them in committing a crime: email addresses can be used for fraudulent schemes; some information may help them break a password or identify a user location and much more. In turn, access to a user account can give cyber criminals even more opportunities, including sending malicious links and files."

According to Kaspersky Security Network data, in 2013 Kaspersky Lab products blocked more than 600 million attempts to visit a phishing (fake) page and over 35 per cent of these sites imitated social networking sites. The survey also shows that 40 per cent of users faced suspicious messages asking them to follow an unknown link or download a potentially malicious file, and 21 per cent of users received emails sent allegedly by a social network in an attempt to obtain their credentials.

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