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Managing a User's Vulnerability on a Social Networking Site

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Technical Report

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Arizona State University Tempe United States

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Users often join an online social networking OSN site, like Facebook, to remain social, by either staying connected with friends or expanding social networks. On an OSN site, users generally share variety of personal information which is often expected to be visible to their friends, but sometimes vulnerable to unwarranted access from others.The recent study suggests that many personal attributes, including religious and political affiliations, sexual orientation, relationship status, age, and gender, are predictable using users personal data from an OSN site. The majority of users want to remain socially active, and protect their personal data at the same time. This tension leads to a users vulnerability, allowing privacy attacks which can cause physical and emotional distress to a user, sometimes with dire consequences. For example, stalkers can make use of personal information available on an OSN site to their personal gain. This dissertation aims to systematically study a user vulnerability against such privacy attacks.

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