The surge in viruses that has hit social networking sites is not a great surprise.


Simon McCready, a partner in Deloitte's media team, claimed that the problem comes from a culture of sharing rather than protecting, and thieves will inevitably take advantage of that.


McCready said: “Thieves will follow the 'money' and target the most widely used sites. We have felt for a long time that the personal information shared on social networking sites gives rise to an increased risk of identity theft, particularly as many users will not consider security as a priority on such sites as they would do on online banking sites for example.


“Possibly the most important action for social network sites is to educate users in online privacy, in a clear manner that neither trivialises nor exaggerates the way in which data is user. Web users should be made aware that even seemingly innocuous activities, such as social networking, may be compromising. A date of birth and a partial address details could be sufficient information to obtain a credit card fraudulently.”


He further claimed that a smart criminal could easily piece together important clues to passwords, such as the maiden name of someone's mother, simply by surfing.