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Summary:

Update: Maryland General Assembly has removed the ban on Facebook and will allow access to the site soon. As of February 11, 2009, MySpace continues to be blocked. The rise in the number of viruses targeting social networks such as Facebook and MySpace has prompted the […]

Update: Maryland General Assembly has removed the ban on Facebook and will allow access to the site soon. As of February 11, 2009, MySpace continues to be blocked.

The rise in the number of viruses targeting social networks such as Facebook and MySpace has prompted the Maryland General Assembly to ban the two services from its computers and networks, according to a local blogger, who managed to get ahold of the memo outlining the ban. The services won’t be available from the computers of state legislators and their staffs, apparently avid users of Facebook.

With the beginning of the 2009 Legislative Session, we have observed a significant increase in viruses and malware affecting the Maryland General Assembly computers. After several weeks of analysis, we have determined that many of the infecting programs are originating from pages hosted on http://www.facebook.com and http://www.myspace.com. In an attempt to reduce the number of viruses and malware entering the Maryland General Assembly facilities, we have blocked access to both of these sites. As our analysis continues and additional websites are identified as problematic, we will be blocking these as well.

I wonder if this ban is actually the start of a much larger trend that turns into a headache for these social networks.

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  1. Nothing like a good mass-ban to prompt these sites to increase their battle against internet terrorism. Has anyone done a study on how much TIME THEFT is going on at work thanks to these social networking distractions?
    Follow me on Twitter me @Coronado Realtor

  2. I run into this all the time in my work with local media companies. Their internal networks were in place first, the engineers say, and protecting them is paramount to doing business. The, of course, screws the pooch for them as media companies, because what’s happening “out there” is vastly more important than what’s happening in the intranet.

    One company’s web team actually moved to a different building to get away from the internal network. You can’t do business on the Web without unfettered connectivity.

    Perhaps the cloud is the answer. Use the Web for all the internal stuff instead of maintaining your own.

  3. benjaminwright Friday, February 6, 2009

    The social nets are magnets for trouble. A realated security problem for them is fake buddy requests, as I have discussed here: http://computersafety.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/facebook-myspace-identity-theft/ –Ben

  4. The major problem I have with elected officials banning social networks is that you then remove the ability to leverage these tools as communication channels with the electorate. Instead of viewing social networks as employee time suckers, teach staff to use these as tools to communicate with constituents. There are better ways to deal with employees wasting time on Facebook. Besides, it is a losing battle. Ban one social network and there are 10 others waiting in the wings.

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