May 28, 2022

Working Paper: “Online Social Networks: Threats and Solutions”

The following working paper was recently updated (version 3) and made available via arXiv.


Online Social Networks: Threats and Solutions


Michael Fire
Telekom Innovation Laboratories at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Roy Goldschmidt
The Knesset Research and Information Center

Yuval Elovici
Telekom Innovation Laboratories at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev



The paper is scheduled to appear in IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials
Note: Version 1 was posted during March 2013.


 Many online social network (OSN) users are unaware of the numerous security risks that exist in these networks, including privacy violations, identity theft, and sexual harassment, just to name a few. According to recent studies, OSN users readily expose personal and private details about themselves, such as relationship status, date of birth, school name, email address, phone number, and even home address. This information, if put into the wrong hands, can be used to harm users both in the virtual world and in the real world. These risks become even more severe when the users are children. In this paper we present a thorough review of the different security and privacy risks which threaten the well-being of OSN users in general, and children in particular. In addition, we present an overview of existing solutions that can provide better protection, security, and privacy for OSN users. We also offer simple-to-implement recommendations for OSN users which can improve their security and privacy when using these platforms. Furthermore, we suggest future research directions.

Direct to Full Text Paper (45 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.