- Scams, spams & shams
- Hijacked Web sites attack visitors
- Zappos gets savvy with social media
- Baited and duped on Facebook
- How hackers find weak spots
- BT's Web 2.0 security strategy
- Public cloud vs. internal social networks
- IT forensic experts find lucrative work
- Profile of IT forensics professional Rob Lee
- Opinion: Web 2.0 security depends on users
How hackers find your weak spots
A look at some of the ways hackers use social networking tools to gain access to victims' systems
Computerworld - While there are an infinite number of social engineering exploits, typical ones include the following:
Stealing passwords: In this common maneuver, the hacker uses information from a social networking profile to guess a victim's password reminder question. This technique was used to hack Twitter and break into Sarah Palin's e-mail.
Friending: In this scenario, a hacker gains the trust of an individual or group and then gets them to click on links or attachments that contain malware that introduces a threat, such as the ability to exploit a weakness in a corporate system. For example, says Netragard CTO Adriel Desautels, he might strike up an online conversation about fishing and then send a photo of a boat he's thinking of buying.
Impersonation/social network squatting: In this case, the hacker tweets you, friends you or otherwise contacts you online using the name of someone you know. Then he asks you to do him a favor, like sending him a spreadsheet or giving him data from "the office." "Anything you see on a computer system can be spoofed or manipulated or augmented by a hacker," says Desautels.
Posing as an insider: Imagine all the information you could extract from an unknowing employee if you posed as an IT help desk worker or contractor. "Roughly 90% of the people we've successfully exploited during [vulnerability assessments for clients] trusted us because they thought we worked for the same company as them," Desautels says.
On the Netragard blog, he describes an exploit in which a Netragard worker posed as a contractor, befriended a group of the client's workers and set up a successful phishing scheme through which he gleaned employee credentials, eventually gaining entry to the entire corporate infrastructure.
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
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