Social Networking: The seven deadliest hacks

My favorite type of Social Networking remains that which involves chatting with mates over a drink in the pub. Call me old-fashioned. There are, of course, various associated threats to “security” to consider: for instance, the extortionate cost of a pint these days could be considered a crime, and after a few drinks I might reveal information that should otherwise remain secret, which consequently might affect my personal reputation. It’s also how I met my wife.

I’m also well versed in more modern socialising. I have 38 “friends” on Facebook most of whom I probably wouldn’t recognise if they walked past me in the street, and around a hundred or so contacts on LinkedIn mostly comprising new and old work colleagues, a couple of hopeful recruitment consultants, plus a few folk I met whilst engaging in Social Networking 1.0 (i.e. at the pub).

Anyway, it’s been a while since I discussed social networking on this blog. Last December I stated the view that organisations who continue to allow full and unrestricted access to social networking sites need to wake up to the fact that they are putting the security of their data and other assets at risk.

Adding some more fuel to the fire is an article just published on Dark Reading entitled The Seven Deadliest Social Networking Hacks where Kelly Jackson Higgins proposes the case that Social networks are the next major attack venue for trolls, spammers, bot herders, cybercriminals, corporate spies — and even jilted ex-lovers or enemies — to make money, or just plain wreak havoc on their victims’ personal lives.

The seven deadly hacks discussed are:

1) Impersonation and targeted personal attacks
2) Spam and bot infections
3) Weaponized OpenSocial and other social networking applications
4) Crossover of personal to professional online presence
5) XSS, CSRF attacks
6) Identity theft
7) Corporate espionage

Personally, I think the following cartoon (from here) neatly sums up one of the biggest risks….


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Social Networking has long been a pivotal ingredient to any successful business work. Computer Network
Funny story, mostly off topic, but marginally related to the comic, but I actually got my current job in a large part due to my LiveJournal. My current employer received my resume, researched my email address, found a link to my LJ, and read my past year's worth of posts to see what I was like, what my interests were, and to get a feel for my personality. He told me about it after I was hired. He said that there are so many things you can't ask during an interview that you can find out from something like LJ. Of course, this is only a good thing if the contents of your online presence lend themselves in your favor.