Monday, June 2, 2008

Identity Stealing

As if there weren't already enough marks against it, ABC reported recently, after an interview with a Senior Project Manager from Symantec, that identity thieves have set their sights on MySpace as their new hunting ground.

According to Jody Gibney of Symantec, research shows that over 91% of phishing attacks in the last year have been through one of the two top social networking sites--MySpace and Facebook. As banks and other financial institutions, over recent years, have cracked down on their online security, hackers have found it increasingly difficult to access the information that they need in order to commandeer other's identities and borrow or steal money in their name.

So they've turned to everyone's favorite networking sites. What do they expect to find there? You'd be surprised.

First, the open, trusting environment found there in the world that is "MySpace" precipitates "loose lips". That is, for some reason, as MySpacers chat or talk or email, they develop some measure of trust amongst each other. They sometimes talk about things that they should probably not talk about, send information they probably shouldn't send, and store information they probably shouldn't store. It all becomes fair game.

Sometimes it's information as simple as birthdates, birth city, gender, age, physical attributes, place of employment, etc... This data opens doors of information throughout the financial world. Additionally, many users are too stupid or naive to realize that using a single password for every site you visit on the net is dangerous business. Hackers somehow have ways of determining your password. The odds are, if they can determine your MySpace password, they'll enter it into a computer somewhere and use it try to access ALL of your banking and personal financing.

Finally, MySpace is nothing more than an elaborate network of people conversing with each other. The sheer number of connections from user to user is enormous; the opportunities to spread the "data mining" and "shield gathering" bug about are countless.

I have to ask myself, again, what GOOD can come of MySpace?

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