Fake flirty cyber analyst shows social network risks

Monday - 7/26/2010, 4:48pm EDT

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  • When hundreds of security, military and intelligence personnel met Navy cyberthreat analyst Robin Sage on Facebook they thought they had found a like minded cybergeek. But what they didn't know was that Robin was a fictitious character created by a security researcher to illustrate the risks of social networking. The researcher -- Thomas Ryan -- used a photos to portray Sage on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as an attractive, somewhat flirty cybergeek, with degrees from MIT. Ryan tells ComputerWorld that he connected the faux Robin Sage with some 300 men and women from the U.S. military, intelligence agencies, information security companies and government contractors. The goal was simple -- to see what intel he could gather from purely social networking connections. He said most people waited less than a month before sharing really personal info with him. Ryan is scheduled to present his findings next week at the BlackHat security conference in Las Vegas.

  • A new report from the security firm AVG says cybercrooks are infecting about 10 percent of the millions of computers they attack every month, the Telegraph reports. A recent survey shows 165 Internet domains were found to have attacked 12 million visitors over the course of two months. More than 1.2 million computers were subsequently infected. It also shows that cybercriminals are increasingly focusing on money and that they're getting better organized. Improvements in their own organization, the report says, has lead to the development of toolkits they use to infect computers, illegally obtain information -- and then buy and sell that information.

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