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Social Networks Triggering High Cyber Crime Levels


December 17, 2012 http://www.southuniversity.edu/whoweare/newsroom/blog/social-networks-triggering-high-cyber-crime-levels

Cyber criminals are increasing at a distressing rate, courtesy of social networks. This is according to a report filed by the US security company, Imperva. The company has a detailed analysis on how cyber crime has advanced. In reference to the ‘Monitoring Hacker Forums’ report, modern cyber criminals deal with hacking more than ever.

During the case study, Imperva analyzed major hacker forums that included sites with large numbers of subscribers, as many as 250,000. The company was able to determine and undoubtedly decipher the current threats and methods used by the notorious hackers. It was also discovered that DDoS and SQL injections are the most compromised hotspots. There are two main ways through which these crimes are committed.

Black market
Cyber criminals love sites that have a large number of subscribers, such as Facebook. With over 1 billion users, Facebook has become one of the most targeted areas for committing cyber crime. Twitter follows at a close range. The criminals use these platforms for black market purposes, where all illegal activities such as impersonation are done. Malware is also easily spread in fast speeds via the social network. The cyber criminals create fake accounts with illegitimate products, faking ‘likes,’ ’comments,’ and ‘follows.’ Subscribers end up falling prey due to building trust in the alleged large following.

Cyber Personalities
Beginner cyber criminals make easy money selling pornographic material. Cyber criminals impersonate people, attracting a large number of buyers. They end up making money by using disguised personalities, usually females, to sell pornographic content. Men pose as women by creating profiles with female photos. They then ask unsuspecting social network users to click on a link. However, these users end up clicking links and signing up in the advised sites, only blindly and unwillingly helping the criminal make money. There were more than 13,000 threads on this kind of activity in just one forum.

The study also indicates more popular attack methods that unsuspecting Internet and social media users fall for. The following five are the trendiest at the moment.

  1. Data-flooding DDoS campaigns
  2. Spam
  3. SQL injections
  4. Shell code
  5. Brute-force attacks

The CTO of Imperva, Amichai Shulman, advised organizations to keenly focus on SQL injection security because cyber criminals are taking advantage of the minimal security measures that have been put in place. He warned that should organizations fail to put in place the necessary measures, hackers will definitely place more focus on SQL injection attacks.

From this study, it is noted that as of 2012, cyber crime is more advanced and if proper measures are not installed, then genuine people will lose a lot. Everyone should read case studies especially on hacker forums so as to know what the hackers are looking for and ensuring that security is enhanced. Studying the forums equips us with the necessary knowledge on the hackers’ strategy hence plan an effectual counterattack.

Tags: crime criminal justice cyber crime social networks

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