USA Today has an interesting story on how criminals steal sensitive data via social networking sites such as Facebook and other companies.
So Alice clicked on the accompanying Web link, expecting to see Bob’s photos. But the message had come from thieves who had hijacked Bob’s Facebook account. And the link carried an infection. With a click of her mouse, Alice let the attackers usurp control of her Facebook account and company laptop. Later, they used Alice’s company logon to slip deep inside the financial firm’s network, where they roamed for weeks. They had managed to grab control of two servers, and were probing deeper, when they were detected.
Intrusions like this one — investigated by network infrastructure provider Terremark — can expose a company to theft of its most sensitive data. Such attacks illustrate a dramatic shift underway in the Internet underground. Cybercriminals are moving aggressively to take advantage of an unanticipated chink in corporate defenses: the use of social networks in workplace settings. They are taking tricks honed in the spamming world and adapting them to what’s driving the growth of social networks: speed and openness of individuals communicating on the Internet. […]
An infected PC, referred to as a “bot,” gets slotted into a network of thousands of other bots. These “botnets” then are directed to execute all forms of cybercrime, from petty scams to cyberespionage. On Tuesday, authorities in Spain announced the breakup of a massive botnet, called Mariposa, comprising more than 12 million infected PCs in 190 countries. […]
Investigators increasingly find large botnets running inside corporate networks, where they can be particularly difficult to root out or disable. “Social networks represent a vehicle to distribute malicious programs in ways that are not easily blocked,” says Tom Cross, IBM X-Force Manager. […]
Stolen credentials flow into eBay-like hacking forums where a batch of 1,000 Facebook user name and password pairs, guaranteed valid, sells for $75 to $200, depending on the number of friends tied to the accounts, says Sean-Paul Correll, researcher at Panda Security. From each account, cyberscammers can scoop up e-mail addresses, contact lists, birth dates, hometowns, mothers’ maiden names, photos and recent gossip — all useful for targeting specific victims and turning his or her PC into an obedient bot, Correll says.