As Facebook Goes Public, Cyber Criminals Still Target Publicly Accessible Personal Information

Source: iovation, 31st My 2012

As Facebook made its long-awaited public debut, the focus was initially on the potential investors the social media giant will attract. But while the IPO had many looking to get in on the action, Facebook’s more than 900 million users still have to contend with cyber criminals that take advantage of people’s trust within the most popular online social network.

In a way, it can be said that Facebook is the world’s largest pool of personal information. And many of those swimming in it are out to retrieve its most precious resource — personal data.

The recent article, “Nine Major Ways Criminals Use Facebook,” breaks down various ways hackers steal identities and exploits unsuspecting users, including:

  • Affinity Fraud: Fraudsters assume the identity of individuals to earn the trust of those close to them to steal money or information.
  • Commandeering Accounts: Once a criminal accesses an existing account using an illegally obtained ID and password, they can perform confidence schemes on the victim’s list of friends.
  • Cross-Platform Profile Cloning: When criminals use stolen images and data to create false profiles on other social networking websites such as online dating.
  • Mining Unprotected Information: Because Facebook users choose not to keep all their information private, crooks collect emails, phone numbers, addresses and birth dates for profile cloning, identity theft and other scams.
  • Phishing: Hackers pose as a legitimate individual or organization to attract and direct users to bogus websites, where they prompt them to divulge sensitive information such as their credit card details and social security numbers.

Trust between users and those on their friends list has been one of the assumptions that has made Facebook such a success. That trust, however, has also been one of the cyber criminals’ greatest assets because users sharing information believe they are among friends.

With more than half of Facebook’s active users now connecting via mobile devices, IT fraud managers protecting social networking sites like Facebook need security tools that stop criminals despite the information they provide or platforms they use.

iovation’s ReputationManager 360 solution does this by using advanced device reputation technology to proactively identify all types of devices accessing online communities without relying on personally identifiable information (PII). Having this unique level of device intelligence to detect fraud, perform risk analysis and monitor transaction anomalies, velocities and geolocation in real time is critical to stopping fraudulent incidents such as profile misrepresentation, account takeover and identity theft before they happen.