Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Pat Romanski, Shelly Palmer

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Cloud Security

Agile Computing: Blog Post

Social Networking - A Playground for Cyber Criminals

Protecting your Social Networking Accounts is more important than ever.

As a Security Analyst, I witness very sophisticated Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks as well as low level cyber criminals attempting to steal bank information, credit card data and website login credentials. One commonality that the cyber criminals and the APT share is the method for gaining access to information, which typically occurs through an end users email. When it comes to the criminal element of cyber attacks, I am often amazed at the lack of sophistication and effort that is asserted against their victims. It leads me to ask the question, "How on earth are these ever successful?"

There are, however, exceptions that can trip up anyone, even those within the information security profession. The right mixture of appropriate images, verbiage and the use of legitimate email addresses can open the way for a successful attack.

The Attack
Yesterday I received a Twitter "direct message" from a friend of mine titled: "Hey this user is saying horrible things about you... tinyurl.com/xxxxx".

Twitter Direct Message of Hacked Account

Normally, I would ignore this message entirely if it had originated from someone unknown to me, but this was from a close friend. Not only was it a friend, it was worded in such a way that I actually believed for a second that he could have potentially written this direct message to me. Thankfully, my mistrust of almost everyone, and my annoying obsessive compulsion to verify messages received with the senders, I was able to avoid this attempt at hijacking my twitter account.  It turns out, my friend whose account was used to send this direct message was hijacked using the same technique as above.

Let's discuss for a second why this would have been successful under normal conditions.

  • The message plays off of our desire to know what someone else is saying about you, especially within the context of social networking. Instant emotion can drown out rational decision-making that can prevent these types of attacks from succeeding.
  • This was sent from a legitimate twitter mail server using the "Direct Message" function of twitter. This adds a layer of complexity to the attack that plays on your want to believe this is a legitimate email.
  • It uses the tinyurl feature to obfuscate the link within the message. For most, this is an effective measure to keep the potential victim from knowning where the request is actually going.

If this had been successful, what would have happened?

Well, a clever set of redirects would have sent the user on at least 4 hops down the road, until they land at a well crafted webpage that looks just like a twitter login page.  You can imagine the damage invoked by logging into this imposter twitter webpage.  Unfortunately, my friend, who is a very savvy web user steeped in web technologies, found out the hard way.  Hundreds of "direct messages" sent to his entire contact list including his friends, family and business contacts.

The Aftermath
Of course, these types of attacks happen several times a day producing millions of victims. The fallout from account hijacking can be painful to reverse, and often requires time to gain control of the account and contact those who may have also received the message from your account.

If there is any sharing of passwords between your Social Networking accounts and financial institutions there is always a chance for financial and personal credit implications. This can complicate the recovery significantly, potentially costing the victim thousands of dollars and time recovering funds.

Protecting Your Social Networking Accounts
Social Networking websites, such as twitter, provide cyber criminals a veritable treasure trove of potential victims all in a convenient location. Once a legitimate account is hijacked, it only takes a few minutes to acquire enough account information to compromise other social networking accounts. Here is something to consider, If you participate in multiple social networking websites, make sure that your passwords and password recovery information is different for each account.  Because social networking websites have become so closely intertwined, one compromised account can lead to several, especially if your passwords or security questions are the same or similar.

Protecting Yourself
Remain vigilant. Seriously, remain vigilant. Scrutinize the email you receive, and contact the sender if you are suspicious of the mail or messages received.  Educate yourself to the types of attacks you can expect as an account holder of a social networking website.  You never know, you may be the person on a friends contact  list to let them know they have been compromised.  The faster the detection, the faster the damage can be stopped.

More Stories By Cory Marchand

Cory Marchand is a trusted subject matter expert on topics of Cyber Security Threats, Network and Host based Assessment and Computer Forensics. Mr. Marchand has supported several customers over his 10+ years within the field of Computer Security including State, Federal and Military Government as well as the Private sector. Mr. Marchand holds several industry related certificates including CISSP, EnCE, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GREM, GSNA and CEH.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...