Scammers get better tools for tapping social networks

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Scammers get better tools for tapping social networks

Data could enable more targeted phishing, corporate surveillance

By Jaikumar Vijayan

(Computerworld)—New tools capable of quickly finding, gathering and correlating information about individuals from social networking sites and other public sources are giving online scammers a powerful new weapon, say security researchers.

The tools allow potential attackers to build detailed profiles of individuals by finding and piecing together bits and pieces of information about them scattered on social sites and other public forums. The information can then be used in highly targeted, “spear-phishing” scams and other attacks against individuals and enterprises, they said.

Two companies providing such tools are Core Security Technologies Inc., with its Exomind application, and Paterva, with its Maltego product. Exomind is designed to find, combine and correlate information on individuals and groups of individuals from across multiple social networking sites. It can be used to build a concise portrait of an individual and to identify key relationships with others on social networks and in the real world, said Ariel Waissbein, head of CoreLabs, the R&D unit of Core Security.

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