The Channel logo


By | John Leyden 14th July 2006 13:17

Networking sites could help hackers

Social climbing

Professional networking sites are unwittingly providing hackers with the possible means to carry out sophisticated social engineering scams, a UK security consultancy warns.

SecureTest was able to produce a comprehensive personal profile of an internal employee in a short time using data from social and professional networking sites such as Ryze, LinkedIn, and Ecademy. Combining the technique with careful web searching and cross referencing yielded information that would be difficult to obtain using traditional phone-based social engineering techniques.

In one example, a SecureTest researcher was able to obtain the full employment history and the names of key colleagues of an IT professional in a matter of hours. The worker involved had also listed details of his family members, professional memberships and hobbies.

SecureTest warns that the data could be used to impersonate an individual or to enable the hacker to build a relationship with key decision making personnel within a targeted organisation.

SecureTest isn't able to cite incidents where the attack has been used in practice, but warns that the risk it details is all too real. It advises firms to update their security policies in order to warn workers of the potential threat. ®

alert Send corrections


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe