Check out these telltale characteristics of the phony Facebook 'Friend,' courtesy of Barracuda Networks.
Want to know who your real Facebook Friends are and are not?
Turns out there are some common characteristics of the fake Friend, according to new data revealed Thursday by Barracuda Networks. For one thing, it's likely a female: Some 97% of fakes pose as women, while about 40% of real Facebook accounts are women, said Paul Judge, chief research officer at Barracuda, here at the Kaspersky Lab Security Analyst Summit in Cancun, Mexico.
"Fake users can take over your account, spam your wall and feeds," Judge said. Many of these profiles are automatically generated, aimed at making money off of affiliate campaigns or spam-related scams: They spread phony ad campaigns for free gift cards from Starbucks or other trusted brands, he said.
A typical Facebook fake profile starts out by joining a group, such as a college network, in a large metropolitan area (think: population) and then shoots out friend requests to its members. They are all about luring new friends, and Barracuda has gathered some of the common traits of these fakes, such as their profile information and activities.
They hedge their bets: For example, 58% of fake Facebook accounts say they are interested in both men and women, while only about 6% of legitimate accounts say the same. In addition, phony profiles tend to stand out due to the sheer volume of their "Friends." On average, they boast 726 Facebook friends, while real users have about 130 Friends on the social network. Nearly 70% of the posers claim to have attended college, while about 40% of legitimate users' profiles include college educations.
There's plenty of evidence of automated generation of these fake profiles, too.
It's no longer a matter of if you get hacked, but when. In this special retrospective of news coverage, Monitoring Tools And Logs Make All The Difference, Dark Reading takes a look at ways to measure your security posture and the challenges that lie ahead with the emerging threat landscape. (Free registration required.)
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The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.
So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?
Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?
Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.