Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

8/12/2008
06:15 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

LinkedIn Hack Demonstrates Ease of Impersonation

Researchers channel Marcus Ranum on popular social network, duping security icon's friends, family, and colleagues

LAS VEGAS -- Black Hat USA and DefCon 16 -- A pair of researchers successfully impersonated security icon Marcus Ranum on the social networking site LinkedIn recently, even fooling Ranum’s sister into “friending” the phony Ranum profile.

The exercise, which researchers Shawn Moyer and Nathan Hamiel demonstrated here at both hacker conferences last week, was to show just how easy it really is to impersonate someone on a social networking site. The lack of authentication and validation of social networking personae, as well as a culture of often-blind trust, was the perfect recipe for a case of an online phony identity, according to Moyer and Hamiel, who showed off this and other simple hacks on popular social networking sites in their "Satan is On My Friends List: Attacking Social Networks" presentation.

Ranum -- who doesn't have a LinkedIn profile -- was on board with the experiment, so the researchers culled press releases, bios, articles, and his photo off the Web and built the phony Ranum profile on the social networking site. “We then built legitimacy quickly. There’s this weird underbelly of users that accept invitations from anybody for no reason. In social networks, friends are currency,” Moyer said. Some of these are the so-called “open networkers,” who are members of most every LinkedIn group, so Moyer and Hamiel did a Google search for several of these users to which they sent invites to link to Ranum.

They had 42 connections to the phony Ranum profile within 12 hours, and after joining several security networking communities to build in more credibility (CISO: Meaningful Metrics, ISACA, Executive Suite, Enterprise Security, Security Leaders, and BlackHat), they got connection requests from the CSO of a security firm, from a former CSO of a Fortune 100 company, and then, from Ranum’s sister, who also fell for the ploy.

The researchers said that if their phony profile had contained a link to another Website or to a new application, they would have had more success than a typical phishing attack.

LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, and HighFive are all vulnerable in some way because they’re open social networking sites. They are susceptible to threats from voluntary mashups, as well as to attacks via custom applications that members can write for their sites and for other users to deploy, the researchers said.

“Who needs vulns when you have open APIs?” Hamiel said. “You write once and own anyone. One of the cool things is that it’s centrally located... You can go rogue when you get installs. It’s malware-as-a-service.”

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RDP Bug Takes New Approach to Host Compromise
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/18/2019
The Problem with Proprietary Testing: NSS Labs vs. CrowdStrike
Brian Monkman, Executive Director at NetSecOPEN,  7/19/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-10101
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
ServiceStack ServiceStack Framework 4.5.14 is affected by: Cross Site Scripting (XSS). The impact is: JavaScrpit is reflected in the server response, hence executed by the browser. The component is: the query used in the GET request is prone. The attack vector is: Since there is no server-side valid...
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
Voice Builder Prior to commit c145d4604df67e6fc625992412eef0bf9a85e26b and f6660e6d8f0d1d931359d591dbdec580fef36d36 is affected by: CWE-78: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection'). The impact is: Remote code execution with the same privileges as the...
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
Jeesite 1.2.7 is affected by: SQL Injection. The impact is: sensitive information disclosure. The component is: updateProcInsIdByBusinessId() function in src/main/java/com.thinkgem.jeesite/modules/act/ActDao.java has SQL Injection vulnerability. The attack vector is: network connectivity,authenticat...
CVE-2018-18670
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
GNUBOARD5 5.3.1.9 has XSS that allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the "Extra Contents" parameter, aka the adm/config_form_update.php cf_1~10 parameter.
CVE-2018-18672
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
GNUBOARD5 5.3.1.9 has XSS that allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the "board head contents" parameter, aka the adm/board_form_update.php bo_content_head parameter.