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Social Net Security: Phishers Fake LinkedIn Profiles

Social networks' business potential is running smack into social networks' security issues, as witness this week's problems with Twitter and now, professional network LinkedIn.If your company and employees are using social nets there are some social net security practices they must, well, practice.
Social networks' business potential is running smack into social networks' security issues, as witness this week's problems with Twitter and now, professional network LinkedIn.If your company and employees are using social nets there are some social net security practices they must, well, practice.The promise of social networks as business, as well as personal, contact and communications tools has taken a few hits this week.

Latest to get punched is LinkedIn, the purely business professional network whose 30 million members apparently include more than a few who are starstruck enough to fall for phony LinkedIn celebrity listings that are, in fact, links to malware infested sites.

Unlike the Twitter problem, which was a hack that compromised legitimate accounts, the LinkedIn scam is an example of cybercrooks taking advantage of the ease with which LinkedIn account can be set up.

According to security firm Trend Micro,the phony LinkedIn profiles included Beyonce Knowles (supposedly nude no less), Kirsten Dunst< Victoria Beckham and others.

McAfee likewise reported an alarming uptick in fake LinkedIn profiles using "celebrity accounts" as bait for phishing expeditions.

A couple of points need to be made, and passed along to every networked person in your business (and your family and friends, for that matter.)

1. Social networks are built around the creation and expansion of lists of trusted contacts -- which means that you need to be absolutely certain that the person or business you're linking ot or following is who they say they are. (Evidently the phishers are betting that lot of social networkers don't remember the old "On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog" cartoon.)

2. What are your people doing adding Beyonce or Kate Hudson or whoever to accounts they're supposedly using for work anyway?

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Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer