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.

Threat Intelligence

6/2/2016
11:50 AM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

How Facebook Raises A Generation Of Intelligence Analysts

In the process of creating and administering groups, users learn how to read data points, create a risk profile in their head, and watch for changes over time.

In any profession, and in security specifically, it is the understanding and “nature” of the professional which is the most difficult to develop. Knowledge gaps can always be closed, but this unnamed “grit” sometimes seems untrainable.

When Facebook created Groups it encountered challenges every such system has encountered in the past, such as spam and spam bots. Facebook is highly active and capable in countering these, but they also enlisted the help of its users by empowering them to make decisions on their own.

A Group administrator faces the decision of whom to allow to join their Group, daily. Over time, Facebook started displaying some parameters which make the decision much easier. Aside from showing the name of the person (with a link to their profile, so that you can examine it), it added immediately observable parameters, which make the decision of triage much easier.

Image Source: Gadi Evron
Image Source: Gadi Evron

Mutual friends and friends in Group

If the person already has mutual friends with you, it is much easier for you to estimate they are a real user. You could even go and ask about them, although the very point of these parameters is to allow you to make a less time consuming decision. Friends in Group is similar, and unless your group has entirely been taken over by spam bots (which give each other social proof and make this parameter useless) it shows they are potentially relevant to, for example, the topic of discussion.

Time on Facebook and Group Membership

Facebook also shows you when the profile was created. It used to be that if a profile is older than a month, it was fine. Nowadays, younger than a year is a red flag. The other parameter, “Member of” displays how many groups the user is a member of. The current effective rule of thumb for this parameter to contribute to our risk profile is if the user is a member of too few groups, or too many. It isn’t reliable by itself though.

Clickable

If you can afford to delay the decision and wait a couple of days before approving a new user to join your group, you provide Facebook time for its other anti-fraud systems to identify that the account is phony. Others already reported the abuser as a fake account. The name appears in black instead of a clickable blue, leading to their profile.

This system for filtering new member requests is pretty neat, but the reason I like it is not because of how it counters fake profiles and spammers, but because of how it trains a multitude of Facebook users on how to read data points, create a risk profile in their heads, watch for changes over time, and make a decision to protect themselves and their group.

Thus, a group admin and often even group members effectively become security intelligence analysts, such as someone working in anti-fraud, and develop the understanding, feel, or “grit” on how to make informed security decisions, which is great training as analysts-to-be. Hopefully, it also lets them make better security decisions for their own daily digital lives.

Related Content:

 

Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mobile Banking Malware Up 50% in First Half of 2019
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/17/2020
7 Tips for Infosec Pros Considering A Lateral Career Move
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/21/2020
For Mismanaged SOCs, The Price Is Not Right
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment:   It's a PEN test of our cloud security.
Current Issue
IT 2020: A Look Ahead
Are you ready for the critical changes that will occur in 2020? We've compiled editor insights from the best of our network (Dark Reading, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, ITPro Today and Network Computing) to deliver to you a look at the trends, technologies, and threats that are emerging in the coming year. Download it today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7245
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-23
Incorrect username validation in the registration processes of CTFd through 2.2.2 allows a remote attacker to take over an arbitrary account after initiating a password reset. This is related to register() and reset_password() in auth.py. To exploit the vulnerability, one must register with a userna...
CVE-2019-14885
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-23
A flaw was found in the JBoss EAP Vault system in all versions before 7.2.6.GA. Confidential information of the system property's security attribute value is revealed in the JBoss EAP log file when executing a JBoss CLI 'reload' command. This flaw can lead to the exposure of confidential information...
CVE-2019-17570
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-23
An untrusted deserialization was found in the org.apache.xmlrpc.parser.XmlRpcResponseParser:addResult method of Apache XML-RPC (aka ws-xmlrpc) library. A malicious XML-RPC server could target a XML-RPC client causing it to execute arbitrary code. Apache XML-RPC is no longer maintained and this issue...
CVE-2020-6007
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-23
Philips Hue Bridge model 2.X prior to and including version 1935144020 contains a Heap-based Buffer Overflow when handling a long ZCL string during the commissioning phase, resulting in a remote code execution.
CVE-2012-4606
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-23
Citrix XenServer 4.1, 6.0, 5.6 SP2, 5.6 Feature Pack 1, 5.6 Common Criteria, 5.6, 5.5, 5.0, and 5.0 Update 3 contains a Local Privilege Escalation Vulnerability which could allow local users with access to a guest operating system to gain elevated privileges.