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Vulnerabilities / Threats

10/4/2019
09:00 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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8 Ways Businesses Unknowingly Help Hackers

From lengthy email signatures to employees' social media posts, we look at the many ways organizations make it easier for attackers to break in.
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A Picture Says 1,000 Words
The most common slipup Snow sees in her research is companies oversharing online, especially on social media. Examples include human resources sharing photos and videos to attract job applicants, interns posting photos of new badges, and employees sharing photos at office functions.  
'What they don't realize is that in those pictures or videos could be employees with their badges or information on whiteboards ... a lot of things attackers could use to their advantage,' she explains.
When Snow does a security assessment for a client, she looks for pictures of employee badges so she can create her own and bring it on-site. A quick Internet search for the company and its employees usually yields a photo of someone's office badge. 
'It doesn't need to work,' she says. 'As long as it looks like everyone else's, I'm not questioned.'
Of course, badge photos are only one example of content that shouldn't be shared on social media. Office pictures can also show an attacker how desks and cubicles are laid out, what type of computers employees use, and the programs, email clients, and browsers they're running. When companies participate in online trends and challenges - Snow points to the viral Ice Bucket Challenge as an example - they're not thinking of what they may accidentally reveal: close-up pictures of the building, access control systems, or Post-its with login credentials.
'They make it easy to duplicate and impersonate and have knowledge an outsider shouldn't have,' says Hadnagy about the data companies unintentionally share online.
(Image: IBM)

A Picture Says 1,000 Words

The most common slipup Snow sees in her research is companies oversharing online, especially on social media. Examples include human resources sharing photos and videos to attract job applicants, interns posting photos of new badges, and employees sharing photos at office functions.

"What they don't realize is that in those pictures or videos could be employees with their badges or information on whiteboards a lot of things attackers could use to their advantage," she explains.

When Snow does a security assessment for a client, she looks for pictures of employee badges so she can create her own and bring it on-site. A quick Internet search for the company and its employees usually yields a photo of someone's office badge.

"It doesn't need to work," she says. "As long as it looks like everyone else's, I'm not questioned."

Of course, badge photos are only one example of content that shouldn't be shared on social media. Office pictures can also show an attacker how desks and cubicles are laid out, what type of computers employees use, and the programs, email clients, and browsers they're running. When companies participate in online trends and challenges Snow points to the viral Ice Bucket Challenge as an example they're not thinking of what they may accidentally reveal: close-up pictures of the building, access control systems, or Post-its with login credentials.

"They make it easy to duplicate and impersonate and have knowledge an outsider shouldn't have," says Hadnagy about the data companies unintentionally share online.

(Image: IBM)

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