Hackers are using social media to launch cyberattacks

Security / Tech
social media

According to the New York Times, the Pentagon is worried that hackers are ramping up their social media presence in order to break into DoD computers.

The hacking business is only getting larger as computers and technology also continue to grow and advance. Before we continue, it’s important to note that not all hackers are bad, see our short guide to hacker hat colors. That being said, the not so nice hackers are ramping up their social media based cyber attacks and people are falling victim. The New York Times is reporting that instances of social media posts with malicious links are on the rise. In one example, a Twitter post from a robot account promised an alluring vacation package but instead contained a malicious link.

According to the New York Times, the Pentagon is worried that state-backed hackers are ramping up their social media presence in order to break into Defense Department computers. While many government agencies and businesses are training employees to be aware of bad emails, that same caution isn’t being used for social media accounts. Part of the problem with sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ is that users tend to be more trusting and feel comfortable. After all, this is their network of family and friends and there couldn’t possibly be a threat there.

This type of attack is referred to as spear phishing and it’s nothing new, but according to the Pentagon, it is being used on social media with success. The attack can have good results for the attacker as it can be spread quickly should the target start sharing to their network.

“Unlike regular phishing, which sends large numbers of emails to large numbers of people, spear-phishing refers to sending a phishing email to a particular person or relatively small group. Attackers may also heavily customize their spear-phishing emails, using public information gleaned from the Web, to make the emails seem more authentic.”

The Defense Department is very concerned about the increase in these types of targeted attacks on their people for good reason. Regular users and businesses should also be more alert and take caution with suspicious social media posts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more business start blocking access to social media sites from work, I know many already block Facebook and that could change to include Twitter, Google+ and others. Check out the New York Times comprehensive write-up at the link below.

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  Source: The New York Times
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