A survey carried out by security firm Trend Micro has revealed that 40% of British teenager are “social hackers”. They have hacked into social networking sites such as Facebook for their own benefits.
The “new” idea of “social hacking” is that many social details are on view via social networking sites such as Facebook. A competent social hacker can find information which tends to give away security question answers. So that rather than rummaging through dustbins for passwords, social hackers simply rely on their Google-Fu.
In a survey of 500 children, between 12 and 18, and 500 parents the security company found 40% of teens had gained access to someone else’s social networking profile this way. A further 10% also said they thought it was “cool” or “funny” to impersonate them and 70% admitted they had done this.
Rik Ferguson, senior security adviser at Trend Micro, said children were finding it easy to do this because people are still too free with the personal information they post online.
“It’s not hard for a child to reset someone’s password and gain access to a social networking or Paypal account via Ebay because most of the information needed to do this is on a social networking profile,” he said.
He said there were many applications on social networking sites that could also be used to obtain the information required. One example includes a questionnaire that is sent out to friends on Facebook asking them to list 25 things about themselves. This includes their first kiss, the name of their first teacher and their first love.
“All these answers can then be used when resetting a password as these are normally the questions you are asked when you forget a password on these sites, ” Mr Ferguson said.
The Survey found out that boys are twice more likely to try their hands at breaking into someone else’s profile to impersonate them whereas girls are three times more likely than boys to try to access other people’s online shopping accounts and even bank accounts without permission to get access to money
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