Posted by Virus Bulletin on Aug 31, 2010
Sensitiva data shared after two-hour chat.
Research from BitDefender has shown that the vast majority of users of social network sites are willing to befriend an unknown, 21-year-old, fair-haired woman; many of them even shared sensitive data that could be used to steal passwords.
The researchers created the fake profile on a popular social networking site and sent a friendship request to 2,000 people (as many males as females). A small number of people accepted the request immediately, but after some persuasion, a staggering 94% of people ultimately befriended the unknown face. Among the reasons for doing so were that the woman had 'a lovely face' (53%), or that she worked in the same industry (24%). 17% of people even claimed that she had a known face, but 'couldn't remember the place they met'.
Perhaps even more surprising was that 86% of those who accepted the friendship request were working in IT; 31% even in IT security, an industry that has been stressing the risks of using social networking sites for many years.
The researchers continued their study posing as the fair-haired woman and had a two-hour written conversation with a small sample of their 'victims'. During this conversation, most victims revealed information such as their address, phone numbers or the names of their parents and pets; information that can be used to change passwords and steal identities. Many users also revealed sensitive business information.