94% of Internet users befriend unknown 'good-looking woman'

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.

The full report can be found here (PDF), with comments from Help Net Security here.

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Virus Bulletin



Latest posts:

AfricaHackon 2019: a great event and a reminder that security is global

Last week, VB Editor Martijn Grooten travelled to the Kenyan capital Nairobi to speak at the 6th edition of the AfricaHackon event.

Virus Bulletin researcher discovers new Lord exploit kit

Still in-development kit thus far only targets Flash Player vulnerabilities

VB2019 call for last-minute papers opened

The call for last-minute papers for VB2019 is now open. Submit before 1 September to have your abstract considered for one of the nine slots reserved for 'hot' research.

Nominations opened for sixth Péter Szőr Award

Virus Bulletin is seeking nominations for the sixth annual Péter Szőr Award.

Haroon Meer and Adrian Sanabria to deliver VB2019 closing keynote

New additions to the VB2019 conference programme include a closing keynote address from Thinkst duo Haroon Meer and Adrian Sanabria and a talk on attacks against payment systems.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.