As social media has developed over the years to include platforms like Linkedin and Google Plus hackers have seen the opportunity to target professionals and businesses through these platforms. A recent investigation has shown that hackers are creating fake profiles in order to gain access to valuable contact information. The fake accounts allow hackers to map the networks of business professionals and gain the trust of those in them. By making these connections, criminals can entice users to give up personal details, direct them to malware-laden websites and, if they can get their email addresses, launch spear-phishing campaigns – targeted emails that aim to steal personal information. Most of these fake accounts have been quite successful in gaining a significant network – one had 500 contacts. Some even managed to get endorsements from others.
Advice for professionals wanting to avoid being targeted would include taking time to look at profiles when requests are sent. Look at who they are connected with, look at their profile and see if you can find the company website or any other site with information that backs up their profile. Look to see what endorsements they have and what their activity has been like, beside connecting with people, have they posted in groups or commented on others updates? Personally if they don’t have a photo I will not connect with them.