Social networks have become part of the cyber crime fabric. Recently a security researcher has provided a tool that simplifies the process of building bot armies that take their marching orders from specially created Twitter accounts. TwitterNet Builder offers script kiddies a point-type-and-click interface that forces infected PCs to take commands from a Twitter account under the control of attackers. Bot herders can then force the zombies to carry out denial-of-service attacks or silently download and install software with their Twitter-connected smart phones.
It may be easy to ignore these issues as just more noise in the cyber crime landscape. I would advise against that. CIO’s and CISO’s need to understand the tactics of their adversaries. I would suggest reading a particularly compelling account of cyber espionage perpetrated by the PRC. See below a screen shot from Palantir illustrating the use of social networks as conduits for cyber crime and espionage.
Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are shown as the green icons hosting command and control functions for bot networks. Domain names are blue and web servers are red.
What should you do with respect to combating cyber crime and cyber espionage? Ask for help. Utilize resources from vendors. Cisco is a great example. Also get back to fundamentals:
Address security policy shortcomings and develop a risk management program
Address device misconfigurations and security management processes
Staff the security organization appropriately and institute rigorous, metrics-driven management process
Prevent data loss through aggressive use of data classification and encryption
Prevent human error by investing in continuous security awareness training
I hope that helps.
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