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Social Networking and Information Gathering

Social Networking and Information Gathering: One of the best sources for information is social networking. Social networking has proven not only extremely prolific but also incredibly useful as an information-gathering tool.

A large number of people who use these services provide updates on a daily basis. You can learn not only what an individual is doing but also all the relationships, both personal and professional, that they have.

Because of the openness and ease of information sharing on these sites, a savvy and determined attacker can locate details that ought not to be shared.

In the past, I have found information such as project data, vacation information, working relationships, and location data.

This information may be useful in a number of ways, for example, armed with personal data learned data learned on social networking sites, an attacker an use social engineering to build a sense of trust.


NOTE: Social networking can be both a benefit and a problem at the same time. On the one hand, the ability to advertise, spread messages, and shares information is enormously powerful and beneficial.

On the other hand, an attacker may find the networks and their information useful to attack you.

This is something that you will have to keep in mind when allowing the use of these services within an enterprise.


Some popular social networking services that are worth souring for information about your targeting may be the ones that you are already familiar with:


Facebook:  The largest social network on the planet boasts an extremely large user base with a large number of groups for sharing interests. Facebook is also used to share comments on a multitude of websites, making its reach even farther.


Twitter:  Twitter has millions of users, many of whom post updates several times a day. Twitter offers little in the way of security, and those security features it does have are seldom used. Twitter users tend to post a lot of information with little or no thought as to the value of what they are posting.


Google+: This is Google’s answer to the popular Facebook. Although the service has yet to see the widespread popularity of Facebook, there is good deal of information present on the site that you can search and use.


LinkedIn: One of my personal favorite for gathering information is LinkedIn. The site is a to social networking platform for job seekers, and as such it has employment history, contact information, skills, and names of those the person has worked with.


Instagram: This social media service allows the sharing of photos online. The service is extremely popular and is used by a large number of people worldwide.

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