Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Malware Impersonators: Hey, is that really you?

Computer scientists are saying that malware is already shifting strategies to impersonate you on your social networks. Will we have to become better at telling if our online friends are really who they say they are?

Live Science - 10.15.10 by Stuart Fox

Most malware restricts itself to stealing credit card numbers, tricking computers into sending spam and occasionally shutting down an Iranian nuclear power plant. This state will not last. As Internet traffic increasingly shifts to social networking sites, a new class of malware will steal identities, co-opt personal relationships and imitate people’s natural behaviors to avoid detection.

Writing in the online research website, computer scientists from Ben Gurion University, in Beersheba, Israel, predict how these attacks will use an individual’s own personality to stealthily distribute information about their social circle to spammers. Although no malware of this variety has been discovered in the wild yet, the value of social network data makes its eventual appearance all but inevitable, the authors write.

these new kinds of attacks, which are much more dangerous, steal not your credit cards and passwords, which are things that you can change, but steal your reality, information about your friends, and about your habits, which is much more valuable,” said Yaniv Altschuler, first author on the ArXiv paper. “Because this is so valuable, these are probably the kinds of attacks under development right now.”

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