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I came across one of many sites with questions such as the following: “Kristina Vi
June 25, 2008 – 11:25am: does anybody know how i can HACK into a
private Facebook account?” Looking at the messages I see a growing
trend of people who desired to get into other people’s business.
Perhaps they’re acquaintance that aren’t close enough to be friends, or
they’re looking for their potential dates’ secret profile, or worse
they’re after your identity for identity theft. In the coming few
articles, we’ll look at the implication of Social Networking as it
relates to your privacy, what to look for and how to be careful. We’ll
look into real scenarios of how your security maybe compromised, unless
The 64,000 dollar question: what does it take to gain access to someone’s profile?
For most of us who aren’t geniuses or super-technical,
you may thought this is impossible. But when you think about it, it
really isn’t rocket science. All you need is some creativity and not
afraid to break the law. But because I am, the following describes
hypothetical possible scenarios only. None has been attempted by me or
anyone related to me, and all the screens related are mocked up for the
purpose of illustrations only. The whole objective is to make you aware
of the importance of security when using social networks such as
Facebook. And at the end we’ll tell you how to protect yourself. But if
you don’t see how easy it is for someone to view your profile, you’ll
less likely to take precautions.
First thing to remember is when you get a friend
request from someone, how do you know that person is a real request or
a fake request? This is the key!!!!
Think about this, imagine if a stalker searched for
‘Paris Hilton’, someone that he/she is interested to find out more
about. And this is our hypothetical target for discussion.
Next you can click on ‘View Friends’ and you’ll see a
list of friends that’s connected to Paris. A potential stalker could
then use this publicly available information by taking down the names,
network and save the profile picture to their hard disk for later use.
With the friends of Paris information collected, the
next part involves setting up a new Facebook account by using one of
Paris’ friends identity. Thanks to the user-friendliness of Facebook,
you can do this in less than 60 seconds.
Once the account is ready, the stalker would now be
creating a fictional profile by uploading the friend’s picture that he
downloaded as well as any info related such as Name or school
information. Using this new identity, the stalker then invites Paris to
‘Add as friend’.
And soon,Paris receives a friends request, thought
that she knew the friend and accept the invitation. And that’s it!!!
Paris loses her privacy when she clicked the confirm button if she’s
not careful. The fact is, it’s quite hard to verify a friend’s request
when the name and photo appear as who they are. And this is all part of
social engineering…without much hacking involved, and you could be
losing your personal information in no one if you’re no careful. Of
course one purpose of this article is to shock you into knowing the
truth, but the other is for you to know how to protect yourself.
So how do you deal with this?
way to deal with this is to setup a limited profile list so that only a
list of people can see your profile, you’ll have to explicitly to add
new friends to that list to allow them to see your profile.
Secondly, be sure to add people to the list that you don’t want to
share your entire profile with. Well in our case, it’s someone we know,
so how do we know if its real?
- Set yourself a rule to add friends only, don’t add strangers.
- Look at the name and picture carefully. Also click on the “Name” to
see the complete profile. If the profile has little details, then
chances are it could be a made-up account.
- Look for the “You have no friends in common” line. If this person is a friend of yours, there should be some connections.
- If this person who’s inviting you is a brand new Facebook user with
no friends, then pick up a phone. If he/she is a real friend, you’d
probably have something in common to chat about. Call him/her up and
find out if there’s a genuine request from them. Always be careful
rather than be sorry.
You know, alot of people tend to have alot of friend
requests to deal with that they simply look at the name and picture
only, and then click the “Confirm” button. Don’t be one of these
people. Always be careful.
In the next article,we’ll talk about something more
serious, on why you should be super-careful, especially when by now,
you think someone seeing your profile is not really such a big deal.