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Imperva Explains How Hackers Can Exploit the Love-Lorn

Imperva : 12 February, 2010  (Technical Article)
With Saint Valentine's Day approaching, the chances of being love-struck by a fraud are higher than ever with such tools as Facebook at the hacker's disposal
St Valentine's Day is coming up and hackers are preparing. They're betting that consumers get weak in the knees with the mention of the 'L' word.

A decade ago, the I LOVE YOU virus spread from one machine to another since few consumers used protection. A decade later, "iloveyou" is the fifth most common password, "lovely" is number 18 and "loveu" is #23 and "loveme" is #43.

This year, hackers will likely concoct a special Valentine potion that uses the promise of being secretly admired combined with our prevailing addiction to sharing personal information on social networks like Facebook. How will it work?

First, hackers easily get a complete list of friends for many users. Then, hackers send to that certain someone a Valentine messages seemingly coming from a friend. Urged to click a Valentine's Card to retrieve virtual chocolates or roses, you, uh, end up with a virus.

Amichai Shulman, CTO of Imperva, says "The success of such a campaign is in numbers. For this, the hacker adds a key ingredient - automation. Using an automated tool, the hacker scrapes friends list from Facebook as well as turns them into a phishing mail, all in a single click of the mouse, to spread their virus."

Shulman continues "What can you do? First, look up who sent you the Valentine's greeting and make sure it's legitimate. Chances are your 5th grade teacher did not and still does not have a crush on you. Chances are your football coach really isn't into that mushy-mushy stuff. Chances are your neighbor isn't suddenly into knowing you intimately."

Amichai requests to lovers to take to heart these recommendations:

* Do not follow links or download software referencing unsolicited spam.
* Update your computer with the latest patches.
* Ensure your anti-virus is enabled and up-to-date.
* If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Nothing bad will happen if you simply hit 'delete.'
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