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Intelligence and Security Experts Duped on Social Sites



It’s generally a good idea to think twice before adding friends to your social networks for a number of reasons. But some people should think three or four times…especially if they are prone to sharing national secrets with virtual strangers.

A security researcher created faux profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and was able to befriend a few hundred people that work for the U.S. military, intelligence agencies, information security companies and others companies with access to sensitive information. All the researcher had to do to gain favor with these otherwise intelligent people was pretend he was an attractive 25 year old woman who worked in the security industry.

Those that security research Thomas Ryan befriended while using the Robin Sage persona did more than just let him view their personal photos and contact info. Some of them sent her documents to review and invited ‘her’ to conferences. ‘She’ was even granted access to a private Facebook page that was only supposed to be open to those on a secret Israeli base.

Most of us don’t work in jobs with such sensitive information, but this is a classic example of social engineering. If you haven’t adjusted your privacy settings in Facebook or your favorite social networking sites you should do so to protect against identity theft and other risks. It’s also important to remember that anything you post online can potentially be seen by many more people than you’d hope.

Read more about Ryan’s experiment over at Computerworld.



  1. GoodThings2Life

    07/24/2010 at 5:42 am

    Wow. Just reminds me precisely how stupid people really are, and how careless we are when it comes to trusting people we don’t even know. I always have a policy that if I don’t already know who you are in person, I reject your friend request online. No exceptions.

  2. SAM

    07/24/2010 at 9:40 am

    “Would you like to see my fan dance fellas…”
    (Star Trek movie)

    Just goes to show a “pretty girl” and men,
    hasn’t changed in a 1,000 years…

  3. Chris Hickie

    07/24/2010 at 3:56 pm

    Kinda ties in with that Russian fem fatale spy that was just sent back to Russia.

  4. GTaylor

    07/25/2010 at 4:48 pm

    Back in the old days it was possible to move out to the wild west where life was more dangerous or to live in a more developed setting back east.
    With the web and all of the new “social” networks no one has to move anywhere. As a matter of fact, going to these sites and enjoying the new electronic frontier is more like going to the amusement park. All fun and everyone who is fun is doing it!
    But that is what makes it more dangerous than the old west. It doesn’t look dangerous. It is easy to forget that no one online has to be who they really are. Companies don’t have to be who they really are. Even you are not who you think you really are. If you put who you are online that makes you a commodity, a product, information to be sold and sold to. It makes it so easy for private detectives. There is an old fashioned title for you.

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