Researcher mines blogs, social networks to access bank accounts


Heather Havenstein
Computer World
August 26, 2008

A recent Google search of MySpace Inc.’s popular social networking site for several variations of terms describing a person’s maternal grandparents returned more than 11,000 search results.

The search by security researcher and author Herbert Thompson illustrates the growing security threat posed by the massive amount of personal information posted on social networks, forums, blogs and other Web 2.0 destinations. Thompson sent the search results to Computerworld.

Posting seemingly innocuous information — like a mother’s maiden name or a pet’s name — could help a crook access personal data stored by banks, financial services firms and other companies, Thompson said. Many companies typically ask for such information from clients to reset a password on an account, he noted.

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