By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2007-04-19 Print this article Print

To enable crimes such as these, a tool such as Evolution would come in handy. It returns hotlinked results in list form or in a spider diagram that shows each transform operation done on a given datum and where that transform leads. The question is, what does Temmingh intend to do with this potentially nefarious framework? In fact, Evolution can do much on behalf of conventional security, he said. It can be used for standard footprinting (DNS, IPs and domains, for example), for identifying phishing sites or for finding partner alliances with weaker security postures.
On the other hand, it can also be used to identify targets for social engineering and client-side attacks, for finding war-dialing ranges, to find alternative e-mail addresses for content attacks, or to understand business drivers of specific organizations along with their sensitivities. For example, a socially engineered attack benefits greatly by having convincing backup data on hand, including knowing what the targets phone number or alternative e-mail addresses are.
This all demonstrates what Temmingh said is the scary side of Web 2.0. "Web 2.0 contains great technology, but little is known about the security implications when that technology is actually used," he said. "Real criminals dont write buffer overflows," he said. "They follow the route of least resistance." Mainstream criminals tend to lag behind technological advance, he said. For example, phishing attacks were known about as far back as 1995. The question is, what will be on criminals minds in 2010? Temmingh believes that the Internets darker elements will be using tools "something close to" what hes demonstrated in Evolution: a framework that can execute personalized identity theft with scraps of information. "[Criminals] will be able to have tools to merge this information together to manipulate outcome of certain events," Temmingh said. If the examples given arent scary enough, here are more that he described:

    Who at the NSA uses Gmail?
    Which NASA employees are using MySpace?
    Which people in Kabul are using Skype?
    In which countries do marines have bases?
    What are the names and e-mail addresses of single, young women in my neighborhood who are straight—or not?
Better yet, post a fake help wanted ad, Temmingh suggested: "Looking for a nuclear scientist/engineer with experience in uranium enrichment and military background. Earn top dollar. 401k plan, dental coverage, 25 days leave. Flex time." After applicants send in their life stories on their resumes, go ahead and create an identity for them. Create an e-mail address with their name, post responses on blogs, join affiliation sites. Thus criminals can concoct entire legions of half- (or more) fake but credible (online) people with whom they can do mischief, Temmingh said—another illustration of how, while the security implications of Web 2.0 have largely been overlooked, criminals will likely pick up on them in the near future. Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEKs Security Watch blog.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel