Social media presence may soon prove more of a problem than boom, if users aren’t carefully while using the platform. Security firm Symantec has recently disclosed that cyber criminals are using fake LinkedIn profiles to map out the networks of business professionals to scrape contact info and later use these to send spear-phishing emails or even hack their profile when needed.
All these days, only Facebook and Twitter were serving as best mediums to cyber crooks. But now, even professional sites like LinkedIn, which has over 400 million users globally, is becoming a prime target for scammers, hackers, and fraudsters hitting out at professionals across a variety of industries, including information security and oil & gas sectors.
Scammers copy information from real LinkedIn profiles to pose as recruiters and attract new connections, said a source from Symantec. They send fake job requirements and try to sieve through a user’s personal details. Once done, they try to hit at users professional network by posing as the user and try to either send a business opportunity, fake government project tenders or extract money with some lame reason.
Symantec says that out of the above said cases, over 5% of users fall into the trap, while rest back out in the right time, as soon as they feel fishy.
Some fake profiles also pose as beautiful women and try to lure men into relationships. They get the most out of the user in their interactions and then when the right time comes then weave a saga that they are in terrible need of money. The security firm confirmed that over 7% of LinkedIn users fall into their trap, as they blindly believe that the profiles hosted in LinkedIn are of real.
Hackers are also targeting big network LinkedIn users and are succeeding in getting their email IDs cloned. They are using the same IDs either to send spam or for other cyber criminal activities.
Symantec said LinkedIn users should be very skeptical of who they add to their network.
“If you’ve never met the person before, don’t just add them. We weren’t surprised to learn that these fake LinkedIn accounts received endorsements from real users,” it said.
It added that users can do a reverse-image search (ex. tineye.Com or Google Image search) or copy and paste profile information into a search engine to identify whether the accounts are real or fake.
So, be careful guys with such LinkedIn activities. Especially, in the era where web services like social media are being used for terrorist activities.