Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How we are tricked into into giving away our personal information

15.01.2009
We human beings don’t always do as we have been taught, and organizations are poorly prepared for IT security attacks that target human weaknesses.

Since it is difficult to change people’s behavior, it doesn’t help to provide training about how to behave securely. This is shown by Marcus Nohlberg in his dissertation at Stockholm University in Sweden in which he studied attacks that are called social engineering in IT contexts.

The concept of social engineering refers to the art of using social codes and knowledge of human behavior to get us to provide information or do things we should not do. A topical example happened very recently in Sweden, where people received calls from a person who purported to represent the IT office at their bank and asked them to identify themselves using their personal bank encoders. The attacker then used these codes to steal money from the victims’ accounts.

“I predicted a couple of years ago that this kind of attack would become common, especially account fraud,” says Marcus Nohlberg.

Despite the serious consequences, with many successful fraud attempts, this technique has received little attention among researchers. Marcus Nohlberg’s research has led to enhanced knowledge about what methods attackers use and what it is that makes people and organizations so vulnerable. Somewhat depressingly, Marcus Nohlberg’s research shows that information and training do not work as well as we think:

“There will always be a small group of people who do not do as they were taught. What’s more, it’s all too seldom that people undergo training in security issues in general. To change behavior, this is something that needs to be worked with constantly. The best thing is practical training, and it’s probable that organizations will need to start running internal checks where they in fact create fictitious attacks in order to identify weaknesses,” says Marcus Nohlberg.

Social engineering as a method of fraud is costly for the attacker since it requires commitment and time. However, software and technologies already exist that can interact with other people automatically:

“You can easily imagine how serious it will be when such programs target victims via digital forums like Facebook in the future. When it becomes just as simple as spreading spam, this will present a major threat to social activities on the Internet.”

In his research, Marcus Nohlberg presents a description of fraud crimes from the perspectives of victims, perpetrators, and defenders, but he also offers suggested measures for preventing attacks, based on his own experiences from controlled attacks.

Title of dissertation: Securing Information Assets -- Understanding, Measuring and Protecting against Social Engineering Attacks.

Maria Erlandsson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.su.se

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>