Recently Twitter hired security company OurMine to hack their systems in order to find holes in its security. This isn’t surprising as studies show that cyber crime in social media grew 70% in the last sixth months. If you search “botnet,”” “hacking,” “DDoS,” or anything related to cybercrime on most social media, and you’ll find a cornucopia of fraudulent activity happening right under our noses. Social media has become a playground for cybercrime; attracting fraudulent persona’s globally who exploit social media platforms because they are free, easy to use, and offer reach from anywhere around the world.
Fraud posts began showing up in social media as early as 2011, and stolen credit cards and online business accounts began being published openly on media platforms. Originally mitigated to dark corners of social media, the level of fraud activity eventually began to rise to open visibility flooding networks with fraudulent offers. Now, many hacker-groups brazenly operate largely in the open, namely, selling and trading stolen credit card data and hacking kits (i.e. Nmap, Nessus, POF, to name a few), all from their own personal profiles. This world of crime now operates in plain sight, existing side-by- side with legitimate personas on social media.
Global cyber security firm RSA counts more than 500 fraud groups on social media around the world.
Out of an estimated total of more than 220,000 members, 60% (approximately 133,000 members) were on Facebook alone. Many of the fraud-dedicated social groups are blatantly public. Contents of over 15,000 compromised credit cards that had been published on social media networks were found on various personas. Carding, cashout, and the sale of stolen information are some of the dominant topics these groups openly talk about online, effectively making social media platforms not only the means of which they run their illegal activity but also how they teach others to run the same kind of scams, turning social media into a sort of “cybercrime school.”
The internet crime culture is growing at an unprecedented rate. One of the most recent RSA figures states that in the last 6 months, fraud related groups have grown from an average of 179,447 to a 70% percent increase of 305,677 individuals. The hotspots for fraud on social media are in the Latin Americas, Russia, and Southeast Asia. Along with Nigeria.
What are social media platforms doing do deal with this issue? With lawyers seeking to criminally charge Facebook and Twitter, these social media giants are taking proactive steps to interfere with fraudulent activity. They are actively trying to fix their platforms by hiring teams of elite security hackers to infiltrate their systems and identify missing pieces in their security algorithms.
But all of these problems are only symptoms of a larger, all-encompassing problem of how vulnerable the internet is. Cyber criminals are operating in the clear without worry or concern. When one persona is taken down another one pops up in its wake.
Experts are recommending that two-factor login authentication become more common, but then the problem remains that all these sites are part of the public internet. Two-part authentication helps if the file storage is also encrypted and file transmission is secured. End to end, it’s necessary for social media giants to encrypt each link of the data chain to protect user information and then develop sophisticated security algorithms that detect and destroy cyber-crime.