Every cloud has another cloud behind it

Hackers, spammers and phishers are exploiting the economic downturn by targeting social networking job sites

Although most of us see the worsening economic conditions and rising unemployment as problems, hackers, spammers and phishers see them as opportunities. MX Logic’s Threat Forecast and Report for November noted that attacks exploiting the recession already are appearing.

This is bad news at a time when social networking is becoming more important in an unstable job market.

“Social engineering spam tactics exploiting popular search sites are expected to increase as unemployment continues to rise and high-profile companies lay off employees,” the report states. In late October, phishers exploited a cross-site scripting vulnerability on Yahoo’s HotJobs site, the report states. Sites such as Facebook and MySpace are also expected to be targeted.

Paul Kocher, president of Cryptography Research, said things are going to get worse before they get better. A little online fraud might look like an attractive way for smart, unemployed or underemployed people to augment their incomes, he said.

“Robbing banks is an atrocious way to commit an economic crime,” figured in terms of potential jail time per dollar gained, Kocher said. But the ratio is much more favorable for information theft or counterfeiting. “We are going to get more and more people dabbling in these.”

But remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Things eventually will look up.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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