20 September 2010 | 7,792 views

Interpol Chief Ronald K. Noble Has Facebook Identity Stolen

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Just goes to show you can jack anyone, including one of those most powerful people in the policing world. It’s not really a technical security issue but still it shows online identity theft isn’t really difficult.

That’s one difference between Twitter and Facebook, even though Twitter is only a micro-blogging service and doesn’t really store much data about an individual it has the ability to ‘Verify’ an account and stop impostors gaining any kind of weight. Example here (aplusk) – note the Verified badge at the top of the profile.

Now I find this a little odd because Facebook doesn’t have this ability even though they store infinitely more personal information.

He’s one of the most powerful people in world policing, but on Facebook Interpol chief Ronald K. Noble is just as vulnerable to identity theft as anyone else.

At last week’s inagural Interpol Information Security Conference in Hong Kong, secretary general Noble revealed that criminals had set up two accounts impersonating him on the networking site during this summer’s high-profile global dragnet, ‘Operation Infra-Red’. The fraud was discovered only recently by Interpol’s Security Incident Response Team. “One of the impersonators was using this profile to obtain information on fugitives targeted during our recent Operation Infra Red,” Noble told delegates.

Operation Infra-Red, which took place between May and July of this year, was a global, Interpol-led operation to crack down on named criminal fugitives accused of murder, paedophilia, fraud, corruption, drug trafficking and money laundering, who had fled national jurisdictions. The operation led to 130 arrests.

It seems like the bogus accounts were used for some pretty nefarious activities such as gathering information on fugitives targeted during the recent Operation Infra-Red. As per usual, the criminals are always one step ahead and it seems like they came up with another way to fish for information.

It just goes to show what can be done when you think outside the box.

Noble is not believed to have had a professional profile on Facebook although his organisation does.

“Cybercrime is emerging as a very concrete threat. Considering the anonymity of cyberspace, it may in fact be one of the most dangerous criminal threats we will ever face,” Noble was quoted as saying.

Although Facebook itself wasn’t compromised in any way, the example cited by the Interpol head hinges on the ease with which the criminals were able to forge his identity without challenge. This is a problem both Facebook, and that other giant of social media, Twitter, have been grappling with.

Even for non-VIPs using real accounts, Facebook is a controversial place to put certain types of data. Last week, a study found that many US SMEs had suffered security problems they blamed on employee interest in the site.

It’s something that needs to be looked at but I honestly can’t think of any way Facebook themselves could address this as the platform isn’t built in a way that can prevent such bogus accounts. Plus the fact Facebook is constantly pushing for less and less privacy.

In business terms the more data they collect the more they are worth, and the more open the platform is the more users they will attract.

With the new wave of social media and all these sharing platforms it’s something that needs to be considered.

Source: Network World





                

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