Something new to worry about

Malware Aimed at Social Networks May Steal Your Reality
PC World (10/13/10) Darlene Storm

Researchers at Ben Gurion University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Deutsche Telekom Laboratories collaborated on “Stealing Reality,” a paper that predicts a new generation of malware based on social-networking data.

The researchers say the malware will target and extract information about relationships and record patterns of behavior in real-world social networks, a technique that will be more dangerous and harder to detect than traditional malware. A malware behavioral pattern attack can harvest a victim’s “rich identity” profile, which could be more valuable than the demographic information such as gender and age, according to the researchers.

“A Stealing Reality type of malware attack, which is targeted at learning the social communication patterns, could ‘piggyback’ on the user-generated messages, or imitate their natural patterns, thus not drawing attention to itself while still achieving its target goals,” the researchers write.

Such attacks could be particularly problematic because “the victim of a ‘behavioral pattern’ theft cannot easily change his or her behavior and life patterns.”

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