Collaboration

Using Social Networks to Harvest Email Addresses

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Executive Summary

Social networking is one of the most popular Internet activities with millions of members from around the world. However, users are unaware of the privacy risks involved. Even if they protect their private information, their name is enough to be used for malicious purposes. In this paper the authors demonstrate and evaluate how names extracted from social networks can be used to harvest email addresses as a first step for personalized phishing campaigns. The blind harvesting technique uses names collected from the Facebook and Twitter networks as query terms for the Google search engine, and was able to harvest almost 9 million unique email addresses.

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