How Hackers Access Your Social Network Account

Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are chocked full of personal information.  The more you add to your account, the more interesting it is for others to interact with you.  We have items on there like names of our children, parents and pets, our favorite color, the types of cars we drive, our cell phone number and mother’s maiden name.  Much of this information is available for public viewing by anyone with an account on the site; not just our “friends”.

Herein lies the most frequently used method of hacking into someone’s account: guessing the answer to password reset questions.  After the hacker views your online social network profile, he then clicks on the “Forgot Password” link which will generally ask a pre-determined question or two.  Many of these questions are “What is your mother’s maiden name”, “what is your favorite color”, or “what is the name of your favorite pet”.  Once the new password is assigned, the hacker can then login to your account, as you, and has access to your friends email addresses and  other online information.

Another commonly used method for hacking into a social network account is called the “brute force” or “dictionary” attack.  This is a method by which a hacker runs a computer program against your online account trying the most commonly used passwords and then running through a dictionary list of words.  That’s why IT folks are always insisting on “strong” passwords that include a number and a special character such as @ or &.

There is a business tie-in here.  Many of us are creatures of habit and only have a small handful of passwords that we use for everything: social networks, online banking, office VPN, etc.  Once a hackers knows your password (based on the brute force attack above), he can then access your work VPN using the same credentials.

Top 20 Most Common Passwords:

1.       123456                          11.    Nicole

2.       12345                            12.    Daniel

3.       123456789                   13.     babygirl

4.       password                       14.    monkey

5.       iloveyou                         15.    Jessica

6.       princess                         16.    lovely

7.       rockyou                         17.     Michael

8.       1234567                        18.     Ashley

9.       12345678                     19.     654321

10.    abc123                           20.    qwerty

We recommend having separate work and personal passwords and making it a strong password or, better yet, passphrase.  So you can take a phrase like “Go Braves” and turn it into “GoBr@ve$” and get a good, solid password that will be extremely difficult to break.

Let Network 1 assist your business in evaluating your network security with a free audit.  Network 1 Consulting is an Atlanta-based IT services and IT consulting company.  We provide IT management, managed IT services and IT outsourcing services to the legal, medical, financials services and accounting industries among many others.

Leave a Comment