Facebook accounts are secured against unauthorized access through passwords and device-level security. Those defenses, however, may not be sufficient to prevent social insider attacks, where attackers know their victims, and gain access to a victim’s account by interacting directly with their device. To characterize these attacks, we ran two MTurk studies. In the first study (n = 1,308), using the list experiment method, we estimated that 24% of participants had perpetrated social insider attacks and that 21% had been victims (and knew about it). In the second study (n = 45), participants wrote stories detailing personal experiences with such attacks. Using thematic analysis, we typified attacks around five motivations (fun, curiosity, jealousy, animosity, and utility), and explored dimensions associated with each type. Our combined findings indicate that social insider attacks are common, often have serious emotional consequences, and have no simple mitigation.
More details can be found in the paper:
W. A. Usmani, D. Marques, I. Beschastnikh, K. Beznosov, T. Guerreiro, L. Carrico, “Characterizing Social Insider Attacks on Facebook,” to appear in Proc. of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2017, 11 pages.