Saturday March 23, 2019
Home Lead Story New algorithm...

New algorithm may help locate fake Facebook and Twitter accounts

Using the meta-features, the researchers, constructed a generic classifier that can detect fake profiles

0
//
Tweeters unable to automatically save tweets to facebook. Pixabay
Tweeters unable to automatically save tweets to facebook. Pixabay

Scientists have developed a new generic algorithm based on machine-learning to detect fake accounts on social network platforms including Facebook and Twitter, an advance with considerable potential for applications in the cyber-security arena.

“With recent disturbing news about failures to safeguard user privacy, and targeted use of social media to influence elections, rooting out fake users has never been of greater importance,” said lead researcher Dima Kagan from the Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel.

The icon of Facebook.
Facebook has many fake profiles. Pixabay

The study showed that the algorithm is generic, and efficient both in revealing fake users and in disclosing the influential people in social networks. “Overall, the results demonstrated that in a real-life friendship scenario we can detect people who have the strongest friendship ties as well as malicious users, even on Twitter,” the researchers said.

Based on machine-learning algorithms, the new method, detailed in the journal Social Network Analysis and Mining, works on the assumption that fake accounts tend to establish improbable links to other users in the networks.

Also Read: Facebook Rolls Out Fact-Checking News In Karnataka

It constructs a link prediction classifier that can estimate, with high accuracy, the probability of a link existing between two users. It also generates a new set of meta-features based on the features created by the link prediction classifier.

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Fake accounts on Twitter will be identifie too. VOA

Using the meta-features, the researchers, constructed a generic classifier that can detect fake profiles in a variety of online social networks. “We tested our algorithm on simulated and real-world data sets on 10 different social networks and it performed well on both,” Kagan said.

Previously, researchers from the BGU had developed the Social Privacy Protector (SPP) to help users evaluate their friends list in seconds to identify which have few or no mutual links and might be “fake” profiles. IANS

Next Story

Experts Urging Users to Change their Facebook Passwords and Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way

0
Facebook
Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way. Pixabay

After a report revealed around 200-600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by over 20,000 Facebook employees, cybersecurity experts are urging users to change their passwords and turn on the two-factor authentication (2FA).

So far the inquiry has uncovered archives with plain text user passwords dating back to 2012, according to the report published this week by KrebsOnSecurity, a blog run by journalist Brian Krebs.

Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way.

“It’s perfectly possible that no passwords at all fell into the hands of any crooks as a result of this. But if any passwords did get into the wrong hands then you can expect them to be abused,” said Paul Ducklin, Senior Technologist at global cybersecurity firm Sophos.

facebook
Facebook said it had found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords. Pixabay

“Hashed passwords still need to be cracked before they can be used; plaintext passwords are the real deal without any further hacking or cracking needed,” Ducklin added.

Facebook said it had found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords.

“While the details of the incident are still emerging, this is likely an accidental programming error that led to the logging of plain text credentials. That said, this should never have happened and Facebook needs to ensure that no user credentials or data were compromised as a result of this error,” said John Shier, Senior Security Advisor at Sophos.

“This is also another reminder for people who are still reusing passwords or using weak passwords to change their Facebook password to something strong and unique and to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA),” Shier said. Turning on 2FA would mean that a password alone is not enough for crooks to raid your account, Ducklin added.

facebook
Turning on 2FA would mean that a password alone is not enough for crooks to raid your account, Ducklin added. Pixabay

Facebook also asked people to change their passwords “out of an abundance of caution”.

Earlier this month, Facebook came under scrutiny for using phone numbers provided for security reasons — like two-factor authentication (2FA) — for things like advertising and making users searchable by their phone numbers across its different platforms.

ALSO READ: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Receives Death Threats on Social Media

“Another security measure users can implement to strengthen their digital security postures is to use different passwords for different online accounts. Don’t use your Facebook password for any other login, particularly for personal/professional email accounts or online banking,” said Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Limited.

“It is also a good practice to log out whenever not using Facebook, even on mobile devices,” Katkar added. (IANS)