The good people of Sophos, a popular security company, are warning users of social networks of the dangers of allowing strangers to gain access to their online profiles.
Sophos fabricated a Facebook profile for a "Freddi Staur" (an anagram of "ID Fraudster") and then sent out 200 friend requests. They wanted to see how many people would respond and how much personal information could be gleaned from the respondents.
Here are the results:
"Freddi may look like a happy green frog that just wants to be friends, but actually he's happy because he's just encouraged 82 users to hand over their personal details on a plate," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "While accepting friend requests is unlikely to result directly in theft, it is an enabler, giving cybercriminals many of the building blocks they need to spoof identities, to gain access to online user accounts, or potentially, to infiltrate their employers' computer networks."