According to the Identity Theft Resource Center of San Diego, “the data breaches are on the rise in 2008” and with more data breaches so are the impact and amount of losses. Web 2.0 is next phase of internet creation, where huge social networks are built and citizens of the network enjoy the interactive and conversational approach of the new web frontier. Does the web 2.0 introduce new threats which can be exploited by cyber criminals?

To aid a social communication, users are required to input personal profile including birth date and residence addresses into these social networks to participate, which happens to provide a target rich environment for cyber criminals. These days new attacks are already taking advantage of personal information, some of which is retrieved from social network sites. If the account is hacked/breached from one of these social network sites, the impersonator can damage the (personal and professional) reputation by modifying the profile or changing/inserting the contents or comments.

Cross site scripting is one of the major threat facing Web 2.0, below is an example of XSS.

“In an incident reported in early December 2006 by Websense, hackers compromised the MySpace social networking site and infected hundreds of user profiles with a worm. This malicious code exploited a known vulnerability to replace the legitimate links on the user profiles with links to a phishing site, where victims were asked to submit their username and password. In addition, according to Websense, the worm embedded infected video in victims’ user profiles.”

AJAX is one of the main programming languages used to develop Web 2.0.

“A traditional Web site is like a house with no windows and just a front door. An AJAX Web site is like a house with a ton of windows and a sliding door. You can put the biggest locks on your front and back doors, but I can still get in through a window.”

What if you happen to be a peace activist or a whistle blower in your company? Then perhaps Uncle Sam or your employer wants to settle scores with you for some reason. The question is who is monitoring them or for that matter stopping them from getting into your account to steal or modify data to damage your reputation or career? The point is, besides all the functional benefits, web 2.0 comes with new threats which we need to be aware of. Without knowing these risks we can’t manage or mitigate them to a point which is acceptable to the society at large.

Web 2.0 contents are mostly interactive or dynamic in nature. The tools which were used to defend static contents might not be feasible for dynamic web 2.0 contents. Non-repudiation, validating the source and real time verification of the contents might be necessary to stay on top of the dynamic nature of web 2.0 threats.

Web 2.0 – Opportunity 2.0 or Threat 2.0?

How freely available online infomation on Web 2.0 was utilized to break into online banking account

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us


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