Security Experts:

Tool Detects Squatted Accounts on Social Networks, Code Repos

Web security company High-Tech Bridge has improved its Trademark Monitoring Radar service with a feature designed to help organizations identify squatted or fraudulent accounts created on social networks and code repositories.

Trademark Monitoring Radar is a free service that hunts for malicious domain names. The service initially allowed organizations to detect potential cybersquatting and typosquatting of their domain or brand. A feature designed to detect phishing websites was later added.

The latest feature allows organizations to find typosquatting or cybersquatting attempts on social networks and code repositories. Users simply enter the name of their own domain and the service displays a list of potentially squatted accounts found on websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus, GitHub and Bitbucket.

High-Tech Bridge told SecurityWeek that new social networks will be added in the upcoming period. The detection algorithms and the database storing information on malicious domains are continuously improved – the company says there is an improvement of roughly 10 percent every month. The results displayed for each tested domain are updated every 24 hours.

The Trademark Monitoring Radar service is fully automated, which can result in false positives. However, the security firm pointed out that it’s virtually impossible to automatically assess the impact of each account. On the other hand, each of the potential problematic accounts is displayed as a link, making it easier for users to manually verify them.

“We prefer to give more than less,” explained Ilia Kolochenko, CEO and founder of High-Tech Bridge. “For some companies, even the same user name can pose a potential problem. We saw when relatively innocent accounts were used in sophisticated credit card fraud.”

It can be useful for organizations to identify squatted or fraudulent accounts on social media websites as they can be abused by malicious hackers in combination with social engineering for spear phishing attacks. As for code repositories, fake accounts can be leveraged for delivering malware, Kolochenko said.

Once the fraudulent domains have been identified, the targeted organization can ask the service provider to take them down. While the process is often simple for major brands, it can be more difficult for smaller companies. “It can take longer or even require an intervention from a law firm,” Kolochenko explained.

Related: High-Tech Bridge Launches Free Service for Testing Mobile Apps

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.