Trustwave’s SpiderLabs has created a new penetration testing tool that uses facial recognition to trace your face through all your social media profiles, link your name to it, and identify which organisation you work for.


According to its (ethical) creators, Trustwave’s SpiderLabs, Social Mapper has been designed to help penetration testers (those tasked with conducting simulated attacks on a computer systems to aid security) and red teamers (ethical hackers) to save time and expand target lists in the intelligence gathering phase of creating the social media phishing scenarios that are ultimately used to test an organisation’s cyber defences.

What Does It Do?

Social Mapper is an open source intelligence tool that employs facial recognition to correlate social media profiles across a number of different sites on a large scale. The software automates the process of searching the most popular social media sites for names and pictures of individuals in order to accurately detect and group a person’s presence. The results are then compiled in a report that can be quickly viewed and understood by a human operator.

How Does It Work?

Social Mapper works in 3 phases. Firstly, it is provided with names and pictures of people. e.g. via links in a csv file, images in a folder or via people registered to a company on LinkedIn.

Secondly, in a time-consuming phase, it uses a Firefox browser to log in to social media sites and search for its targets by name. When it finds the top results, it downloads profile pictures and uses facial recognition checks to try and find a match. The social media sites it searches are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, VKontakte, Weibo, and Douban.

Finally, it generates a report of the results.

What’s The Report Used For?

The report is designed to give the user a starting point to target individuals on social media for phishing, link-sharing, and password-snooping attacks.

For example, a user can create fake social media profiles to ‘friend’ targets and send them links to credential capturing landing pages or downloadable malware, trick users into disclosing their emails and phone numbers e.g. using vouchers and offers to tempt them into phishing traps, create custom phishing campaigns for each social media site, or even to physically look at photos of employees to find access card badges or to study aspects of building interiors.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

In the right hands, Social Mapper sounds as though it could ultimately help businesses to improve their online security because it helps to create much better quality and more realistic testing scenarios on a larger scale that could uncover loopholes and shortcomings that current testing may not be able to fund.

The worry, however, is that in the wrong hands it could be used by cyber-criminals to quickly gather information about a target business and its employees, thereby enabling potentially very effective phishing and password-snooping campaigns to be created. This detailed information could also be shared among and sold to other criminals which could mean that individuals could be subjected to a number of attacks over time through multiple channels.

The obvious hope is, therefore, that enough checks and security measures will be put in place by its creators thereby not allowing the software to fall into the wrong hands in the first place and be used by criminals against the businesses and organisations that it was designed to help.