Before compromising a victim, adversaries may create and cultivate accounts with services that can be used during targeting. Adversaries can create accounts that can be used to build a persona to further operations. Persona development consists of the development of public information, presence, history and appropriate affiliations. This development could be applied to social media, website, or other publicly available information that could be referenced and scrutinized for legitimacy over the course of an operation using that persona or identity.
For operations incorporating social engineering, the utilization of an online persona may be important. These personas may be fictitious or impersonate real people. The persona may exist on a single site or across multiple sites (ex: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, etc.). Establishing a persona may require development of additional documentation to make them seem real. This could include filling out profile information, developing social networks, or incorporating photos.
This technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on behaviors performed outside of the scope of enterprise defenses and controls.
Consider monitoring social media activity related to your organization. Suspicious activity may include personas claiming to work for your organization or recently created/modified accounts making numerous connection requests to accounts affiliated with your organization.
Much of this activity will take place outside the visibility of the target organization, making detection of this behavior difficult. Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Initial Access (ex: Phishing).