Social media, with all its advantages for businesses, also holds some significant cyber security threats that can damage any business and brand, and everyone should be aware of them.
Social media has become, in recent years, one of the more active aspects of our lives. We have a place to share our insights and thoughts with an unlimited amount of people, form relationships, and utilise it to expand our business and reach new clients. There’s no doubt that social media has changed our lives in a huge way.
But what about the negative side of social media? The Cyber criminals, and other bad guys, looking to make a profit from our desire to communicate, by carrying out social media attacks. This article will cover ten costly social media cyber security threats, and the way to overcome them and keep your business unharmed and running successfully.
1. Phishing Attacks
As one of the most popular cyber security threats, phishing is certainly a preferable option for scammers on social media as well. One type of phishing threat includes an impersonation of your business on social media to dupe clients into providing their credentials, pay money or share their personal information, depending on the type of business.
Solution: Having an anti-phishing service which monitors these activities and performs quick takedowns to minimise the threat to both your brand and your clients.
2. Human Error
One of the most common threats, and one that basically has no limits in the amount of damage that it may cause. As any one of us could potentially make a mistake, there’s no technological tool that can serve as a 100%, fail-proof solution.
Solution: What you can do in your business is educate your social media experts regarding the importance of checking things thoroughly before publishing, taking into consideration the threats on social media.
- The Threat of Your Suppliers: Hackers have long understood that in order to hack an organisation they don’t always have to target it directly. Every organisation uses suppliers, which are often less secure, and that can provide another way into a network. This works for social media accounts as well – a lot of companies have their accounts handled by someone who specialises in that field. If the credentials are not properly protected, it’s only a matter of time before a hacker gets a hold of them.
- The Threat of Third-Party Apps: Other than your suppliers, another potential risk is through external third-party apps that you incorporate into your business account, such as apps to monitor spread and effect of posts. These apps might contain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to infiltrate accounts that use it.
Solution: The way to handle this threat is by keeping in touch with your suppliers and making sure they have adequate defences in place.
- Using your social media profile against you: Think about a hacker gaining control over your social media account and using it to post a malicious link that infects a large portion of your clients with malware. Sounds awful, right? This can definitely be the case if a hacker gets a hold of your social media credentials.
- Hacking your social media account as stage one: Similar to phishing attacks, the hacker creates a fake profile for your business on social media, only this time they target your employees, sharing malicious files to gain access to your network.
Solution: For these attacks it isn’t one-dimensional; Your business needs conscientious employees, an anti-phishing solution and good defence products in your network.
5. Unsecure Privacy Settings
Despite the popularity of social media, some people (and businesses) have yet to understand the importance of solid privacy settings. It’s very important to make sure that not everyone can see details regarding your accounts, like who operates it, what email is associated to it, other linked accounts, etc.
Solution: Configuring two-factor authentication for your accounts, a strong password and only sharing the minimum information required, can sometimes be what keeps you from getting on a hacker’s radar.
6. Disgruntled Employees
Sometimes your employees vent about working for your company, however, in doing so, they may inadvertently reveal more than they should. With 98% of employees using some type of social media, it’s quite common for those staff to be talking about their respective companies. They may share sensitive info or post workplace pictures that may end up harming your business.
Solution: Ensure you have a Social Media policy. This will outline how staff should responsibly use social media. Not only will this provide protection from security threats, it will also shield your business from bad PR or legal trouble. It should include brand guidelines detailing how staff should talk about your company on social media. This policy should be reviewed quarterly to capture any new social media networks that gain popularity, changes to security best practices, and newly emerging threats.
7. Mobile Phones
As the usage of mobile phones, instead of PCs and laptops, increases, so do the threats against them. The attack surface for mobile phones is huge, as any unsuspicious app can possibly contain malware, but the defence tools for mobile devices cannot keep up.
Solution: It is recommended to limit the use of mobile phones to manage business social media accounts.
8. The Comments Section
A lot of businesses do not pay attention to the comments part of the content they share on their social media accounts; however, it might be crucial. There are plenty of fake profiles out there who are going through hundreds of popular pages, promoting spam or malware in the comments. Although this is not directly related to your business, clients may come complaining if they were infected from one of your posts.
Solution: The way to solve this, is by remembering to monitor the comments as well, not just the posts. Plus, reading what people comment might also help with your customer service. 😊
9. Inactive Accounts
In the modern social media scene, it’s very hard to keep track of all your profiles on various networks, and often an old account gets left behind and forgotten. This unmonitored account could be a real pain in the future, as hackers seek out these idle accounts, knowing that chances are, no one will notice their attempts to gain control of it. And since they are still associated with your brand, the damage could be huge.
Solution: The solution for this, is managing your social media profiles tightly and always deleting unused accounts.
10. Sharing Too Much
With our society hell bent on ‘sharing’ everything, as a company, you may unwittingly put your brand at risk by sharing too much information. It might be an image that allows attackers to identify the type of IT equipment you use, or posts about which suppliers and vendors you engage with. Does this info really need to be shared? Cyber criminals can identify who your company likes and follows on social media and who returns the favour.
Solution: Best practice is to ensure that all photos posted on social media are edited to have any identifying content blacked out or cropped out.
In summary, here again are ten costly social media cyber security threats for businesses:
- Phishing Attacks
- Human Error
- Third-Party Risks
- Disgruntled Employees
- Unsecure Privacy Settings
- Mobile Phones
- The Comments Section
- Inactive Accounts
- Sharing Too Much
So, as you probably understand by now, social media, along with all the advantages, it harbors threats that can also cause significant damage to your business if not handled properly. If you’re looking for professional defence for your business against social media security threats, contact Celebprotect today.