Social media can be a great tool to make and maintain business and personal connections. However, it can be a major cybersecurity threat for unsuspecting users. It is all too easy for hackers to impersonate someone else and use the site to get information.
For businesses, this can make each and every one of their employees’ social media accounts into a threat. How to make sure that your use isn’t compromising your personal and company security?
Here is how hackers use social media to manipulate users, the risks it poses to a business, and what you can do to protect yourself and your company:
Why Cybercriminals Love Social Media
Just about everyone in the modern world has a social media account, and many have multiple. There are 2.7 billion users on Facebook and 330 million on Twitter alone. Some social media sites, such as LinkedIn, are designed specifically for professional use. Many companies have Facebook pages to communicate with customers. Twitter is popular for both business and personal use.
These websites span the globe, and have users from all walks of life. People share and exchange huge amounts of information on social media sites without much thought. This makes these platforms very attractive to cybercriminals. On most sites, there is no way to verify that a user is who they claim to be. Many people have a false sense of security when they connect with others.
How Hackers Target Social Media
There are a number of ways that can hackers can use social media against individuals and businesses. It’s important to consider your policies when talking to employees about social media, while also working hard to maintain the security with your own.
Social media websites do a lot to make sure that their sites are secure, but they can’t stop users from using the same passwords across platforms. If a user uses a password on Facebook and your internal systems, a data breach on Facebook could lead to a data breach in your office.
When people post personal information online, it can be used against them by cybercriminals to design targeted attacks. Cybercriminals can easily see the names of your friends and family, and details that you post about yourself. If an employee checks a personal account on a work device, they are at risk of compromising the company network or computer.
It’s common for hackers to create fake duplicate profiles of real people and add some of their same friends and family contacts. Many will accept them without question, not realizing that the profile doesn’t really belong to the person they know. They can then send dangerous links to click on or messages requesting information from their contacts, who don’t realize it’s a scam.
A hacker can find information on a social media account which can help them answer security questions. It is easy to look at someone’s family connections and see what their mother’s maiden name is, for example. If someone responds to a social media challenge in which they tag their childhood best friend, include a picture of their first car, or their high school mascot, they may be providing compromising information.
With answers to common security questions, a hacker can attempt access into email accounts. When they have entrance into an email, they can see any communications sent over email, use the email credentials to access more work accounts, and send emails from your address to clients or coworkers.
Some of the issues that come with social media are not directly tied to hackers or criminals. In fact, users can put themselves in jeopardy if they express extreme opinions on platforms like Twitter while publicly associated with a company.
This can impact an employer’s reputation, too, which is why it’s important for employees to keep separate business and personal accounts. It’s also a good idea on accounts where users have work information to always clarify that opinions are their own and not representing their company.
How to Prevent a Cybersecurity Threat
Protecting yourself and your business from the threats that come with social media can be a challenge. It’s important for everyone to be careful about what information they post publicly. In addition, changing all social media privacy settings to restrict sharing to only contacts can be a helpful step.
Method Technologies, a managed service provider that specializes in cybersecurity, recommends that businesses take essential steps to improve their security. It’s important to implement password protections and educate employees on how to identify fraudulent emails. Institute policies about work and personal account access on the same accounts. By taking these steps, you’ll be better able to avoid social media threats to your business cybersecurity.