7 Important Social Media Security Issues and Risks

Your social media account has been hacked! This is perhaps one of the most distressing news you can wake up to.

Social media security breaches are a significant headache for most corporations. It estimated that the cost of worldwide online security breaches will reach $6 Trillion by 2021. Being the preferred channel by cybercriminals, it is estimated that the majority of these costs will be spent on bolstering the security of social media accounts. Below are seven crucial social media security issues to look out for.

1. Virus Attacks and Ransomware

In the world of social media security, there has been an increase in ransomware attacks that seek to extort money from people. These attacks occur when the hacker blocks access to a compromised computer. The hacker uses various malicious software to prevent you from accessing the files on your computer.

They then offer to unblock it after you pay them an agreed ransom. One such recent ransomware attack is the May 2017 WannaCry, which encrypted data on computers running on MS Windows OS. The attackers demanded to be paid using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

2. Hacked Accounts

Hacking of personal and business social media accounts has become rampant. An account can be compromised via phishing, DNS spoofing, or social engineering. Hackers can launch these attacks through stolen passwords, shared user data, and brand impersonation.

For instance, in the U.S., two in every three adults have at one time or another reported hacking of their social networking accounts. To avoid falling victim to account hackers, be extremely cautious of social media security breaches.

3. Brand Impersonation and Phishing

Imagine visiting a fake website that looks exactly like the real one. Well, this is what happens when you fall prey to phishing. Criminals set up a website that looks like that of a genuine company to target their customers. Their goal is to make you believe the site is that of the real company. They then proceed to make you divulge sensitive personal information such as your bank account details.

These criminals may also attempt to get you to reveal your credit card information and online banking login details. From here, it’s only a matter of time before they make withdrawals from your account, or use your credit card to make online purchases.

Brand impersonation works on the same lines as phishing. Criminals pose as your brand by cloning your websites and social media accounts. They then proceed to present themselves as genuine representatives of your company. They aim to lure customers into purchasing ‘non-existent’ products and services from the cloned website or social media accounts. This can easily lead to customer confusion and in some case, a run on your company.

4. Password Theft

Password theft is one of the most common breaches, especially when it comes to social media security. It involves hacking into accounts and stealing passwords. Using the stolen password, the hacker can then change your account login details. For companies, this can be a real PR nightmare as you make frantic efforts to restore your social media accounts to normalcy.

A malicious hacker could then proceed to send ransomware links to your clients. By the time you resolve your account’s ownership, the damage inflicted on your company could be irreparable. Employees responsible for managing a company’s social media accounts could also be targeted by password thieves.

5. Uncontrolled User Access

Sharing social media accounts credentials, as is the practice among some companies is bad for security. The recommended accounts management strategy is to provide access without having to share accounts credentials. This helps you keep tabs on the integrity of login details by managing access and password changes.

6. Connected Apps

Most companies’ social media accounts can be accessed via apps. These applications could be connected to your analytics, listening and publishing systems. The problem is that the apps can be infiltrated to gain access into your systems.

It is critical to understand what the security protocols are for every app your business is connected to. Having a social media security policy that restricts access by employees to apps that connect to accounts can be an excellent place to start.

7. Social Media Education

Train employee responsible for managing your social media accounts on how to be diligent and vigilant online. Provide them with strict guidelines on what they can and cannot do. For instance, instruct them not to share passwords, ignore suspicious posts, not to click on ads, avoid using social media on public hotspots, ignore friend requests from strangers, use a password locker to provide global access to your team, and frequently change passwords.

Online security has to do with social media breaches. In a world of big data security breaches, having the IT support and governance team to manage and mainstream any security issues is critical. Such a team should have a thorough knowledge of current and potential threats and provide solutions on how to mitigate them. At the end of the day, you want to leverage the power of social media while at the same time protecting yourself from potential security breaches.

  • Gretchen is a free-spirited blogger focused on ways to improve her spiritual and emotional health. She uses the MANDALA HEALS blog to dispense advice, tutorials & guides on various topics.

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