Emerging as a key source for online criminals to interject malicious attacks, social media continues to grow and command larger audiences from a diverse group of individuals and businesses. Lurking in the background, scammers are taking advantage of unsuspecting victims in the social media space.
Every day, cybercriminals use an assorted arsenal to try to steal data, corporate assets, and confidential information from companies worldwide. Scammers target both employees and company pages to gain access to sensitive data. If employees link their personal pages to company profiles or reuse login credentials, scammers may be able to gain access to multiple accounts at once.
The top social media sites today are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn®, and Twitter. Scams on social media skyrocketed by 150% last year across these four top sites, according to experts at cybersecurity company Proofpoint. The number is likely to continue climbing as more cybercriminals target social media to collect credentials with the purpose of taking over accounts.
Once accounts have been hijacked, cybercriminals are able to change profile settings, steal information, spread malicious virus software, interrupt operations, and raid financial accounts, to name a handful of the many security risks social media exposes an organization to. Companies must ensure they are aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves. Proper training is also imperative to educate staff about the risks.
There is no way you can live without social media in business, so you might as well learn how to live with it in an effective manner. Here are some guidelines.
Tips for Avoiding Social Media Security Risks
- Pay attention. It may sound like common sense but many business owners and top level execs neglect to observe and report unusual occurrences or behaviors. Effectively monitor business operations, and be aware of the top security threats currently out there.
- Designate key personnel in charge. Key persons should be appointed to monitor social media activities, be responsible for your social media security, assign access privileges, etc. Form a security group or council. Acting as the eyes and ears, the committee anticipates, communicates, and prepares for internal and external threats through a comprehensive risk management process.
- Create a social media policy. Employees need to be informed about the company policy. Creating social media policies dictates best practices, safety and security guidelines, procedures to follow, and enforcement.
- Develop in-house social media training. Human error is one of the most common social media security threats. Regular in-house social media training keeps employees aware of policy and offers methods for better security to avoid accidental tweets and unknowing clicks on phishing links and other potential threats.
- Invest in secure technology. One of the most effective ways to guard against unauthorized access is by investing in secure technology. Security devices and software, applications, and platforms should include adequate security features to change usernames and passwords, deploy IP address filtering to allow only authorized addresses, assign user privileges, apply intrusion detection features to alert staff of attempted intrusion, and employ data encryption and other network security capabilities.
Vigilant attention against rising social media hacks takes innovative measures and watchful eyes to keep accounts and sensitive data safe.