In an era where the digital world is taking precedence over physical connections, it is more important than ever to understand the importance of online safety to prevent social media attacks. There is no denying that social media has changed our lives drastically, with 84% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 using social media daily.
However, with great access come potential risks if users are not implementing the correct methods for protecting their data. This guide will help you stay safe online and enhance your social media security by understanding the fundamental principles.
Common Social Media Security risks
As a modern-day social media user, you may think your online accounts are secure and that your data is safe. But in reality, several potential security risks are associated with using social media sites, ranging from malware to phishing attacks.
If you are not wise to the risks, you could leave yourself open to a cyber attack. Here are six of the most common social media security risks:
1. Human Error
A survey by IBM indicated that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human mistakes. This means that it is essential for social media users to be mindful of the potential hazards that can arise from careless behavior.
Poor user habits, such as carelessly sharing personal information on social media or failing to use strong passwords, can result in hackers gaining access to accounts and obtaining sensitive data. Furthermore, mistakes made by individuals using their devices at work or in public places, such as an open Wi-Fi hotspot, can risk corporate networks and company data.
2. Phishing Scams And Attacks
Phishing scams and attacks are a serious threat to social media security. In these attacks, cybercriminals attempt to steal sensitive information like usernames and passwords by sending malicious emails or links to get victims to click on them.
Victims may be unaware that they have provided their data, which can be used for identity theft or access to their accounts. Many attackers will also attempt to install malware on users’ devices which can give them further access or control over their systems.
Social media security risk is increased because most users have little understanding of how phishing scams work. They may think they are clicking on a legitimate link or email, only to realize later that it was not what it appeared to be.
3. Neglected Social Media Accounts
With the widespread use of social media, companies often have multiple accounts on various platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Unfortunately, when these accounts become neglected, they become vulnerable to malicious attacks.
Hackers and scammers can easily take over a left unattended profile and use it to spread spam or fake information. This can damage the business’s reputation and lead to financial losses in the form of lost customers or legal fees to repair any damage done by the hackers. In addition, sensitive company data may be exposed if the hacker gains access to their social media account.
4. Third-party Applications Susceptible To Exploitation
Third-party applications can be a serious security risk for businesses when they are vulnerable to exploitation. The recent news report of hackers accessing Twitter accounts associated with the International Olympics Committee via a third-party analytics app is a clear example of how easy it can be for malicious actors to gain access to sensitive information.
When hackers gain access to accounts associated with your business, they can send damaging messages, change profile settings, and damage customer relationships. As well as this, they can install malware or steal confidential information, such as financial records. Security breaches can potentially create substantial financial losses for businesses when customers lose faith and take their support elsewhere.
5. Imposter Profiles
According to Statista, in Q2 2022, Facebook took down 1.4 billion fraudulent accounts. This significantly declined from 1.6 billion fake user profiles during the previous quarter.
And at its peak during Q1 2019, Facebook wiped out an unprecedented two-and-a-half billion phony profiles in a one-time record figure. Fake accounts can be a significant security risk for businesses on social media platforms.
When hackers create fake accounts, it can be difficult for customers to differentiate between genuine and fraudulent profiles. This means that customers may be exposed to malicious or unethical behavior instead of engaging with the intended business.
Such accounts can also gather information from customers who may not realize they are dealing with an impostor account. This could range from personal details such as addresses and phone numbers to sensitive financial data. In addition, hackers can use their fake accounts to spread disinformation and phishing attempts.
Tips to Enhance Social Media Security
Even though there are many risks associated with using social media, there are also measures that businesses can take to reduce these risks and protect their data. Perhaps the most important thing is acknowledging that social media security is important and must be taken seriously. The following are some tips businesses can use to enhance their social media security:
1: Implement Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly
Strong passwords are one of the most effective ways to protect social media accounts from unauthorized access. They should be long, complex, and combine upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
In addition, they should also be changed regularly, at least once every three months. This will ensure that any hackers who may have previously gained access to the account cannot gain re-entry.
2: Monitor Accounts Regularly
To enhance social media security, businesses should monitor their social media profiles regularly and thoroughly. This involves reading posts and reviews to identify any offensive language or images.
It’s also important to check the links that users click on or download, as this could lead to malicious content being downloaded onto the platform. Businesses should pay special attention to reported breaches and suspicious activities.
Any attempts of hacking or unauthorized access must be tackled immediately. Furthermore, staying up-to-date on any new security updates from social media platforms is a good idea, as these can help keep accounts safe and prevent social media attacks.
3: Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an important security measure businesses should take to protect their social media accounts. By adding a second layer of authentication, businesses can ensure that the person trying to access the account is an authorized user.
When 2FA is enabled, users must first enter their username and password and then enter an additional code received via text message or email to gain access. This helps ensure that even if someone obtains your username and password, they won’t be able to log in without access to your text messages or email.
In addition to adding extra security, two-factor authentication makes it easier for users to reset their passwords if needed. Since the user will need not only their current password but also the code from their phone or email address, resetting passwords can be done with much more confidence that no one else has gained unauthorized access.
4: Invest in SSL Certificate in Social Media Marketing
A secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate is an important security measure for businesses regarding social media marketing. SSL certificate ensures that data transferred from the server to the visitor’s web browser is encrypted and secure. Therefore, it is necessary for a site owner to buy SSL certificate & install it on the website for the website’s data security. This prevents any data, such as passwords, payment information, or other sensitive information, from being intercepted by hackers. Businesses should ensure that any website linked to their social media platforms is secured with an SSL certificate. This can help prevent social media attacks by protecting the privacy and security of customers.
5: Limit Accessibility of Social Media Accounts
Businesses should consider limiting which employees have access to their social media accounts. Each employee who has access to the account should have a unique username and password, and two-factor authentication enabled.
This will ensure that only authorized personnel can make changes to the account and monitor its activity. Additionally, limiting access will enhance social media security by significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches. It’s also important to regularly review who has access and remove any users whose role within the company no longer requires them to have access.
6: Educate Employees on Social Media Security
Finally, businesses must educate their employees about best practices for social media security. This will ensure that everyone knows how to protect the business’s social media accounts and knows the potential risks associated with not following security protocols.
Employees should be taught how to recognize suspicious activities or fake accounts, how to change passwords regularly, use two-factor authentication, and limit accessibility. By educating employees on these topics, businesses can ensure that their social media accounts remain secure.
The Bottom Line
It may not be easy, but businesses must take the necessary steps to enhance their social media security. You have only one chance to make a positive impression on customers, and having a secure environment is key. By following the tips outlined above, businesses can ensure that their social media accounts remain secure and their customers’ information is safe.