Could your business be inadvertently stepping into the hidden trap of social media? Have you evaluated the possible digital security hazards linked with your utilization of social media platforms? Social media has transformed from a simple communication tool to a potential gateway for cyber threats. The reputation of your business, confidentiality of your customer data, protection of your information, and even your employees' safety could be jeopardized. It's imperative for business owners and stakeholders to know the importance of a well-informed social media approach bolstered with strong cybersecurity defenses.
In this blog post, we explore the cybersecurity risks associated with social media use and provide a roadmap for the necessary precautions your business and employees should undertake to counteract them.
Cybersecurity Risks Associated with Social Media
In today's digital age, social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. From sharing photos and hilarious memes to connecting with friends and family across the globe, social media has revolutionized the way we communicate. However, with every passing year, the cybersecurity risks associated with these accounts continue to grow. Cybercriminals target these accounts and in the wrong hands, your information, including your date of birth, phone number, home address, and place of business, could be used for illegal activities.
These activities include data mining, social engineering attacks that target employees’ personal accounts or company information shared on public platforms, phishing scams designed to steal confidential data or money from unsuspecting victims, and reputation damage caused by the spread of misinformation.
So, it's essential to be mindful of the information you share on social media and take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your place of business against these hidden risks.
Social media was built to be social, of course. Therefore, it is an information sharing highway and one where cybercriminals are jumping into the fast lane. As information is shared on social media, criminals are in the background mining all the data.
Data mining is the process of extracting valuable information from large datasets and analyzing it to uncover hidden patterns, correlations, and trends. It is often a tool used in business to gain insight into customers, market shares, competition, and other data points that can be leveraged for competitive advantage. But, data mining is also used by criminals for the collection of data from various platforms to paint the perfect picture for disaster. Employees’ families, specific interests, and even insight that could lead to cracking a sensitive password - all for the taking.
Social engineering are tactics a cybercriminal utilizes to gain the trust of their targets, so they lower their guard and reveal sensitive information. These tactics include manipulating people into downloading malicious software, visiting fake websites, sending money to criminals, and conforming to other human errors that compromise personal or business security.
Knowing the red flags of social engineering can help you and your employees from becoming victims:
- Requests that are extremely urgent
- Receiving help or information you didn’t request
- An offer that is too good to be true
- Receiving an odd message from a ‘trusted source’
- A friend/family member sends an email at a questionable hour (i.e., your mom sending an email at 3am)
- The sender is unable to prove their identity
Phishing scams are malicious acts conducted by cybercriminals to gain access to information such as usernames, passwords, financial records, or other confidential data. The criminal typically attempts these acts through various channels including email spoofing, malware-infected websites, or malicious links sent via text message. It is important for businesses to learn the telltale signs of phishing scams and take steps to defend their customers and employees from this type of attack.
Your business reputation is extremely important. You work hard to build a business that you, your employees, current customers, and future customers can be proud of. Therefore, it’s important to protect that reputation. Social media could expose your business to the risks of reputation damage caused by misinformation or malicious actors. What if we told you that someone somewhere is planning a plot to damage your reputation or that it’s already occurring?
Cybercriminals look at your social media presence as a treasure trove of information that can be used to impersonate you and your business. Creating fake accounts, making purchases in your name, locking you out of accounts, or gaining additional information from those you’re associated with are all tactics cybercriminals use to damage your business’s reputation.
Best Practices to Stay Secure While Using Social Media
In today's digitized world, it's crucial for businesses to recognize the potential risks that come hand-in-hand with social media. As a business owner or employee, it's essential to be proactive and safeguard your precious assets. To aid in this quest, we've compiled some best practices for both the business and its employees to ensure the use of social media is secure and protected.
Business Best Practices when Using Social Media
Let's be honest, social media is the heart of any business these days. As much as it brings life to your brand, it also poses a security risk. But don't worry; we've got your back. Here are some best practices to keep your social media accounts safe and secure:
- Conduct a thorough background check on anyone who has access to your page. This includes employees, contractors, and even third-party agencies.
- Use secure passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for all accounts.
- Limit the number of administrators on your page to avoid confusion and to keep track of all activities.
- Monitor all public company accounts regularly to identify potential threats or malicious activity.
- Conduct employee cybersecurity training that includes the use of social media platforms and other digital tools.
Employee Best Practices when Using Social Media
Social media has opened another door to communicating and connecting with others, such as family, friends, coworkers, and brands. But, it does pose a substantial risk for individuals, just as much as businesses. Employees must be aware of the risks posed by social media and take steps to protect their personal information and the company's assets. Here are some best practices for employees when using social media:
- Use secure passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Avoid sharing confidential information
- Always check privacy settings on accounts to ensure only trusted individuals have access to your data
- Avoid sharing work information
- Beware of fake accounts
- Steer clear of interest quizzes, too-good-to-be-true offers, donation opportunities, and suspect follow requests
How to Protect Your Business from Cyberattacks
Cybersecurity is no longer an optional add-on for businesses. According to Security Magazine, over 2,200 cyberattacks happen daily – which equates to over 800,000 each year. Additionally, there are over 600,000 Facebook accounts hacked every day. With the rise of phishing scams and other malware threats, it's crucial to implement protective measures.
First, have a comprehensive network security solution in place to safeguard your valuable business data. This business IT solution should include intrusion detection systems, firewalls, and encryption. make sure your employees receive ongoing cybersecurity training that includes best practices for social media. Additionally, Lastly, conduct regular assessments of your IT infrastructure to identify potential weak points.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Protect your business from the ever-evolving world of cyber threats, and you'll be able to breathe easy knowing your sensitive information won't fall into the wrong hands.
Cybersecurity is a crucial part of any business in today's digital world. From data mining and social engineering to phishing scams and reputation damage, the risks posed by cyber criminals are immense. It’s essential for businesses to be aware of these threats and take steps to protect their assets from malicious actors. By implementing comprehensive network security solutions, conducting regular assessments, providing ongoing cybersecurity training for employees on best practices with social media use, as well as other protective measures – businesses can safeguard themselves against potential cyberattacks. Don't wait until it's too late; act now to ensure your company remains protected from online predators!
Are you a business owner in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington looking to safeguard your business in the ever-growing digital era? Look no further! Pact-One is here to help you keep your business data secure with multilayered network security solutions that are tailored to your business needs now and for the future. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.