When you combine all the social media platforms, trends, and endless opportunities to share information – both business and personal – it’s clear just how much we enjoy connecting with one another. The point of social media is to build a community, and while most of the time it’s believed to be a safe space, that is where we get it wrong.

According to the “Social Media and Cybersecurity Risk in 2019” article published on Social Media Perth, “Cybercriminals are adept at manipulating employees on social media to gain an organization’s confidential information. Such cyber-attacks are common with simple mistakes placing business information at risk. Leaked passwords, brand impersonation and other phishing scams (tricking employees into divulging sensitive information via web links) are responsible for almost 95 percent of all social cyber risk incidents.” Social media highlights major privacy concerns and we must always be prepared for the dangers lurking in cyberspace.

How is Our Privacy at Stake?

While social media is a great tool for keeping us connected to relatives, friends, customers and more, there are many ways these online platforms can expose both personal and geographical information. Below are a few risks to be aware of:

The Human Element: In terms of social media, the biggest threat to cybersecurity is humans. We are the creators – CEOs if you will – of social media accounts. If you are not careful with the information you release on these platforms, cybercriminals can hack into your account and gain insight about your organization’s sensitive data, usernames and password credentials.

Oversharing: This can lead to your social media platforms becoming an amusement park to cybercriminals. Personal and/or private information is the first thing at stake when oversharing occurs. Cybercriminals only need a small piece of information to gain access to your accounts and expose private information on the dark web.

Password Attacks: These attacks happen when cybercriminal can get ahold of your password through social engineering, shared user and brand impersonations and more. Once a criminal gets hold of your password, they have complete control over your social media accounts. The most recent Twitter hack is a perfect example of this: cybercriminals hacked into a few of the app’s high-profile accounts to launch a crypto scam.

Taking Precautions is Key

There are several important safety factors to consider when monitoring various social media channels. Whether it is a business or personal social account, it is critical to stay one step ahead as often as possible. A few safety tips include:

Understand the Privilege of the Users on Your Network: Account privilege is often used against an organization’s network. Review privilege quarterly if possible. Always give the least privilege to accounts as recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework model.

Avoid Simple and Reused Passwords: A weak password is the perfect entry point for cybercriminals looking to hack your social media platforms. It is recommended that your passwords are strong, using numbers, letters and special characters. It is also important to avoid using the same password for all your social platforms, so you can reduce the chances of all your accounts being accessed at the same time.

Review Privacy Settings: Make sure you review and test the privacy settings of your social media apps regularly. According to the “Social Media Newsletter” published by SANS, “Social media sites often change privacy settings and it is easy to make a mistake. In addition, many apps and services let you tag your location to content that you post (called geotagging). Regularly check these settings if you wish to keep your physical location private.”

Monitor Your Network 24/7 with Next Generation Technology: By ensuring that your company has a cybersecurity safety net, you can rest easy knowing there is constant monitoring of your network’s credentials and possible exposure. This can be done through a security and compliance automation platform, risk management and protection software and more.
The reality is that the relationship between cybersecurity and social media has become more intertwined as businesses are incorporating these platforms into their brand strategies and marketing or advertising plans. It is important to note that organizations providing financial, legal or medical services are at an even higher risk for attacks. Implementing risk management practices is the key to protecting your business from social media attacks.

About the Author

Krystal Rennie is the Communications Manager for Adlumin Inc., a cybersecurity software firm based in Washington, DC. She has a B.A. degree in Communication with a specialization in Public Relations from the University of Maryland, College Park. For more information, visit adlumin.com.