Social media and cyber security: What’s the connection?

Social media and cyber securityAs a small business, you should seriously consider the relationship between social media and cyber security.

More than one in eight companies have suffered security breaches involving social media-related cyber-attack. This figure is expected to rise as an increasing number of companies hop onto new social media platforms.

So, what can you do to protect your business? Well, we have a few ideas:

Is social media really a cyber security risk?

Let’s start by saying, we still think that social media is a fantastic tool for business. It improves relationships with your client base, increases engagement and makes your brand seem more human.

However, you need to consider the relationship between social media and cyber security when setting up and using business profiles. Signing up for (any) platform can expose your brand to several cyber risks, here are the top three:

1. Social media hacks

This is probably the most common form of cyber-attack on social media. Hackers simply work out your password, take control of your channels (even the ones you don’t use), start posting inappropriate content and lock you out.

This can seriously damage your brand’s credibility, and can even result in your company being removed from those platforms.

2. Cloned accounts and social phishing

This form of attack is a social media and cyber security nightmare, and sadly it’s on the rise.

Hackers clone your friend’s account, or simply add you through a fake profile, watch your activity and send you dodgy content based on that.

They do this because they know you’ll trust a familiar name or face, and probably click through a link they’ve sent to your inbox directly.

This will usually result in malware being auto-installed on your machine, or make you part of some other malicious activity.

3. Oversharing

A great ‘behind-the-scenes’ photo or video can really engage followers, but these can provide a golden opportunity for hackers to access private information. Why? Well, the image or video may include private information you don’t want others to see.

For example, a few years ago we sent this festive photo out on social media. If you look closely, the logins for our client list are on the bottom left-hand corner.

DON’T PANIC – they weren’t the real ones; this was all part of an experiment to see how this might affect your business.

Within seconds of sharing the image, traffic to the page containing the photo rocketed! In two days, over 800 people tried to access (and log in to) our private client list. It would have been catastrophic for our company had this been real!

How social media and cyber security can work together

So, social media can be a cyber security risk. However, there are several steps you can take to protect your online presence.

Firstly, educate yourself and your staff about social media and cyber security.

Outline the risks, preventative measures to take, and what staff should do if they think security has been compromised.

Make sure to explain that any strategies you suggest should also be applied to their personal profiles. After all, platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook require a personal login to reach the business pages. If a hacker got access to a personal account, that could mean they could also reach the business profiles and cause havoc.

Secondly, use tools and in-built software within platforms to ramp up your privacy settings. Random password generators, two-factor authentication and an alert for suspicious activity are great places to start.

Finally, implement several office policies to reduce risk. These should include:

  • Password policies
  • Social media usage policy (both on company machines and personal devices on wi-fi network)
  • General privacy policies

That’s it: a quick guide to social media and cyber security. We hope it helped!

Want to find out more about social media and cyber security?  Contact us to find out when we’re next running our popular “Cyber Security Essentials” workshop – specifically designed to help small businesses protect against the risks of cyber attack!

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