Social media often gets a simple cursory look-over when it comes to the cybersecurity of a business. Most people agree that they don’t trust social media to protect their privacy. But many organizations don’t give it their due consideration. Thus, the number of social media scams and threats continues to increase.
While consumers tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to scams, businesses have become hackers’ latest targets. Impostor scams, for instance, are becoming one of the most prevalent types of scams on social media. Others end up targeting employees. They hand over credentials and then watch in horror as the social media pages get hacked.
Social media scams keep increasing in frequency and ferocity. It’s time for businesses to prepare for the social media-caused security issues they’re likely to face down the road. Here’s what companies can do to protect themselves and their employees.
Companies are Facing These Social Media Threats Right Now
1. Phishing Scams
Criminals have been using phishing scams for years, and it’s still one of the most reported types of scams out there. Now, these scams have moved to social media. And they don’t stick to regular individuals or consumers either. There are plenty of scams targeted at employees, hoping to catch them unawares.
Many types of phishing scams exist. Some of them employ the infamous “spray and pray” technique, while others are more targeted. But it doesn’t matter which method the scammers engage. It only takes one successful instance for them to get what they want.
2. Employee Error
Even in today’s digitally-entrenched society, people are still unaware of all the dangers they face by going online. Employees often use simple login passwords for every account. Many download malware onto their devices and stay ignorant of it.
And it doesn’t have to be the device with business data on it, either. Compromised personal devices, like smartphones, connect to the company WiFi too. It creates an easy way for hackers to infiltrate the network. No wonder, the reports agree all over again that employees are still the biggest threat to business cybersecurity.
Data breaches have become a standard, almost weekly occurrence in 2019. When it comes to social media, a lot of the time, data breaches happen because these platforms share a lot of information with third-parties. Many companies also share their data through the third-party apps that their employees use, placing that data in even more hands.
Hackers are aware of how and where people share information. Targeting Twitter would be too complicated, but a third-party app that many Twitter business users employ? Piece of cake. It results in disastrous hacks and data breaches. Remember that time when Amnesty International, Forbes, and other organizations spread pro-Nazi statements and images on Twitter? It happened because of a third-party hack.
How to Secure Business Assets in a Social Media-Driven World
Invest in Security Technology
Most companies invest in some of the underlying security essentials, like antivirus programs and a firewall. But business owners and IT teams should go further than that. Tailored security solutions should be the way to go. They take business unique setup and circumstances into account. Consider a VPN download as well to protect the network from man-in-the-middle and DDoS attacks.
Set Up Social Media Policies
Every company needs to have social media policies in place to remind employees about what isn’t safe to do. These guidelines should help employees be cautious when using social media. It can help to avoid both security threats and potential PR problems.
Remember to include confidentiality clauses, brand guidelines, password guidelines, and ways to identify scams. Also, limit access to social media accounts to specific employees, for example, marketing or PR team.
Educate Employees on Best Practices
It’s good for employees to receive some social media training, so they’re comfortable with using the different platforms in general. But this is also an excellent way to get them to follow your social media policies. When the basics are covered, it’s easier to keep up with recent social media threats and scams.
Keep Monitoring Accounts and Third-Party Apps
Every company that has social media accounts should check them for any suspicious behavior. A scheduled Facebook post could be part of a marketing plan, a human error, or even a disgruntled employee. Or it’s a hacker testing their limits.
Don’t forget to check or delete old accounts too. It helps to keep track of what you (don’t) use and what may be impostor accounts.
The Bottom Line
Social media has become an essential part of business communication. It’s pretty much unavoidable nowadays. What is avoidable, though, are scams and threats that come with using social media. Businesses must take steps to secure their accounts and keep employees in check to avoid a social media disaster.