Social media is a constant source of knowledge for cyber criminals, which is why managing it is key for protecting yourself and your organisation. There are many simple things you can do, like ensuring your accounts have the highest privacy settings, using complex and unique passwords and being careful not to share too much information online. But, social media is constantly advancing, which means your protection needs to as well.
So why is social media such a threat to our cyber security?
Essentially social media can be the starting point for many different types of attacks. It can be linked to social engineering, malware, ransomware, account takeover, phishing attacks, data breaches, identity theft and several other types of fraud. How? Because of the information you post online.
Once a cybercriminal has access to private information about you, they can use it to access many parts of your life. You might think the worst outcome would be losing control of your social accounts, but an experienced cybercriminal could use that information to gain access to your bank accounts too, causing potentially life changing damage.
There are many cases where people have used insecure passwords, like the name of their pet or favourite football team for their bank accounts. This has allowed a cybercriminal to carry out data mining across their social media, gathering this sort of information, along with their birthday and if possible, any important information from close friends or family. Then they can piece together a collection of passwords like Fido1992 or Fluffy_92 and use these to gain access to bank accounts and further information.
This is why it’s incredibly important to think about what you’re posting online, as an innocent picture of you with your pet dog, or a post from a friend wishing you happy birthday could be the last piece of the puzzle that a hacker is waiting for.
Best Practises to Protect Yourself on Social Media
You’re never going to stop posting on social media in its entirety, and as its popularity continues to increase, it will remain a key platform for communicating with friends, sharing photos and documenting your day to day life. So, the best thing to do is understand how to use it as safely as possible.
- Always think before you post, consider how the information could be interpreted and whether it could be used to someone else’s advantage
- Where possible, always have your accounts set to private and don’t accept invitations from people you don’t recognise
- Avoiding clicking on any links that other people have shared – if you absolutely must see what it is, copy and paste the link into an incognito browser first, or hover over the link to identify the true URL
- Never share your personal details or financial information over social media, treat any requests for money or information with caution and deal with them in person if possible
- Keep your passwords and devices up to date, ensure you’re using the latest version of all software and that each password is unique and further protected with multi-factor authentication or face/fingerprint ID
- If the only way you can complete a purchase is through social media, ensure you properly research the business first and reach out to them over a messaging platform if possible
Find Out More
At Boxphish, we are committed to providing our users with the tools needed to protect themselves, offering bite-sized training modules and interactive phishing simulations to help you build the first line of defence against cybercrime.