Keeping your business safe this Social Media Day

Dangers around unattended social media accounts

It would be easy to think that every day is Social Media Day, considering its apparent impact on just about everything, but back in 2010 Mashable launched its Social Media Day to take our obsession just a bit further. This year’s Social Media Day is taking place on Sunday 30 June and aims to ‘recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication’. It’s true that nowadays social media is right at the centre of the interchange between human minds and brings a whole host of attendant benefits. However, as with any great advancement, there are some risks we should all be aware of – particularly with respect to cybersecurity.

Despite the success of LinkedIn, generally seen as ‘a social network for professionals’, we tend to focus on social media as an individual’s pastime and something that is part of our personal lives. The truth is, though, that there are risks all businesses should be aware of, so read on and learn about how to protect your company with regard to social media.

The possibilities of social engineering

A recent Forbes article discussed how black hat hackers will often use social media as a tool to learn more about potential targets in order to create the perfect attack. Forbes gave the case scenario of an employee publicly tweeting about attending a certain business event. In this scenario, a hacker can search for the employee’s contact details through LinkedIn, cross-reference that data to the tweet about the business event, and finally craft a perfectly targeted phishing email with a malicious link. Even the most naive individuals are likely to laugh off an email from a wealthy prince offering a treasure trove of riches, but if an email is customized to the recipient, it is far more likely to be trusted. The key thing here is education. Every company should ensure their employees are aware of their privacy settings and how to protect their safety online.

Dangers around unattended social media accounts

Every business has minor pain points where they know they should be doing more, and perhaps for some their social media strategy is not on its A-game. However, even if the frequency of your company’s posts is slipping, it’s hugely important not to leave these accounts entirely unattended.  There have been incidents of hackers breaking into dormant corporate accounts that have been left abandoned, and then using those accounts to spread malware. Make sure that your company is looking after its accounts, and remember to keep tabs on who has the login information.

Phishing attacks and scams

While businesses may like to think their employees are working solidly for the eight hours they spend at their desks, the likelihood is that employees are occasionally checking in to see how many likes their latest personal Facebook post achieved. Furthermore, at most businesses, employees have the right to take a look at their social media accounts on a lunch break. Businesses must accept employees checking personal accounts as par for the course and take appropriate precautions around some of the risks. For example, Hootsuite includes guidance on a number of social media scams out there that may appear as normal posts, perhaps a videos or memes, but that actually direct users to malicious content. For example, the link might send users to a page that claims that their computer has been locked and asks the user to provide a phone number or other details to receive support. However, in this case the phone line actually goes through to scammers looking for credit card numbers or personal information. While this may not directly affect the business, there could be a chance of malware being loaded on to company computers. So it’s important, as ever, to educate and give guidance to employees about social media use in the workplace.     

The vast majority of individuals and businesses are enjoying the positive benefits and endless opportunities that social media has brought. However, it’s always important to take a step back and consider the risks, particularly where your business and employees are concerned, and this Social Media Day is the perfect opportunity to do so.