Social media is a powerful tool, not just for communication and personal expression, but also for business. On social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, you can market your products, post content, and engage your customers. With the right social media strategy, you can spread awareness about your brand to more people than any other type of media would allow you to.
But like everything on the internet, social networks are anything but risk-free. Therefore, your strategy shouldn’t just focus on curating interesting and high-quality content, but also cover best practices to protect your social media accounts — and your business — from different cyberthreats.
What are the cybersecurity risks of using social media?
Social media opens your brand and your content to virtually anyone on the internet. While that’s awesome for marketing, it exposes you to cybersecurity risks such as:
- Phishing attacks are sometimes launched using direct messages (DMs) on social networks. In social media phishing, scammers usually impersonate other users, using information gathered from social media, to trick victims into divulging sensitive information. Most of these attacks contain no malware, so they easily slip through conventional email security controls.
- Malware is present in many social media ads and is a worrisome threat. In fact, research shows 20 percent of organizations have been infected with malware from social networks, with 12 percent suffering a data breach as a result.
What best practices will keep you safe on social media?
You don't always have to invest in new tools or learn new skills to protect your company from social media-related cyberthreats. Following these tips will go a long way:
#1. Do not reuse your passwords
Creating and memorizing multiple complex passwords can be extremely difficult, but it’s necessary for securing your social media accounts from cybercriminals. Remember that although using a common password may not stress you out, crooks will need to discover just that one password to steal your data or use your account to launch a cyberattack against other users.
If your social network offers multifactor authentication, make sure to use it. Keep in mind that word travels fast in social media and you don’t want to go viral as that company that got hacked because they neglected password best practices.
#2. Watch who slides into your DMs
Especially if you’re running a business account, you’ll likely receive a lot of messages from multiple users in a day. Most of these would be inquiries or feedback, but some could be phishing messages. Like conventional spam emails, they’d likely contain a malicious link or attachment, which you shouldn't click on.
Check for common telltale signs of phishing, such as suspiciously spelled URLs or sender names, or bad writing. But to be on the safe side, just ignore these messages altogether. If the sender seems suspicious, you may also opt to block them.
#3. Lock your device
One of the best things about social networks is that they are optimized for mobile, which means you can fully manage your accounts from anywhere using your phone. But this excellent feature becomes a risk should you misplace your device or it gets stolen. Third parties may gain access to crucial information, such as your social media logins, email address, and others.
Control the risk by always locking your phone. If your device offers multiple locking methods, always choose more secure ones like biometric scans (fingerprint and iris) or passcodes. If you’re using passcodes, however, use a long code instead of the usual four-digit one for added security. Avoid pattern locks as they are easy to crack.
#4. Do not overshare
Most scammers use social media to gather information about potential victims. They won’t look at just the personal details posted on your account either. Cybercriminals may scour your posts for personal details you may have used such as your username, password, or the answer to your security questions.
Having said that, there are two things you need to remember. First, be careful what information you share. Focus on posts about your products and services, updates that provide value to your clients, and content that would attract potential customers. Avoid posting private information about your workforce, customers, or vendors.
Second, be careful with posts about your office and company’s activities. For instance, if you’re posting pictures of your office, make sure you don’t accidentally show plans, projections, and other crucial data written on whiteboards and presentations. Such information can actually be useful to cybercriminals, especially if they’re after your trade secrets.
If you want to share information about vacations, team outings, and similar activities, do so after the fact. Some criminals prefer to strike when you and your staff are preoccupied with other matters. On a related note, you can partner with a managed IT services provider that will monitor your network for cyberthreats 24/7, even when your entire company is on break.
#5. Let your staff know
You can’t do this alone — it’s essential that everyone in your company observes social media best practices. This won’t protect just your staff’s personal social media accounts, but your business’s too, by extension. For instance, if an employee’s account is compromised, scammers may use that account to scam your other workers or, worse, your customers and vendors.
Train your staff regularly on cybersecurity and how to manage their social accounts and protect their private information online. Needless to say, you’ll need cybersecurity experts to conduct this training, as they have the experience and insight to provide comprehensive information on the subject and answer everyone’s questions.
At Tech Squared, the members of our team have years of experience in IT and cybersecurity. We can bolster your company’s defense from cyberthreats while helping you maximize the returns of your tech investments.
Download this eBook today and discover three of the key cybersecurity solutions we can deploy to strengthen your company's protection!