By Alex Lysak, CEO of Scanteam
Social media has become one of the most common ways to spend time online, with many of the world’s most popular websites offering social features. Social media is described as a digital platform that allows users to create an account, share content and interact with other users. Main examples include sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but there are hundreds of different social media sites, each offering a unique set of features and catering to different groups of people.
Social media is perfect for connecting with friends and family, as well as sharing ideas and content with people from all over the world. It’s also a great place for businesses to interact with their potential consumers, engaging with them and advertising to them. One of the reasons why social media sites have become so successful is that they sell personal data to companies for advertising purposes. Brands can target people based on their age, location, and likes, reaching their target demographics more easily.
Although social media is very popular, with over half of the world’s population now owning at least one account, it does raise issues about cybersecurity. When signing up to a social media site, users need to be careful that they’re not compromising their data, falling victim to data leaks, or downloading malware.
With over 4 billion users, social media platforms present a big target for hackers, scammers, and identity thieves. As a result, it pays to be careful about the platform you use and how you use it. In this article, our US cybersecurity expert Alex Lysak will be looking at nine different ways social media and cybersecurity are connected and how to practice social media safety.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting devices or networks from cyber-attacks, malware or other online threats. These cyberattacks are typically aimed at gaining access to, altering, or destroying sensitive data, extorting money from users, or disrupting normal corporate activities. Whether you’re an individual or a company, cybercriminals don’t discriminate, and you need to be able to protect your devices and data from cyber security threats.
Because there are more devices than humans nowadays, and attackers are growing more inventive, putting in place effective cybersecurity measures is very difficult. Over the last few years, there has been a rise in the number of high-profile cyber-attacks, particularly those using ransomware. This type of malware encrypts a user’s data, making it useless unless the user gives in to demands and pays a ransom.
Hackers often demand payment in the form of cryptocurrency, which has the advantage of being much easier to use than other forms of online payment. Payments made using cryptocurrencies have increased a lot over the past few years, as researched by Scanteam, this is partly thanks to the added level of security as well as the potential anonymity.
Protecting Yourself While Using social media
Although you can use antivirus software and other tools to keep your device secure from threats, the best way to stay safe online is by taking the right precautions. By following good practices while online, you can avoid malware and stay safe from cyber-attacks, including those on social media.
Here are a few of the things to avoid or be careful of when using social media if you want to stay secure:
Providing Too Much Personal Information
When using social media, users often fill out their profiles without caring much about who sees them. Although it may seem innocuous to provide details on your birthday, your family members, where you grew up, and more, it can put you at risk. By publishing so much information about yourself online, you can be affecting your cybersecurity, making it easier for hackers to gain entry to your accounts or for identity thieves to open up credit cards or bank accounts in your name.
Additionally, you should also be careful about the contact details you provide, as scammers will often look for email addresses and phone numbers. When combined with your personal information, they can use this to create highly believable scams aimed at extracting money from your accounts. Privacy is one of the most important social media security issues, and users should be more careful about their personal information.
A phishing scam is one of the most common types of online scams, where scammers use social engineering to get the information they want. This type of social engineering involves an attacker sending a phony message to a human target in the hopes of obtaining sensitive information. In addition, the scam could also involve or deploy harmful software on the victim’s infrastructure, such as ransomware.
When using social media, you should always be wary of messages you receive, especially from people you don’t know. Sometimes it could even appear to be someone you know sending a phishing message, either through a hacked account or a fake profile.
Passwords are essential for keeping your accounts secure, and you should always make sure to use strong passwords no matter what kind of account it is. Using weak passwords is asking for trouble, as it means hackers can easily break into your account. Not only that, but you should also avoid reusing passwords on multiple accounts. You shouldn’t use the same password for your online banking and your Facebook account, for example.
Single Layer Security
Passwords aren’t the only thing you should use to secure your account; many online sites also offer two-factor authentication or digital ID. This is where the site will send a code to your phone for you to use as well as your password. You should definitely set this up, as it means that even if hackers manage to crack your password, they won’t be able to get access to your account.
Social media apps are constantly updated to remove bugs and exploits that make them vulnerable to social networking security threats. If you want your device to stay safe, make sure the app you’re using is up to date, and if you’re not sure, you can check to see if updates are available. Additionally, you can set the app to update automatically when new software patches are released.
Unsecure Mobile Networks
When using social media on a mobile device, you should be careful about which networks you connect to. Using mobile data in the US is fine but connecting to open Wi-Fi networks is often a risk. When you connect to an unsecured mobile network, you could be opening your device up to malware and cyber-attacks.
Malware links are rare on social media as they often get reported and taken down. However, you can still find plenty of examples of social media cyber-attacks through malware being spread over various platforms, particularly through private messages. If you don’t know the person, never open the link and be very careful about what links you open in general.
Tags and Locations
Part of the fun of social media is tagging friends in photos and sharing your location. However, this can potentially put you at risk. Be careful about sharing your location online, especially as you never know who can see this information. Some people in the US have had their homes robbed after revealing their location on social media, and it can be a cybersecurity risk too.
Poor Privacy Controls
When using social media, you’re in control over who gets to see the content that you share, but you do need to adjust the privacy settings to change this. Make sure you revisit this often to prevent people not connected to you from accessing your personal data and ensure proper data security.
About the Author
Alex Lysak is working in online marketing since 2011, his main areas of expertise are marketing research, social media marketing, and SEO. During 9+ years of experience, he has helped many products and startups to develop marketing strategies and to implement them further. Alex Lysak can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter and at our company website https://scanteam.pro/