Ways Cybercriminals Gain Access To Your Data Via Social Media

Social media has completely revolutionized marketing and business. The standard individual reaches, engages, and grows their audience swiftly using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and whatever new, popular platform that hits the market. As of 2019, there were an estimated 2 billion users on social media, and that is steadily growing. If you are looking to grow your business, social media is an excellent tool to accomplish your goal. With social media increasingly simpler to navigate, many people do not consider the potential risks created when their cybersecurity is compromised. To divert the dangers of social media attacks, many need to understand the importance of cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity involves technologies, processes, and practices developed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. Small businesses are highly vulnerable to cyber-attack. Up to 43% of cyber-attacks are directed at small businesses, and only 14% report proper preparation. Cyber-attacks cost about 200,000 on average. Over half of all small businesses suffered a breach last year. Small businesses need to adopt strategies for cyberthreats. Cybercrime has escalated drastically, with more people sharing digital information. Without proper cybersecurity, it is only a matter of time before your small business data is breached. Small businesses need cybersecurity for privacy, client trust, financial integrity, employee integrity, data integrity, and the business’s longevity. Here are seven ways cybercriminals use social media to gain access to your data.

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Providing Too Much Personal Information

Do not share your date of birth, places you’ve attended school, and names and pictures of your family members. This is enough information to break into accounts or apply for credit cards.

Catfishing

The prominence of social media and online dating apps makes it seem easier to find a partner. This is also an opportunity for a “catfish” to take advantage. A catfish is someone pretending to be someone else to manipulate and achieve a goal, typically underhanded, like finding out your personal information.

Home Invasion

Exposing personal data through social media can leave people vulnerable to physical attack and home invasion. Sharing that you are or are not home gives people the information they need to plot an attack or theft. Even using check-in features lets people know exactly where you are.

Unused Social Media Accounts

It is beneficial for brands to be present on prominent social media accounts. Leaving an account unattended for too long can all hackers to access your account and wreak havoc. They can commit fraud, post inappropriate messages, and perform illegal activity under your name.

Unsecured Mobile Devices

Many people access social media through mobile devices. Unsecured mobile devices leave people vulnerable to unauthorized access from any who picks it up. Make sure to have a strong password and use multifactor authorization. Multifactor authentication often implements the use of a secondary password or 4-digit code as an added layer of protection when accessing online sign-ins, banking accounts, and insurance accounts. This makes it more difficult to access sensitive data.

Ransomware/Malware

Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to a computer until a specified sum of money is paid. A common ransomware delivery method is phishing spam in the form of an email attachment. Malware can be sent in emails, social media via URLs, and social media ads. A person clicks the link and gets exposed to a cyber-attack.

Employees/Staff

By giving your employees limited access, you reduce the risk of sensitive data being exposed or manipulated. Explain to your employees the importance of discretion. Social media is prominent, and a reported 98% of employees are using social media. Educate staff on cybersecurity to be aware of the threat and potential ways to reduce data exposure. Have drills that involve real-world scenarios to see how your team responds. Teach staff about the dangers of clicking email links and attachments. Owners and staff need to be aware of the warning signs of fraudulent emails. Phishing is essentially a way for a criminal to con their way into your network and extract your data.

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Final Word

Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. Using social media responsibly can allow a business to grow swiftly and maintain a public presence for a relatively low cost. But, online/digital attacks are not going away. Cybercriminals are becoming more advanced on how to access your personal and business data to use for their malicious intent. Some small business owners may believe that they will not be a target of attack. Why would they go after the little fish when there are bigger fish to catch? Well, the answer is that small fish are more vulnerable and easy to access. Consider cybersecurity when creating your annual budget. It will cost you less in the long run!

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