Don't brush aside potential risks!In one year alone, social media scams skyrocketed by 150%
. Experts believe that this number will continue to climb because cybercriminals see social media as a fruitful target today. Unfortunately, businesses can't avoid social media though. This marketing is critical to many companies' success. Instead, these companies need to learn how to protect themselves. Social Media Security Risks to Businesses Today
Protection starts with understanding where social risks are coming from today. These include:Human error occurs when accidental tweets are made or people unknowingly click on phishing links. This is one of the most common social threats to brands today.Failure to pay attention while on social media or leaving your account unmonitored can cause the risk of a malicious virus infecting you and your followers. If the virus sends out spam messages you could also lose followers who no longer feel that you're trustworthy.Malicious software (e.g. malware, spyware, adware, ransomware) is everywhere. In 2016, there were over 4,000 attacks daily. Failure to implement strict privacy settings can allow hackers to easily take control of your brand's social media channels and wreak havoc. This can be as simple as sending fraudulent posts or as complex as changing your channel's appearance. Tips on how to Avoid Social Media Security Risks
Understanding alone isn't enough, however. It's also important to train your employees how to avoid social media security risks. You need to teach them:How threat intelligence keeps you safe from phishing attacks
online is important to understand. Phishing scams can trick your employees into handing over your company's confidential information (e.g. banking details, passwords
).What your social media policy is – including what to watch for to keep your brand safe while they're on a social media website, best practices, safety and security guidelines
, and procedures on training and enforcement. This should be seen as a “living document,” meaning that it's continually changed and updated.How to create a secure password, how to effectively monitor and engage with brand mentions, especially if there's ever a corporate crisis, how to avoid spam, malware and related malicious software (e.g., spyware, ransomware, etc.) and what to do if there's ever a malware attack. The best way to make sure your employees understand these things is to mandate social media training. This is also a great opportunity for your employees to ask questions about anything they might not understand. At the same time, you'll also see any gaps that may exist before they turn into a potential security threat. Oftentimes you'll still need to limit employees' access to social media though. This is the best way to make sure that only the right people are contributing to your company's social media channels.Even with all these things in place, you'll still want to make sure that you have someone in charge of “watching” your employees and monitoring your brand. Safe Bee suggests
that this person's other job duties should include:
Security Tools for Social Media Protection
- Creating unique passwords for everyone who has access to social media accounts: These 8 character long passwords need to be hard-to-guess and different for each person. They should include a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. This employee should change each person's password every few months too. Watching your privacy settings to make sure that they're not being used improperly
- Making sure that automatic logins never occur: This is important because if someone gets access to your device you don't want them to get access to your social media accounts too. It's especially important with smartphones because they can be easily hacked via your email and iCloud account.
- Disabling old accounts: When an old social media account is no longer being used you'll want to make sure that it's disabled so it isn't indexed by Google.
- Turning off geotagging and making sure it isn't turned back on: This is one of the most dangerous features because it tells people where you are and who you're with. People will receive your exact latitude and longitude coordinates through Twitter and your iPhone camera if you don't turn them off. You're then more susceptible to predators who know when you're not at home or in your office.
Humans are infallible – they're bound to make mistakes. This is why it's so important to understand that regardless of how much training you offer, you can't always rely on your employees to do what's right. Since human error does exist, your company needs to invest in secure technology. This includes things like network security software and threat intelligence tools which will help you stay vigilant against the growing number of social media hacks occurring today.Some of the tools that experts highly recommend businesses use today include:
- LastPass for safeguarding your passwords: This password management tool means that everyone can now have their own password for the same account.
- OneLogin is a two-factor authentication tool that adds to your security layer.
- HootSuite allows you to rule over all of your social media accounts from a single platform. This gives you confidence in knowing who's publishing and accessing your accounts. It will also alert you if a social media blunder occurs. You can make sure these blunders aren't your fault too – simply turn on the read-only settings so anyone who isn't properly trained can't use this tool.
- ZeroFOX automatically scans for and alerts you to any brand impersonations, scams, fraud, malware, and viruses.
- Brandwatch provides a comprehensive understanding of conversations occurring around your brand on social media. It's better than Hootsuite because you can monitor and analyze social mentions from more than 70 million sources.
Social media offers a great opportunity for you to grow your business and connect with your customers. However, you do need to train your employees how to take precautions in protecting your business. Failure to do so can really wreak havoc on your company, both now and in the future.