How to Mitigate Social Media Security Risks

How to Mitigate Social Media Security Risks

Social media is an effective way for small businesses to level the playing field in the challenge of increasing brand awareness.  It’s affordable, allows message control, provides interaction, and can generate business leads.  Unfortunately, it also presents security risks.  Here’s how to mitigate social media security risks in your small business.


Overall, remember that the internet is public and every post is forever.  There’s no such thing as “private” on the internet.  And even if you delete something, it can still be found.

Data Breaches

Cybercriminals love your data.  They can collect data from multiple online sources to build a profile of you or your business.  If you’re careless while sharing personal information online or if you mishandle customer data on social media, you open the doors to data breaches.

Once cybercriminals have your information, they can use it for phishing attempts, identity theft or even ransomware threats.  Social media platforms themselves can be vulnerable to hacking, so your data can even be exposed without your knowledge.

Oversharing and Privacy Concerns

People who post frequently and with personal information on social networking sites can pose a particular threat to businesses.  Not only can they put themselves at risk by sharing confidential information — such as travel plans, business data, or patient information — but they also provide cybercriminals with a treasure trove of information they can leverage against your business.

Posting on social media can reveal more information than you might expect, including:

  • The time and location of the post (where you were when you posted)
  • Photo or video locations (be careful with backgrounds, especially with business images)
  • Links to friends and other users  (likes, shares and comments show your online relationships and allow cybercriminals to make inferences about you or your business)
  • Links to people tagged in the post
  • Faces recognized by the social media network or other users and identified
Reputation Damage

Negative comments from dissatisfied customers, envious competitors or even unhappy employees can quickly spread online and cause damage to your brand’s image.

Legal Accountability

Social media has the potential to blur the boundaries between personal and professional lives, which can, in turn, create legal liabilities for your business. If your employees make malicious remarks about competitors, clients or individuals, the public can hold you responsible for their actions. Employees may also face the consequences if their social media behavior violates the organization’s regulations.


Phishing Scams

Often, scammers use social media to convince individuals and employees of organizations to share sensitive information, which can be used for phishing attempts.

Phishing emails can also impersonate social media platforms.  The email may ask you to click a button to approve new terms of service or download a security update.  But when you click the link in a phishing email, it will send you to a website that looks exactly like the social platform with a domain that’s just slightly different (like “.net: or “”). Unfortunately, once you put in your username and password, you’ve been compromised.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of AI.  With the right information, AI technology can now create even more sophisticated and error-free phishing attacks that may be nearly indistinguishable from the original company or domain.  Impersonation attacks may falsely pretend to be an online business to trick its existing customers into making transactions or purchases.

Fake LinkedIn Jobs

Cybercriminals often pose as recruiters on LinkedIn and post fake job listings to collect data for identity theft scams.

Fraudulent Quizzes  

Cybercriminals, working individually or collaboratively, can exploit quizzes on Facebook, surveys on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram, and ‘get to know you’ videos on TikTok.  The quizzes themselves can even contain malicious code that allow access to personal information.


Develop and Implement a Social Media Use Policy

Technology use policies are important in every organization.  Make sure your policies include your expectations for safe and acceptable social media use.  The goal is not to be restrictive – your team can be your best asset when they post within guidelines.

Consider including the following:

  • Always use unique, robust passwords and consider a password manager to help keep them all straight.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  • Define acceptable use of company and personal devices.
    • Don’t use public Wi-Fi.
    • Don’t leave your device unattended, and if it’s lost or stolen, report it right away.
  • Define and limit who has access to company social media sites.
  • Periodically review your privacy settings for both business and individual social media accounts.
  • Reject unknown friend requests and messages.
  • Avoid oversharing and never share login credentials.
  • Never click on links or download attachments from unknown social media accounts.
  • Always use official app stores to download social media apps.
  • Avoid following fake or malicious accounts. Verify the authenticity by looking it up on the official website.
  • Be careful with quizzes, challenges, job postings or other opportunities to gather a lot of data about you or your business at one time.
  • Regularly monitor all your social media accounts for suspicious activities or login attempts.
  • Activate biometric authentication besides passcodes to protect your device from unauthorized access in case of theft or loss.
  • Actively monitor social media accounts for brand impersonation or fake profiles.
  • Develop an incident response plan in the event a social media account is compromised.
Build an Overall Cybersecurity Culture

Your employees’ knowledge, beliefs, values, and behaviors will often be the difference between protection and breach. That’s why focusing on security culture, especially cybersecurity culture, is essential.

Your employees are at the center of everything; they can either be easy prey, or they can become an effective human layer of defense. This is an ongoing process, but it includes a combination of policies and training while creating a culture of learning, not blaming.

If you’d like to know more about how CRU Solutions can help keep your business safer, contact us.