How to Mitigate Social Media Security Risks
- Post by Janet Gehring
- October 24, 2023
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.
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.
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:
Negative comments from dissatisfied customers, envious competitors or even unhappy employees can quickly spread online and cause damage to your brand’s image.
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.
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 “tik-tok.com”). 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.
Cybercriminals often pose as recruiters on LinkedIn and post fake job listings to collect data for identity theft scams.
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.
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:
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.