3 Ways Hackers Use Social Media

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For most of us, social media is part of our daily lives these days.  It is a great way to connect with family and friends, reconnect with classmates and even promote our businesses.  With the good comes the bad, unfortunately.  Over the past few years, hackers have found ways to use social media for fraud.

Does this mean you should stop using social media for personal and business purposes? Absolutely not.  The key is to be smart about your online practices.  Cybersecurity is important across all parts of your daily life – from banking to personal email and social media.

Here are 3 ways hackers use social media and some tips on how to better protect yourself and your business!

Personal Social Media Accounts

Do you announce on Facebook when you are away on vacation or maybe you are tagged in photos by work friends when you are attending a conference out of town? There really isn’t anything wrong with doing these things but you need to make sure your profiles are private if you plan to announce this type of information about your personal or professional life.  You would be surprised what type of information a hacker can dig up when they know you are out of town or if they find out where you work while you’re attending that company conference.

The biggest way hackers use this information for fraud is creating fake profiles using your photos and then messaging your friends asking for money.  The best practice in defense to these types of scams is to make your profiles private and only share personal information with your close family and friends.

Business Social Media Accounts

You need to be careful with your business accounts, too.  The connections between users who have made social networks popular are the same links which attackers now exploit at will.  It is the trust element which social accounts have – and cold emails do not – which can enable what is known as “chain exploitation”; the abuse of trusted connections to spread tailored attacks across specific platforms.  If a hacker gets into your business profile (after accessing your personal profile), they can then post and send malicious links and phishing messages including “Malvertising” using your business name.  The latest research shows this to be earning criminals roughly $3.25 billion per year.

How do you protect your business?  It all goes back to passwords for your personal accounts (which are in-turn linked to your business accounts).  Also, the social networks all offer multi-factor authentication now – take advantage of this security tool!

Criminal Recruitment is Growing Through Social Media

Social networks are also being used for the purposes of criminal recruitment.  According to research, there has been a 36 percent increase in the hire of money mules since 2016, who are often recruited through adverts luring individuals with offers of short-term roles worth a big paycheck.

There are risks but banning the use of social media platforms in the workplace and for the company’s benefit can impact communication channels between consumers and vendors, range of sales and promotional channels available.  Also, these days, your business needs social media advertising to be reputable.

Companies can reduce the impact of social media-enabled attacks by adopting layered defenses.  By making sure your company is secured against undetected malicious exploits and malware infections, you are essentially allowing users to click links and access untrusted social media sites without risk of infection.

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