Social Media Privacy and Security Best Practices to Stay Safe Online

The first things you think about when the words “social media threat” are mentioned are probably trolls, and fake followers, accounts, and “news.” If you’re like most people, you’ll overlook social media security and how it’s used to harm businesses and their customers by creating threats. Nevertheless, things like brand impersonation, phishing, fake corporate accounts, and ID theft are all ran through social media platforms today.

Social Media Security Practices

In fact, the human element is a business’ main security vulnerability. However, there’s also an online human activity that’s considered “typical.” Here is where you’ll find a lot of social engineering at work because criminals are trying anything to harvest people’s personal and financial information so they can profit from it.

Common Examples of Social Media Security Threats

According to Fraud Watch International, there are some common types of social media threats that occur almost daily. These include:
  • Posting Twitter or Facebook links directing people to websites where malware is downloaded
  • Posting fake discounts and promotions from fake accounts – this leads to phishing scams
  • Impersonating a corporate CEO in an attempt at securing customers’ personal information because they believe they’re talking to the “real” person
  • Communicating false information so they can manipulate the stock price of a company
  • Building a brand profile that’s unauthorized so they can sell it to the business
How Much Social Media Scams Actually Cost

A successfully ran social media scam can cost a company and its customers a lot of money. This can be seen in terms of:
  • Financial loss: Criminals can access a business’ accounts and defraud unknowing consumers of money. They can also commit credit card fraud in this manner.
  • Customer mistrust: When customers discover that what they thought was a legitimate brand’s social media account was fake, they may be unwilling to engage with the brand in the future.
  • Brand disruption: The negative press companies receive when cybersecurity threats undermine their business drives many customers away and could potentially shrink their customer base permanently.
Understanding Your Digital Footprint

When using social media, you should always exercise caution. You can’t believe everything you see. Instead, make sure you know that who you’re talking to is legitimate.

Additionally, you should think about your digital footprint (all the information you post online including photos and status updates). Criminals can use this information to steal your identity or make their phishing messages sound more legitimate. The National Cyber Security Centre says this is why you should always stop and consider the information you’re posting and who can access it. Only provide the information your followers need to know. It’s also important to know what’s being said about you online.

Social Media Security Best Practices

The basis of your social media security policy should be about protecting your brand and its customers. This is something you can do in many different ways, including:
  • Make sure your business has an official policy regarding social media usage. This is something that everyone who works for you should be familiar with because it should indicate how they’re to act while using social media. By taking the time to create such a policy you’ll be able to put forth a unified brand image – something that’s especially important when sending corporate messages.
  • You should spend a few minutes changing the passwords on your social media accounts each month. In doing so, make sure that you randomize them instead of repeating the same password. Additionally, you should never use common information in them (e.g. name, birthday, buzzwords).
  • Always use two-step authentication (a login method requiring at least “two steps” to verify your identity before giving you access – e.g. providing a password then using a code that’s texted to you on a mobile number that’s associated with the account) on all your accounts. This is more common today because it offers such a secure login method.
  • Hire a social media manager whose job it is to continually monitor activity across all your social media accounts. They should also be responsible for approving any social media posts that are made to brand-related accounts.
  • Organize your connections and get rid of anything that seems fishy, anyone who posts repetitive content, and anyone who continually posts negative or otherwise harmful content as these may be fake accounts.
  • Make sure all your employees are properly trained on social media security. This training should occur yearly. It’s worth investing in because it’ll help you bolster the “human element,” which is one of your most vulnerable areas when it comes to cybercriminal behavior.
  • Never list your company’s vacation times on social media. This information tells criminals when you’ll be the most vulnerable since you won’t have staff available to handle their hacking attempts.
  • Don’t post any personal information online – not yours, your employees, or your customers. Doing so could easily lead to identity theft or open an opportunity for online impersonation.
  • Be proactive in seeking out and eliminating any malicious posts or profiles. These include links that lead to unauthorized sites that bear your company’s logo or information; profiles supporting any type of hate speech; accounts that mimic a CEO’s name but aren’t officially registered; posts encouraging customers to download unauthorized content; posts that speak negatively about your brand or customers; and profiles that claim to speak for a company but don’t have any legal confirmation of such.
  • Make sure that you perform security audits on a regular basis. When you do so, don’t forget to look at your security settings, who have access to your account and what privileges they have. Also, keep up-to-date regarding any current security threats.
  • Always close any accounts that you’re no longer using or haven’t used in a while. This will prevent them from being hacked.
There are several pros and cons of social media but enacting all these social media security strategies for your company is important. While it’s easy to let other areas of your business take up precedence and leave you with no time to do these things, you really can’t afford to let that happen.

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TechGlobeX: Social Media Privacy and Security Best Practices to Stay Safe Online
Social Media Privacy and Security Best Practices to Stay Safe Online
Staying safe from scams and hackers is important. You can't let your guard down even while on social media. Here are some tips to help you remain safe there.
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