Social Media is not only a fun tool to use personally and a great way to market your business to customers. It is also a cyber weapon of choice for hackers. Customers love social media because they feel like they have a relationship with the company they are purchasing from and this builds trust. Hackers exploit this trust in phishing attacks to hack into profiles and steal valuable information. Social media accounts contain your entire life in a single profile. Photos, information, messages, special announcements, interactions from across the world – EVERYTHING. Now our financial information is attached to social media accounts and are potentially at risk. Anyone who has ever set up Facebook ads or bought a gift card from the network is potentially at risk.
Even those who have never given their credit card information can really be hurt by a hack. They might find out enough information to answer secret questions. They could contact people on your friends list and ask for money for an “emergency” pretending to be you. Or they could post links to phishing sites that will get them into your friends accounts next. Here are some tips to secure social media for your business or personal account.
Secure Password. Do you have a strong password? Don’t know? How long do you think it would take professional hackers to figure out your password? Use this free tool and find out https://howsecureismypassword.net/. Put in your password and it will tell you how long it would take for hackers to crack. For businesses, make sure passwords are changed if someone is terminated – immediately. Limit the number of people that have access to social media to lower the security threat.
Change Your Password – REGULARLY. Change your password every few months and do not use the same password for all social media platforms. In addition, do not recycle passwords between platforms. Just don’t. Trust me.
Turn on Security Alerts. You can set your accounts to be notified when your social media account is logged into from a new IP address. You will get an email so you can authorize this log-in or take security measures. Keep an eye on your privacy settings to make sure you know and trust all the apps connected to your social media.
Don’t Click on Every Link. This cannot be stressed enough: don’t click random links left on your wall or on friend’s status messages. There is a reason Facebook provides a giant photo next to uploaded links, and Twitter and Pinterest often block suspicious URL’s from being clickable. It is due to the threat from phishers.
Online criminals have a broad reach and will easily manipulate users by executing a variety of cyber-attacks and scams. They will attempt to take over accounts, phish for log-in credentials, impersonate and counterfeit brands or products, or use social engineering to exploit vulnerable users. Data breaches among social media sites themselves is already legendary, and LinkedIn is a key tool for reconnaissance of large companies.
Now that you know the basics of how to secure your social media, what’s your social media business security plan? You do have one, right? If not, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- From the top down, everyone must buy into the seriousness of social media security
- Your security strategy should be articulated and shared with every team member, including your long-term vision for adoption of policies and procedures
- Awareness training must be often and continual, don’t let your people develop bad habits
- You should clearly categorize what data is – and is not – sensitive
- Clearly define who is responsible and authorized to use company social media accounts
- Clearly define what information is permitted on individual social media accounts
- Have a clear plan regarding employee separation (resetting passwords, etc)
- Have a clear plan how you will manage reputational damage and respond to critical online commentary