Common Social Media Threats

Social media is like a staple for modern people. The advent of social media, however, brings forth a plethora of new threats. The followings are some common threats that social media use can bring. Familiarize yourself with these threats so you can be more prepared.

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#1. Identity theft

Getting your identity stolen is no joke. It can drain your bank account, ruin your credit, or even get you in trouble with the law.

The so-called hackers can steal identity through various means.  The simplest method is simply by looking over your shoulder as you type in your PIN or password on the phone or computer.

More sophisticated hackers gather personal information from social media to bypass security questions. Perhaps it’s a good time to check if you’ve shared your mother’s maiden name in a post somewhere and delete it.

#2. Stalking

Stalkers come in all shapes and sizes. You’ll be lucky if the stalker is just a secret admirer who wishes you no harm and doesn’t have the means to get near you. Some people aren’t so lucky.

There are too many instances where social media stalking can quickly transform into real-world stalking. In Japan, a stalker examined a woman’s Instagram selfie to locate her local train station. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s not.

In California, a stalker discovered his victim’s home address by checking her posts on Instagram and other social media.

So, have you been giving too much information about yourself online? Even if you say no, chances are you already have. Well then, congratulations! You just make your stalker’s work a lot easier.

#3. Real-world theft and burglary

Facebook and Twitter are burglars’ top go-to social media sites to locate their would-be victims. People are so willing to share their new purchase of expensive items, when they are home, and when they are out to get something to eat.

The good thing is installing simple alarm systems is enough to deter these crooks. They’re skilled enough to use social media but their alarm-deactivating skills are not quite on the level of Ethan Hunt’s.

#4. Ignored and forgotten accounts

Forgotten accounts won’t be such a threat if people stop using “password”, “12345”, or other popular passwords. With such easy guesses, hackers can use brute force attacks and come up with a boatload of accounts ready to use in whatever insidious scheme they have in mind.

Data security experts have been suggesting people to delete their ignored and forgotten social media accounts for years. It’s easier said than done, of course. Not many people remember each website they’ve signed up to. Even when they do remember, remembering what email address they used to register is next to impossible.

#5. Phishing attack and scams

Telefonica Security Firms claim that out of the many threats it managed to block, 89% of them are phishing attacks. Small and medium-sized businesses are especially targeted by cybercriminals due to their lower levels of protection compared to larger businesses.

When businesses share too much information on social media, they’re inviting these kinds of attacks:

* Diverting salary to fraudulent accounts

* False invoices from compromised supplier accounts

* Two-factor authentication (2FA) interception

* Brand impersonation

Don’t be a victim

As you can see, social media threats don’t only apply for personals. Businesses are in danger too. With hundreds to thousands of employees, preventing a breach of vital information is becoming a full-time job for the IT departments.

To protect your company from becoming another victim of social media threats, tell your employees to always go to a trusted and verified website if they need external tools to convert business documents, video documentations, or archives. Employees must also never click on a link in an email and never download anything to corporate computers and servers.

If your company doesn’t have one yet, put a strict social media policy in place. A social media policy can be as simple as one phrase (e.g.  “When in doubt, stop!”) or intricately cover more specifics.

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