Today’s social media landscape presents an easy target for cybercriminals. According to a post by Heimdal Security, approximately 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised daily, and one in 10 social media users have said they’ve been a victim of cybercrime. Why? Because a user trusts the friend that allegedly posted the link they clicked on.
The business model for social media websites presents the perfect opportunity for those who profit from selling personally identifiable information. Social media websites profit from targeted advertisers because users gladly share their information including places they’ve visited, where they live, work and their interests. The more active a user is on social media, the more valuable they become to advertisers.
Why would a cybercriminal steal your information?
Cybercriminals make money by selling or accessing your information. If you have payment information linked to a social media account, you could be vulnerable. If you somehow managed to give your login credentials in a phishing scam and also have a credit card linked to your account, the attacker will now have the information they are after, which can easily be sold or used to make fraudulent purchases.
How are they stealing people’s information?
Every bit of information you share on social media is potentially giving away data that can be used to discover your passwords. Information like your date of birth, schools you have attended and your place of work are accessible through your profile page. As you connect and share posts, articles and events with your friends, attackers can use that information to start to build a profile on you. With a bit of digging, a cybercriminal may be able to answer the security questions set for your online bank account like, “What is the name of your first pet?”
Besides skimming your profile page, here are three common ways a cybercriminal may access your information:
- Like-Jacking: You’re on Facebook and you have found an image or article that you agree with and decide to “like” it. When you liked the content malware was downloaded to your computer.
- Link-Jacking: You click on a link and instead of going to the trusted website, you are redirected to a look-a-like site filled with malware and other vicious lines of codes used to access your computer.
- Phishing: This is a pretty common term. You have probably received phishing scam emails about bank accounts, credit cards, etc. For social media, you may be asked to enter your login credentials for Facebook or Instagram. If you have a payment method linked to those accounts, they will have access to that as well. Think before you click!
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Don’t click on strange links. If a friend posted something unusual, ask before clicking.
- Learn how to protect your account on each platform, and be sure that you have adjusted all privacy settings.
- Install a security solution to protect against malware, and keep your software updated.
- Consider what you are sharing with the world on social media. You can never get back data that is lifted from your accounts.
- Update your passwords frequently, and don’t use common names and dates to create your passwords. Don’t use the same password for all accounts, and make them impossible for someone to guess.
Some of these prevention tactics seem very elementary, but it is easy to unknowingly click on a malicious link. Most importantly, be sure your system is protected with a reputable cybersecurity solution like Intel Security, Symantec, Kaspersky Labs or Webroot. Cybersecurity is a fact of life and the need for it will only increase as we continue to make advancements in the digital space. Be smart about your computing habits and stay protected with up-to-date security solutions.
As a security solutions provider, these precautions can also help your business and your customers. Educate your customers on cybersecurity and social media. Many companies have social media accounts, and it’s important to understand that these issues can also impact fan pages. Reputation is tough to build—but it can be easily destroyed with one incident.
Want to learn more about other cybersecurity concerns? Download Tech Data’s Security Partner Sales Playbook to learn more.
About the Author
Laura Vanassche is currently a Marketing Strategist for Tech Data, where she helps cloud and software partners in the IT channel access vendor and distribution resources. Tech Data is one of the world’s largest distributors of technology products, services, and solutions. Learn more at www.TechData.com