Social Media – Great Marketing Channel or Major Cybersecurity Risk?

Social media platforms are very attractive for companies, since they have almost 2.5 billion active users. If you want your voice to be heard in the digital realm, social media marketing is definitely a viable option.

This is why social media became critical to marketing success for a great majority of companies. Besides, companies find social media very convenient for internal communication, as well as for communication with customers and partners.

Unfortunately using social media bears specific threats to cybersecurity. In order for you to decide whether social media are a great marketing channel or a major cybersecurity risk we’ve done a little research. Here is what we’ve found.

The Human Factor

Human error on social media is quite often the one thing that increases the risk of getting hacked, but how can humans affect the social media security of any brand today? Actually quite easy.

By forgetting to log off when using a public computer, accidentally posting confidential information or forgetting to uncheck the “Keep me logged in” box, employees can expose a company to major cybersecurity risks.

Now, while this won’t have devastating effects on your company’s data or IT infrastructure, it will still damage your brand image. Especially if you have a significant amount of followers on social media. We all remember the social media manager of US Airways who tweeted an X rated image on the official US Airways Twitter account.

Account Hijack Due to Poor Privacy Policy

Privacy policy settings are there for a good reason on social media platforms. If you go through each of the options these settings offer, you will clearly see how neat they are and how they can help you protect your interests online.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t take privacy settings seriously. This quite often results in their accounts being hijacked by people with malicious intents. After these guys get a hold of a business account, they can use it to promote inappropriate content and to send fraudulent links to the followers. This can have devastating effects on any business which cannot be fixed by any post-hack PR strategy.

This is why every business must have a strict privacy settings policy across all social media platforms being used. This will significantly reduce cybersecurity risks regarding these settings on social media.

Viruses and Spam Messages

Having an account on a social media platform comes with a lot of responsibilities. Besides making sure that you have a strong password and up-to-date privacy policy settings, you also have to remain as active as possible on these accounts. Why? Because in the meantime hackers can use your account to insert viruses and malware that will send spam messages to your followers.

These viruses can also post on your behalf very disturbing and inappropriate posts that will damage your brand significantly. You will also lose your position as a trustworthy expert on social media that will cause many people to unlike and unfollow your page.

The attacks that may have a devastating effect on your social media profile can also come from emails. Some of the malicious apps spread through email attachments can infect a social media profile and cause you to lose precious followers. One of those attacks is ransomware and it spreads via corrupted jpegs on social media.

Phishing Scams are Not Email Exclusive

Maybe you didn’t know, but social media platforms are very suitable for phishing scams. What hackers usually do is they create fraudulent accounts posing as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter customer support representatives.

Once a targeted person clicks on one of these links, hackers gain access to their computer and data. Some of the phishing scams will install malicious extensions in your browsers, which are then used by hackers to take hold of social media accounts and spread the virus to a person’s friends and followers.

One of the most famous phishing attacks took place on Facebook during 2016 and infected millions of computers around the globe.

Social media platforms are a great marketing channel and a major cybersecurity risk at the same time. With this in mind, business organizations have to do their best to develop a good cybersecurity culture and to educate their employees about all the threats that lurk on social media. The only way to minimize the cybersecurity risks is to adopt a holistic approach and make continuous efforts in establishing efficient cybersecurity policies.