Social media has seen amazing growth in the last 10 years. According to a report, there are about 3.484 billion users on social media and Facebook ranks at the top of all the social media platforms. This is holds true for businesses especially. Social media can provide you better market reach, can help you in maintaining customer engagement, and with good enough content, help you develop brand awareness among users.

What makes social media so favorable?

First of all, it is very easy to use. Anyone can make an account and post anything on it. Second, you get access to an audience of 4.48 billion people online. This number is not coming down anytime soon. The number of people connected to the internet will increase further in the future. Third, you do not have to pay anything for it except for the internet. These are just the basic things that make social media favorable. But it works as a two-edged sword as it can have unfavorable results as well.

Now, what makes it so unfavorable?

People can abuse these platforms easily. It can be a tool to spread lies about people and misinformation about services. The majority of common social media users do not know about cybersecurity. Secondly, misinformation can spread like a wildfire. A person posts something on Facebook which is shared by their friends and then friends of friends. Long story short, the situation can quickly get out of hand.

So, you should be aware of the ways social media can sabotage your cybersecurity. Let’s look at 7 different ways it can do that.

Information That Leads Back To You

Most of the social media users start sharing too much information on social media. According to a report, about 60% of companies have had cyber-attacks. Much of it is because their employees are using social media carelessly. Cybercriminals get access to sensitive data by social engineering and phishing. Some employees are too talkative about their work and place of the usual gatherings that cybercriminals use. Most employees are unaware of their company’s privacy policy and usually their actions are not intentional and they are just oversharing with their social circle. But this information can be used to hack email accounts, bank accounts, and even data servers.

Pent-up Employees

Research tells us the cost of cybercrimes was about $2 trillion in 2019. Cybercriminals target pent-up employees to mine private data about their companies. Employees share on social media regarding their professional life’s issues and sometimes, give up valuable data which is then used by cybercriminals. This data can hurt your brand’s identity in the long term. That is the reason why businesses are also focusing on employee satisfaction now as a happy employee is one less worry for your cybersecurity.

Catfishing Method

Social media is a great way to find new friends or even more than that. But it comes with the danger of getting catfished by fake profiles. It is one of the most common methods used by cybercriminals to target businesses. They use the identity of your friend or partner to gain your trust. Sometimes, they create a fake account or hack the account of the person you trust. It might look like you are just talking to your colleague but it isn’t. This way you will have no idea that you are actually talking to a cybercriminal. One such attack was targeted at RSA Security back in 2011.

Malware Software

 Short URLs are a way to land social media users to malware and phishing sites. Some emails and downloaded files also contain malware. There are tons of websites that claim to be offering paid software free of cost. Much of the time, these websites are run by cybercriminals for hunting. Users easily fall into offers for free apps and games. These programs always contain malware codes. Once the user runs the software, the malware gets installed in the background. Famous examples are keyloggers that store every keypress on your keyboard. Some malware are also used to show ads that seem less harm. But these ads decrease the performance of your system. Some malware can install apps to the system without the user even knowing.

Social Media Activity

Your social media activity can make you a target of home robbers. Social media users check in to restaurants, diners, and holiday spots. It gives your personal information to all types of criminals. Criminals can target your homes while you are away. They might be able to know which route you take to your favorite coffee shop. They can target your families, friends, and colleagues. So, it is better to be careful when updating social media about your routines activities.

Dead Accounts

Your presence on social media, as an individual and a business, is important. But you have to be careful about your account privacy. Sometimes, users leave their social media accounts without closing them. Poor passwords and login information leads to such accounts being hacked. You should watch out for dead accounts on your friend list and remove such accounts if you have any. The same is true for businesses and celebrities. While you are away from the life of social media, fraudsters might spread a bad name for your brand. So, it is always advised to use social and digital marketing services to maintain your online presence.

Unsecured Devices

 Lost or stolen devices can be used by cybercriminals to target you. They can easily access your social media, bank accounts, and personal and work email. Unattended laptops and mobiles at restaurants are another cause of privacy leak. Leaving your device unattended at coffee shops can put you in a lot of trouble. Devices with no antivirus installed on them are a great danger for both users and companies. Businesses should educate their employees about the safety of company devices.

Final Note

The purpose of this article is not to push you away from social media. It is a great tool to socialize with people like you. But since it is an open platform, you cannot control what people do on it. It is your responsibility to take all the necessary care. According to a study, 43% of all attacks are targeted at small businesses. This means that a lot of businesses are not putting enough dollars into their cybersecurity. Social media is a powerful weapon if used properly. But it can bring a lot of harm if you are not careful enough.

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