In terms of security, social media has become a significant concern for businesses. According to CIO insights, by the end of 2021, security breaches worldwide will grow to $6 billion, social media being the primary channel of cyber criminals. To manage social media security risks to your business, you need to create sound governance practices. The reputation of your brand, data safety, and sales depend on it. It is essential to understand the risk potential and how social media affects your business in terms of security. In this post, we will discuss social media threats and how they impact your business.
How Does Social Media Security Impact Your Business?
Social media is a target of many security risks. As a business manager, you should have an IT representative on your social media governance team. Below are the social media security concerns and how they affect your business.
Virus and ransomware attacks
Have you ever heard of Wannacry? Ransomware is malicious software that affects the boot sector of a computer or encrypts the files. Thus, they block access to the files until you pay a specified amount of money in untraceable currency. A ransomware attack can affect your business in two ways.
The hacker can get the personal details of a business manager from his social media account. Such elements include the name, location, and job description. The attacker can use such information to generate fake emails and send malicious links that the employees and other people can download. Since the details on the email are correct, it misled people to download the malicious ransomware links. It has the effect of denying services to the business when the ransomware locks the computers.
The attacker can also affect your business by distributing the ransomware in private messages or posts. Since the message seems to come from a verified account, the followers unknowingly download the malware.
Brand impersonation and phishing
Attackers can set up a clone of your website and target the customers with phishing attacks. The idea here is to convince the customers that they can trust the website. It has links to the social media accounts of the legitimate company. So any follow-up would make the user certify it as legitimate. Such impersonation can affect the brand of a business. When attackers pose as your company, they set up the customers to purchase non-existent and counterfeit or receive malware. The malicious actor also creates confusion among the customers whenever they try to make interactions with your brand. The net effect of this is ruining your brand reputation and confusing your customers.
Uncontrolled user access
Sharing credentials between agencies, managers, and consultants is typical in various companies.
Such a practice is not suitable for the security of the business. If such credentials find their way into social media, they can fall into the hands of an attacker, which can have a detrimental effect on the company? It can lead to a total account takeover. Implementing a password system in the business can help manage access to the accounts without sharing the credentials with many parties. Hence, the integrity of the credentials is maintained.
Businesses have various applications connected with social media to provide more connectivity. Such apps may include a listening system, publishing system, or analytics system. Such apps can be the channels the attacker uses to access the inner workings of the business and conduct various attacks. Therefore, understanding the security situation around your applications before connecting them to social media is vital. Connected applications can have proprietary data on them. When the attacker gets hold of such information, he can sell it to your competitor or blackmail you. Either way, there is a loss of cash. You can lose your competitive edge when the competitors come across such information.
What can happen if social media accounts’ passwords and login credentials are stolen? It may seem like a simple security issue, but it is costly. When a person logs in and changes the company accounts, it creates a public relations nightmare. A malicious hacker can perform much damage as you rescue the account and reset the password. How can this happen? It commonly occurs when credentials belonging to an employee are stolen and access to a company’s social media account. This could give the hacker access to the company’s social media accounts. Most people use duplicate credentials across various platforms or applications. Again, this can tarnish the reputation of a company which can scare the customers away.
Account takeovers (ATOs) arise when an unauthorized user uses various methods and techniques to hijack and take control of a victim’s account. They do this through phishing, credential stuffing, or social engineering. The attacker can cause irreparable damage once he completes an account takeover attack. Dolce and Gabbana’s Instagram account was taken over. They lost an entire market. On their Instagram account, the attackers posted offensive messages on the eve of announcing the event of their brand’s arrival on the Chinese market. Such an incident explains how impactful social media security is to a business.
Whenever an account is compromised either by DNS spoofing, phishing, or social engineering, it helps attackers start impersonation, ransomware attacks, and credential stuffing, among other malicious actions.
Now, you may say that personal accounts and business accounts are different. This is true in every sense. However, the issue arises within the user’s domain. Today various people use the same credentials on multiple websites or even store them on their emails. Therefore, when the attacker logins to the email, he accesses the plaintext version of the company’s credentials. Hence an attacker can launch an attack on a business just because of an employee’s minor mistake.
Although social media is the most used platform for managing customer experience and marketing, its security concerns have long-lasting effects on a business. We estimate that 52% of small businesses are active on various social media platforms. To ensure the safety of your business, secure all the sectors, including social media accounts.
About the Author
Mike Khorev is passionate about all emerging technologies in the IT space and loves to write about all of them. He is a lifetime marketing and internet expert with over 10 years of experience in web technologies, SEO, online marketing, and cybersecurity.