Social media can do wonders for you as an individual, as well as if you are running your own online business. It can help you build a loyal following, spread word and awareness about your brand, and reach out to other like-minded people, as well as customers. And the best about it is that it’s incredibly easy to do, since everyone you are looking for is already there. It is estimated that there will about 2.77 billion users on social media in 2019!
However, because the power of social media is so easy to utilize, most people let their guard down when it comes to cybersecurity, which can come back to haunt them at some point in the future, in a number of different ways. In order to avoid that, let’s take a look at seven ways in which social media sites sabotage your cybersecurity.
- Providing Too Much Personal Information
According to research, 43% of all cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses, and since you will be using social media to promote your own small business, you need to take extra precautions. For starters, don’t leave a trail of breadcrumbs for social media hackers. Whether you are representing yourself or your company, avoid sharing stuff like your date of birth, places where you have attended school, as well as names and pictures of your family members. Those are enough for most identity thieves to break into your accounts or even to apply for credit cards using your personal info.
- Disgruntled Employees
While it’s fairly normal for your employees to vent about working for your company, in doing so, they may inadvertently reveal more than they should. It’s a lot more common than you think, since 98% of all employees are using at least one social media platform, and as much as 50% of those are talking about their respective companies. Whether they are sharing sensitive info or posting pictures from their workplace, they may end up sharing something that might hurt your business.
Social media websites are one of the biggest gateways for malware out there. While most malware hides inside emails and download links, they can also be spread through social media via shortened URLs, or even hidden inside social media ads. The user clicks on the link, thinks they are going to look at a regular Instagram profile, after which they can expose themselves to a cyber-attack.
Social media and online dating apps are extremely convenient, since they allow you to find a partner online in no time. However, one of the most common problems of online dating is catfishing, where your partner fakes their identify. Experiencing disappointment and heartbreak may be the least of your worries here, because you may run into a catfish whose goal is to get you to reveal personal and financial information.
- Home Invasions
Careless use of social media can even expose you to actual attacks and home invasions. Sure, you may be excited about your vacation, but you are basically telling strangers the exact time when you are not going to be home, which leaves them with plenty of time to break in and steal anything valuable. And you don’t even have to be away for long. Simply using the “checking in” feature on social media will let thieves know that you will be away for a few hours.
- Unused Social Media Accounts
While your brand may not be active on all major social media accounts, it is still a good idea to be present on all of them, because you want to maintain a uniform online presence. However, if you leave those accounts unattended for too long, you could enable hackers to break into your account, which could damage your brand’s reputation. They can commit fraud, post inappropriate messages, and perform all sorts of illegal activities under your name.
- Unsecured Mobile Devices
Accessing your social media accounts using your mobile phone can be done with just one tap, which is great, as long as you are the only person using your phone. But what happens if you lose it or if it gets stolen? Someone else would have instant access to your most personal data and conversations, and in case you have lost your company phone, they could even harm your business. You should at least make sure to protect your phone with a strong password.
All of this should not discourage you from using social media, because they can be an immensely powerful tool when used correctly. But you should think about your action online and take responsibility for your own cybersecurity, as well as that of your business.
Author Bio: Serena Dorf is a content writer at EssayOnTime. She is interested in marketing, innovations, and public speaking. In her free time, she is reading classic American literature and learning Swedish. Feel free to connect with her on Google+ and Twitter
Serena Dorf is a guest blogger, all opinions are her own.