Five security risks of social media and how to prevent them

Most of us use social media on a daily (perhaps even hourly) basis, meaning it has become all too easy to forget the dangers of sharing our personal data online. Indeed, thanks to the easy accessibility of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, it has never been more crucial to use social media safely and securely.

Whilst the way in which social sharing has connected people across the globe is undoubtedly a good thing, it is important not to overlook some of social media’s key security risks. To help you avoid falling victim to hackers or scammers, we’ve put together a quick list of the most common social media security threats:

Identity theft

Social media has become a favourite hunting ground for cybercriminals. Whilst most people are well aware that they should never share details about their driving license or their bank details with strangers online, they fail to realise that information as simple as a full name, relationship status, date of birth, home town, or even personal interests can be used to steal someone’s identity and leave them vulnerable to fraud.

To avoid this fate, make sure that your passwords vary across accounts and are not easily guessable. Your pet’s name, for example, should be avoided at all costs. You should also make sure that the security settings on your account are as stringent as possible.

Data leakage

Data leakage on social media platforms has become big news in recent years, particularly following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Whilst it is impossible to ensure that your data is completely secure from potential leakage, you can mitigate the chances of people getting hold of your data by avoiding taking part in online games that you do not trust and to hand over as little personal information as possible. The use of Multi Factor (or 2 Factor) authentication is now available on most email systems, Twitter, Whatsapp, Amazon, Facebook and Instagram to name just a few. This works in the same way as banks with having a separate device, like your phone, to validate your login with a unique code along with your password.

Fake requests from spam profiles

Every so often, you may receive a friend request from someone you do not know. Whilst it may be tempting to increase your friend count by accepting, you should always avoid allowing people you do not know into your friendship network. They could be a scammer hoping to use your information for malicious purposes.

Profile hacking

Profile hacking occurs when hackers manage to infiltrate your online account. They may even start posting as your online persona or business and hamper your reputation. To avoid this, remember to update your password every few months and link your profile to personal authentification devices to add another layer of security. If you own a business profile, make sure that only a small group of colleagues have access to the profile.

Fake apps and malicious links

Some smart scammers are able to use fake applications and malicious links to infect devices with social media viruses. To avoid this, remember only to click on links that look legitimate and that you trust. You should also invest in robust cybersecurity software that will protect you or your business from danger.