19 Social Media Security Best Practices- Security on social media has fast become one of the most pressing concerns for businesses and individuals. Unlike a few years ago, social networking has established itself as one of the most important communication channels. For a variety of reasons, large organisations and ordinary users equally favour the channel. The ability to speak with millions of users at once, connect with individuals from all over the world, and facilitate the sharing of all forms of media are the most frequent. Pictures, videos, text messages, and voice and video calls are examples.
Despite its widespread use, social media offers a security risk due to an increase in the number of hackers and the sophistication of their attacks. Security concerns abound, therefore social media users must be informed of the best methods for securing their accounts.
Common security risks affecting social media
The cybersecurity dangers that social media firms confront are well-known. As a result, they regularly examine their systems and apps for vulnerabilities and adopt the greatest security solutions available. As a result, fraudsters hack their victims through third-party programmes. The security incident at Twitter, where attackers exploited a security hole in Twitter Counter, exemplifies this (an application used to analyse Twitter activities). They were able to gain access to Amnesty International and Forbes’ Twitter accounts.
Cyber criminals are persistent in their efforts to develop intelligent and stealthy malware. They hack into the social media accounts of unsuspecting individuals using harmful software. Attackers can easily track their targets’ activity by duping them into installing malware. They can obtain sensitive information such as usernames and passwords using this method.
Mobile devices that aren’t protected
For quick and easy access, the bulk of social media users install apps like Facebook and Instagram on their devices. Furthermore, smartphones are lightweight and portable, making them ideal for social media use. If a mobile device connected to social media accounts falls into the wrong hands, it can easily undermine a user’s privacy or security, leading to identity theft, when hostile persons utilise compromised accounts to further their own interests.
Imposter accounts are a specialty of internet con artists. It is simple to construct a fake social network account using today’s technologies. They can wait for long periods of time to reduce suspicion, monitoring the original accounts to ensure they have comparable activity histories. As a result, targeted users may become prey and divulge very sensitive data. Rival businesses might use the same strategy to smear their competitors’ names and reputations. Hackers can also utilise impostor accounts to obtain access to social media accounts that are used for business purposes.
Accounts that are left unattended
Individual users or businesses may create social media accounts and then abandon them after a period of time. Because they know no one is monitoring, cyber criminals target such accounts. They don’t even need to hack them because they can publish bogus messages using an impostor account. Unmonitored accounts pose a significant risk because hackers can use them to spread bogus information or send malicious links to followers.
Keeping yourself safe
There are a variety of potential concerns to social media security. Although the parent firms make significant investments in maintaining secure networks and social media applications, consumers bear a significant portion of the responsibility for keeping their accounts safe. Here are some of the best social media security strategies.
Social Media Security Tips for individual users
Monitor your inbox
Hackers have been using email messages to execute phishing attacks for years. These are attacks in which a cyber adversary uses various approaches to persuade victims to install malware or divulge sensitive information. Appealing to the victim’s interests is one of the strategies. However, social media has made it easier for hackers to conduct phishing campaigns. They can build convincing messages to fool users into clicking a harmful link or downloading a malware attachment with a single peek at the user’s profile and account habits. As a result, keep an eye on the messages, links, and attachments that arrive in your inbox. Phishing attacks are typically sent by unknown parties and ask for personal information.
Make use of password protection
The process of creating every social media account requires the creation of a unique username and password. Password protection is one of the most straightforward ways to keep a social media account safe. To gain access to any social media platform, users must first create a password. Creating a one-of-a-kind password is not the same as following optimum password security guidelines. Creating strong passwords is one of the best techniques for improving password security. A brute-force assault can be prevented by using strong passwords. Changing a password on a regular basis can also help to reduce the risk of it being compromised. Furthermore, once a social network account has been accessed through another person’s device, it is always necessary to log out. Most browsers or applications save passwords that can be accessed by anyone.
Make multi-factor authentication a priority
Many social networking networks allow users to use two-factor or multi-factor authentication. They offer an extra layer of security to password protection. When a person enables multi-factor authentication, they must enter a correct password as well as a second object to authenticate their identity. When signing in, two-factor authentication may, for example, send a code to the phone number or email address provided. Access is denied if the supplied code is not provided, even if the password is accurate. A bad user cannot access the authentication elements because only the legitimate account owners have access. However, multi-factor authentication is not enabled by default in all social media platforms’ security settings. As a result, in the privacy and security settings, the account owner must enable the option. Multi-factor authentication is a good approach to improve social media security and prevent unwanted users from gaining access to your account.
Set up hard to guess security answers
Users must submit a phone number or email address when registering a social media account, such as Facebook, in order to reset passwords if they forget them. Individuals with malicious intent may gain access to email accounts or phone numbers and use them to reset passwords. As a result, they can login in as the account’s legitimate owner and utilise it to post damaging content or send phishing messages to followers. Because resetting passwords may require answers to security questions, using security responses can improve social media security. When you give the erroneous response, you won’t be able to reset your password, which improves social media security. The security questions to be used during password reset, like multi-factor authentication, must be enabled in the security and privacy settings.
Customize your privacy settings
As previously noted, social media users bear a significant amount of responsibility for their own personal and account security. As a result, people should take steps to alter their privacy settings so that they can control who may see their postings and timeline activities. The user is protected from social media phishers by maintaining privacy settings. An attacker must first determine the target’s interests in order to produce a successful phishing message. Increasing social media security by enabling privacy settings that allow followers or friends to check timeline history can help prevent phishing attacks.
In light of this, it’s also a good idea to be cautious about what messages a person posts on social media. Hackers are mostly interested in obtaining personal data such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, home addresses, and user passwords. Posting such data on a public site like Facebook simply makes it easier for a cyber enemy to do their job. The more personal information a user discloses on social media, the easier it is for a hacker to take their identity.
Protect your PC and mobile devices
A compromised machine is sometimes all a cyber actor needs to compromise social media security. To install malware, cybercriminals take advantage of flaws in computers or mobile devices. A hacker can remotely monitor all activity, including a victim’s social media usage patterns, using the software. This can give a cybercriminal the information they need to get access to the victim’s social media accounts.
There are a variety of security measures that may be implemented to safeguard the safety of computers and mobile devices. Malware programmes can be detected on a computer using antivirus software. Additionally, obtaining updates as soon as they become available, especially for social networking applications, ensures that the most recent security updates are installed. As a result, cybercriminals will find it more difficult to exploit security flaws.
Who are your social media followers and friends?
Verifying new friend or follower requests can go a long way toward improving social media security. The primary goal of social media is to bring individuals from all over the world together. As a result, hackers take advantage of such opportunities to build bogus social media identities and make requests to hundreds of people, increasing their chances of finding an easy target. It’s a good idea to double-check the social media profile’s legitimacy. It’s quite simple because an authentic profile should have a history of the owner’s activities. Sharing images and receiving comments on their posts from other friends are examples of this. A cybercriminal utilising a phoney account could have a profile with difficult-to-verify details. Delete such requests and, if necessary, block or report them for further investigation.
Tips for Businesses on Social Media Security
Social media is widely used by businesses. They advertise items and communicate with customers on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The widespread use is due to a number of benefits, including real-time response to customer queries, global product promotion, and the maintenance of a company’s image and reputation. Because social media serves as an organization’s public face, businesses must guarantee that their social media accounts are secure. The top social media security tips for businesses are listed below.
Conduct regular audits
The challenges to social media security are continually changing as a result of new technology and hacking techniques. Cybercriminals are always creating new techniques, viruses, and frauds to utilise in order to attack company social media accounts. As a result, a corporation that wants to stay ahead of cyber criminals should conduct frequent audits of the security mechanisms in place. A quarterly or semi-annual audit is sufficient, and a full inspection should be guided by the following:
Social media policy
Businesses create social media rules that are specifically customised to their communication requirements. As a result, companies should reassess their rules to reflect changes in social media usage and security measures. The security paperwork for social media accounts can be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it remains useful in securing their accounts.
Permissions for publishing and access
An organization’s social media accounts can be protected by auditing publication and access restrictions. Permissions review is required since it determines whether users have the authority to publish material on the platforms. Some users’ positions may have changed or their access may have been removed. As a result, auditing guarantees that only those with the appropriate rights have access to or publish on social media.
The privacy settings on social media platforms are frequently updated. Because the account will be using the old privacy settings before they were modified, the updates may have an impact on account security. Businesses should evaluate their security settings on a regular basis to ensure that they are up to date with the latest changes.
Keep an eye out for new threats
Any company’s IT department should keep track of new dangers and solutions. Tracking new hazards allows a company to put in place adequate countermeasures or even prevent them entirely.
Set up a mechanism for approving new job postings
Any incident that could harm a company’s reputation is something that no one wants to happen. With the correct login information, a hostile user can gain access to the account and post information that could harm the company’s reputation. Nonetheless, a well-intentioned employee can utilise the same platform to share important business information. Unreleased products or services are among the types of information that can be obtained. Furthermore, a user can share personal information on a business social media account. While this may not constitute a serious risk to the account’s security, it does reveal a company’s inability to regulate information flow, which can have a negative impact on its reputation and client base.
As a result, every organisation should put in place a mechanism for approving any material that is posted. Designating a group of people who authorise various forms of information is one example of such information. An employee from the marketing and finance departments, for example, can approve any information coming from their respective departments. A marketing contractor for Z-Burger recently tweeted a violent image of a murdered journalist on the company’s Twitter account. The contractor had publication rights, but there was no procedure in place for authorising new posts at the company.
Keep an eye on all of your social media accounts.
Unmonitored accounts, as previously stated, are one of the most serious threats to social media security. Because unattended accounts are easy to exploit or mimic, hackers target them. As a result, monitoring all social media outlets is a security requirement that a corporation should consider. Accounts that are used every day, as well as those that are opened but only utilised for a brief time or never used, should all be monitored. As a result, any cyber attacker who succeeds to hack and utilise the accounts may be detected. However, simply tracking account usage patterns is insufficient. It’s also critical to keep an eye on the originality and veracity of all posted data. A corporation can accomplish this by cross-referencing its posts with the organization’s content calendar.
Furthermore, following up on everything might help a company maintain adequate social media security. Any information conveyed through social media platforms is made to appear to be from the owner or authorised users. This isn’t always the case, though. Investigating all activity, including those that appear to be acceptable, can reveal dangers that can compromise social media usage and access. Some content can be constructed to deviate from the original message. This could be the result of human error or unauthorised access. Employees who make inappropriate comments or suggestions about the organization’s brand, bad conversations about the business, and impostor accounts should all be monitored.
Appoint a person to be in charge of social media
Creating a job that establishes the status of an employee in charge of social media accounts can help to improve their security. It can also help to strengthen the efforts made to mitigate risks and dangers. The person in this position should be in charge of creating and maintaining social media security policies. Other important responsibilities include monitoring the company’s social media presence and selecting who has access to or can post on the accounts. This is especially crucial because illegal posts or access might jeopardise the account’s security and integrity.
Employees in charge of safeguarding an organization’s social media accounts must interact with the IT department in order to do their jobs efficiently. A positive working connection will be beneficial in facilitating adequate risk mitigation and prevention. In addition, the social media officer must collaborate closely with all departments that rely on the accounts to meet their goals. Marketing is one example. As a result, based on how posts affect the organization’s strategy, objectives, or regulations, the officer can approve or deny postings.
Limit your use of social media
According to a survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, organisational workers are more likely than hackers to cause social media security issues. Employees can make mistakes while publishing to a company’s timeline, posing a security risk. As a result, limiting social media usage is one of the most effective ways to keep the company’s social media accounts safe. A company might assign separate teams to tasks like messaging customers on social media, making fresh postings, and providing customer assistance, for example. However, not everyone needs to be able to publish, and not all team members should have access to login passwords.
As a result, limiting the number of employees who can post should be a major focus when it comes to social media security. Once a company has identified personnel who have posting permissions, it should look into software options that allow for immediate access without the need for a password or username. Once an employee leaves the company or their permissions are removed, this would eliminate the need to change login credentials on a regular basis.
Educate yourself on the best social media security techniques
Adopting the most effective social media security policy is pointless if staff are unaware of best practises. While such a policy must be basic and easy to comprehend, educating employees gives them the opportunity to learn how to really implement it. Staff can also learn about social media security threats and their roles in preventing them during training sessions. Furthermore, training sessions allow a company to examine and update regulations that have already been established.
Stick to your social media policy
Any company that uses or plans to use social media must create a comprehensive security policy. A good policy should include instructions for avoiding bad press or legal issues, as well as, more critically, mitigating security vulnerabilities. The following are some guidelines to include in the policy:
- Members of your team or departments who have access to the company’s social media profiles
- Working password management strategies: guidelines
- How to spot social media threats, attacks, and frauds, as well as how to report them
- The usage of personal social media for work purposes is governed by rules.
- Social media guidelines for discussing the company’s brand
- Invest in security technologies that are automated.
Human operators may make mistakes or be unable to provide round-the-clock monitoring, making monitoring social media activities difficult. As a result, some attacks may go unreported, potentially culminating in catastrophic security breaches. Because it does not make mistakes and does not leave the system unmonitored, an automated solution can avoid this from happening. Security monitoring software can detect objectionable posts that could ruin a company’s reputation. It can also detect phishing links or attachments, bogus accounts attempting to imitate a firm, and frauds aimed at the organization’s consumers. As a result, a company’s social media security can be improved.