It shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that social media is a top platform for malware. But according to a recent Network World article, the relationship between social media and cybersecurity is more complicated than many people think. According to several cited surveys of business cybersecurity practices, the root of the problem is that most businesses do not consider social media when they evaluate their own security risk level. One researcher called it a “blind spot.” And if they’re not evaluating the risks that these sites pose, then they’re not doing anything to avoid those risks. People are often less guarded and more open to sharing information on social media by the nature of the medium – that’s what the platforms are built for after all.
So what are the Risks?
Social media platforms pose threats in several ways. First, they can be a way of distributing malware directly through links or urging people to download malicious applications. Second, they can be an avenue for hackers to gather information on targeted individuals to use in spear phishing campaigns. Additionally, hackers often create realistic looking fake profiles to make social engineering schemes seem more legitimate. Finally, hackers with bad intentions can use platforms like Twitter to quickly share information about new exploits or vulnerabilities. On the plus side, this can also work in reverse – white hat security researchers can use social media to spread the word about a breach or vulnerability with the goal of sparking a quick resolution.
Here are a few handy recommendations for combating malware on social media:
- Take social media into account when examining your organization’s security risks, even if your policies don’t allow employees to check profiles on the clock.
- Limit what you share on social media, especially personal or work-related information.
- Use strong passwords – and different passwords – on each of you accounts.
- Be skeptical of messages from people you don’t recognize or haven’t met in real life.
- Understand that brands and important public figures are “verified” on Twitter – look for the blue check mark next to their name. For example, “Verizon Support” is verified. If you get a DM from a “Verizon Support” account without the check mark, watch out – it’s likely to be a fake!
For more information about malware on social media, read the full article on Network World here: http://www.networkworld.com/article/3112779/social-networking/social-media-the-gateway-for-malware.html?#tk.rss_security
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