People give social media channels a shocking amount of information about themselves. Social channels require access to personal information before allowing individuals to take a viral quiz, play an in-app game, or create a profile. Aside from the demanded information access, people post a considerable amount of information freely. Individuals are also spending an increasing amount of time consuming, sharing, and commenting on social media channels.

While social media use isn’t likely to stop anytime soon, individuals can take several steps to manage their risks online. These include:

  1. Preventing hacked accounts. The “sorry, I was hacked” post is all too common on social media channels. Individuals may be able to regain access to their accounts, but they may have to create an entirely new page depending on the hacker. Losing a personal account is frustrating, but losing a business account can have devastating consequences. Companies have to start over new, rebuild their following, and perform damage control on their public image. People and corporations alike can prevent this issue by using strong passwords, enabling two-factor or multifactor authentication, and never sharing their account login online with anyone—including those claiming to be colleagues or IT employees.
  2. Monitoring reserved social media accounts. Businesses know they need a social media presence but may not need them right away. Many companies set up social accounts to reserve their handle for a consistent username across all channels, even if they aren’t ready to use them yet. While this is a good practice to avoid losing the handle, it can create cyber vulnerabilities if left unattended. Accounts that appear unused are easy targets for hackers. Once inside, they can begin posting inappropriate messages or links containing viruses. Both these issues erode customer trust and loyalty to the brand.
  3. Addressing hidden security risks. Challenges and quizzes go viral on social media regularly. They’re entertaining and seemingly harmless. However, many people don’t realize they’re sharing sensitive information at the time. For instance, many ask about the make and model of your first car, what high school you attended, your school mascot, and so on. These seem innocuous at first glance, but they are typical security questions necessary to reset a password. If a hacker obtains enough information about an individual, they can gain access to any of their accounts without cracking their password—including at their job.
  4. Verifying social accounts. Anyone can create a social media channel and pretend to be an organization. It’s not difficult to make it appear legitimate, and the consequences can range from annoying to catastrophic. Imposters may make a general nuisance of themselves and make posts designed to embarrass the company. Others are more nefarious and use the platform to trick customers into sharing personally identifiable information. Such actions can have permanently damaging effects once the customer realizes what’s happened. Getting verified can help quell this issue, as customers know the account with the blue checkmark is legitimate.

Protecting your business from social media risks requires vigilance and common-sense security measures. Compromised social media channels can cause long-term damage to a company’s reputation and customer loyalty. Get in touch to learn more about protecting your business from cyber threats.