Social Media Cybersecurity: Privacy Concerns and Security Tips
Believe it or not, social media existed even before the 21st century. SixDegrees.com, one of the first ever social media sites, went live in 1997. The gist of this site was to create a profile page, make connections, and message them. Now fast forward a quarter century later, billions of users around the globe make use of technologically-advanced social media platforms like Meta, YouTube, and X. Social media has greatly enhanced our abilities to share information and interact with people in our various social circles. However, this large-scale sharing of information has also given rise to privacy and safety concerns. In recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s take a look at privacy and security issues that come with social media cybersecurity and what measures you can take to keep your information secure.
Social Media Platforms Collect Significant Information
When signing up for a social media account, you must usually agree to terms and conditions. These often include allowing your “personal” data to be collected. This data can include a wide range of information about you once you complete your account profile and begin using the platform.
- Age, Ethnicity, and Race
- Browsing History
- Credit Card Information and Purchase History
- Employment Status
Collected Information Can Be Used Maliciously
When vast amounts of information get collected, hackers and scammers often try and take advantage.
Social media companies, websites, and applications are not immune to hacking. Successful cyberattacks can result in data breaches where personal information of users gets leaked.
Impersonators can use photos and information from social media profiles to try and conduct identify theft scams.
Virus Distribution Through Compromised Accounts
When hackers successfully gain access to a user’s social media account, they can spread links carrying viruses to the user’s unsuspecting connections.
Social Media Cybersecurity Best Practices
Despite the information above, we’re not encouraging you to boycott social media. But we do want to outline a few tips you can use to keep your information secure when consistently utilizing social media.
Be Wary of Free Wi-Fi
Social media usage on a public Wi-Fi networks can backfire on you. These networks are often insecure which makes them ripe for hackers to intercept your data.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
A great security step to incorporate into your social media routine is multi-factor authentication (MFA). This security measure protects you (or your organization) by requiring two or more forms of authentication to access the social media account. MFA makes it harder for outsiders to gain access to your social media profiles.
Monitor Your Account Activity
Don’t create an account and then just forget about its security for months at a time. Consistently check the activity of your account and when managing an organization’s official account, keep a record of logins and posting schedules. This way, you’ll notice if anything abnormal comes up.
Update Your Apps and Settings
Stay on top of your social media platforms’ security settings by consistently completing the updates. Spending a few minutes on this isn’t glamorous but is far better than the alternative of having a vulnerable profile. Also, double-check the location settings for applications on your phone. Providing location information when using an app is one thing, but always allowing your location to be tracked (even when you’re not using an app) is something to avoid.
Get Help Securing Your Social Media
If you’re looking for additional guidance on social media cybersecurity or want help implementing some security measures, contact the Abstract team. We’d be more than happy to take a look at your setup and get you up to speed on all the latest security best practices.