The original design of social media was to promote communication, expand horizons, extend breadths of communication, and enable chatting, networking, and learning from others around the world.
Unfortunately, the realities of social media use these days are that, while all of the above is still true, the sheer number of users on different social media platforms has ultimately led to substantial negative activity thrown in with the good.
Today makes 12 years since Mashable launched World Social Media Day, in an effort to ‘recognize social media’s impact on global communication and to bring the world together to celebrate it.’
From a cybersecurity perspective, our job is to help you keep cyber safe while you are using social media – so that we can indeed celebrate these communication platforms in a positive way, without being fearful of cyber threats.
If you don’t know what you are clicking on, you don’t know the sender, or the website seems suspicious – don’t click on any links! Often, these links may be vectors for phishing scams, whereby a victim will be encouraged to reveal personal information, with the ultimate aim of financial extortion.
Phishing scams, an ever-popular online threat, have been on the rise this year – if you haven’t already seen ReasonLabs’ State of Consumer Cybersecurity Report, you can read more about phishing scams here.
Your digital footprint represents how much of yourself you are displaying, and what trail you are leaving, as you navigate the digital world. Be careful what private information, including photos and messages, you are posting online. You don’t want anything to come back to haunt you later on. Sextortion, social media engineering, cyberbullying and blackmail have all been reported as consequences of insecure digital footprints.
Impersonating different identities in order to prey on someone online, usually someone in a vulnerable state, is known as ‘catfishing’. Watch out for features that may not ring true – check out their profile online and see that all the details add up. Alternatively, the catfish may not be a real person at all – he / she could be a bot, created by spammers in order to send dodgy links en masse on social media platforms.
As with catfishing, there’s a similar warning here: not everybody is who they say they are. Be wary of how much you disclose to an anonymous chat room user – they may seem super friendly but at the end of the day, you don’t know this person. Asking for money or other personal details is also a red flag.
Parental Control Apps
In order to keep your whole family safe on social media, including younger members of the family, we highly recommend using a parental control app, such as FamilyKeeper. Parental control apps help to combat cyberbullying, as parents can be alerted if incendiary keywords are being used. Parents may also receive notifications if an unknown user contacts their child, and they can block certain websites that may be inappropriate or offensive to young users.
Identity and Theft
Criminals and hackers trawl social media for information to use against their victim – whether it be holiday posts or locations in order to facilitate burglary, personal information to crack passwords or steal identities, or hobbies and interests in order to target the user.
Although we may joke ‘our phones can hear us!’ when we see an advert for something shortly after it’s come up in conversation, the truth is we have no idea how much data is being collected about us online. Avoid writing your home address, phone number, or any other personal details online that could possibly be used against you.
Social media platforms are there to be enjoyed. If for any reason you feel a site or a contact is acting suspiciously, you can block them or report them. Additionally, using up-to-date endpoint protection on your device will also ensure that even if you click or open something malicious by mistake, any cyber threats will be mitigated, keeping you cyber safe.
For more information on current cybersecurity trends, visit www.reasonlabs.com