Are you open to cyber attacks because of your social media activities?
As the number and reach of social media platforms increases day by day, it has become normal to post and share many aspects of our lives with friends and followers. However, it's not news that social media platforms aren't exactly the safest places to share personal information.
Even seemingly innocuous trends and challenges going viral can lead to the disclosure of personal information that, if found by the wrong people, can be used in spear phishing or password cyber attacks.
And COVID-19 has led to a dramatic increase in cyber attacks, proving that today it is more important than ever to be careful. Knowing that so many employees are moving their offices home, "hackers build their marketing list of people they want to attack and use these opportunities to gather all of your contacts," said Cory Carson, CEO of Del City IT- Companies.
What are you really giving away on social media?
Most social media challenges don't come out right out of the box asking for your mother's maiden name. However, in a list of questions about your childhood there may be information about which street you grew up on, your first elementary school and the city you were born in – all these general safety questions asked by banks and other organizations .
Even photo challenges can result in certain personal information being revealed. You may be foolishly including your first or current pet's name on a pet challenge photo label, or a pet's name may be on the collar in the picture. Challenges commemorating your senior year may reveal your school name or mascot, which are also common safety questions.
Outside of challenges, if your social media settings aren't set to private, anyone on the internet may be able to see places you've lived and your friends and family's profiles, which may reveal more information about you and your date Birth and more.
Cyber criminals know how to use this information to their advantage
If the information you share gets into the hands of cyber criminals, they might be able to use your security questions to reset passwords and get you banned from your accounts.
Even if they are not given information directly related to safety issues, they can use your personal information to fish you. This usually comes in the form of an email mimicking a person or organization you trust. So if hackers can learn where you live, where you work, and what organizations and friends you interact with, they can be given ammunition to launch a phishing attack that is more likely to get you a victim.
How to protect yourself from cyber attacks through social media
The first step everyone should take to protect themselves from cyber attacks from social media is to keep the accounts private. This will limit hackers' access to your information and allow you to securely share some things about your life with your friends and family.
If you'd rather keep your profile public to interact with customers or followers, you should never share certain personal information. Even if your account is set to private, the FBI has warned against participating in the challenges that involve disclosing certain personal information.
Another simple strategy to protect your company and yourself from phishing attacks is to use two-factor authentication. Even if a hacker gains access to your credentials with two-factor or multi-factor authentication, they will not be able to access your accounts without another factor that only you have, such as: E.g. an app installed on your phone or a fingerprint scan.
The next time you share, think about who might be watching and how much you want your followers to know about you.