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6 Reasons Why Social Media Cyber Security Matters to Small Businesses

6 Reasons Why Social Media Cyber Security Matters to Small Businesses

As a small business, social media is a necessary addition to your business arsenal. Social media presents great resources for marketing and interactivity aspects of your business. But social media also reveals a plethora of information to the individuals with malicious intent. Which can jeopardize your business confidentiality or even cripple the operations.

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Information Abundance

Social media platforms are great for sharing information and discussion. But that convenience makes it more prone to information leaking. Your employees share a lot of information on social media that can be leveraged by malicious impersonators. Every post you share and every information you distribute, puts you in a greater risk of sabotage. 

You might have the perception that only the top organizations and executives are on the radar of attackers. But you’d be wrong. Even if you are a small business, your every information is a data point for the cybercriminals. The data can be used to design a potential blackmail or ransomware attack

Oversharing and Phishing Risks

The individuals involved in a lot of social media activity are more prone to disclose sensitive personal and organizational information than those who aren’t. These employees of yours are the hotspots of phishing attacks. Their involvement in social chatters becomes used by attackers to curate phishing attacks that can jeopardize the whole business operation. 

Phishing isn’t only clicking a link and handing over access to the attacker. A phishing attack can also involve luring targets into disclosing their credentials to gain access. Cyber attackers design social media content with these data that arouse the targets into revealing sensitive information like mother’s maiden name and the name of their first pet. 

Social Engineering

Social engineering neither requires technical education nor technological education. Furthermore, social engineering is executing malicious activities through human interaction. 

The attackers target a particular individual and gather as much info as possible on them. Psychological manipulation is the fundamental of most social engineering attacks. Which starts in harmless social media interaction. And ends up in the individual getting scammed for money or information. 

Greed is the most prominent social engineering strategy. The targets are lured into the hook by false promises of better lifestyle or job. Once the prospect is convinced, the attacker starts extracting offensive information about them or the organization, more often than not, the primary targets are only engaged to build a detailed profile of a more senior individual. 

Social engineering attacks often end in either spear phishing or DDoS attacks.  

DDoS Attacks

Spreading misinformation or gaining unauthorized access to prevent the businesses to provide service to their customers is known as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. In most cases a malware becomes installed on the system by phishing or tailgating (more on that later), which installs a botnet into the system. The botnet diverts the user requests to the attacker and can cause significant financial or reputational damage. A viable residential proxy–in addition of accessing geo-blocked content–forwards your and your customers’ requests through different routers to keep your IP hidden. This practice can keep you safe from DDoS attacks to a larger extent. 

Common forms of DDoS attacks are DNS amplification, SYN flood, and HTTP flood.

The objective of DNS amplification is generating a long response from the victim. As if hundreds of customers are calling you to know about your company at the same time. 

The objective of SYN flood and HTTP flood is to overwhelm the web servers with thousands of malicious requests so that the legit ones go unnoticed. 

Spreading misinformation is not as technical, but is an effective practise to initiate DDoS attacks. “Hactivists” spread false information through social media from impersonated accounts of a company to disrupt their services. 

Tailgating

Tailgating is getting physical access to a company’s server to initiate malicious attacks. You can consider tailgating as a more advanced version of impersonation. The attacker poses as an employee or someone similar to gain access to the company’s network devices. They act as if they’ve lost their ID card and begs to use the victim’s credentials to get access. 

Once they’ve gotten access to the physical systems. Furthermore, a USB network device becomes used to gain access. Tailgating attacks also cultivate from the social media information that’s readily available. The attacker analyzes the target to determine the weak points that available for exploitation.  

Legal Compliance Issues

Compliance issues like SOC and patient health information (PHI) breach can occur if you are not being careful. An innocent social media post, revealing sensitive information about a customer is often enough to land you in trouble. 

How to Mitigate Social Media Cyber Security Threats

Deploy Strict Policies

Small businesses often lack clearly defined policies to protect their interests from cyber security threats. Consider establishing a HR department and design password and social media policies. 

Designing a strict policy should include social media access control, password policies, using public networks, and more. 

Employee Training

Strict policies aren’t often enough to stop employees from unintentionally harming the organization. They might fall prey to vishing attacks even after complying with the policy norms. Training employees to practice safe social media usage is the only way to ensure that you and your business stays safe. 

Use Strong Passwords

A strong password is which contains small and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and are more than 8 digit long. Try not to use your banking password on social media platforms and encourage employees to do the same. 

Don’t Use Public WiFi Networks

Public WiFi networks are the most notorious sources of malware injection. A public network available in cafes and clubs accessible by anyone with crafty skills to access the data sent or received by you. 

Use a Proxy

As discussed before, using a proxy server can minimize the risk of IP detection and help you stay safe from the prying eyes of attackers. 

Monitor Your Activities

Moreover, monitor your social media activities rigorously. Not only the employees; but consider keeping an eye on the content that’s shared by your social media handles for promotional purposes too.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the major reason you should keep a tight leash around social media cyber security is information leaking and impersonation. As popular as DDoS attacks are, tightening your social media security can also ensure that your business thrives. Social engineering, tailgating, and legal issues are also critical risks that you should consider mitigating.

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