photo by Harland Quarrington, courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence
Social media has succeeded in connecting us to each other…and to cyber-criminals intent on invading your company’s network.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your business.
Social media has revolutionized the communications industry, changing irrevocably how we socialize and do business. In professional and personal life, we now have unprecedented access to each other’s lives though these networks. But there’s a downside: social media can also grant access to unwanted “friends” who mean to do you or your business harm.
How can you protect your business and avoid becoming a victim?
Cyber-Criminals at Work
There are many ways that cyber-criminals might use social media to infiltrate your company’s network—basically, by taking advantage of people’s trust of these social media brands. For example, a cyber-villain might create spam that mimics social media emails, such as LinkedIn or Facebook requests to connect, and use it to inject malware into your employee’s computer.
Social media can be an in-door for malicious content or an out-door for sensitive information. An employee might click a link at his work computer that opens a virtual portal for malware, as in the example above; or he might post something, with innocent enough intent, that offers criminals information they can use to breach your security system.
The next thing you know, someone has accessed the credit card information of your entire customer base. A nightmare scenario, indeed.
Simple Cyber-Security Strategies That Work
Cyber-criminals may be adept at launching attacks using social media, but you can still fortify your workplace from attack. Here’s how:
- Keep your security software updated at all times. Technology changes fast, and what worked last year or even last month might not be effective today. Unless you implement the latest measures, a security breach could go unnoticed...until it's too late.
- Enforce a social media policy. Remember that social media can be good for your business, so avoid implementing a complete ban. Instead, you might draft rules regarding proper usage and ask your employees to follow them.
- Provide your employees with training and guidance. Make it clear to them what is acceptable usage of social media and what is not. For instance, you could ask them to set their privacy levels to maximum for their profiles. You should also request that they not share certain company information and details with anyone, and that they use personal (rather than company) email addresses when they sign up for social networks.
- Remind employees to be wary of clicking links or installing plugins.
- Use strong passwords and privacy settings if you have a corporate social media profile.
- Limit the number of employees in your firm who are authorized to log into company social networks and post/tweet on your behalf.
Although no organization can remain 100% secure from cyber-attack, following the precautions above can protect your network from a great many phishing attacks and the headaches that go along with a major security breach.
About the Author:
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