Introduction

The evolution of social media has created a new paradigm of communication and interaction. It has become a part of our social life that helps us connect to friends, family, colleagues, or others. We have witnessed how the advent of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp brought a revolutionary change in how we use the internet for personal and professional purposes. Even though there are security settings among social media platforms, people with mischievous intentions still find a way to gain access to sensitive personal information. So, we must understand social media cyber security, which directly impacts our use of social media networks.

In this article let us look at:

  1. Issues involving Cybersecurity for social media
  2. Risks & Challenges
  3. Solutions On Social Media Threats

1. Issues involving Cybersecurity for social media

As social media has grown by leaps and bounds, it has brought various benefits simultaneously, and it has posed serious social media cyber security concerns. It also acts as a vulnerable platform to be exploited by hackers. Some issues associated are pointed below.

  • Privacy of Data: Users share their personal information on social media, which can cause privacy breaches. For example, a user’s information can be viewed by everyone if the user’s default setting is public.’
  • Data Mining: We all leave a data trail behind on the internet. When someone creates a new social media account and provides details such as date of birth, name, location, personal habits, and without our knowledge, all these data are leveraged and shared with third-party for targeting advertising. It can cause security concerns as third-party may collect real-time updates on the user’s location.
  • Virus and Malware Attacks: Malware and viruses quite often find a way to the computer system through annoying ads. Once gaining access to the network, the attacker steals confidential data or causes complete disruption to the computer system.
  • Issues involving the use of 3rd Party Applications: Most of the applications nowadays ask permission from users to access personal information’s such as contacts, picture, and current geographic location before installing, and some of these applications which are running in the background might download malware on the user’s phone or smart devices without their knowledge.
  • Legal Issues: There are legal risks associated with the use of social media, like posting offensive content towards any individual, community, or country.

2. Risks & Challenges

As the number of users accessing social platforms is increasing day by day, so are the risks.  

  • Identity Theft: As millions share their personal information for getting registered in one or more social media platforms, these data becomes vulnerable as hackers and identity thieves use this information’s to reset passwords, apply for loans, or other malicious objectives.
  • Romance Scams: A romance scam is a fraudulent scheme in which a swindler pretends romantic interest in a target, establishes a relationship, and then attempts to get money or sensitive information from the target under pretenses.
  • Whistle-blower: People are often impulsive on social media; they show their vexation with their colleagues or bosses without thinking. They may deliberately reveal sensitive data in their posts, which can cause significant damage to the reputation of the organization.
  • Cyber Stalking: It refers to harassment over the internet. Cyberstalkers harass victims on social media by sending unpleasant and lewd messages. They morph photos of victims and circulate them on social media, alleging rumors making the victim’s life unbearable.
  • Cyber Bullying: It refers to bullying through the digital medium. It can take place on social media, gaming platforms, messaging platforms, etc. It is aimed at scaring, shaming, or annoying the targeted victim.
  • Cyber Terrorism: Nowadays, social media is also used to facilitate terrorism-related activities. It can support, promote, engage, and spread terrorism propaganda like incitement to terrorism, recruitment, radicalizing training, and planning of terrorist attacks.

3. Solutions On Social Media Threats

  • Creating strong passwords is the primary option to ensure the privacy of your information. 
  • Ensure passwords are complex, including upper & lower case, numbers, and special characters. It should be memorized and never be written on paper.
  • We need to be sensitive in what we upload/share in our social networking accounts and avoid sharing personal information like date of birth, social security details, phone numbers, names, and pictures of family members.
  • Use security and privacy options provided by social media platforms viz: 2-factor authentication system, access control.
  • Connect our devices only to authorized wifi access, use privacy options provided by various mobile operating systems, use auto-lock features, and download apps only from authorized app stores.
  • Keep the operating system updated with the latest patches, turn-on the firewall, and avoid installing cracked software.
  • Ensure our antivirus is updated and scans are performed frequently.
  • We need to be smart using the internet and avoid visiting untrusted websites; referral links to visit websites are never to be clicked; instead, type in the browser’s URL address.
  • Care needs to be taken to accept friend requests only from people we know and block those who post upsetting content or comments.

Conclusion

Social media has become a prime target for cyber-crime. All organizations should take appropriate measures to be cyber-crime safe, and users, too, shall protect their personal information to avoid any misuse. Cyberspace is becoming a significant area for crimes, so there is a need for comprehensive collaboration among nations to work together and combat these social network security and social media cyber attacks, which is a continuously gowning menace.

So, have you made up your mind to make a career in Cyber Security? Visit our Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) for further help. It is the first program in offensive technologies in India and allows learners to practice in a real-time simulated ecosystem, that will give you an edge in this competitive world.

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