Social media has evolved to become an effective means of communication for personal use, and however, it is also an important channel for business. According to the results of a Pew Research Centre survey about the use of social media, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are the top-rated social media platforms in the present. They even say that users frequently visit these websites every day. This is why companies across all sizes are taking advantage of these and other social media platforms to promote their products and the customer experience and interaction.

But as these platforms increase in popularity, they are also more vulnerable to cyber-attacks—a study conducted by Professor. Mike McGuire revealed that social media platforms offer as much as 20% more channels through which malware could be delivered to users compared to websites or eCommerce. This means that it’s not enough to keep your social network accounts up and running to stay connected with your market, and you should also make sure that they’re secure.

Be aware of the five kinds of social media-related attacks and learn how to avoid these to protect your brand’s image:

1. Fake Profile

Cybercriminals are becoming more clever with their strategies! With the help of fake social media profiles, they can copy legitimate profiles and carry out small and big attacks on a large scale. Fake profiles can imitate accurate public figures’ shapes to spread mass malware or Phishing campaigns to their contacts or followers.

Cybercriminals can also copy social media profiles of the most critical individuals in a targeted business or company by creating fake profiles. For instance, using a fake profile that a fake CEO has, cybercriminals can carry out catfishing attacks and request private or sensitive information regarding the business. They may also direct an employee to take action that could cause disruption to the business process or put someone in a vulnerable situation. An example of an attack on social media is a man identified as Spas Vasilev, who set up a fake account with the username Alexander Nikolov and used the phoney account to trick people.

2. Compromised Profile

Verified social media accounts are the most likely targets of this kind of attack. A compromised profile can potentially reveal clients of a company to harmful content. This is similar to hijacking a brand and can be very destructive because it could also adversely impact its website.The retailer, Target, became the victim of a compromised account attack in 2018. Fraudsters used the verified Twitter account of the brand to get customers to sign up with Bitcoin to participate in an untrue contest.

3. Malicious Links and Content

Instead of posting harmful content directly on the social media platform, cybercriminals often employ malicious links to trick the victim into clicking on a website stored on third-party sites. Exploits are usually distributed via social media platforms and utilised for account control after clicking. This type of attack was evident by the hijacking of the Microsoft subdomain Live.com and was revealed last year.

4. Social Engineering

Cybercriminals employ manipulative techniques to execute this kind of attack. Through social engineering, unwitting users are enticed to share sensitive or private information through social media, emails, or other communication channels. The messages typically trigger anxiety, fear, or similar feelings, which prompt the person in question to divulge sensitive information and open malicious files or click on an infected hyperlink. Due to the widespread use of social networks, hackers can discover all they require to be aware of the person they are targeting and make it much easier to craft authentic-looking emails tailored to the person they are targeting and execute the attack.

5. Reconnaissance

Most social media users are willing to divulge personal details about themselves, making them easy targets for reconnaissance attacks. Threat actors or cyber attackers can gather and analyse users’ profiles behaviour, relationships like hobbies, relationships, and more using the details to create attractive messages and various other lures. A reconnaissance attack is carried out passively on social media platforms and is hard to spot. People wouldn’t be aware that criminals are using their data to authenticate or access other accounts or services, like online banking. As an active social media user, it is recommended to restrict the personal information you make public to reduce the intelligence value for potential cybercriminals.

Social media is a haven for cybercriminals, and businesses should not ignore it. By securing those accounts you use on social media from threats, you’re protecting your customers as well as your business. Give social media the same importance as other platforms or channels you are using.

Your employees should be taught about the common threats, particularly those who manage those accounts on social networks. Create a solid online and social brand protection strategy and search for the most effective cybersecurity solutions that will help your company strengthen its cybersecurity!