When a company is taking steps to increase their cyber security in an attempt to reduce their chances of being affected by a data breach, naturally they focus on the main areas of weakness. Network passwords, employee email accounts and company servers are some of the most common areas that cyber security efforts are aimed at to help manage risks. Cyber Liability Insurance programs also offer a lot of protection and assistance. And while these efforts do help, the age of social media has brought even more security challenges to the table.

Social Media Has Become the Biggest Data Threat

Over 4.5 billion data records were compromised worldwide in 945 separate attacks in the first half of this year. Of these attacks, just six social media breaches compromised over 56% of the 4.5 billion data records. One such breach was the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook incident, where the personal data of approximately 87 million users may have been improperly shared. More recently, Facebook announced that at least 50 million users were affected by a security breach caused by a bug that allowed hackers to obtain access tokens which they could then use to break into accounts.

While it may not seem that serious, the data contained within a social media user’s account can be used in a variety of ways. Many companies have their own social media channels used for marketing and customer service. These accounts are often managed by employees or outside agencies which can leave them more vulnerable to breaches. As cyber threats become more advanced, social media data can be collected and used to create elaborate social engineering attacks. These attacks can threaten an individual’s personal or financial data, but can also be designed to gain access to their workplace credentials or their employer’s data such as payroll information or customer credit card numbers.

Reducing Social Media Breach Risks

Although it’s impossible for social media users to prevent a social media breach – that’s in the hands of the social media channels themselves – there are some things that can be done to reduce the amount of information stolen.

Provide Minimal Information to Social Media Channels

When a person or entity signs up for a social media account, they are subject to the terms of that website or app, and may be offering up more information than they are comfortable revealing. However, most of the information that is contained within a social media account is not even required of the account holder. It should be assumed that whatever information is provided is vulnerable to a breach or even unauthorized sharing. The easiest way for a user to protect sensitive information is not to provide it at all.

For the information that is required, it’s just as easy to provide “decoy information” that is used strictly for social media accounts and security questions and can easily be remembered but would not be useful to a hacker if said information was compromised.

Utilize Two-Factor Authentication

Most of the more popular social media channels offer two-factor authentication as an option for added security. This requires a few extra steps to set up and usually involves connecting a phone number to the account, but it’s a free and simple way to prevent hackers from breaking into a social media account.

Remain Skeptical

The danger of social media is that it’s social. Users’ timelines are filled with family and friends, so they are more trusting of the content that is shared with them. Hackers often take advantage of this trust by cloning accounts and reaching out to all of the cloned account’s contacts to gain access to more accounts. Users should be skeptical of accounts or messages that seem outside of the norm, as they are likely a scam or a phishing attempt.

Although there will always be some new cyber threat to contend with, staying vigilant and educated about cyber security can help reduce the occurrence of data breaches and keep company and customer information safe and secure.

 

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (847) 832-9100.

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