Social has proven itself as more than a passing fad. In fact, multi-billion dollar companies now use a variety of social media sites to get information to stakeholders and provide consumers with information on products and services. Five years ago, how many executives would’ve imagined themselves obsessing over their companies’ EdgeRank on Facebook?
During 2013, social media taught the world several lessons – including the need for good security.
In December 2013, hackers reportedly stole at least 2 million passwords from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo. Using keylogging software that was installed unknowingly on computers around the world, hackers were able to capture account sign-in information. The lesson learned in this security breach is that computer users should run virus protection often to avoid infection of keylogging software in their system. In addition, experts recommend changing passwords regularly to avoid account hacking.
Invitation to burglary
In January, thieves in Wangaratta, Australia, made off with over $6,000 in merchandise after a local resident posted a Facebook status update about the family’s current vacation. According to police around the world, this tactic has become far too common as people share all aspects of their lives on social media. Law enforcement warns against posting information revealing when your home is unoccupied. The lesson is that both home and business owners need to be more careful about posting information that could compromise physical security.
One issue that many social media users express concern about is privacy. Facebook eliminated the “Who can look up your timeline by name?” setting, so that all Facebook users, except minors, can now be found on the site. However, users may still set privacy settings so that only those they approve can see what is posted on their feed. The lesson learned is that social media users must be aware of what settings are on each social media site in order to protect posts or photos that they do not want everyone to access.
Phishing scams, a process where a user is tricked into divulging private information such as passwords or credit card numbers, grew throughout 2013, and there are reports that over 50 percent of all Internet users receive at least one phishing email per day. Often, the email claims fraudulent activity on an account and includes a link that takes the user to a fake website. The lesson learned in is that users of social media need to be proactive when it comes to protecting information, and to be aware of common phishing practices to avoid being caught.
These lessons from security problems related to social media can help users protect themselves in the future. These days, security involves more than alarm systems and guards. It also means being aware of potential threats through Internet usage, including social media.
By: Stacey Waxman is a freelance writer with a focus on marketing. She can be found typing away on her laptop in cold Cleveland, OH. Stacey welcomes your feedback via email.