Cybercriminals lurk everywhere, and social media just gives them one extra channel to use in sneaky ways to their advantage. Of course, all threats of social networking sites aren’t down to hackers; your internal employees can also pose a risk when they don’t follow best practices.

The everyday user should be aware of the things that can go wrong on social media, but this is amplified for businesses. When armed with the right social media threat intelligence, you can reduce your business’ chances of falling into some common traps.


1. Phishing attacks

Social media is just one way brands can become the victim of a phishing attack. Attackers are able to compose and send messages that look just like yours to online users, usually with links to a fake website. When users click the links and share their details on this website, their personal or credit card information is compromised. This usually then falls back on your business, who may be perceived as being to blame.

For more, read this detailed guide on how to prevent phishing from stealing your brand’s reputation.



2. Identity theft

Your customers love to see the “real people” behind a brand, but sharing too much information puts you at risk of identity theft. One of the threats of social networking sites is that it’s all too easy to post information that can help criminals to steal identities or crack passwords. Don’t share information like your date of birth, full name, pet names, etc.


3. Confidential information leaks

When multiple people have access to your social media accounts, there’s a higher risk of employees sharing confidential information that could be highly damaging to the brand. Keep all employees updated on social media threat intelligence, so they can be extra diligent when posting or engaging online.


4. Damaging comments from employees

Employees can get a little too “keyboard happy” when trying to stay current online. However, weighing in on a current event with an opinion that could alienate or offend certain groups could cause a big decrease in your business’ followers, or worse – sales.


5. Negative reviews & public shame

90% of customers read online reviews before buying from a business, and the internet has made it easy for disgruntled customers (as well as fakes) to share bad experiences with others. Negative messages are quickly passed on, but you can slow down the damage by responding quickly and professionally if this does happen to you.


6. Malware

Along with emails, social media messaging platforms are used to spread malware. Be sure to educate employees on the risks here, so they don’t click on links or open messages that could be dangerous. For extra protection against malware, set up a robust security system in the workplace.


7. Fake giveaways/spam

Similar to the previous point, one way hackers spread viruses is by setting up fake giveaways and spamming businesses. When employees are browsing social media for opportunities to engage or connect with new customers, make sure they resist interacting with fake giveaways, and install spam filters to avoid an influx of time-wasting spam when sharing your email address on social networks.


8. Password leaks

The majority of employees don’t practice good password hygiene, which means it’s easy for criminals to guess or access log-in details. Implement a robust password policy, including changing your password regularly and storing it somewhere safe – not just on notes on devices or around the office.


9. Impersonation

Large businesses and executives are at risk of impersonation, where hackers set up lookalike accounts and post from them. With billions of fake accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, this is an ongoing issue. Fake accounts pretend to be you when posting or responding to customers, which can put a huge dent in your brand and impact trust.


The threats of social networking sites are always evolving, as hackers become more sophisticated and networks make changes to their platforms. Stay aware and contact FraudWatch for help in both proactive and reactive approaches.