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How does social media threaten information security?


Today's companies operate in very complex security environments. On the one hand, the threat landscape is growing and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their attacks as they gain access to new tools (e.g. artificial intelligence) or offers (hacking as a service). On the other hand, organizations are dealing with more sensitive data than ever before. This has led both consumers and regulators to demand better safety practices.


Most organizations operate in an increasingly decentralized digital environment. Gone are the days of traditional security like firewalls. Employees want to be able to access work from anywhere via their own networks and devices. This has increased the use of insider threats, making it much easier to inadvertently or intentionally share corporate data with others.

Social media has become one of the biggest insider threats today.

How do popular apps pose a threat to organizations and what can they do to solve this problem?


Social Media Challenge

Depending on the platform, social media encourages users to share information about their lives and experiences to varying degrees. For employees, they can become a place to discuss work-related topics, whether it's promoting products, posting photos from company events or even sharing sensitive data with colleagues via private chat. Such a degree of information sharing - both personal and organizational - can pose many challenges for enterprises.

The first is the risk of accidentally sharing data. An employee can share a photo of the desk to show off the view outside the window and forget about blurring confidential information on the laptop screen. A software developer can find their peers on Reddit to try to solve a specific problem with the code and inadvertently share it asking for help.

Some social media also allow a degree of anonymity. A dissatisfied employee can go on Twitter or Facebook and share corporate secrets with competitors.


For cybercriminals, social platforms are used as resources for attacks. Hackers understand perfectly well that people are willing to share information, so they access public profiles to gather the information they need and use it for sophisticated social engineering attacks. In addition, they can use LinkedIn to plan organizational structure, access company email addresses, and even determine which employees are on vacation. Cybercriminals also view a person's contact list, create a fake account for someone who is not there, and encourage them to share confidential information.


All of these activities can put your business at risk of sophisticated threats, including phishing and other forms of social engineering, branding to defraud customers, data theft, and other large-scale breaches. Despite the potential impact of a social media leak, it is extremely difficult for companies to control the flow of data through these types of platforms. Below are some actions companies can take to mitigate these risks.


Stay ahead of social media threats

Companies, of course, should not dictate what employees post on their profiles. However, they can educate you about the dangers of sharing too much information and the best ways to protect your private, authentication, and corporate data. This can be achieved through introductory training, game-based security weeks where employees are challenged to identify and implement security best practices, and time to learn about threats.


For companies sharing their equipment, there is an opportunity to clearly define what can be posted from a work device and what is prohibited. It's also a good idea to encourage people to change their passwords frequently and use a social media password manager.

Services and technologies also come to the rescue. Organizations can hire a social media scanning service to identify fake accounts and flag them. In addition, a comprehensive Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tool can play a key role in identifying sensitive information disclosures and enabling immediate response.


Go with the times

When it comes to maintaining security measures, companies need to keep pace with cultural changes, increasing digitization and the entry of new platforms into the market. Security professionals must be constantly on the lookout for any emerging threats to introduce new measures and policies as needed, and stay up to date with best practices. This makes having a robust and comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that considers both internal and external threats more important than ever.


If you want to learn how to protect your company and safely use social media, please contact us: kontakt@bakotech.pl

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