Social media offers numerous benefits to businesses, such as increased brand visibility, customer engagement, and networking opportunities. But if your employees fail to use social media responsibly, it can pose significant cybersecurity risks to your business.
Alarmingly, human errors remain a top risk for many organizations. This is supported by studies such as Thales’ 2023 Data Threat Report, which names human error as the leading cause of data breaches. These errors include mistakes employees made on social media, such as posting sensitive information that may compromise security. This is why it pays to understand the social media mistakes employees make and take appropriate measures to prevent them.
Here are the most common social media-related errors that can compromise a business’s security:
Lack of privacy settings awareness
When employees are unaware of the various social media privacy options available, their personal and professional information becomes vulnerable to unauthorized access. This can lead to the exposure of sensitive data, potential identity theft, or even compromise the security of the entire organization.
Businesses must therefore educate their employees on the importance of privacy settings and encourage them to review and adjust these settings regularly to ensure that only intended audiences can access their posts and personal details. This minimizes the risk of hackers weaponizing stolen information to launch phishing and other social engineering attacks.
Sharing confidential information
Another critical mistake employees make is sharing confidential information on social media. This includes unintentionally revealing trade secrets, disclosing sensitive client data, or discussing internal company matters. Cybercriminals are constantly lurking on social media platforms, searching for personal information that can be exploited for malicious purposes.
To prevent this risk, you must establish clear social media policies within your organization. These policies should outline acceptable use guidelines, privacy settings, password requirements, and rules regarding the sharing of company-related information. This way, you can set expectations for employees and ensure consistent adherence to cybersecurity practices across all social media platforms.
Clicking on suspicious links
It's fairly common for hackers to use enticing content to trick users into clicking on malicious links. Employees may unknowingly fall victim to phishing scams, malware downloads, or other harmful activities by clicking on suspicious links shared on social media.
Prevent this by investing in comprehensive cybersecurity awareness programs that teach employees the risks associated with social media and provide them with the necessary knowledge to safeguard sensitive information. In particular, training programs should equip employees with the skills to identify and avoid social engineering attacks, recognize phishing attempts, and understand the importance of strong passwords and privacy settings. These should also instill a culture of cybersecurity awareness that can help reduce security incidents stemming from employee actions on social media.
Related reading: The most common ways human factors weaken business cybersecurity.
Setting weak passwords
Employees often choose passwords that are easy to guess or reuse passwords across multiple social media platforms, making it easier for cybercriminals to hack into their accounts and exploit their data.
To minimize this risk, enforce robust password policies, which should include creating unique and complex passwords. Additionally, require employees to enable multifactor authentication, which prompts users to provide an additional verification method on top of their password.
Using unauthorized third-party applications
Employees may unknowingly grant access to their social media accounts to third-party applications that are malicious or have questionable security practices. These applications often request permission to access personal information or post on behalf of the user, potentially leading to data breaches that can result in other risks
Employees must exercise caution and verify the legitimacy and security of any third-party applications before granting them access to their social media profiles. And to keep your business’s official social media accounts secure, it's highly recommended to use social media monitoring tools to detect any unauthorized account access, suspicious activities, or mentions of the company's name that may indicate a potential security breach. Ideally, you should also have a solid incident response plan in place that enables quick mitigation in case of a social media security incident.
When it comes to safeguarding your business against social media cybersecurity risks, you need a trusted tech partner like Online Computers. As a leading managed IT services provider specializing in cybersecurity, we offer proactive, comprehensive, and tailored solutions to protect your systems against a wide range of threats — including social media-related risks. Drop us a line today.