In the decade since the launch of pioneering social network MySpace, social media has become a part of daily life for over a billion people worldwide. It's not just teenagers and the tech-savvy anymore. In 2015, just about everybody, from children all the way up to their grandparents and from retail workers all the way up to their CEOs, uses some form of social media, and both people and corporations use social media for just about every purpose imaginable. But with that mass adoption come mass social media security issues. Here are some social media security issues of the past and how to solve and avoid them in 2015.
1. This breach made possible through social media oversharing
Among all the social media security issues out there, oversharing can be at once the clearest and the trickiest. The sharing of personal information can lead to guessed passwords, identify theft, and dangerous data breaches.
Innocuous-seeming social media quizzes and games can become a treasure trove for identity thieves. Quizzes that determine your Lord of the Rings name or Game of Thrones lineage often encourage the sharing of information such as hometown, pet names, and mothers' maiden names—the same kind of information often used to verify identity in the event of a forgotten password. So can games that ask users to answer a number of different questions and then tag other friends to prompt them to do the same. To combat this threat, advise your customers to implement strong password requirements, no names or easily guessed character combinations allowed.
2. Viruses and malware: Still around, still a problem
Meanwhile, viruses and malware spread through malicious links continue to be among the more pressing social media security issues. Many types of malicious code proliferate by hijacking compromised users' accounts to share virus download links across social networks. Unwary users may simply see a video link ostensibly posted by a friend and click without checking the validity of the link.
Preparation is key to preventing the spread of viruses and malware on employee devices. Endpoints should always be protected by robust antivirus and malware protection software that's updated promptly whenever new patches become available. Additionally, employees should be using browsers or browser extensions that can verify URLs when they're clicked and prevent users from navigating to suspicious domains, particularly those already associated with malware. Here, antivirus and Enterprise Mobility Management solutions both play a part in ensuring that endpoints are properly protected.
Social media security issues like identity (and access credential) theft and malicious software continue to pose a threat to enterprise data and network security. Social media isn't going away, after all, and with the popularity and spread of BYOD, social media use looks set to become even more commonplace in the workplace. Organizations unprepared for the dangers that social networking sites can bring may find themselves dealing with serious security problems down the road. Make sure you're up to date on the technologies and user education strategies that can help ensure safe social media use for the BYOD employee.
What social media security issues do you consider the most important? Tell us what you think in the comments.