Top 3 Social Media Security Threats Of 2013

When using social media, it’s easy to get complacent and assume you’re safe from viruses, malware and other security threats.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Lady Gaga’s followers have been hit by a free iPad 2 offer: an attempt from hackers to phish information from the users. Twitter has also been threatened by a virus using a short link to redirect users to a fake virus site that wrongly informed them that their PCs were infected, and then asked for money to receive download software that removed the infecting virus.

That’s not all, as there are many other threats that surround social networks. The ones that you should be aware about in 2013 include:

1.  Social engineering

This activity has been favored by hackers and scammers for a long time, but the rise of social media has made it easier to find victims because people allow access to their personal information when they’re participating in a cause, playing a game or using an app.

There are even several posts that teach about how to hack a social media account using this method, but hackers have the resources to utilize a higher level of the same technique. The recent Syrian attack on Twitter was made possible due to social engineering.

The best way to avoid social engineering is to self-educate regarding unsolicited activity. You can also research facts and figures before taking action (was that tweet officially announced by the company itself? Food for thought).

2.   Spam

It used to be easy for spammers to create unlimited fake profiles and send messages to potential victims. However, Facebook and other networks developed a multitude of new spam techniques.

This was evident when the spammers jumped on the bandwagon of AMC’s Breaking Bad, telling the Twitter fans of the show that they had access to leaked version of the last episode. Those who went for the links were redirected to fake websites full of ads, only to see the episodes that had already been aired. Spammers were able to generate a lot of cash in the process.

Perhaps the best way to stay away from useless websites is to install internet security software designed to protect against viruses, provide safe search results and block websites that contain spam and malware.

3.  Identity Theft

A report from Javelin Strategy that takes into account common user behavior on social media reveals that 68% of those with a social media profile made their birthday information public, 45% of them shared their birth dates publicly and 18% of them shared their mobile numbers.

The highest percentage of identity theft consists of individuals who fall in 20-29 years of age. Some of the reasons why this happens include negligence of bank account activity, casual sharing of information and pictures because of emotional reasons and easy to figure out passwords.

The best resort to minimize the risk of identity theft is to keep information private whenever possible and create strong passwords that consist of a mixture of numbers, alphabets and symbols.

Have you ever been a victim? What do you do for social media security? Share your answers with us.