The 2021 generation is popularly known as the social media generation, we are the generation of influencers, we are the insta-kings and queens and our word matter as much as anybody else. Social media accounts are like a window to someone personal life, our likes and dislikes are all expressed on this platform and if anybody wishes to know us well, they just need to visit our social media profiles. From our personal to our family details, everything is present on the social handles, thus we must secure our social media life and protect it from being hacked by malicious cyber-criminals.
The most common ways through which the criminals bother people are by making threats, stalking them online, bullying etc. According to the Bureau of Justice in 2012, over 15 million households in the US alone were affected by online attacks on social media. The major type of attack was identity theft, where hackers use the contact details of users to gather important information about the individual, this information is either used to bully the users or is sold to advertisers.
Let’s now look at every social media platform and understand what kind of data on your profile would lure the attackers.
- Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Hackers are always live on social media and they track you through the popular hashtags. Strangely, the hashtags that increase the reach of our posts, also serve as a feeder for the hackers. Through hashtags like #new job, #internship, #promotions, they follow your emotion and watch your actions closely.
Through your photos they collect information about your office location, office layout, desktop elements and every piece of hidden information, within a photo background like what’s written on your whiteboard, what software is installed on your desktop or even your brands are lying on your desk are potential pieces of gold for the hackers.
- Job seeking sites
Some job sites ask for company reviews, salary ranges, manager reviews and other information. For hackers, these sites are like a goldmine, where information about an individual’s personal life is laid in a platter and served to them.
Hackers use this information to plan a phishing email attack on you or your contacts. Let’s understand this with an example: You apply for a job on a portal, the hackers read your information and plan to attack you. They send you a fake offer letter that looks more than real and tries to gain the advantage of your need. They might ask you for a fee or your complete information, fill in a form including your bank details.
Imagine if images could do so much, what will a video do. A short office celebration video can speak a detailed story about your workplace, the cubicles, parking arrangements, building layout, entrance, security, and your colleagues. The hackers pay attention to the details and they capture the most critical information and supply it to terrorist groups, advertisers or even buglers.
- Video Conferencing apps
With Covid-19, we have been completely dependent on the video conferencing apps, from personal meets to professional meetings, everything is happening through these apps, but the question is that are these apps secure. Recently the ministry of home affairs had pointed out the risk factors that underline the use of platforms like zoom. Users have also complained of password leak instances, initiated through these apps.
How should we use these platforms?
The solution to all the above problem lies in the way we use these platforms. Uploading sensitive company-related information can be risky, so refrain from doing so. Similarly, sharing your contact details on social media or filling random forms is also not a good social media habit. Similarly, while using the video conferencing apps, ensure to have a VPN service that can enable you to host zoom meetings securely and peacefully.
The Bottom line:
Good social security habits can preserve your online identity, create strong passwords, keep your account settings private, do not share critical information online and never forget to logout once you are done. These are a few golden rules of staying secure online. Social media is a boon, but only if you use it wisely.