Guide

Use social media safely

Manage social media security

Whether you intend to join one or a number of social media platforms, security should be at the top of your agenda. With the rise of identity theft, fake emails and security threats to small and large companies, ensuring you are using social media securely is essential.

Online Security for social media

Each time you login to use a social media platform, you expose yourself and your business to attacks from hackers and other malicious groups. However, there are many steps you can take to help prevent identity theft and threats to your security. Follow the guidelines below to ensure you use social media safely:

  • Keep your login details secure and regularly change your password. Use a strong complex password that is over eight characters long and contains capital letters, symbols or numbers.
  • Keep tight control of who has access to your corporate accounts and what they can view, post and edit. Some staff members may only need to be able to access analytics data, where others may need full admin permissions. Ensure that anyone leaving the business can no longer get access, either by changing passwords or removing their admin permissions.
  • Be cautious of anyone who contacts you unexpectedly on social media claiming to be a reputable organisation. This could be a phishing attack. Phishing is where legitimate-looking emails or messages seemingly from a reliable source, eg a bank or another business, are used with the aim of obtaining personal details.
  • Watch out for corporate identity theft. Your business name and branding could be used on social media by criminals posing as your business to gain users’ trust. This could be part of a phishing scam or an attempt to gain high numbers of followers that can be sold on.  You can report fraud to Action Fraud.
  • Never reveal any sensitive information about yourself, your business or your customers without first checking the credentials of the enquirer.
  • If you access social media via wireless internet access, ensure you have adequate security to protect your wireless network from eavesdropping and hacker attack.
  • Avoid opening  message attachments from unknown sources - or if known - eg from a fellow employee, check with the sender first if the attachment isn't something you expected. Don't open attachments such as those ending with '.exe' (an executable file) or those with the '.scr' which is the file extension used for Windows screensavers, as these can also be Trojans that can infect your computer.
  • Be wary of clicking on links added to messages in any social media platforms that you use. These include links to current events, entertainment news or other links to high traffic sites. These links can take you to phishing websites and have the potential to infect your computer. If clicking on a link, always check the website address when you get there - ensure that it looks legitimate and you are where you think you should be.
  • Avoid clicking on advertising emails and popup boxes and be cautious of any application that wants to install itself on your computer.