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The Confident SMB

Are you social savvy and secure?

Created: 19 May 2011
Blake M's picture
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The pool of social networking sites grows daily. Many small businesses, and their employees, are diving in head first with little thought to what’s lurking under the surface.

Despite all of its upside, social networking has made small businesses a target for cybercriminals. The problem is social networks give users an implied sense of security, making them more inclined to click on links without thinking, fall for a cleverly orchestrated scam or over-share contact and location information. Cybercriminals can then gain entry to online accounts and steal personal information and content, including personal communications, documents, login credentials and even bank login information.

So, before you go smacking your head on the bottom of the figurative social media pool, jump in feet first instead and follow these tips to protect your valuable business information. And, educate your employees about how to conduct social networking with care and caution.

  • Check the social networking site’s address and scrutinize a suspicious site’s security certificate to ensure you are logging into legitimate services and look for “HTTPS” in the address.
  • Think twice before entering your real birth date or other sensitive information on social networking sites. Even some information which might seem innocuous, like pets’ names or the street you grew up, can be used by a clever attacker to launch very convincing targeted attacks.
  • Check your privacy settings regularly to make sure your account and information is as secure as you think it is.
  • Don’t answer yes when prompted to save your password to a computer. Instead, rely on a strong password committed to memory or stored in a dependable password management program.
  • Don’t accept “friend” or “follower” requests from individual’s you don’t know.
  • Don’t click on links in messages, even if from a known “friend,” that seems strange or out of character. A common method used by attackers is to pose as a friend and send messages to users asking something like, “This you in this funny video?” However, there is in reality no video and when the user tries to open the “video” file, they are infected with malware.
  • Never post social networking messages indicating your location, especially if you’re away from home. In a similar vein, don’t post messages indicating you will be away from home on a specific date or time, such as being on vacation.
  • Report any suspicious or potentially malicious activity to the social networking site’s administrators.