Sharing personal information, responding to spam password reset emails, clicking any link indiscriminately and not checking URLs are the mistakes that can lead to your social media accounts being hacked.
As of January 2022, more than half of the world's population uses social media. In other words, we're talking about 4,62 billion people for whom social media is already part of their daily lives and often takes up more of their time than they themselves would like.
However, while these platforms can be fun and a great way to share experiences with friends, they also present a potentially dangerous cybersecurity risk.
So what risks should we be aware of and what are the most common mistakes we make? Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading global provider of cybersecurity solutions, highlights the top four risk factors to keep in mind in order to stay safe when using social media:
1. Disclosure of Personal Information: this is a very common and dangerous mistake that happens every day on social networks. Cyber criminals seek, first and foremost, to steal your personal information. Armed with this data they can then launch multiple phishing campaigns or even steal your cash. Add to that the fact that most people use the same login details for different social media platforms, stealing credentials gives hackers potential access to all of your social media accounts. Therefore, it is crucial not to share personal data and to use different passwords to minimize the damage if you are attacked.
2. Watch out for password reset spam: There are so many social platforms today that it is very easy to think that at some point there might be an incident with one of them and this is where hackers can take advantage of it.
If you receive an email asking you to change your password, even if you haven't, your first instinct is to click the link and reset it. This is dangerous as it can give the cybercriminal access to your entire account. To avoid this, you should go directly to the social media platform page (don't click the link in the email) and reset your password from the same page (and then do the same for other accounts on which you have the same password).
3. Click on each link: Cybercriminals often use links to redirect users to malicious websites. These links may be in the form of an innocent-looking email or SMS. If you receive such a link, the best way to protect yourself is to go to the website in question, via your usual browser, and check for any messages there, rather than clicking on a link in a spam email or SMS .
4. Not checking URLs: Another trick attackers use to steal your data is to change a URL to make it look like the genuine product. Using this technique, hackers can trick a user into visiting a website they think is trustworthy, such as their Facebook page, where they are then asked to change their password, only to be redirected to a cloned website so that they can steal as much information as they want.
We saw this recently with LinkedIn dominating Check Point's Brand Phishing Report for the first time, accounting for more than half (52%) of phishing attempts in the first quarter of this year. To avoid falling victim to these scams, it's important to check the URLs you access by making sure the site has an SSL security certificate. If it has a security certificate, you will see the letter “s” in the address bar. So it should read: https://.
Thanks to this technology, any confidential information sent between two systems is protected and this prevents cybercriminals from accessing the data being transferred, including information that could be considered personal.
"It is clear that social networks play an important role in our daily lives, but we must be on our guard. Social networks are one of the main targets of cybercriminals, and knowing their techniques is the only way to properly defend yourself. Today, on the Day of Social Networking, it is necessary for us to warn users and to warn them of the existing risks, so that they can stay safe from any kind of attack through these platforms", says Constantina Koukou, Channel Account Manager & Evangelist, Check Point Software in Greece.