Have you ever received a Facebook friend request from your mom even though she is already a friend of yours on Facebook? So, you call her up to make sure she didn’t forget her password again and just create a new FB page. Then right after that, “she” sends you a video link saying you’re in a YouTube video. You think, “Well, dang, I didn’t think Mom even knew how to use Messenger.” As the confusion mounts, you suddenly realize that her FB has been cloned in an effort to breach your account. Not today, hackers!
In this day and age of social media, there are several very specific ways in which hackers compromise your data. Perhaps the most common one is cloning, whereby someone makes a social media account by using someone else’s identity. You’ve all seen them: Mom is already your friend on FB, but now you’re receiving another friend request from her. The new page has one photo, no posts, and a handful of mutual friends that fell for the fake profile. This within itself is not hacking. It’s incredibly easy to copy a photo and create a FB page with basic information. The idea behind cloning is to get you to think this is your friend or loved one so they can hack your information.
This exact situation happens more often than you might think, but what does it have to do with your business? Mom may not work with you, but take her lesson as a valuable warning. This kind of social engineering can compromise your business, clients, and other important data you may have stored. Imagine receiving a message on your company Facebook messenger from a friend saying “you’re in a YouTube video”. The link is readily available, and naturally you have the urge to click on it to make sure it isn't bad PR. Instantly, malware takes over your computer. Passwords and logins are automatically stolen from you and are now in the hands of hackers. Not good. This could compromise payment methods or pertinent company information. The worst part is that almost everyone on your friend list will get bombarded by a similar message, creating a domino effect. It’s terrible to infect your loyal followers, and you’ll see a lot unfollow you because of the inconvenience.
Facebook is not the only platform to worry about, of course: Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat have all fallen victim to hacks. Social media is so easy to use that people often forget how their information can be compromised, and careless clicking runs rampant. (After all, aren’t you curious to learn what your favourite coffee says about your personality?) It's quizzes and fun time wasters like this that allow hackers to access information and infect your devices with malware (including ransomware). If you are using these platforms for business, you must be extra cautious about what you are clicking on.
The good news is that these types of attacks are completely preventable. If you aren't the one running your business social media accounts, make sure whoever is has been trained on the cybersecurity risks. Also, ensure your passwords are strong, complex, and securely stored. Then go check back on mom and give her a fast and efficient cybersecurity breakdown. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to steal your information, so be vigilant and stay up to date on current trends.