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social media threats you need to know

Social Media Threats You Need to Know

social media threats

Social media threats are rising as the number of users increases. With millions of active users, there is no doubt cyber criminals find ways to manipulate people or hack into accounts.

These networks are ways for people to communicate with their loved ones and share moments with others. Social media channels are also rich in business accounts. It brings customers and businesses together, even making it easy for people to buy online.

However, as much as we think that social media is safe, we cannot deny that cybercriminals exploit these platforms. Hackers take advantage of the lack of security that businesses and individual users practice. The carefree attitude people exercise can put them at risk.

For individuals to keep their accounts safe from social media threats, it is best to educate themselves. Learning about the usual and latest social media threats can help you protect yourself.

In this article, you will get to know what social media threats you might encounter and how you can protect yourself. We also have a detailed post on how businesses can protect their social media accounts. You can read about it here.

Social Media Threats Commonly Encountered

Clickjacking or Likejacking

Clickjacking is an online or social media threat that’s difficult to be recognized. It’s a sneaky strategy that most won’t even notice. 

In clickjacking, the hacker disguises a web page or content that is damaging by showing an element that looks credible. When someone likes or clicks on the media, the user can download malware, direct to a malicious site, or purchase an item from a fake website.

It used to be a concern in 2017, but now, Facebook uses a bookmarklet to avoid clicking or liking unsafe content online.

Pinterest Fake Pins or Fake Giveaways

Pinterest is a popular social platform that most e-commerce shops use to sell their products. 

Image is the most dominant media on Pinterest. What users or businesses do is add a link to an image. So, if someone wants to learn about the photo or buy the product, they only have to click on it.

But nowadays, online criminals find ways to sneak in some of their malicious acts. They use Pinterest images to lure people into their fake websites. 

Pins can entice people to click on the image that can direct them to a phishing website. It can differ, from fake giveaways to promotional schemes that look legitimate.

Falling for this scam can compromise not only your data but that of your followers too.

Click-baiting News with Malware

The internet is swarming with plenty of fake news and click-baiting titles. People are easily curious, and so they click on the link to find out about it.

Cybercriminals use these eye-catching titles to attract people to click the article. Once the user opens the link, they could either download malware into their device, enter a phishing site, or drive money to scammers.

Fake Likes and Followers

Many people like to have thousands of likes and followers for reasons we may not know. Maybe celebrities and influencers are inspiring them to have that much too. With that being said, people try to find ways to grow their social media following.

The best way they can think of, buy followers and likes. It’s a quick fix to make your social media profile popular and perhaps boost your ego. 

But these followers and likes are fake. They’ll add you and send you malicious content that can compromise you and your real followers.

There are even apps that offer to increase followers and likes, such as InstLike. When you use this app, you need to provide your account details. Once the app has access to your account, it steals all information and spreads malware to users.

Affiliate Scammers

The reason why hackers do what they do is to earn money. There are plenty of ways they are capable of stealing money by exploiting people. One of which is through affiliate scams.

If you have heard of affiliate marketing, an affiliate scam is similar to it. The only difference is that people who subscribe or click on the link won’t get the discount or incentive they thought after giving away their email address.

Every time someone clicks on the link and gives away private information, scammers earn money from the company.

Phishing Links

As we step into an advanced society, hackers are starting to implement AI technology. It makes phishing attempts harder to recognize.

Unlike in the past, you can easily spot a phishing email. It contains elements like urgency, wrong grammar, suspicious email addresses, and so on. But today, most phishing scams look real. 

This is where the danger comes in.

Email is the main source of phishing scams. But since most people are on social media, hackers have also reached out to these platforms. Suspicious messages are sent using social profiles that look like legitimate businesses asking their users to click on a link.

There is always one thing you have to remember when you receive messages or emails from people you know or don’t know. Never click on the link or download the attachment. It is the best way to stay safe from phishing attacks.

Catfishing and Dating on Social Media

Social media is the new way people get to meet others. It became a dating site for many. However, similar to official dating sites, social media is full of scammers.

They pretend to like someone, build trust and relationships, then do whatever they intend to do. Yes, most online actors have the patience to manipulate people, even if it takes months, so long as they’ll get the reward at the end.

Some are even bots that send links to multiple users for them to click and provide personal information.

Identity Theft

In 2020, there were about 1.4 million cases of identity theft. Among the reported cases, one-third of the victims have lost their identity once before.

Being a victim of identity theft can affect anyone financially, emotionally, physically, and socially. It’s a common problem that people encounter most of the time. In fact, the number of identity theft victims never reduces.

Millions of people lose their identity online due to multiple factors.

  • Lack of knowledge
  • Online trust
  • Data collected by social media sites
  • Businesses that lack security

Even advertising can be a contributing factor to identity theft. As we keep giving away our email addresses and other personal information, the more chances that our identity can be compromised.

Hackers use social media to steal information, learn about a person, crack passwords, and more.

With social media being an open book, there is plenty of information a cybercriminal can use at their own expense.

Downloading Malicious Apps

There are plenty of apps on Google Play and Apple Stores. Some are even similar to the original social media apps you see. 

These fake apps can steal your login credential once you use them. Or, they might use your data and sell them to a third party. 

As mentioned earlier, InstLike is one example of a malicious app used by individuals to gain more followers and likes. However, in return, it steals the user’s information and spreads malware.

Dodgy Links

Like click-baiting titles, dodgy links sent via social media private messages can be enticing to click on. You’ll receive a message, such as, “I saw a video/photo of you on this site.”

Reading such can keep you wondering what it is. Sometimes it even gets you worrying about the message, and you want to know if it’s real. But never click on the link.

These dodgy links are scams that can hack your accounts. It will affect most of your followers too. What’s even worse, it installs spyware without you noticing it.

Spyware is malicious software that is designed to gather every data on your device. It tracks and records your keyboard activities. Therefore, being able to log in to your account.

These social media threats can be alarming. It places people at risk of identity theft, financial loss, and more. The only way to combat these social media threats is to learn how you can protect yourself. Although these practices are not 100% effective, it at least gives you enough protection.

How to Protect Accounts from Hackers

The best way to keep your identity safe is to prevent it. Here are ways on how to secure your social media accounts.

  • Use strong and complicated passwords on all accounts.
  • Activate two-factor authentication
  • Activate security questions
  • Update security settings and passwords when needed.
  • Limit what you share. Don’t share personal information or plans online.
  • Use complete and better quality antivirus software like Kaspersky, McAfee, Avast, and Bitdefender antivirus for NZ users.
  • Update your device and apps.
  • Be wary of apps you download. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to know if an app is safe to install.
  • Use a VPN.
  • Always log out of your accounts or add a passcode on your devices and apps.
  • Never click on links.
  • Don’t trust people you don’t know.
  • Never add or communicate with someone you don’t know.
  • Block fake accounts
  • Don’t try to earn more likes and followers by buying or using apps.
  • Create a separate email for your social media accounts. Don’t use the email address you use for your bank or other financial institutions.
  • Never connect on unsecured or free Wi-Fi.
  • Turn off GPS location.
  • Read about the terms and conditions of the social media app.

Conclusion

To keep your identity safe online, begin with educating yourself on threats encountered on social media and other online platforms. Social media threats are alarmingly increasing as people often don’t think about the risk it causes.

Take the time to learn about social media threats, then protect your accounts and devices from them. Try our Bitdefender Antivirus for NZ users. Get the total protection you need for your social accounts and devices.

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