Imagine finding your company’s Twitter account hijacked, your brand tarnished and harmful messages sent out in your company’s name. 

The damage that cyber criminals can do to a company’s social media accounts is embarrassing and also financially and legally perilous, causing loss of customer trust and potential lawsuits.

3 Common Types of Social Media Hacks

  1. Phishing attacks. A request for social media credentials, from an apparently trustworthy source, is from a hacker, who uses your credentials to access your account. 
  2. Session hijacking. You log into your social media account at a public Wi-Fi hotspot, then an attacker on the same network hijacks your web session and gains control of your account as long as you are logged in. 
  3. SIM card swapping. The hacker tricks the mobile provider into switching the account holder’s phone number to a new SIM card. If successful, the hacker can receive all text messages and calls and gain access to multi-factor authentication codes.

No organization is safe from cybersecurity risks. However, preventive measures can dramatically lower the odds of your social media accounts being hacked. This guide will arm you with essential knowledge and actionable tips to make your social media presence as secure as possible.

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Use These Social Media Security Measures

Here are essential security measures you can implement to safeguard your corporate social media accounts and content from potential cyber threats.

 

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are the first line of defense. Use complex combinations of letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid using the same password across multiple platforms. Employ a reputable password manager to keep track of them all without compromising security.

 

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Enable multi-factor authentication. Even if someone obtains the social media account password, they will need a second form of identification, like a text message or an authentication app.

 

Practice Access Control

Limiting access to corporate social media accounts reduces the risk of internal threats. Assign roles and permissions based on job requirements and regularly review these permissions to ensure they remain appropriate. 

 

Secure Store Media Files

Always use storage solutions that offer encryption to protect your files. Encryption converts your data into a code to prevent unauthorized access. Even if someone gains access to your storage device or cloud storage, they cannot read your files without the decryption key.

 

Try a Virtual Private Network

A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your internet connection, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept sensitive data. It is especially useful for publishing or sharing content securely.

 

Mitigate Third-Party Risks 

Third-party tools or software such as social media management tools could be hacked, leading to a data breach affecting all linked accounts, including yours. Ensure that third-party tools are reputable, frequently updated and employ strong encryption methods to safeguard data. Regularly rotate and strengthen passwords for these tools and enable MFA. 

 

Use a Spam Filter

Invest in an advanced spam filter to sift out malicious emails that could carry threats like phishing attacks or malware. These filters usually come with real-time scanning and threat intelligence to stay ahead of new types of attacks.

 

Securely Back Up Data

Back up your important social media data. Use the 3-2-1 backup rule: keep at least three copies of your data. Store backups on two different types of media, for instance an internal hard drive and an external storage device. One of these backups should be stored off-site, such as in a secure cloud storage or another physical location. If your account is compromised, you can quickly restore your settings and content.

 

Buy Cyber Insurance

Think about getting cyber insurance. It provides a financial safety net if your social media accounts get hacked and lead to a security breach. It may cover costs associated with data recovery, legal fees and customer notifications, helping you bounce back quicker.

 

Embrace Cybersecurity Training

Consider offering cybersecurity training to your team to cover the fundamentals. This can range from teaching team members how to recognize phishing emails to showing them the best practices for keeping personal data safe. For example, you could run simulated phishing attacks to test their vigilance or have them undergo exercises that teach them how to create and manage strong passwords. 

 

Run Security Audits

Make it a habit to regularly audit the security of your social media accounts. This proactive approach can help you spot weak points. For example, you might find that account privacy settings are not as stringent as they should be or that some third-party apps have more access than they really need. 

 

Be Wary of Friend Requests From Strangers

Be cautious about accepting friend requests on your company’s social media accounts. These could be more than just random strangers; they might be fake accounts set up to gather information on your business. It is better to turn down these requests to stay safe.

 

Protect Your Devices

To help prevent corporate social media account hacks, it is also essential to secure employees’ personal devices. Ensure they regularly update their devices’ operating systems and install and update security software to defend against numerous vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit to gain access to corporate accounts.

 

Create a Company Policy for Social Media 

Understanding what is permitted and what is off limits on company social media accounts is crucial for all employees. An Acceptable Use Policy should clearly outline these guidelines. Among the many items on the list, the policy should cover these security-related aspects:

  • Employees must not share confidential or sensitive information about the company, its clients or team members. Even seemingly harmless information could be valuable to malicious actors.
  • Define how employees should interact with followers, customers or critics. For instance, the policy could require approval from a supervisor before responding to any comments or reviews.
  • Specify who within the organization needs to approve posts or certain types of interaction. This could range from team leads to the marketing or legal departments, depending on the content and its potential impact.
  • Clearly outline the steps that should be taken to keep account info secure.


Form an Incident Response Plan

An incident response plan is crucial for effectively managing and mitigating the impact of a social media security breach. Here are the seven key steps.

Initial detectionHave a system in place for promptly identifying irregular activities. This could involve anomaly detection algorithms or manual checks by employees.

Initial reportingEstablish a clear chain of command for reporting suspicious activities to the social media manager or IT\IS department.

Containment. Act immediately to contain the breach by taking affected accounts offline or changing access credentials.

Eradication and recovery. Investigate to find out how the breach occurred. This can involve scrutinizing logs, reviewing access controls, or bringing in third-party investigators.

System restoration and validation. Validate that systems are secure before reinstating them online.

CommunicationInform all relevant parties, from internal staff to clients, legal authorities, etc. 

Lessons LearnedConduct a post-incident review to identify what worked well and what could be improved for future response efforts.

 

Collaborate With Your IT Team

When it comes to securing your social media presence, your IT professionals can be invaluable assets in your defense strategy.

First, the IT team can conduct a thorough audit of your social media practices, identifying any existing vulnerabilities and recommending improvements. 

Second, it can implement robust monitoring systems to detect any unusual activity on your social media accounts. This can include setting up alerts for multiple failed login attempts, suspicious links or even anomalies in posting frequency. This real-time monitoring significantly reduces the risk of a full-blown cyberattack.

Finally, the IT department can contribute to employee training sessions, imparting critical knowledge on how to detect suspicious messages or links that could compromise the company’s social media accounts. 

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Outsource Social Media Management

Outsourcing social media management offers businesses the advantage of specialized expertise and the potential for rapid growth. However, when considering a Facebook or YouTube marketing agency, it is equally crucial to approach this strategy with an eye on security. Entrusting an external agency with your company’s online voice necessitates clarity in contracts. You should specify data access, usage, and storage parameters, ensuring your data is handled carefully.

A thorough investigation of the agency’s cybersecurity practices is indispensable. Regular security training sessions and security audits can be a good indicator of their commitment to safety.

Maintaining transparency and control is vital even when outsourcing. Demand frequent updates on account changes and activities. Equally essential is to have a predefined emergency plan. Both parties should be clear about the immediate steps to take in case of security breaches.

Always be proactive about the agency’s access to your accounts. Once specific projects or campaigns wrap up, it might be wise to revisit and potentially limit their permissions. 

To sum it up, social media security is no joke. From passwords to legal compliance, every layer matters. Hacking methods are evolving and so should your security measures.

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