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Cyber-crime and Social Media: Stay Safe Out There!

Written by Susalyn Bennett

Email, social media, and mobile devices are tools of our trade. And they are weapons of attack for cyber criminals! As social media has grown by leaps and bounds and the amount of time that consumers spend online is ever increasing, social media has become a popular target of these damage-wreaking cyber criminals. All users and organizations should take steps to protect their sensitive information and avoid its theft and misuse. Hiring a cyber security firm to keep our organizations safe has become a necessary cost of doing business for most. It is no longer the case that cyber-criminals are only going after big targets with deep pockets. Small local businesses are being attacked as well. Helpful actions we can take:

  • Create strong passwords: ensure passwords are complex, including upper & lower case, numbers, and special characters. Don’t share your passwords with others or save them in an unsecure location. If anything sketchy happens that might possibly indicate an attempt at unauthorized access, phishing or data mining, change your passwords!

  • Use security and privacy options provided by social media platforms such as two factor authentication.

  • Connect devices only to authorized wifi networks; use privacy options provided by various mobile operating systems; use auto-lock features; and download apps only from authorized app stores.

  • Keep your operating system updated and turn on the firewall.

  • Ensure antivirus is updated and scans are performed regularly.

  • Perform backups regularly.

  • Make sure your browser settings include strong privacy and security options.

  • Never visit untrusted websites. Never click on referral links to websites.

  • If someone appears to be a spammer, a “fake person” or a “clone” of a real person, delete their posts and comments, block and report them!

  • Make room in your organization’s budget for cybersecurity services; vet and hire a cybersecurity specialist to identify weaknesses in your systems and follow their recommendations for eliminating problems and beefing up your security.

All day every day, hackers and identity thieves are using individuals’ information to reset passwords, apply for loans, steal funds and achieve all sorts of nefarious goals that law-abiding citizens would never even think of. But we can stay alert and be proactive to avoid falling into their evil clutches!

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