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Data Security and Social Media

Why Social Media is not Safe for your Data Security

Social media have fundamentally altered how individuals receive and share information causing data breaches, democratizing communication in a way that no precursor has ever done. However, a number of significant security vulnerabilities caused by hackers and malware have surfaced for both individuals and corporations as a result of the tremendous innovation. Social media, among other things, offers a sizable unprotected channel for data leakage, encourages users to share excessive amounts of sensitive information, gives hackers access to information that greatly aids them in breaking into data security, and permits the spread of lies in the form of misinformation or identity theft.

A changing landscape

A few years ago, organisations who wished to stop data leakage might do so by using data loss prevention systems, which could filter any data leaving the organisation through the firewall (physical or logical). However, employees now use their own electronic devices to engage in a variety of work-related social media conversations both within and outside of normal working hours and places. As a consequence, data breaches can happen in the shape of malware, such as when workers exchange corporate email addresses, details about the technology they use at work, or knowledge about new goods. However, there is also the risk of data security breaches from people who do not utilise commercial data. Information like travel schedules, personal cellphone numbers, etc. put you and your employer in danger. In reality, hackers frequently use social engineering techniques that take advantage of the oversharing of information on social media to target businesses: just one post can eventually result in a significant hackers attack.

Additionally, as social media are used more frequently, people are becoming accustomed to sharing more information about their personal and professional lives than ever before causing data breaches. Younger people who have grown up using social media have frequently a very different understanding of privacy than people from older generations leading to data security issues. Of course, any cultural shift that requires individuals to openly disclose their personal information to complete strangers raises the danger of data leakage to hackers in the form of malware.

False content and phony profiles

The ability of criminals to use social media to swiftly distribute “fake news” and other types of disinformation (malware) has garnered attention as a social media security concern since last year’s presidential election. Such shady tactics don’t just effect politics; they may also be used to manipulate stock prices through data breaches, tarnish a person’s or business’ reputation, or even persuade people to commit crimes while harming innocent people due to lack of data security at the hands of hackers. Social media networks often do nothing to stop the establishment and usage of fraudulent social media profiles, except from enabling the dissemination of fake data.

Hackers can deceive innocent individuals into giving out personal or business data that can be exploited for financial crime or identity theft (malware), or into doing actions that would provide criminals other benefits at the expense of victims by appearing as genuine businesses and actual people caused by loss of data security. Although the issue has been made better by the various social media platforms’ verification systems due to data breaches, there is still a danger that most people and businesses are not verified, and many users do not look for the markings of verification before acting, citing, or sharing again. information published on social media by other parties.

Minimizing risks

It’s critical to realise that even “smart” individuals make mistakes when posting on social media and fall for hackers, so employing and being surrounded by clever people won’t make social media risk and malware disappear. Aside from making poor choices, be in mind that technological mistakes might also result in troublesome posts and data breaches. For instance, people have unintentionally cut and pasted content into the incorrect window, and others have posted private information to social media after a device’s autocorrect feature replaced innocent text with sensitive data they had previously obtained from writing the message to the private email user or text messages causing loss of data security. Similar to this, many users who attempt to send private messages on social media platforms publish the incorrect public post due to a lack of understanding of social media data permissions. According to allegations that have been made public, Twitter’s CFO did this when talking about a prospective M&A acquisition.

How can you safeguard yourself against these hackers, malware and data breaches? Organizations should create formal social media policies for staff members and governance programmes for their official social media accounts. They should also utilise technology and training to guarantee that rules are implemented. (There’s a reason we don’t do this for other aspects of security; never rely just on policies.) Report phishing accounts right away: You can use a service to find them, but you’ll likely find that these accounts are responding to things on your Facebook page data or Twitter stream or that consumers are telling you about them. Technology advancements and training programmes can also lessen the possibility of misleading or similar ideas being distributed improving data security. Use them for yourself and your staff members, and prepare your marketing department to respond to misleading information spread by others, just as you would if it were spread through other channels. Make sure your family members are aware of the dangers, and make sure the content and permissions are appropriate before publishing any post.

In 2012, a hacker going by the name of Peace used over 117 million LinkedIn user credentials in a huge data breach and data security attack. The same hacker reappeared after the initial attack had subsided, new measures had been put in place, and the public had all but forgotten about the vulnerability of data. Peace started disclosing the password data obtained from the same LinkedIn (social media) users in the earlier hack over five years later. A social media network must have strict security due to the millions (or billions, in Facebook’s case), if not billions, of user records that are flying around the internet. According to Facebook alone, there are more than 600,000 security attack attempts made each day. (However, that pales in comparison to the 300 million NSA hack attempts daily!). Security management is made considerably more difficult by social media users’ diverse ages and level of technological sophistication. A social media platform needs to safeguard users, whose personal security procedures may be simple, as well as battle hackers. Only 18% of Americans claim to routinely update their social media passwords.

What precisely are these platforms doing to protect our data security in the face of ongoing hackers’ threats from both domestic and international hackers? Every major social media site has a security blog that updates users and bloggers in the information security sector on new security advancements, anti-fraud strategies, and the rare public comment regarding intrusions and malware.

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Why is social media bad for your data security?

There is a chance that your information could be disclosed, either unintentionally or as a result of data security flaws, with any service that values personal information. Here are a few instances of fatal mistakes made on various social media platforms along with the type of data breaches. The use of social media can harm your data for the following 8 reasons.


On Facebook, there are specialised social groups, some of which are centred on ailments and addictions. In these groups, users openly discuss their issues and experiences in the mistaken belief that being in a “closed group” will protect their identity. Unfortunately, Sky News’ investigation revealed that membership lists for these clubs may be easily discovered through malware and data breaches leading to data security issues. What then is the issue? Although insurance providers shouldn’t exclude people with pre-existing illnesses, not all of them do. Personal data can be used against you by insurance companies and employers to cancel your coverage or fire you from your job.

One woman claimed she had a hazardous breed dog that was prohibited by the conditions of her policy, so her home insurance company cancelled her coverage causing a serious data breach. How did you come upon this knowledge? via a Facebook post on social media. Eventually, after confirming the breed of her dog, the woman was successful in restoring cover (data security). On social media, these revelations are, however, happening more frequently. When you apply for a job, the firm will probably quickly review your social media accounts to weed out applicants that have blatant red flags, like: Comments that are critical of former employers, hate speech, or other dubious conduct and hacked content and malware.

This social media search presents a grey area for employers, particularly when it leads to discrimination against a protected class. You should take care and exercise caution while posting any data on social media, though, since you never know who is watching and a data breach can occur. This is especially true if your account has inadequate security settings and is public leading to data security threat. The information you submit might potentially be utilised for a number of evil things, like: to fabricate a profile through hackers and malware. This raises the important issue of why social media are detrimental to data security.


Because your account is filled with personal data that may be used for a number of purposes, social media sites are a target for online hackers and malware. It is possible to blackmail you or pose as you using the information gathered causing data breaches on data security.


In comparison to the typical spam emails you get in your inbox when requesting assistance from a Nigerian prince, social media is a better and faster means to propagate harmful data like frauds and malware through hackers. How come? People are significantly more inclined to open links they receive from friends or other social media contacts since there is no reason not to believe them causing data breaches and vulnerabilities of data security. Consider the well-known malware known as the “Facebook Videos” phishing scam. You receive a link from a friend that appears to be a video of you. The “Facebook Videos” login box will then open up. You provide the fraudster your password and username if you submit your login information in this pop-up box. The con artist then sends the exact identical video to all of your friends using this information.


A cybercriminal can also create a bank account or credit card in your name if they have access to enough of your personal information leading to data breaches and data security issues. Your social security number, name, birthdate, and address are all they will need to apply for loans or credit cards on your behalf. By submitting a phoney tax return with only your name, social security number, and date of birth, hackers can also steal your tax refund using malware. Before the IRS rejects your own real tax return, you might not be aware of this. Once more, phishing schemes are frequently used by hackers to get these kinds of credentials where you unwittingly divulge important data.


Once they have access to an account, hackers can con consumers into thinking they are real businesses using malware and other data breaches compromising the data security of your business. By convincing gullible individuals to provide their credit card data for services they will never receive, they may then transfer the money directly into their own pockets.


After gathering data from consumers who took part in a third-party testing app, the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica accidentally gathered the data of at least 87 million users causing a significant data breach leading to data security outcry. Following that, Cambridge Analytica sold this data to the Donald Trump campaign. The result? 87 million individuals declined to respond to the survey. The software took advantage of a Facebook security flaw (malware) to obtain not just the quiz results but also all the data and information from your friends via hackers. In 2018, Facebook also had a significant data breach that might have exposed up to 50 million accounts. Bugs in a new video uploader may have made it possible for hackers to get access tokens from users connected to other services or websites where those users are signed in using their Facebook (social media) credentials.

About the Author

Ahsan Azam is the author who specializes in avionics as well as research writing. The author has a keen attention to detail and is focused on providing interesting content to the readers.

About Stone Age Technologies SIA

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