Why do we need to talk about cybersecurity on Social Media Awareness Day?
On June 5, well-known Indian comedian and YouTuber Tanmay Bhat took to Twitter to seek immediate assistance from YouTube and Google after his social media account had been compromised.
Expressing distress in his tweet, Bhat highlighted that his YouTube and Gmail accounts had been hacked, with the hacker bypassing two-factor authentication.
Bhat’s YouTube account, which has over 4.4 million followers, was renamed Tesla Corp.
Soon after, another popular Indian YouTuber and comedian, Aishwarya Mohanraj, reached out to YouTube experiencing a similar incident where she complained of losing access to her Gmail and YouTube accounts.
YouTuber Abdu Rozik also was targeted in a similar attack.
Earlier this March, Linus Sebastian, who runs the YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips with over 15 million subscribers, suffered a massive breach that enabled hackers to livestream fraudulent cryptocurrency scam videos, modify channel names, and even delete existing videos.
Following the restoration of his accounts, Sebastian took to the video sharing platform to share an elaborate video, shedding light on how the hacker managed to bypass the two-factor authentication protections that were in place.
The Impact of Social Media and Influencers
Social media has become an integral part of our lives, providing influencers with a powerful platform to engage with their audience and build their personal brands.
However, beneath the surface of seemingly effortless “influencing” lies the daunting challenge of building a loyal fan base and comprehending the intricacies of social media algorithms.
Amidst the already competitive world of social media, a significant threat looms large: hacking. The rise of social media influencers has coincided with an increase in cyber incidents, leading to numerous instances where individuals have become victims of various attacks.
As we observe Social Media Awareness Day, The Cyber Express delves into the imperative cybersecurity practices that influencers should adopt to protect their brand and maintain a secure online environment.
By being aware of the potential risks and taking proactive measures, influencers can safeguard their online presence and ensure the longevity of their hard-earned success.
The Significance of Social Media Awareness Day
Celebrated on the 30 June, Social Media Awareness Day serves as an occasion to raise awareness and understanding about the various aspects of social media.
It encourages people to reflect on important topics such as digital citizenship, online safety, privacy considerations, prevention of cyberbullying, and the influence of social media on diverse aspects of our lives, including relationships, mental health, and the dissemination of information.
Through this day, individuals around the world are prompted to follow best practices, encouraging responsible behavior in the digital arena.
Social Media Awareness Day aims to empower individuals to navigate social media platforms effectively. It emphasizes the significance of mindfulness regarding the impact of social media on personal and societal well-being, striving to create a more informed and responsible online community.
Rob May, the founder of cybersecurity business Ramsac, highlighted the need for social media cybersecurity, emphasizing its importance in today’s digital age, particularly for social media influencers.
He emphasized that it safeguards personal information and protects users from online threats and data breaches.
“With the rising popularity of social media platforms, cybercriminals exploited vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to user accounts, posing risks such as identity theft and privacy invasion,” he told The Cyber Express.
“Users had to adopt strong passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and regularly update their privacy settings to minimize the chances of falling victim to cyber-attacks on social media.”
“It was also imperative that social media platforms themselves played their role in maintaining cybersecurity by implementing robust encryption protocols, monitoring for suspicious activities, and promptly addressing reported security issues,” he added.
May further stated that staying informed about emerging cyber threats, being cautious while interacting with online content, and educating oneself about best practices were essential for maintaining a safe and secure social media experience.
How to secure your social media account
On Social Media Awareness Day, it is essential to prioritize the security of our social media accounts and ensure their safety in the digital realm.
Emphasizing the significance of maintaining secure social media accounts, cybersecurity expert and researcher Nitin Pandey stresses the need for caution and vigilance
“Every social media application is monitoring your activities. Therefore it is very important to share only limited details/information on social media platforms and always think twice before installing any app,” he told The Cyber Express.
“Always enable 2FA, make your password senseless, keep your accounts private and locked and never install any third party app,” he added.
Following are some simple yet essential ways to secure social media accounts and maintain a safe and protected digital environment. By implementing these, you can safeguard your personal information and maintain control over your online presence.
1. Strengthening Account Security: Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication
Ensuring cybersecurity begins with establishing strong passwords for all social media accounts. Influencers should create unique and complex passwords, incorporating a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Moreover, enabling two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security by requiring a secondary verification factor, such as a unique code sent to a mobile device, making it significantly harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access.
2. Regular Software Updates and Patching
Maintaining up-to-date social media applications and devices is essential for cybersecurity. Developers release software updates and patches to address vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. By regularly updating apps and devices, influencers minimize the risk of falling victim to known security flaws.
3. Enhancing Phishing Awareness and Email Security
Phishing attacks remain a significant threat to influencers. Hackers often impersonate legitimate organizations or individuals, sending deceptive emails to trick influencers into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.
Exercising caution when opening emails, particularly those requesting personal information or containing suspicious attachments or links, is crucial. Always verify the legitimacy of emails by double-checking the sender’s address or contacting the organization directly.
4. Managing Privacy Settings and Content Control
Regularly reviewing and adjusting social media privacy settings is essential for influencers. Limiting the visibility of personal information, such as contact details, birthdates, and location, can help prevent unauthorized access or identity theft.
5. Monitoring Third-Party App Permissions
Social media platforms often integrate with third-party applications to enhance functionality and provide additional features.
However, granting excessive permissions to these apps can pose security risks. It is advisable for influencers to periodically review unnecessary permissions granted to third-party applications.
Limiting access to only trusted and reputable applications minimizes the chances of unauthorized access to personal data.
6. Securing Wi-Fi Networks
Prioritizing secure Wi-Fi networks when accessing social media accounts on-the-go is crucial. Public Wi-Fi networks are often unencrypted, making it easier for hackers to intercept transmitted data.
Utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) adds an extra layer of encryption, ensuring that sensitive information remains secure.
7. Regular Data Backups
Regularly backing up social media content is vital for influencers. In the event of a security breach or account compromise, having backups ensures that valuable content can be restored.
Platforms like Instagram and YouTube offer features for downloading data, including posts, videos, and audience insights. Additionally, maintaining local copies of important content helps prevent complete loss in unforeseen circumstances.
In conclusion, as influencers continue to thrive in the digital landscape, maintaining a robust cybersecurity posture becomes increasingly crucial.
Through these cybersecurity practices, influencers can protect their online brand, maintain trust with their audience, and mitigate the risks associated with cyber threats.