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Social Media Can be Dangerous

social media can be dangerous

One of the most popular features of the internet is social media. It’s easy to see why that is too, because you can find just about anything you want to on social media, and you can customize it to your liking.

If you like something, you can program your social media profiles to give you the latest news about it. If you don’t like something, you can remove it from your social media feed in an instant. Social media gives you complete control over what you want to see on your device.

Social media is also a great tool for keeping up with your friends and family from anywhere in the world. As much as social media has brought entertainment and convenience to our lives, it has also brought an element of danger along with it. Many people are unaware of how hackers can use social media to their advantage when trying to infiltrate your devices.

How do Cybercriminals Use Social Media?

When it comes to using social media to their advantage, cybercriminals have several different tactics that they can use. Their ultimate goal is to infiltrate your device or your accounts, which means that they either need to try and figure out your login credentials or install malicious hacking applications onto your device without your knowledge.

If your social media profiles are not private you are making it easier for cybercriminals to take advantage of the information they can find on your profiles and infiltrate your accounts or devices.

The first thing they will look for is key personal information that is readily available on your account. Anything from email addresses, pet names, your parents’ names, or even your physical address is important information to them. They can begin to use this to build their profile about who you are. 

Cybercriminals will attempt to hack into your accounts by cracking your passwords. There are many people that use their personal information as passwords – such as their names and date of birth for example. This means that the victim’s password is likely to be right in front of the hacker’s eyes, and all they need to do is put the right combination together.

If you’re posting about your parents or your pet, cybercriminals have another avenue into your account that they can explore. Some social media websites allow you to reset your account’s password by answering a simple security question. While you can choose the question, many of the questions are personal things that only you should know. However, there are times when you may have accidentally posted the answer online.

For example, one of the most popular security questions is: “what is the name of your first pet?” All the cybercriminal has to do is scan your social media profiles, or any pages and groups that you belong to, and look for a post that involves one of your pets, and there’s a chance that the name has been mentioned, which also happens to be the answer to the security question that gives them access to your account.

Phishing on Social Media

social media

Even if you think that this scenario is unrealistic because you are careful about what personal information you post on your profiles, it’s important to know that the dangers of social media go beyond this simple tactic.

Social media is very personal, and everyone has likely scrolled through things that interest them. Whether it’s a hobby, a sport that you enjoy, or a band whose music you love to listen to. We’re naturally drawn to things that interest us, and there are groups and pages for just about anything out there.

These groups and pages will feed you with constant content about your interests, and they will keep you updated on the latest news. All of this is great, but it does open up a new avenue for cybercriminals to infiltrate your accounts and devices.

By learning about your interests and hobbies, hackers can target you with more specific phishing scams. Phishing is when a hacker sends you a message or an email pretending to be someone else. The message will urge you to interact with an attachment or a link, which is then used to keylog anything you type or install malicious software on your device.

For example, if you’re a huge fan of a specific football team and you post about them and follow all of their accounts, a cybercriminal will know that using them is the easiest way to get you to interact with their phishing scam. The hacker will then impersonate someone who might be giving away tickets to the upcoming game for example, and all you need to do is fill out a form that has been attached to the message or follow a link that allows you to enter the competition.

However, once you click on the link or download the attachment, the cybercriminal will have the upper hand. Phishing scams have become more common and more difficult to spot in recent years, which is why they have a much higher success rate nowadays.

How to Keep Yourself Safe on Social Media

Luckily for us though, there is a way that we can keep our social media profiles secure and out of the grasp of cybercriminals who aim to take advantage of what we post online. It’s important to keep your profiles secure to prevent falling victim to cybercrime.

The first step you need to take is to set your social media profiles to private. This will prevent hackers from scanning through your profiles freely. You also need to be aware of any people who you accept to join your friends’ list or network, as they might be cybercriminals posing as someone else, so never accept any requests from people who you don’t know.

Even if your profile is set to private, you never know if one of your friends’ or family members’ accounts has been breached. This is why it’s also important to refrain from posting personal information on your profile that may give away hints as to what your passwords could be. You should also avoid clicking on links, even if they come from friends and family as hackers tend to send out phishing scams to the victim’s contact list once they have gained access to their account.

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