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Social Media Practices

May 27, 2020

Today, everything is shared on social media. With so much information circulating around the internet, it’s only natural that bad actors seek to use it and take advantage of unsuspecting users. Information that you may share voluntarily can sometimes be used to get to private information. For example, cyber criminals can use your “likes” to deduce a password or security question.

SecurityIntelligence broke down the seven biggest social media scams of 2018, which include catfishing, profile hijacking, link shortening, and more.

Virtual and real-world threats can spring up without unauthorized access to protected accounts. Relationships can develop on dating apps, Twitter, Instagram, or really any social networking service. When these manifest into real-world meet ups, be cautious and stay safe. But even if conversations don’t move into the real world, be aware that scammers also pose as friendly people online and “bots” can appear human. These people and programs can attempt to extricate some kind of information or payment from you.

Another good social media practice is to avoid links that seem too good to be true, like ones that promise incredible deals through unfamiliar or shortened URLs. Numerous bot accounts trawl social media and could reply to your posts with offers relevant to your post; these are not operated by real people, but are instead set up to fool real users and take advantage of them in some way.

Even if you do end up following links to what appear to be legitimate sites, “clickbait” ads to the side or at the bottom of a page can lead to sites full of malware. Avoid inputting any payment information into any fledgling app or service with unverified legitimacy.

And in the event that your social media account starts to show activity you never actually initiated, immediately contact support from the operator of the service and attempt to disconnect any other subscriptions or paid services you may have linked to it; for example, your Facebook account can be used to sign up or log into various services, like Spotify.

Exercise common sense and good judgement on social media and you can avoid the various pitfalls cyber criminals have set in the massive ecosystems of the most popular services. Make sure to follow UTO on Twitter @ASU_UTO.