Social media, apps and devices leave your business vulnerable to crime


Most people use social media. Free WiFi has become a commodity in the “always on” lifestyle and where we work is no longer limited to an office building. Do your employees know the safety risks?

Social engineering – raise curiosity or trigger emotions 

When you think of social media, you may think of inspiring quotes, of holiday photos and marketing your business on its dedicated pages. How can this be dangerous for your business? The answer is social engineering, a tactic to manipulate people into giving personal details about themselves or a business that could be used to commit fraud. With cybercrime, it’s important to remember that criminals will take their time to research every aspect of a person or a business online so they can find ways to raise a person’s curiosity or to trigger their emotions. Even an out-of-office reply can give cyber criminals a crumb of information to use against you.

The internet has also become a way for criminals to target unsuspecting victims. Be careful of websites that are not secure. Hackers can create websites that include links to malicious software and some automatic downloads also gain access to information on the device. To protect yourself, never bypass security settings and be aware of warnings on or about a specific website.

5 tips for cyber safety on social media

Social media, for example Facebook and LinkedIn, is the perfect place to find the type of information that can make employees fall in the trap. Here are five tips you can give your employees to become more aware of social engineering and the dangers:

  1. Does it make sense? Always consider the facts and common sense before you respond to any email or click on any link, even if it is from someone you know. Cyber criminals are skilled at forging emails and other information to gain access to information.
  2. Limit the personal information that you place on social media.
  3. Make sure the digital footprint you leave has no information that could harm your business reputation or operations.
  4. Use the privacy settings that are available on social media platforms so that your information is not publically available.
  5. Make employees aware that they represent your business at all times, even on social media. Communicate the social media policy for your business and remind employees to follow this policy. The golden rule is to treat the virtual world the same as you would at work and in other situations.   

Listen to The Healthy Business Show podcast on your brand in the social media age.

Mobile devices and apps can be dangerous too

Many employees use their cellphones to communicate business information and link their devices to receive business emails. You may think that it is the company’s responsibility to secure this information. However, your employees have to take precautions to protect their devices and the information they receive as well.

While free WiFi and WiFi hotspots may be a dream come true, these pose the most significant risk to information on mobile device. Many hackers create fake profiles that give them access to all the information on any devices that access these hotspots.

Another way for cyber criminals to gain access to information is through mobile applications that are available to download. These applications can contain malicious software to track or steal personal information. Recent research found over 2 000 counterfeit applications, which impersonated the most popular applications. While applications are removed, the damage is done and millions of people suffer losses. Here too, the rule is to “think before you click”, update software regularly and to stick to the official app stores.

How to protect mobile and other devices from cyber criminals
  1. Make employees aware of the security policy of your business and the security they need to implement when receiving work information on their devices.
  2. Do not make use of free WiFi when you are not completely certain that it has the necessary security.
  3. Use strong passwords to emails and other applications on your device. Install proper security and scans.
  4. Run security and software updates regularly to protect the information on your device from malware or other types of cyber-attacks.
  5. Avoid routing one device to another – this tends to make security settings weak and opens the doors for cyber criminals to access information.
  6. Loss or theft of devices pose a real danger to information security. Immediately update passwords to any information and use remote wipe applications that can help to delete sensitive business information from these devices. Recommend a remote wipe application to your employees as a precaution.

The physical safety of your employees and access to their devices at the office are equally important. Employees must know not to allow anyone to use their security cards and rather let people sign in at security. When there is any suspicion of a security breach or cyber-attack, it is important to make the business aware that there may be a cyber-security risk.

Research on fake apps.

Get innovative business cover, including cover for the risks of today

Discovery Business Insurance, in partnership with specialist companies, give you cover and services to manage the evolving and modern risks your business faces, including cyber risks, reputational risks and legal risks. Our cyber insurance cover provides a holistic approach in helping you to both understand and mitigate the cyber-risks of your business. As part of our partnership with AVeS Cyber Security, you get access to protection packages at discounted rates to know and address the risks and to protect your business from the effects of a cyber-attack. Get more information here.

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