Social Media Invisible Threats – Beware You May Be A Victim

Social media is an authoritative connectivity source that brings your distant friends, relatives, associates, and family members together. It allows you to share any content immediately among your group of people. What you put up in your account will be circulated around the world wide web with or without your knowledge. Though there are security settings where you can share content in closed groups on social media platforms, intruders often find their way to gain access to private information.

When everything appears to be healthy on your profile page, cybercriminals are often actively working in the backend. Initially, you may not be serious about your social media hack as your bank information, or crucial information is not directly compromised. However, your personal and family details are at stake, and the leakage of such information might result in severe damages. There are situations, when your personal data has been leaked by social media companies, intentionally or unintentionally, without your knowledge.

How are social media hacks dangerous?

Even though any hack is a matter of worry, a breach of personal information should also be taken seriously. The social media account may not hold any of your financial data, but it reveals your personal details to someone who is miles away. Anyone from another corner of the world can siphon information from your account and might use this for malicious purposes.

Social media profiles often display your personal information, such as, your birthday, native place, place of working, phone number, and other security question hints. If someone performs a more in-depth study, they can easily gain access to your financial or email accounts. When you purchase anything from a social media outlet, your credit card information is stored, which hackers can confiscate quickly. Social media hacks are far more dangerous than our imagination.

Facebook Data Leakage Case:

The cybersecurity firm, UpGuard, has uncovered two incidents of data compromise related to Facebook users.  In the first instance, a Mexico-based media company, Cultura Colectiva accumulated 146 gigabytes of data having more than 540 million records which include likes, reactions, comments, Facebook IDs, and many more.

In another incident, UpGuard exposed a data breach related to a Facebook-integrated app called, At the Pool. This exposure came from a since-discontinued app which mistakenly posted password accounts of 22,000 users on a public Amazon cloud server. [1]

Are you willingly giving them the right to your big data?

By neglecting to read the social media site’s terms, you may be giving consent to the company to access your personal information. While you would never hand over your bank passbook to anybody, it is highly likely that you are blindly agreeing to the terms of the website, where there may be a clause of accessing your personal information.

For example, one of Instagram’s terms of use states: “Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the content that you post on or through the service.” [2] While agreeing to such terms doesn’t give ownership of published content to the respective social media companies, the consent declares an acceptance to use the information posted on their platforms.

“While privacy policies were originally intended to be a protection mechanism for consumers, they have turned into ownership policies,” said Nico Sell, CEO of the Wickr Foundation. [2]

When you sign into a social media account, they may ask for additional information, including details of your schooling, work, hometown, or general interests. All these can be used in the future for a specific malicious purpose. This information may also serve as a feed to display ads or news items of your interest. Though it appears harmless, the history may be shared among your contacts on a friends list.

Before you share any of your pictures or posts, be aware of what you are sharing and who you are sharing with. You must review your privacy settings for each platform to ensure the visibility of your profile and posts to others.

Know the type of personal data social media companies store and share

When you give your personal data while signing up to a social media account, it is not the end of intruding your privacy. They often go beyond the data provided and track your IP address too. One way to learn about oversharing of your information is always to read the terms listed. Look for the ‘apps and websites’ option that you may find under ‘Settings’ and review which websites are using your information.

Your deleted information may be existing at the backend

If you delete your account, your entire data will not get disappeared immediately. Facebook itself takes 90 days to permanently delete the data or profile from the backup that the user has deleted.

“We store data for as long as it is necessary to provide products and services to you and others,” Facebook’ data policy states. [3]

However, on the deletion of account or data, the same is available online to the user or other viewers. The information that others have shared with you will not be deleted as it is done from their account.

Instagram won’t allow you to delete the account, though you can deactivate it. Instagram’s terms of service state that your photos, likes, friendships, comments, and other data of your account will not be available to you. Whereas, that information will exist within the service.

To conclude, social media accounts may have more to them than we are aware of. If you lack the knowledge of privacy law, you cannot stop your data from getting compromised. An in-depth analysis of every account settings is required before you opt to share your details. When we are not sure of controlling the visible social media threats, invisible threats cannot be reached. EC-Council offers Certified Secure Computer User (C|SCU) program, which provides individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to protect their information assets. The program will help every individual to acquire a fundamental understanding of various computer, networking, social media, and other hacks. It enables each one of us to learn the necessary steps to mitigate their security exposure.


  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/04/03/another-facebook-data-scandal-account-names-left-exposed-internet/3357418002/
  2. https://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/20/what-you-really-sign-up-for-when-you-use-social-media.html
  3. https://www.facebook.com/policy.php
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