Social Media Visible Threats – Are You Still Ignoring Them?

How social are you? Today, the answer to this question is defined by the number of social media accounts you own and the amount of time that you spend online. We find everyone active on social media in some form. Even businesses are implementing social media strategies actively to connect with their customers in their own terms and preferred platforms. The online presence for the exchange of data is leading to new and potential attack vectors.

The data that we share in our social media accounts could be misused, or the websites that we connect to via our social media accounts can be malicious. In other words, it is the user who is inviting the threat by sharing malicious content.

Social threats are unwanted spam, that is user-generated, such as chat, comments, link sharing, and more. This malicious content can appear in many forms – hate speech, fraudulent views, fake friends, bulk messages, personally identifiable information, and more. The threats are spread among a large number of people through a trusted group member. In fact, it is observed that more than 6 million Facebook accounts are compromised every single day, and one among ten social media users complain about being a victim of a cyber attack. [1]

Primary sources of visible threats on social media:

Nefarious Content:

The widespread popularity of social media helps spread nefarious content that includes stalking, harassment, or cyberbullying. For example, teens often share illegal images, spread rumors, and use social media to harass fellow classmates to gain popularity. In extreme cases, harassment or cyberbullying results in suicide or murder of victims.

“Girls report three times more harassment than boys on social media.” – USA Today [2]

Such nefarious content can be used by predators to contact and build a relationship under false pretenses, ultimately harming them further. To overcome such complex situations, teens, when bullied, should inform their parents. People should maintain caution when it comes to sharing personal data online. As a precautionary measure, parents should also monitor their children’s social media accounts and should stay involved with them.

Links to images or malicious pages:

Many people share images or website links, confirming an interesting article or valuable information. The website links, if malicious, severe as a cybersecurity threat. Websites that contain malware, when shared on social media, will gain an increasing number of views. Such sites can infect computers in large quantities and can compromise victims’ data.

It is always recommended to avoid clicking links or attachments sent through social media that you cannot recognize. These links may be fake or contain harmful viruses that can compromise or destroy crucial information on your computer.

Tesla owners received a wakeup call recently in a conference at Singapore where an information security expert, Nitesh Dhanjani, Ernst and Young Security Executive, revealed that Tesla’s electric cars could be hacked using simple techniques. This can happen when the cars are connected to a specific entertainment-based app. [3] Likewise, it is quite common for attackers to access computers and retrieve information.

Predictable passwords:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent out a warning against the use of standard or guessable passwords when several government agencies were targeted by “password spray” attack, which is a type of brute force login attack. [4] DHS believes that such attacks require little more than a rudimentary knowledge of the target organization and internet search skills. Social media accounts should always be protected with strong passwords, and the reports should not be left unattended anytime. Installing a dual authentication on every social media account is another good option to protect them from getting hacked.

To conclude, we at EC-Council believe in cyber hygiene, and hence, we impart cybersecurity certification programs to ensure safe and secure transmission of data at the enterprise and individual levels. The Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU) is an entry-level program of EC-Council that aims to bring cybersecurity awareness among all computer and internet users. The program highlights the cybersecurity practices beyond regular antivirus, security settings, or software updates. More details on the program can be obtained on our website.


  1. https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/10-surprising-cyber-security-facts-that-may-affect-your-online-safety/
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/07/26/harassment-social-media-cyberbullying-reports-rise-among-girls/1835431001/
  3. https://www.fastcompany.com/3028464/is-your-connected-car-safe-from-hackers?position=5&campaign_date=07252019
  4. https://www.scmagazine.com/home/security-news/cybercrime/the-dhs-recently-issued-a-warning-against-the-use-of-common-and-or-easily-guessed-passwords-after-several-government-agencies-have-been-targeted-by-password-spray-attacks/
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