With social media platforms such as Instagram now getting into e-commerce, the threat from cybercriminals is only going to increase, according to experts we met at the Kaspersky Lab Annual Cybersecurity Weekend in Cape Town, South Africa.
This threat needs to be treated with much more seriousness, according to Fabio Assolini, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab in Brazil.
He points out that WhatsApp too is currently carrying out tests for peer-to-peer payments for its users, and while this may bring greater convenience, it would make individuals far more prone to cybercrime such as SIM-swapping.
“When cybercriminals attack, they plan on targeting as big a number as possible, so social media for them is the perfect way to deliver an attack,” says Assolini.
Till now, phishing and malware attacks have been the most common form of criminal activity social media users have been subjected to.
Cybercriminals do this in one of two ways.
The first is identifying a weakness within a platform that they can exploit. This is getting harder for cybercriminals worldwide as companies such as Facebook further tighten up their cybersecurity.
While some social networks are faster at responding to reported problems than others, Assolini believes that delays occur because the number of users and incidents reported are exponentially large or because it may take time to know what’s right or wrong.
The second is to hack into individuals profiles and send malicious links to contact lists, from where they can spread the net wider for better success.
Overall, while social media networks try to ensure the smooth and secure running of their platforms, with two-factor authentication, security centers, and more, that might not be enough for the individual to feel safe and secure, warns Assolini.
How do you prevent your social media from falling to cybercriminals? Assolini has a couple of pointers that everyone should follow.
One, you should never open links from unknown sources on your social media, no matter how curious you might be.
Second, find and optimize all the privacy tools on offer from platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Assolini recommends that you supercharge these and be in full control over what you share and whom you share it with.
The first quarter of 2019 has seen an estimate of 25,607 mobile malware attacks in the UAE, 70,502 attacks in Saudi Arabia and 83,359 attacks in Egypt, according to the cybersecurity major.
Kaspersky Lab predicts that 2019 will only see an increase in more direct cyber attacks against users.
Try not being one of them.