Part 2 - ‘It’ll never happen to me’ – or will it?

By Alexei Lee, blog post 22/02/2018

Cyber-Security-Storm-Trooper

In Part 1 of this blog we examined the vulnerabilities of influencers online, and how these can manifest in personal abuse via content created for commercial clients.  We also examined the issues at play and future implications for the industry.  In this second part we examine the cyber security impact and considerations for influencers and brands.

Safe and secure

So what of the practical cyber security considerations when it comes to the role of influencers and social media management?  Well, first thing’s first, the basics of security which so many fail to adhere to. 

Jonathan Wood of C2 Cyber, a cyber security expert with years of experience gleaned in the Royal Navy and while working for BT explains;

“Social media accounts are frequently hacked, and the damage that can be done to reputation in a short period of time has the potential to take months or even years to redress.  It continues to astound me how many people have passwords that are too simplistic, repetitive or easily discoverable via a quick online search for information.  Two-factor authentication (2FA), where available, should always be utilised, and when using mobile devices to log into accounts, the safest option is always to use a VPN for remote access.”

Both large organisations and independent influencers can find themselves at risk of attacks to their social media accounts.  There are simple considerations they need to take into account across the people, process and technology they work with, all factors that can represent points of vulnerability if not properly managed, as Wood explains;

“Sharing passwords and log in details with agencies to help manage your social media should be undertaken with caution, and it is vital that they are kept securely and changed regularly.  Also be aware of how those passwords and your accounts are being used by such agencies.  There is no point in having cyber security awareness yourself if your support team is logging in using unsecured public WiFi and being too relaxed about password security.  Conversely, beware the business continuity aspects in an SME; having a single employee in possession of social media, domain, and IT admin accounts create significant business risk if that individual leaves.

“Essentially, social media hacks do happen and can be very damaging when they do, but by focusing on ensuring every component of the people, process and technology you use is as secure and well managed as possible, you can help to offset this."

And how to cope if you are hacked and need to recover quickly?

“It’s vital to ensure regular monitoring of your social media accounts for any strange activity. The quicker you spot a hack, the faster you will be able to act to minimise its damage.  Within today’s world of online reputation and reliance on that reputation, people are more vulnerable than ever before to the malicious damage that can be done through a hack or personal attack.” Fortunately, the major social media outlets have well tested procedures that can help.

For more debate and an in-depth discussion featuring the experts and issues featured here, come along to our social media week debate at the Influencer Summit on the 27th Feb.