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Social Media Warning from ACCC

For business users of social media, protecting against hackers and spammers is crucial. Organisations risk losing followers and fans if problems are not resolved quickly, and more importantly a company’s reputation can be seriously compromised by attacks.

The problem is that often companies don’t put as much focus on the security of their social media channels as on other IT Systems.

There are three main ways that social media accounts get hacked:

  • By using software which submits commonly used words (including number –for-letter and symbol-for letter substitutions to guess passwords and username combinations, trying hundreds of thousands of words in a single attach attempt. It will eventually gain access to accounts, especially if they have predictable or easy to guess passwords
  • By using phishing techniques, where individuals are tricked into filling in their username and password on a site which looks authentic but is actually just gathering information
  • By gaining personal access to the account, either by the user leaving their browser open while logged in, or if a former employee retains the company's password.

Trouble makers will often develop 'look-alike' social media accounts

Businesses can take a number of precautions to protect against unauthorized access to a social media account.

  • Consider all possible risk scenarios. Businesses need a clear idea of how they want to use social media and identify what kind of business information should be shared. Before posting content, consider how sensitive the information is in case it is abused.
  • Don't automatically click on links. Use caution when clicking a link to another page. If an offer in a social post sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Don't just click.
  • Protect your passwords and privacy. Using the same password on every social network account can easily expose the business to account takeover. Instead use different and strong passwords for each of the social media accounts and update regularly
  • Check to make sure a site is secure before putting in any details. If a site is secure it will have an https:// address rather than http://. You can easily check whether a site is secure, simply by checking the site address in your browser bar.


Source: Hunter Business Review, February 2012

2016 BUSINESS AWARDS Entries Close: 24th March 2017

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