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What is Social Media Security?

Social media security is the process of analyzing dynamic social media data in order to protect against security and business threats.

Every industry faces a unique set of risks on social, many of which have put organizations in the press or at the center of controversy. Whether it’s blocking targeted phishing attacks, protecting corporate accounts from compromise, fighting fraud or defending against scams and impersonating accounts, social media security is critical for modern business success.

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What is the problem with social media?

The most recent and profound development in cyberspace is the global migration to social media.

As of January 1, 2016, Facebook had 1.59 billion monthly active users, larger than the population of China. In a single minute of the day, 350,000 tweets are posted to Twitter, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and users like 1.75 million photos on Instagram.

Not only is this new social media landscape growing rapidly, it represents one of the most dynamic, unstructured and unregulated datasets anywhere in the digital world... leading to the emergence of Digital Risk Monitoring

The rise of social media has introduced a new security paradigm, one that puts users—employees, customers and partners—squarely in the attacker's crosshairs. Social media has become the new cyber battleground, presenting one of the largest, most dynamic risks to organizational security in decades. Attackers leverage social media for three main reasons:

The scale of
social media

With 2 billion people on social media worldwide, attacks can spread like any other viral trend. The adversary can use trends, clickbait, and hashtags to broadcast their attack, either to general population or to a certain group of people. This poses a monumental challenge for security teams to overcome manually.

The trusted nature
of social media

Well over one third of people accept unknown friend requests on social media, making it one of most effective vehicles for gaining the trust of a target. Once an attacker has entered one of their target's trusted social circles, it is much easier to entice the target to click a malicious link or file.

invisibility to
security teams

According to Computerworld, the average American spends over ¼ of their online time on social networks. InfoSec teams have no existing tools in their arsenal to extend their visibility beyond the perimeter into the social media realm, where employees are dangerously vulnerable to compromise.

Why CEOs, CMOs and CFOs Care
About Social Media Security

Due to consumers' migration to social media channels, organizations that create brand value through social media reputation have vastly outperformed the market (growing 103% in market value vs. 63% for the S&P 500 and 30.3% for the MSCI World Index) since the launch of Facebook in 2004. However, the parallel migration of hackers and scammers to social media is a growing problem: ZeroFOX Research Team found that for every 1 scam post remediated, 3 new ones are created.

In response to this new threat landscape, there has been finally been an alignment between corporate value creation and organization's understanding of the cost associated with risks. According to Forrester Research, surveyed business decision-makers listed information security and privacy along with reputational risks, above risks associated with compliance, finances or operations. (Source: December 5, 2014, Dissecting Global Risk Perceptions And The Effects Of Customer Obsession Forrester report)

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Market performance for Brands creating value through
social vs. S&P 500

  • Brands creating value with Social Media
  • S&P 500
Safeguarding this major contribution to revenue and protecting against reputational risk impacts should be a top priority—and monitoring digital channels is essential for doing this well. Nick Hayes, Analyst at Forrester
Building Digital Risk Insight
February 2016

Addressing critical social media threats

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