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How social media can be a cyber attack vector


January 15, 2021   by Greg Meckbach


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Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting workers through applications such as LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, McAfee LLC warned in a report released Wednesday.

Traditionally, cyber criminals have relied heavily on phishing as a way to target individual employees, McAfee chief scientist Raj Samani wrote in the information technology security vendor’s 2021 Threat Predictions Report, published Jan. 13.

Phishing is when a criminal tries to trick users into disclosing personal data, which the criminals could then use to commit fraudulent acts, says the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.

But as companies get better at fending off phishing attempts through techniques like spam detection, sophisticated cyber criminals are “pivoting” more towards targeting employees through social networking, Samani suggested.

“Individual employees engage with social networks in a capacity that straddles both their professional and personal lives. While enterprises assert security controls over corporate-issued devices and place restrictions on how consumer devices access corporate IT assets, user activity on social network platforms is not monitored or controlled in the same way.”

Samani was one of several McAfee authors who contributed to the 2021 Threat Predictions Report.

Cloud computing is another way cyber security could be compromised.

Essentially, cloud computing is when you use someone else’s computer server and storage hardware for your own applications.

McAfee saw a “surge in attacks on cloud accounts” during the first four months of 2020, wrote Sandeep Chandana, principal data scientist at McAfee.

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic Mar. 11, 2020. Since then, many organizations have told their employees to work from home where feasible.

“The increasing proportion of unmanaged devices accessing the enterprise cloud has effectively made home networks an extension of the enterprise infrastructure,” Chandana wrote. “With increased cloud adoption, and the large number of enterprises working from home, not only is there a growing number of cloud users but also a lot more data both in motion and being transacted.”

Feature image via iStock.com/Chinnapong


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1 Comment » for How social media can be a cyber attack vector
  1. Daniel says:

    Interesting also to witness the development of Cyber underwriting to better combat phishing and other fraudulent acts.

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