Author: Johnty Mongan
The vast amount of personal and professional information shared on social media platforms makes them attractive targets for hackers. Falling victim to a cyber-attack can at best be inconvenient and, at worst, lead to significant financial or reputational losses.
Social media threats and techniques continually evolve, reflecting the speed at which the overall cyber landscape is moving. Below are some of the key cybersecurity concerns of today’s social media platforms.
Phishing attacks: LinkedIn and Facebook are among the top ten brands ranked by their appearance in brand phishing attempts1. LinkedIn users are often targeted by phishing attacks, where hackers send deceptive emails or messages pretending to be from LinkedIn. Clicking on a link within the message could lead to a fake login page allowing the attacker to collect usernames and passwords. These types of messages could also appear to come from legitimate employers or trusted connections.
Identity theft: Through phishing or brute-force attacks, hackers can access your personal information, including your name, email address, phone number, and even your employment history. This stolen data can be used to create fake profiles or commit fraudulent activities, such as applying for credit cards or loans in your name.
Account lock-out: Last year, a widespread LinkedIn malicious hacking campaign saw many users locked out of their accounts worldwide, resulting in a significant number losing access to their accounts. Some victims even ended up paying a ransom to regain control of their accounts or risk their permanent deletion. In the analysis of Google trends by Cyberint2, during 90 days in the summer of 2023, search queries such as ‘LinkedIn account hacked 2023’ and ‘LinkedIn account restricted verify identity’ increased by over 5,000%.
Data breaches and data scraping: LinkedIn has experienced several high-profile data breaches in the past, exposing millions of user accounts and personal information. In May 2023, LinkedIn confirmed a data breach that exposed over 800 million LinkedIn users3. However, the company stated that this was not achieved by attackers hacking their servers but through data scraping, where hackers extract data from publicly available information on the platform.
Reputational damage: A hacked LinkedIn account can have severe consequences for your professional reputation. Hackers may use your compromised account to send spam messages or post inappropriate content, damaging your credibility and relationships with your connections. They may also use your account to send phishing messages to your contacts, further spreading the attack and potentially tarnishing your professional image.