Social Media Privacy Threats That You Need To Keep An Eye On In 2021

Social media users’ concerns about data privacy have seen a sharp rise over the last few years. Recent data breaches and frequent updating of privacy policies have forced social media users to rethink their relationship with social media platforms. Many people are concerned about these platforms sharing their personal information with third-party businesses. These concerns have led to distrust among users and left them perplexed whether they have lost control over their data. Some are already on the look-out for other alternatives or stop using the platforms completely giving rise to dormant accounts.

Although the users are already vociferous about their demands for tighter regulations, governments in many countries have already brought these social media platforms under greater scrutiny and held them responsible for inefficiency in safeguarding personal user data.

What exactly are these users worried about? Are their concerns even justified? What are these threats to privacy on social media? And how prevalent are they?

Over the last few years, cybercriminals have grown the expertise to trick social media users into sharing sensitive personal information and data. While many of these attacks are being carried out since years, many have born to leverage technology’s ubiquitous presence in people’s lives. Let’s explore some typical social media attacks.

Something’s Phishy?

It’s the most common ways of getting access to someone’s personal information. The attack is executed mainly in the form of emails, text messages or sometimes through phone calls. The messages and calls disguise themselves under the name of a legitimate organization and trick people into giving out sensitive personal information such as bank account passwords, OTPs or credit card details. Phishing attacks are carried out on social media on a large scale. In August 2019, for instance, Instagram users were hit by a massive phishing scam when they were asked to verify their accounts by logging into a false Instagram page.

Malware Threat:

Malicious software a.k.a malware has been a traditional threat to our computer systems and personal information. Once they hit our systems, it gains access to our personal information stored within the system. Social media platforms are an ideal and massive delivery network for such malwares. They first attack a social media account through a well-executed phishing attack and then use that account to distribute the malware to all of the user’s friends and connections.

I am a Robot:

Social media are home to many automated accounts that create posts, send friend requests, or automatically follow you whenever triggered by a specific term. An extensive network of these bots is known as a botnet. Bots and botnets together have a created havoc on social media and are notoriously infamous for stealing personal data, unauthorized access, send spam requests, and launch distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks. These attacks help cybercriminals to gain access to your devices and execute credential and data leaks.

Illegal Data Mining:

Every time you create a social media account, you share a bit of your personal information such as name, geographic location, and personal interests. These platforms keep track of your behavioral patterns and the way you interact with them. These companies use these stored data for better and specific targeting of advertisements towards their users. However, sometimes these platforms may share such data with third party conglomerates even without your consent.

The threats outlined above have raised the importance of tackling social media privacy issues urgently and calls for strict privacy policies and regulations. Till then, all we can do is to be vigilant while using such platforms and not fall prey to such malicious cybercrimes.

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