The misuse of social media can have emotional, social, financial, and even legal consequences. In some cases, this may even lead to the sharing of personal data. Children and teens are particularly exposed to social media risks, but that doesn’t mean adults, governments, banks, and even big internet companies aren’t immune to them.
Social media is more important than ever. Of the approximately 3.43 billion Internet users worldwide, 2.28 billion (nearly a third of the world’s population) use social media regularly, and this trend is increasing. As the platform with the most clicks per month, Facebook is in the lead and is also celebrating a double win among mobile users with its partner WhatsApp.
The excitement of sharing pictures of sloths and cats can be great, but where there are more people, it’s easier for scammers to hide. In real life, they are attracted to street parties, crowded carriages, and busy tourist attractions; in the digital world, it is social networks that flicker to hackers and cybercriminals. Young people are especially prone to Internet addiction: at a stage in life when social contacts with peers play an important role in self-esteem and self-identification.
Higher Visibility, Higher Danger
Just like with a gambling addiction, when a notification shows you have a message or a friend likes your post, the intense feeling of your body releasing endorphins can only be felt for a fraction of a second. Once the smartphone is out of view, many people start to feel uncomfortable, as if they are missing something. While some people find joy online every day, many have to prepare for the worst when logging into social networks: they fall victim to cyberbullying or stalking.
Personal Images Disclosure
Students who are attacked in the classroom often find that this unforgivable behavior extends to the digital world as well. This may include threats of violence, slander, or even the disclosure of personal images. The victims of stalkers are often faced with threatening messages. By uploading photos that everyone can see, users make it much easier for would-be stalkers to reach you. It is especially important to emphasize the importance of privacy settings.
The less personal data that is exposed, the better. The report suggests that a variety of sources revealed that offenders primarily used information from the victim’s school (66% of users), and hometown (48%).
Social Media Might Harm
If you browse the Internet, you leave footprints. Anyone posting their timeline on Facebook and revealing their age, favorite music/games/brands, etc. You can read this broadly and clearly: Facebook not only owns the profile data uploaded to the platform but may also sell publicly available profile data.
However, many users don’t see this as a problem: after all, one in four respondents is happy to see personalized ads based on data assessments.
This greatly simplifies the search for consumer products. However, everyone should be aware that this can lead to your data falling into the hands of criminals. In addition, users are rarely aware of how far their data travels across the network.
Apps Have A Lot Of Access
Even if you download an app, you often have the option to allow the app to access certain information. It is this personal data that makes social media users interesting for business – sometimes you can earn real money by selling this information, or at least personalized ads for the user.
By comparison, personalized advertising is a relatively harmless use of personal data. When so-called social engineers gain access to your data, the threat becomes much greater. These are modern-day scammers: social engineers swindle data or money from their victims. To do this, they use different methods: as a rule, they take a false name to gain the trust of their potential victim. Or impersonate someone from the authorities (eg. They do this by hacking into accounts and then, for example, texting contacts.
Scammers Become IT Employees
Quid Pro Quo is a method by which scammers pretend to provide certain services or information if users follow their instructions or disclose technical details in advance. Example: If scammers pose as employees of an IT company to provide quick fixes for common mistakes, they may ask victims to turn off firewalls and install updates. So this update turned out to be a virus or spyware.
Pretend To Be Authorities
Phishing attacks feed on the victims’ fear and their trust in the authorities. For example, many phishing emails are based on the text and design of banks and trusted service providers. They then link to websites that are similar to websites of respected influencers. If you enter your bank details here, they will be forwarded directly to the cybercriminals. Another possibility is identity theft when attackers do business or commit crimes on your behalf.
Damage Professional Reputation
Social media offers many opportunities to impress others, both positively and negatively. HR managers get their first impression of employees by checking out Facebook and other social media platforms. If you decide to take photos of your alcohol or drug binges in public, this will reduce your chances of getting a job. Also, if there are a lot of conditions that make you speak poorly, this can lower your chances.
However, not all social media mistakes are made by you – blackmailers or personal enemies can easily spread messages online to damage your reputation. These social media dangers range from slander to revenge pornography. Although these platforms have rules of conduct and moderators who will remove any posts that violate these rules, they may not always respond immediately.
Thus, juicy content can be shared pretty quickly. In these cases, victims can only be helped by documenting who had access to the relevant data and then contacting the police.
You Travel, They Click Your Images
A public photo is at risk of being stolen and used for a variety of purposes, from the less beautiful to the creepy. The story, which has become an urban legend, comes from an American family vacationing in Europe. While shopping in the winding cobbled streets away from home, they stumbled upon a shop window with a photo of them being used as an advertisement.
While at home, you can take steps to secure your home wireless network, such as using a strong router password, limiting the number of devices that can access your network, and enabling encryption, which turns the information you send over the Internet into a mess. an access code that cannot be read by others. But when you’re using Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop, there’s little you can do to test its network security.