The social scene is watching you

8 September 2017

Isn’t it great? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. We are all embracing the power of social media; taking part in a global popularity contest to promote ourselves, our achievements and often our businesses.

How often do we read – and like – company announcements, congratulations and compliments to colleagues and businesses we work with, social groups to share and collaborate ideas?

Then there’s your staff keeping their friends and colleagues informed of what they’re doing, offering a daily update on their child’s progress, updating where they work, what job they do. We use social media to see what everyone else is doing, whilst also uncontrollably sharing everything about ourselves and the businesses we work for.

We often hear the familiar, but still staggering, numbers credited to Facebook, which apparently stores some 300 petabytes of data, has almost two billion users and raked in almost $28bn (£22bn) in revenues in 2016 alone. If it were a country, it would be bigger than China…

All of us, when we are uploading something, tagging people and commenting; we are basically adding to this vast network of informed data.

This data our interactions provide then feeds the complex algorithms that power the social media site, where our information, behaviour and connections can be transformed into a product. And our online behaviour in many other corners of cyber-space that are owned or interact with this platform – Instagram, WhatsApp or sites that merely use your Facebook log-in – could all be adding to this giant algorithmic process, which allows Facebook to target users with terrifying accuracy.

It also means that the long lost ‘friend’ from way back, who has just added you to his 500+ connections could be as much a risk as your best mate!

Scary enough in itself, some may say, but what if as well as allowing you a voyeuristic opportunity to keep tabs on others, social media is actually watching you? Ever wondered why that fake email you received knew so much about the people or groups you do business in? How could it not be a real email; it was perfectly branded and came from a regular supplier?

Data harvesting from social media is now one of the biggest trades on the darknet, with some sites trading $400,000 a day in customer data identity and over 50% of their total turnover.

This valuable information is then used in the distribution of malicious malware and ransomware to your staff every day, making you and your business a viable target of ransomware and encryption. If one person gets caught out just once, it could mean the total and irreversible encryption of all your files.

Would your business survive such an event?

Challenge your understanding of what risks we all now face from cybercrime and ransomware, and discover how some simple rules can protect you and your business and help you harness the power of social marketing safely.

Please join us at our seminar on ransomware and the darknet to find out why the risks of social media use are so real, how they are making you the target and what you can do to prepare and prevent yourself from becoming the victim.

www.gloscol.ac.uk/cyber-event

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