Why Is Social Media Being Increasingly Abused for Phishing Attacks?

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What is It? 

Social Media Phishing is where threat actors will use a social media platform to trick victims into giving up confidential data. They will usually spoof a popular brand, business or individual that they can leverage people’s wants, needs and trust in. 

Why is it a Major Issue? 

The average person spent 145 minutes (2 hours & 25 minutes) per day on social media in 2020. That number is increasing each year, and only accounts for people aged 16 to 64, according to WeAreSocial. This gives threat actors the perfect audience given that more than half of the population uses social media. Having the large attack vector isn’t the only issue. Due to the high level of traffic, it gets harder to single out the scammers and remove them from the platform – and even then, they usually come right back. 

“More than one in four people who reported losing money to fraud in 2021 said it started on social media with an ad, a post, or a message. In fact, the data suggest that social media was far more profitable to scammers in 2021 than any other method of reaching people.” (US Federal Trade Commission). 

Example: 

Facebook is one of the many social platforms dealing with this. Two individuals were impersonating a financial company called Chime on both Facebook and Instagram. According to the lawsuit, they had more than 800 accounts on the applications to impersonate the company. The volume of accounts helped them avoid detection allowing people to fall victim. The amount of people affected by this phishing scam is still unknown. 

Tips to Avoid Being a Victim: 

  • Never sign in to financial or sensitive accounts from a link that originated from social media, or other unknown or untrusted sources. 
  • Hover over the link to check if it is legitimate. This can void some of the easy links, but some links will be as close to the original as possible, or shortened, such as the bit.ly URLs. 
  • Avoid checking reviews, or comments made on posts for legitimacy as these can be fake. 
Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.

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