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For more details, check out our step-by-step guide to creating a social media policy , including loads of examples from different industries. While your policy should be easy to understand, training will give employees the chance to engage, ask questions, and get a sense of how important it is to follow.

These training sessions are also an opportunity to review the latest threats on social, and talk about whether there are any sections of the policy that need updating. Social media training also equips your team to use the tools effectively. While you may be focused on threats coming from outside your organization, PriceWaterhouseCoopers found employees are more likely to cause cyber security incidents than are hackers. Limiting access to your social accounts is the best way to keep them secure.

You may have whole teams of people working on social media messaging, post creation, or customer service. The first line of defense is to limit the number of people who can post on your accounts. Think carefully about who needs posting ability and why. This way, they never need to know the individual login information for any social network account. If the person leaves your company, you can disable their account without having to change all the social networks passwords.

Z-Burger recently faced a major crisis after a marketing contractor used a photo of a slain journalist in an extremely inappropriate Twitter post.

No one at Z-Burger saw the tweet before it was posted, since they had given the contractor the ability to publish directly to their account. The owner of Z-Burger was horrified when he saw the tweet and took action to delete the offensive post right away.

Restaurant Competition

But if he had set up an approval system, he or his staff would have reviewed the tweet before it was published. And the crisis would have been averted. But leave that last button press to a trusted person on your team. Designating a key person as the eyes and ears of your social presence can go a long way towards mitigating risks. This person should also be a key player in the development of your social media marketing strategy. This person will likely be a senior person on your marketing team. This person is also who team members should turn to if they ever make a mistake on social that might expose the company to risk of any kind—from security to a damaged reputation.

This way the company can initiate the appropriate response. As mentioned at the start, unattended social accounts are ripe for hacking.

Secrecy offences

Assign someone to check that all of the posts on your accounts are legitimate. Cross-referencing your posts against your content calendar is a great place to start. Follow up on anything unexpected.

APT Groups

It may be simple human error. Or, it may be a sign that someone has gained access to your accounts and is testing the water before posting something more malicious. You also need to watch for imposter accounts, inappropriate mentions of your brand by employees or anyone else associated with the company , and negative conversations about your brand. You can learn how to monitor all the conversations and accounts relevant to your brand in our complete guide to social media listening.

Solutions like ZeroFOX will automatically alert you of security risks. When you integrate ZeroFOX with your Hootsuite dashboard, it will alert you to dangerous, threatening, or offensive content targeting your brand; malicious links posted on your social accounts; scams targeting your business and customers; and fraudulent accounts impersonating your brand.

It also helps protect against hacking and phishing attacks. Social media security threats are constantly changing. Hackers are always coming up with new strategies, and new scams and viruses can emerge at any time. Scheduling regular audits of your social media security measures will help keep you ahead of the bad actors.

Use Hootsuite to manage all your social media accounts safely and securely in one place. Mitigate risks and stay compliant with our best-in-class security features, apps, and integrations. Get Started. Christina Newberry is an award-winning writer and editor whose greatest passions include food, travel, urban gardening, and the Oxford comma—not necessarily in that order.

View and download the guide here.

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Top 5 Cyber Security Threats for Executives

The answer is not simple and depends heavily on how bad and blatant the attack was, among many other considerations. However, it seems that after hacks like that on the Democratic National Committee, things became more serious. Investigations into recent high-profile attacks, such as the Sony Entertainment Network hacks or the attack on the DNC, culminated in a list of suspects being indicted.

That results not only in people facing trial but also a public show of who was behind the attack. This can be used to create a wave of opinion that might be part of an argument for more serious diplomatic consequences. Actually we have seen Russia suffering such consequences as a result of their alleged interference in democratic processes. This might make others rethink future operations of this kind. They can now exploit such fear, uncertainty and doubt in different, more subtle ways — something we saw in notable operations, including that of the Shadowbrokers.

We expect more to come. What will we see in the future? The propaganda waters were probably just being tested by past operations. Simplifying somewhat, the APT world seems to be breaking into two groups: the traditional well-resourced most advanced actors that we predict will vanish and a group of energetic newcomers who want to get in on the game.

The thing is that the entry barrier has never been so low, with hundreds of very effective tools, re-engineered leaked exploits and frameworks of all kinds publicly available for anyone to use. As an additional advantage, such tools make attribution nearly impossible and can be easily customized if necessary. There are two regions in the world where such groups are becoming more prevalent: South East Asia and the Middle East.

We have observed the rapid progression of groups suspected of being based in these regions, traditionally abusing social engineering for local targets, taking advantage of poorly protected victims and the lack of a security culture. However, as targets increase their defenses, attackers do the same with their offensive capabilities, allowing them to extend their operations to other regions as they improve the technical level of their tools. In this scenario of scripting-based tools we can also find emerging companies providing regional services who, despite OPSEC failures, keep improving their operations.

One interesting aspect worth considering from a more technical angle is how JavaScript post-exploitation tools might find a new lease of life in the short term, given the difficulty of limiting its functionality by an administrator as opposed to PowerShell , its lack of system logs and its ability to run on older operating systems.

And even though we have seen almost nothing in the wild abusing vulnerabilities below Ring 0, the mere possibility is truly scary as it would be invisible to almost all the security mechanisms we have. SMM is a CPU feature that would effectively provide remote full access to a computer without even allowing Ring 0 processes to have access to its memory space.

Abusing this feature seems to be too good an opportunity to ignore, so we are sure that several groups have been trying to exploit such mechanisms for years, maybe successfully. Will we ever find these kinds of unicorns? The latter possibility seems unlikely. In probably the least surprising prediction of this article we would like to say a few words about spear phishing. We believe that the most successful infection vector ever will become even more important in the nearest future.

The key to its success remains its ability to spark the curiosity of the victim, and recent massive leaks of data from various social media platforms might help attackers improve this approach. Data obtained from attacks on social media giants such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as LinkedIn and Twitter, is now available on the market for anyone to buy. In some cases, it is still unclear what kind of data was targeted by the attackers, but it might include private messages or even credentials.

This is a treasure trove for social engineers, and could result in, for instance, some attacker using the stolen credentials of some close contact of yours to share something on social media that you already discussed privately, dramatically improving the chances of a successful attack. This can be combined with traditional scouting techniques where attackers double-check the target to make sure the victim is the right one, minimizing the distribution of malware and its detection.

In terms of attachments, it is fairly standard to make sure there is human interaction before firing off any malicious activity, thus avoiding automatic detection systems.


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Olympic destroyer was one of the most famous cases of potentially destructive malware during the past year, but many attackers are incorporating such capabilities in their campaigns on a regular basis. Destructive attacks have several advantages for attackers, especially in terms of creating a diversion and cleaning up any logs or evidence after the attack. Or simply as a nasty surprise for the victim. Some of these destructive attacks have geostrategic objectives related to ongoing conflicts as we have seen in Ukraine, or with political interests like the attacks that affected several oil companies in Saudi Arabia.

In terms of retaliation for instance, governments might use them as a response ranged somewhere between a diplomatic answer and an act of war, and indeed some governments are experimenting with them. Most of these attacks are planned in advance, which involves an initial stage of reconnaissance and intrusion. ICS environments and critical infrastructure are especially vulnerable to such attacks, and even though industry and governments have put a lot of effort in over the last few years to improve the situation, things are far from ideal.

This is one of the most worrisome vectors of attack, which has been successfully exploited over the last two years, and it has made everyone think about how many providers they have and how secure they are. Well, there is no easy answer to this kind of attack. We have also seen more indiscriminate attempts like injecting malicious code in public repositories for common libraries. The latter technique might be useful in very carefully timed attacks when these libraries are used in a very particular project, with the subsequent removal of the malicious code from the repository.

Now, can this kind of attack be used in a more targeted way? It appears to be difficult in the case of software because it will leave traces everywhere and the malware is likely to be distributed to several customers. It is more realistic in cases when the provider works exclusively for a specific customer.

What about hardware implants?

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Are they a real possibility? There has been some recent controversy about that. And even they will be limited by several factors. However, in cases where the buyer of a particular order is known, it might be more feasible for an actor to try and manipulate hardware at its origin rather than on its way to the customer.

All in all, supply chain attacks are an effective infection vector that we will continue to see.