Social media provides a world of opportunities for an organization or individual to promote and expand a brand. A powerful form of communication that uses the internet, social media can provide any organization with a strong global presence.

By Jonas Walker, security strategist at FortiGuard Labs

As with almost every form of new technology, social media comes with some challenges too. One drawback for those using social media is that it can put users at risk, because it can open pathways that are insecure or tunnel beneath traditional cybersecurity.

There are five social media-related cyber threats to be aware of and to protect against. They include Social engineering, Phishing, Malware, Brand Impersonation and Catfishing.

Here’s how you can protect yourself:

* Enable MFA – Multi-factor authentication is a security measure that protects individuals and organizations by requiring users to provide two or more authentication factors to access an application, account, or virtual private network (VPN). This adds extra layers of security to combat more sophisticated cyberattacks even after credentials or identities have been stolen, exposed, or sold by third parties.

* Do not re-use passwords – Use a different password for every account. This prevents other accounts from being easily accessed if one account is hacked. Use a password management tool to keep track of various passwords. Make sure passwords are not easy to guess.

* Regularly update security settings across platforms – Stay on top of social media platform security options to ensure they are always current and set at the most stringent level.

* Narrow down connections to reduce unknown threats – Be discriminating about the types of individuals and entities that you are connecting with on social medium platforms. Carefully review every connection, and don’t affiliate with those that appear disingenuous or suspicious.

* Monitor social media for security risks – Stay aware of the threat news on specific social media platforms and respond accordingly. If you learn of vulnerabilities or hacking incidents, attend to your accounts and address issues that could lead to breaches or hacks.

* Learn what a phishing attack looks like – Be diligent and educate yourself on the latest types of phishing attacks going around. Always be sceptical when someone reaches out to you uninvited via a social media platform or email.

* Look out for spoofs of your account – Keep an eye out for brand impersonation attempts. Report violations to the social media platform administrators immediately and inform your followers as well.