According to Nexgate’s State of Social Media Spam Report about 1 in 200 social messages contain spam; up by 355 percent since the start of 2013. This certainly makes sense as social media is a popular business marketing platform and would attract the interest of spammers. Risky content is classified as adult language, hate speech, private or regulated data and spam, and could be seen in 1 in 21 social media messages.
Spam has long been associated with email, its prevalence in social media has taken hold this last year. Regardless of the electronic medium the best protection against spam is to be aware and stay suspicious. Frequent reminders to computer users will help protect against the clever spammers.
Here are some general tips for protecting against spam.
- A post or tweet that is out of character for that friend may not be them writing the post. If you’re concerned it may be spam, send them a message through offline communications, or simply ignore it.
- Always maintain a healthy dose of caution and never go to links or open attachments shared in a suspicious post.
- If an offer looks too good to be true, then know that it is. Offers for free movie downloads or big discounts are only a tactic to gain your attention.
- Maintain strong passwords that are different for email and each social media platform. Change them frequently to maintain the highest security.
- Don’t accept strange friend requests; even when they are tailored to you. Details about you and your activities are easily attainable; spammers will then use this information to gain your confidence. Guard your personal information and be mindful of the information you share. Check your security settings to ensure it is set to private or friend-only.
- Passwords should be known only by you, and never shared with family, friends, or even your IT department. Remember that legitimate organizations will never ask for your login credentials. This information is for your, and only you.
- Urgent calls to action would not be coming from social media if it were legitimate. Before responding to one, always research further by contacting the company or individual directly. A common scam will redirect to an authentic-looking web page link that can install a Trojan or other malware. A URL can be checked by hovering over the link to see if the underlying URL matches the display.
It is estimated that up to 40% of all social user accounts are fake, depending on the site. The likelihood of a social media user encountering spam is not if but when. Staying alert and aware is the best way to avoid spam attacks.