As social media has become more a standard form of communication, hack attacks have also increased. In just the last few months there were instances of hacking Twitter accounts, accounts for the social sharing app Buffer and the Google servers in Malaysia were hacked.
Indeed, security on social networks has become a legitimate concern for social media users. According to a survey by research firm YouGov, 35 percent of Russian social media consumers admitted their accounts had been hacked — more than three times the rate of hacking reported by respondents in the US, UK and Brazil.
Thorsten Trapp, CTO for mobile messaging operator Tyntec, attributes this mostly to looser government regulation. “A few of the most active hacker groups certainly come from Russia,” he says. “Most of the time it’s a local attack on Russians from Russians.”
Trapp says that with the increase in social media hacking, the networks are implementing two-fact authentication using SMS, requiring users to provide their mobile numbers. This is basically adding bank level security to social media accounts, which Trapp says social media companies didn’t even realize they needed until recently.
“What’s more evil: if someone empties your bank account or your Twitter account? For most people emptying your account is the more serious risk,” he says. “But if you are CNN and your Twitter site is corrupted you have a problem which is equal the fight.”
This is because social media has in effect become an extension of our identities. In fact according to the YouGov report, the biggest security concern among social media users is identity theft.
Still, nearly 80 percent of the survey respondents were unfamiliar with the concept of two-factor authentication and women were most resistant to the idea of providing their mobile numbers. Trapp says this aversion to sharing their mobile number with social media providers puts women at greater risk for exactly their biggest fear.
“If you use the two-factor authentication it’s a huge protection against the crypto-key brute force attacks,” he says.
Be that as it may, consumers are likely still concerned about their mobile numbers being used for marketing purposes. This points to an educational challenge as internet and social networking companies work to implement stronger security protocols.
Photo credit: Anonymous Account