Social media has without a doubt revolutionised today’s interactive and communication methods, allowing individuals, companies and other institutions to transfer information rapidly and more effectively. In this way, websites such as Facebook and Twitter have become highly interactive platforms for the majority of the urban and suburban population around the world. However, social media is not without its adverse effects as no website in the world is free of security loopholes. Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites are no exception.
Social media has already entered the IT security landscape, causing concerns not only among individual users, but also among the corporate community where cyber security in the interaction and exchange of data is absolutely vital. But social media networks being inherently public spaces render more than 1.7 billion social media users vulnerable to malicious content, malware and viruses.
Once information is posted or shared on a social networking site, the data is no longer private. In this way, individuals, as well as the companies/institutions they work for, are exposed to cyber predators who may exploit data to different and adverse ends.
Prohibiting the access of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is no longer realistic. Blocking suspicious content and application control is now becoming inefficient in the face of modern advancements. If one channel is blocked, users may find many other channels through which they can access social media. Hence, one feels the need for a more robust and effective security mechanism to ward off potential harmful content in cyberspace.
Websites such as Facebook offer private security options to protect one’s pictures, posts, information, manage tagging etc. Many who use social media exercise a great deal of caution when it comes to private security. This is reflected in posts they share, sometimes cautioning others of security threats that could emerge from the social media space such as theft of pictures and other personal information.
But what about external threats, i.e. malicious content? Social media has little or no in-built security systems to protect one’s profile from malicious content. This is where ESET’s Social Media Scanner comes into play. It is an application that is designed to protect one’s profile and its contents from malware distributed through social networking sites. The social media scanner monitors new social media content (for example, wall postings containing links or unknown ‘friend requests’ on Facebook) and looks for malicious codes.
ESET’s social media scanner works primarily by monitoring personal social media accounts. At the same time, it can also be used to test the safety of content posted to accounts of a user’s ‘friends’. When a malicious code is discovered by the ESET social media scanner, the user will be alerted by a message from the scanner or by email. Additionally, the ESET Social Media Scanner can be configured to block malicious content by automatically posting a comment that warns to avoid media that has been found to contain a malicious code.
Another important feature of the application is that it covers all components of a social networking site i.e., timeline, newsfeed and even private messages against cyber threats. It also scans the account for threats even when the user is not logged into Facebook.
The social media scanner is a timely need, said Shihan Annon, Director of DCS International Ltd., the parent company of ESET in Sri Lanka. “As cautious as social media users are of violations of ‘privacy’ on social media, they also have to be aware of the threat posed by malicious content. The ESET Social Media Scanner is something that can allay their fears. Whether you are ‘online’ or ‘offline’, it will always protect your profile,” he says.
Social networking has become an important aspect of cyberspace over the past few years and it certainly plays an important role in the day-to-day lives of people. With this growing trend, social media users also have to realise the importance of adopting robust measures that secure IT systems and data from malicious content roaming the cyber space. The ESET Social Media Scanner is a product that takes the concept of ‘social media security’ to the next level.