Social media has become integral to our lives and livelihood in today’s digital world. Influencers are now strong people who shape trends, views, and consumer behaviour. Influencers have become targets for bad actors aiming to abuse their fame due to their significant internet presence. Unfortunately, account hacking has grown frequently, with significant ramifications for influencers and their followers. Furthermore, the emergence of social media platforms in recent years has opened the way for influencer culture. Influencers exert power over their followers’ ideas, lifestyle choices, and purchase decisions. Influencers and brands frequently collaborate to exploit their reach, resulting in a mutually beneficial environment. As a result, the value of influencer accounts has risen dramatically, attracting the attention of hackers trying to abuse their potential for financial gain or personal advantage.
Instances of recent attacks
Places of worship
The hackers have targeted renowned temples for fulfilling their malicious activities the recent attack happened on The Khautji Shyam Temple, a famous religious institution with enormous cultural and spiritual value for its adherents. It serves as a place of worship, community events, and numerous religious activities. However, since technology has invaded all sectors of life, the temple’s online presence has developed, giving worshippers access to information, virtual darshans (holy viewings), and interactive forums. Unfortunately, this digital growth has also rendered the shrine vulnerable to cyber threats. The hackers hacked the Facebook page twice in the month, demanded donations and hacked the cheques the devotes gave to the trust. The second event happened by posting objectional images on the page and hurting the sentiments of the devotees. The Committee of the temple has filed an FIR under various charges and is also seeking help from the cyber cell.
Social media Influencers
Influencers enjoy a vast online following worldwide, but their presence is limited to the digital space. Hence every video, photo is of importance to them. An incident took place with leading news anchor and reporter Barkha Dutt, where in her youtube channel was hacked into, and all the posts made from the channel were deleted. The hackers also replaced the channel’s logo with Tesla and were streaming a live video on the channel featuring Elon Musk. A similar incident was reported by influencer Tanmay Bhatt, who also lost all the content e had posted on his channel. The hackers use the following methods to con social media influencers:
- Social engineering
- Brute Force Attacks
Such attacks on influencers can cause harm to their reputation, can also cause financial loss, and even lose the trust of the viewers or the followers who follow them, thus further impacting the collaborations.
Social media influencers need to be very careful about their cyber security as their prominent presence is in the online world. The influencers from different platforms should practice the following safeguards to protect themselves and their content better online-
- Secure your accounts
- Protecting your accounts with passphrases or strong passwords is the first step. The best strategy for doing this is to create a passphrase, a phrase only you know. We advise choosing a passphrase with at least four words and 15 characters.
- To further secure your accounts, you must enable multi-factor authentication in the second step.
- To access your account, a hacker must guess your password and provide a second authentication factor (such as a face scan or fingerprint) that matches yours.
- Be careful about who has access
- Many social media influencers collaborate with a team to help generate and post content while building their personal brands.
- This entails using team members who can write and produce material that influencers can share themselves, according to some of them. In these situations, the influencer is the only person who still has access to the account.
- There are more potential weak spots when more people have access. Additionally, it increases the number of ways a password or account access could fall into the hands of a cybercriminal. Only some staff members will be as cautious about password security as you may be.
- Stay up-to-date on the threats
- What’s the most significant way to combat threats to computer security? Information.
- Cybercriminals constantly adapt their methods. It’s crucial to stay informed about these threats and how they can be utilised against you.
- But it’s not just threats. Social media platforms and other service providers are likewise changing their offerings to avoid these challenges.
- Educate yourself to protect yourself. You can keep one step ahead of the hazards that cybercriminals offer by continuously educating yourself (and, if you have one, your staff).
- Preach cybersecurity
- As influencers, cyber security should be preached, no matter your agenda.
- This will also enable users to inculcate best practices for digital hygiene.
- This will also boost the reporting numbers and increase population awareness, thus eradicating such bad actors from our cyberspace.
- Acknowledge the risks
- Keeping a blind eye will always hurt the safety aspects, as ignorance always causes issues.
- Risks should be kept in mind while creating the digital routine and netiquette
- Always inform your users of risk existing and potential risks
- Monitor threats
- After the acknowledgement, it is essential to monitor threats.
- Active lookout for threats will allow you to understand the modus Operandi and the vulnerabilities to avoid criminals
- Threats monitoring is also a basic netizens’ responsibility to ensure that the threats are reported as they emerge.
- Interpret the data
- All cyber nodal agencies release data and trends of cybercrimes, understand the trends and protect your vulnerabilities.
- Data interpretation can lead to an early flagging of threats and issues, thus protecting the cyber ecosystem by and large.
- Create risk profiles
- All influencers should create risk profiles and backup profiles.
- This will also help protect one’s data as it can be stored on different profiles.
- Risk profiles and having a private profile are essential to safeguard the basic cyber interests of an influencer.
As we go deeper into the digital age, we see more technologies emerging, but along with them, we see a new generation of cyber threats and challenges. The physical, as well as the cyberspace, is now inter twinned and interdependent. Practising basic cyber security practices, hygiene, netiquette, and monitoring best practices will go a long way in protecting the online interests of the Influencers and will impact their followers to engage in best practices thus safeguarding the cyber ecosystem at large.
Author : Mr.Abhishek Singh,Lead – Policy and Avocacy,CyberPeace