From writing letters to our loved ones to posting statuses and sharing pictures of our loved ones, we have come a long way and so has technology. Today a large chunk of our population is either connected through technology or has access to it. Social media is the new thing on the block, and almost everyone is present digitally. It really doesn’t matter if you are not present physically but having a digital presence across social media is now almost a norm. Everything in today’s age and time is being shared, liked, posted, re-tweeted, uploaded, and there’s always an attempt being made to make everything Viral. Accessing information, looking someone up on the internet, following our favourite celebrities, everything is available with just a touch on our phone screen, or a click of the mouse button.
In a recent report published by EY on ‘Cybercrime Incidents in India’, it has been highlighted how emergence of social media and our constant use of it, is making all of us vulnerable to cyber attacks with 144 out of 160 top executives (who participated in the survey) agreeing to the point that putting your job details over the internet, makes you a potential target of cyber criminals. The report has shed light on why cyber criminals consider the social media platforms as goldmines. These details are used by the hackers to plan a lethal attack on your bank accounts, contact you for mindboggling schemes (which are often scams) and cripple your financial health by all means.
Social Media Usage in India
If one has to dig a little deeper and see what the trends say about adoption of Internet and usage of Social media in India, the numbers would tell a staggering growth story:
- The active internet usage base in India has now reached to 262 million (out of a global total of 3.63 billion).
- Internet usage speed in India is growing at a massive rate of 90 percent, while globally its only 19%.
- A 1.01 billion mobile connection and 153 million social media users of which 130 million users are on mobile.
- India is home to the largest number of Facebook users: 195 million, out of this 155 million are monthly active users.
- On an average an individual checks their Facebook 3 times a day.
- Facebook has the highest number of user engagement followed by Twitter.
- Twitter has a monthly active user base of 23.2 million, while Instagram has 16 million.
- 1/4th of the Indian population uses Instagram to post selfies.
Well, let’s just say that the list is never ending and can go on and on. The thing which should concern all of us is that if such is the gravity and frequency of social media usage, let us take a moment and think of how prone we are to a cyber attack, and of our information, data, getting leaked or stolen. Social media and its usage is a big leap in the direction of technological advancement and bringing people closer and accessible like never before, but along with that it has also increased the risk of data theft, cyber crime.
Why social media put you on risk?
With limited or zero means to check authenticity of users and accounts, personal information and data on social media is always on the verge of being stolen. Many cyber attacks have caused great degree of damage to users, passwords have got stolen, bank details being compromised and a lot ofvsensitive information of corporates/CXOs of the biggest companies in the world have been leaked too. According to a report of Cisco, Facebook scams are the most common form of social media attack.
As per Industry estimates 31 million of the monthly active users account on Facebook are fraud or false, almost 5 percent of the monthly active users on Twitter too are false accounts. Moreover, popular professional networking site LinkedIn has gone to the extent of saying that they don’t have any reliable means to check which accounts or profiles are genuine and which are not. So basically, the next time you update your job details, work profile, or share a picture, on your social media account, be careful and think it through because you might just be a sitting duck for someone trying to hack into your social media account.
Few of things we can do to minimise the risk of potential cyber attack are:
- Sharing, Sharing, Over Sharing, say NO to it: Stop sharing everything you do on your social media account. Sharing Birthdays, family relations, education, etc can easily be used to compromise your bank account details.
- Passwords: Make sure you have a strong password, with mix of different characters, and avoid keeping the same password for all your accounts and banking logins.
- Reckless clicking: Don’t keep clicking on any link you see on the internet. Keep off that, many a times they are baits to lure you into malware attacks.