(NC) Engaging with current customers, connecting with new ones, and generating buzz about your product or services − these are just a few of the ways social media can benefit your small business.However, cyber criminals can also use information you post on social media to their benefit, to target your business, pilfer your profits, and steal your customers' personal information. It's called “social engineering” and here's how it works:
• Cyber criminals scan through your social media profiles to gather information. They're looking for details such as the names and titles of your colleagues or other professionals you work with, like an accountant or IT specialist, or if you have recently attended a trade fair or an event in another city.
• They can then reference this information when they contact you. Their correspondence will feel genuine, because it will look like they're familiar with your business, your colleagues or your business dealings.
• They want to gain your trust so that they can gain access to your computer systems or defraud you in some other way. Some cyber criminals even try to impersonate the government for this exact reason.
You can protect your business against social engineering by following a few simple rules:
• Review and stay up to date with social networking sites' privacy policies (most are updated frequently) and adjust your personal privacy settings appropriately.
• Ignore requests on social networks from people you don't know.
• Never reveal your precise location online.
• Be suspicious of any phone calls, visits or email messages from individuals asking about employees, their families and sensitive business matters.
• Never respond to emails requesting private information, and never click on links from unknown sources.
More information is available online at GetCyberSafe.ca/business.