Last Updated: 28th January, 2020
Social Media Cybersecurity as of in 2020 represent an emerging branch of cybersecurity that deals with the understanding of considerate behavior. Studies in Social Media Cybersecurity cut across different and seemingly unrelated fields such as (communication) technology, machine learning, psychology, sociology and forensics, among others.
More so, to differentiate it from traditional cybersecurity, the Military Review of The United States Army explains, therefore: “Traditional cybersecurity involves humans using technology to ‘hack‘ technology. The target is information systems. Social media cybersecurity involves humans using technology to ‘hack‘ other humans. The targets are humans and the society that binds them.”
In his paper, Sauvik Das, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, asserts that “social media influences strongly affect cybersecurity behaviors, and it is possible to encourage better cybersecurity behaviors by designing security systems that are more social.”
Social Media Cybersecurity 2020
Social media cybersecurity looks to investigate how people handle attacks and threats and also influence them to make better security decisions through social identity proof techniques. For instance, research has proven over time that people are more receptive to new and better security systems if they know that more people (especially those they know) hitherto employ them.
Most efforts in social media cybersecurity are yet restricted to universities and colleges’ research centers, as researchers continue to determine how best to manipulate the psychology of humans to oblige them and their devices more secure.
The Social Identity Proof Principle
In recent years, there has been a massive increase in the rate of cyber security attacks; there has likewise been a corresponding improvement in security infrastructure, systems, and features. It is so much so that the severe problem of cybersecurity today is not a lack of technology to mitigate threats; if I had my druthers, it is the challenge of convincing people to embrace these innovations.
Robert Cialdini, in his book, Influence: Science and Practice highlight six principles of influence in cyber security, one of which is the social identity proof theory. The social identity proof principle says, “people tend to have more trust in things that are endorsed by people that they trust.” For instance, an online shopper is more likely to go for a product with more favorable reviews.
Influencing this to cyber security, by making it appear as though the best cybersecurity practices remain the norm, tech companies can help achieve a more secure internet for everyone.
Many people still adopt poor security strategies, sometimes because of plain ignorance, but also because they do not care. For instance, it is hilarious that no less than six million accounts have their password as either ‘12345’, ‘abcd’, ‘xyz’,‘123456’, ‘1234abcd’ or ‘12345678.’
One way social identity proof can drive positive cybersecurity behaviors are by highlighting the right that others are doing. For instance, allowing a person knows that a certain number of their friends use a certain security feature (for instance, multi-factor authentication) can encourage a person to adopt that feature. But efforts to achieve this sometimes hit the wall.
The Optimistic Favoritism Debate
This has to do with the fact that human beings are more optimistic than what reality presents. In cybersecurity, most people still adopt poor security strategies (such as weak passwords, using the same password for multiple accounts) because they do not consider themselves potential victims.
Even small and medium-sized enterprises “SMEs” the same approach, that only the companies, like, and others are susceptible to. In fact, according to Accenture, only 14 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises “SMEs,” maintain strong defenses against cyber attacks, yet SMEs are the targets of 43% of all cyber attacks.
The most distressing thing is that all the news about the unprecedented increase in cyber attacks does not seem to produce any beneficial effect. Many people understand that cyber threats are real and deadly to a company; they utterly refuse to believe that their kind of company can be affected.
This is still somewhat connected to the social media cybersecurity principle. Every so often, people consider others who upgrade their security systems as being unnecessarily paranoid, which is undoubtedly not in reality.
There is paranoia; there possesses a profound sense of security. In this information age, has enhanced the most valuable resource, so much so that many big cyber-attacks are not to directly rob the victim of money, but firstly to extract useful data that can be manipulated later.
Social Media Cybersecurity In Workplace
In most businesses, employees constitute the greatest threat to cyber security, sometimes intentionally, and more often, inadvertently. Enterprises can remedy this by not only providing adequate security systems and infrastructure, but also by giving their employees consistent training on the best and the latest security practices. Performing regular audits of the activities of employees help as well to deter threats at bay.
This is not limited to onshore workers, but extends to remote workers as well. For instance, according to Ashkan Rajaee, the CEO of a software company, TopDevz, in an interview said: “many companies look for an offshore developer to significantly conserve on.” But as an employer of labor, you should factor in your enterprise’s security when considering offshore labor.
Bruce Schneier has long explained that security comprises people, process and technology, and not just the last. Therefore, any system that is not built around people is destined to fail. These social media cybersecurity techniques have to be adopted in ways that do not make the security systems of other people vulnerable to attack. Or would they backfire? Perhaps the exposure.