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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

BBB Tip of the Week: How to have a more secure social media experience

By Lauren Hall Marketplace Manager

Whether you use it to keep up with friends and family or to network in pursuit of that next career opportunity, social media is an ever-increasing part of our lives.

When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool. But, unfortunately, we’ve also seen the negative impact it can have when used by those with bad intentions.

Our latest example comes in a cyberattack on the networking platform LinkedIn. A recent article featured on the website BottonLineInc details the findings of Allison Wikoff, a senior security researcher on the Counter Threat Unit research team at Secureworks, an Atlanta-based cybersecurity company, and a Dell Technologies company.

The article says Wikoff discovered an attack on LinkedIn users launched by a sophisticated Iranian cyberespionage group. She says they used several tactics to lure in unsuspecting people to infect their computers with malware and to steal their personal information.

Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific knows this won’t be the last cyberattack. We also know taking a few simple steps now, can potentially save you from a major headache later.

When it comes to your personal information, keep this advice in mind:

Be careful when clicking and sharing. The report says LinkedIn users received bogus messages from people they thought they knew. They then sent infected files and urged the user to open them. Be cautious with all links. Those in emails, social media posts and online advertising are also means by which cybercriminals try to steal personal information. If something looks suspicious, delete it and research it before you share it.

Consumers should think of personal information like money: value and protect it. They should also be sure they are on a legitimate site before entering personal information. Additionally, they should be wary of communications that pressure them to act immediately or offer something that sounds too good to be true.

Get two steps ahead. Users should consider looking for new technology that incorporates the strongest authentication tools, such as two-factor authentication. This tool requires users to not only sign in with a password and username but also something extra that only the user knows, or something they have, such as a fingerprint or face for facial recognition.

Keep machines updated. To keep online threats, viruses and malware away, consumers should make sure all devices have the latest security software. Updating devices can reduce the risk of infection from malware.