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Influencer Cybersecurity: Why Social Media Personalities Need to Protect Themselves

The position of a successful social media influencer is a coveted position that many people aspire to. More than half of social media users under 45 would quit their job to become influencers. But it’s not easy to break through and become an influencer, whether on a nano or super scale, it all takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

Fighting your way through the masses of other people creating content to become a shining star is worth celebrating. However, it also comes with risks, and influencer cybersecurity is important to enable social media personalities to protect themselves. Let’s take a look at the cyber threats influencers need to be aware of and what are the best online practices to protect against online threats.

The importance of cybersecurity for influencers

Social media influencers are building careers online. Their online presence is where they build their audience reputation and where their income comes from. This means they need to protect their social media accounts on various platforms to help maintain their relationship with their audience and brand partners.

A misplaced post that alienates an audience or sponsors can be the end of a good thing, especially if it comes from a hacked account. The size and scale of digital connections means influencers can be targeted by hackers, trolls and even stalkers from anywhere in the world.

Understand the risks of becoming an influencer

Choosing to become an influencer comes with some inherent risks. While fortune and fame are often the goals of many, the cost can be a loss of privacy both in the real world and online.

Influencers must also consider all parties involved in their lives, from parents and family to the management or security teams in place. Whether it’s bringing unwanted attention to an influencer’s home or family or putting their security team at risk during a public appearance, it all needs to be carefully considered.

As most of an influencer’s audience is online, there are also a host of digital threats they need to be aware of, from identity theft and influencer fraud to image protection. and data privacy. Understanding the risks of becoming an influencer can help create an effective strategy to guard against them.

Open source information

Open source information is publicly available data that is beyond the reach of Google and other search engines. Much of the internet is not accessible using Google and it is a mass of websites, files and databases. This information, combined with freely accessible data found using specialized tools, means that IP addresses, networks, webcams, printers and anything connected to the Internet can put influencers at risk.

Creating strong passwords and using VPNs is a start, but it’s important as an influencer to protect online property. Security professionals engaged in ethical hacking can use open source data to discover weaknesses in a network before they are infiltrated by hackers. Common weaknesses discovered include accidentally leaking information via social media, unsecured internet-connected devices, and outdated software.

Being aware of these common weaknesses can help reduce the chances of being hacked and accidentally leaving the door open for a hacker to break into a network. Open source aggregators can even uncover an influencer’s home address or phone number, which is concerning if strangers get this information.

Protection of personal information in images

Influencers and live streamers may not know that they can give away their location or share something personal with their followers. Whether it’s something in the background of an image, video or live stream that indicates who they are or where they are, it can all become information for the wrong person.

This also includes image and video apps that give your location, so it’s important to make sure location-based services are turned off on devices.

Influencers should think carefully before posting content that contains information someone might use to find them. Sharing their life with their followers is important, but before they upload content, they need to give it quality control.

Not only do influencers need to make sure posts match their tone of voice, but they also need to consider what information may be seen in the background. From street signs to mail with an address, all it takes is a slip for this information to reach the masses.

Protect yourself from overly familiar fans

One of the main risks for influencers is that fans try to get too close to them. It may seem impossible to protect their identity when they present themselves in the public sphere, but it is essential to keep as much personal information private as possible.

Many influencers choose to be as engaging as possible with their followers, which is important for building successful relationships and a loyal following. Most subscribers won’t want to hurt them and will be happy to have their favorite online personality interact with them.

Others will troll comments for a backlash while others can be more sinister and pose a danger to influencers in the real world. Fortunately, users can be blocked, which helps, but with the risk of personal information being available, it’s important to protect yourself as best you can against overly familiar fans.

Report trolls and spot dangerous followers

It can be easy to fool an online troll for this, but it’s important to recognize any threats made. Informing the social network of the threat is essential, as is keeping track of the communications sent.

From April 2020 to March 2021, there were 98,863 reports of harassment to police, up 300% from the previous year. It’s not just unfriendly followers that influencers should be aware of, overly friendly people should also be a concern.

Signs to look out for for a cyberstalker include:

  • Excessive comments on posts
  • Sending unsolicited messages, especially if they are explicit
  • Tag influencers in posts not related to them
  • To impersonate
  • Attempt to hack devices

Influencers can protect themselves from cyberbullying with regular password change, VPN to hide their IP address and block unwanted users.

Safe practices to protect influencers

Securing accounts from hackers is not an exact science, as threats can arise in different ways. However, one of the best ways to protect influencer accounts from being hacked is with a strong password and multi-step authentication. For example, using a passphrase, which is a combination of random words, at least 15 characters long and using multiple words, is a strong password.

Additionally, influencers should consider separating their personal bank and email accounts from their online persona to ensure there is another step in protecting their identity. It’s also important to be careful about who has access to an influencer’s social media accounts.

We understand that being a successful influencer often requires the help of others, whether it’s booking travel, onboarding sound, or providing technical assistance. But, if account details are given to others to post on your behalf, it makes influencers more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The more people with access to an influencer’s accounts, the more entry points there are for a hacker. A cybersecurity policy for all who have access to it is useful for increasing protection. Describing how to secure passwords and reinforcing the need to log in and out of accounts when not in use are fundamental to secure sharing.

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