Social networks are the most accessible tool for influencing public opinion

The social network is an attempt at self-expression, which phenomenally quickly became an ambiguous element of mass culture.

SHEVCHUK ANDREY

Business Development Director Fly Ukraine

Politicians, journalists, stars, businessmen - now it is difficult to imagine a person or a company that would not have their own profile on social networks. But what is social media? Why do we spend so much time in them, what is their phenomenon?

What are the consequences of their influence on the modern world and how to protect oneself from an a priori aggressive environment called the Internet?

Personal experience has revealed three significant points:

- The peculiarity of a social network is that being in it causes a feeling of belonging to something big, important, although not quite tangible.

- Social networks - "a grenade in a monkey's paw" is probably the most accessible tool for influencing public opinion.

- The social network is an island in the ocean full of sharks, where the Alter Ego of modern man lives. And he is subject to invasion every minute.

Are we aware of the consequences? We can argue for a long time, so we will give some specific examples.

According to a 2014 WSJ poll, 43% of American employers admitted that they had dramatically changed their opinion of a candidate for the worse after visiting his pages on social networks. Only 19% emphasized that the information obtained in this way added points to the candidate. Not only in the West, but also in Ukraine, employers study the profiles of candidates for a position, not limited to professional characteristics. Let it be a little exaggerated, in fact, a picture with a cat can cost a potential candidate a promising job.

Hacking the official account of a politician or the media can bring even more trouble. In this case, attackers gain access to confidential information and can do whatever they want, for example, broadcast fake messages to a huge audience.

Cyber ​​Caliphate, or ISIS at the Pentagon

January 2015. ISIS hackers hacked into Twitter and YouTube accounts belonging to US Central Command. The irony is that the hackers tweets with threats and identity of officers just as President Obama was giving his speech on national cybersecurity. Despite the fact that the attack did not cause significant harm to the Pentagon, the military, apparently, will have to reconsider the volume of its presence on open social networks.

Terrorist attack in the White House and the injury of Obama

Unknown hackers managed to break into the account of the reputable news agency (The Associated Press). They tweeted about the White House bombings and the injury of Barack Obama. The publication itself and the Presidential Administration almost immediately denied the message, but it managed to get into news feeds around the world and lead to panic on the stock exchange: the Dow Jones index fell by more than 100 points.

Unprecedented surge in oil prices

The hackers posted the headline of the 1973 Arab-Palestinian conflict on the Israeli army's official Twitter. It caused unrest and triggered a rise in oil prices. The post made people think that Israel was about to attack Syria. Despite the quick rebuttal, there was plenty of buzz around the world.

Opposition !? No, no, you haven't!

The Tunisian authorities simply deleted accounts instead of filtering traffic. In January 2011, special services, with the help of a monopoly provider, carried out a massive hacking of Facebook pages in an attempt to stop the organization of street rallies and the distribution of videos.

These examples may seem too global. But ask yourself, how many times a day do we read the news with messages about scandals and tragedies as a result of cruelty or jealousy in social networks?

5 rules on how to secure your page on social networks

Rule # 1. Logging into your account securely using a password manager

The password is your first line of defense, so don't be lazy to come up with complex passwords and change them as often as possible. Tools like LastPass or 1Password will make it easier to work with passwords and allow them to be stored encrypted. With LastPass, you don't have to re-enter your credentials every time, while keeping your account safe from intruders. In addition, the application will help you generate a strong password when registering on new sites.

Rule # 2. Set up suspicious activity alert

If you store sensitive information in Gmail, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter or Evernote, you must be 100% sure that your accounts are protected from spyware and hacking. Install an application that detects suspicious activity in your accounts. Such programs track attempts of unauthorized access to your pages, instantly sending you an alert on your smartphone.

Rule # 3. Understand your account privacy settings

For example, on Facebook, your posts are visible to everyone by default, but with this approach, the page becomes a target for cybercriminals. It is better to change the settings so that posts are visible only to friends, or even a separate group of friends. Also, many social networks allow you to use the phone as an additional means of protection. When you enter your account from an unfamiliar browser, the system will ask you to enter not only your password, but also an additional code that will come to your smartphone.

Rule No. 4. Watch out for mobile applications

Many mobile applications ask for access to the list of friends, messages and other information, when installing them, you can only rely on the good faith of the developers. However, there is a way to manage the permissions of installed programs. Install the AppOps utility on Google Play. For devices running Android 4.3 and later, it will help you activate the built-in rights management program, which will allow you to configure the necessary restrictions.

Rule # 5. Install anti-virus software on all devices

Modern programs effectively protect not only from viruses, but also from many other network threats. Many, like CM Security, offer filters that look for and stop network attacks against online accounts and warn of possible fraud. To effectively counter the ever-evolving Internet dangers, antivirus software should always be updated to the latest version.