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How Can a Hacked Social Media Account Lead to Financial Loss
Nov 20, 2023

How Can a Hacked Social Media Account Lead to Financial Loss?

The advent of social media has allowed people to connect with friends and loved ones, who are living far away, easily without much inconvenience. Applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat provide you with a platform to connect with your friends, family, while also allowing you to connect with new people. While there are upsides to social media, there are also many downsides to it. Hacking is one such downside. But did you know that hacking of a social media account can lead to financial loss as well? Let’s understand more about this.

Hacking: A Major Peril Of Social Media

Hacking is essentially gaining the control of one’s device or account through illegal and unethical means. Through just a few clicks, an entity can wipe away or modify someone’s social media profile for their gains. In 2022 alone, there were more than 40,000 disclosed incidents of hacking on the global scale [1]. Hacking isn’t an unfamiliar term for today’s society, mainly due to the increasing incidents not just in India, but also across the world. And this might affect you as well, especially through the use of social media.

How Does Hacking Work In Social Media?

Major corporations such as Google, Meta, and X (formerly known as Twitter) invest heavily in their cybersecurity systems to avoid breaches. But there still exists the possibility of someone’s YouTube account or Facebook account or Snapchat account getting hacked. So how does a social media account get hacked? Here are some of the techniques:

Spam Links

The most basic method used for hacking one’s account is through the use of spam links. Generally, these are sent in private messages by unknown users. Clicking on them will lead to unsafe sites, followed by some kind of malware getting installed on your device. This malware can steal information, such as your login information to log in to your accounts.

Unknown Followers

A major nuisance on any social media platform is the number of unknown or spam followers one gets. Most of these accounts do not have anything present on their account and are generally shady in nature. While it is easy to ignore such accounts, it is important to note that often such accounts attempt to hack legitimate accounts through spam messages or through phishing.

Hijacking Cookies

Cookies are the data generated from a website you visit. Cookies are stored on the device you use to visit the website. This makes it easier for the server used by the website to identify your device, thus making the experience of browsing the website smoother. Social media websites use cookies to store browsing and login information of the user on the device. Hackers can easily intercept these cookies and access the information stored in them, thus gaining access to your social media accounts. While there are more methods used by hackers to gain access to one’s accounts, the ones mentioned above are common methods.

Connection Between A Hacked Account And Financial Loss

Today, almost everyone indulges in internet banking, due to convenience, easy accessibility, and reduced waiting periods. But a major drawback of internet banking is the data stored by the website and apps on the device being used. Hackers can access this data, allowing them to siphon off funds from your account and misuse your account information to make purchases beyond your control. They might also send messages to people in your contacts through social media asking for money under the pretext of an emergency, which may lead to a financial loss for you as well as anyone else involved.

Tips To Keep Your Accounts Safe

You might not be able to predict when a hacking attempt has been made on any of your social media accounts, but you can take some precautionary steps to safeguard your accounts from any attempts of hacking: Use different passwords for different accounts and keep changing them every 3-5 months. Do not accept messages from anonymous individuals on social media without verifying the authenticity of their account. Avoid clicking on links which might seem suspicious and untrustworthy. Do not share sensitive information about yourself on social media. Do not provide access to your device or to your social media account to other people. Purchase cyber insurance, which offers social media coverage* as a part of the policy. Avoid using public Wi-Fi connections as it makes your device more vulnerable to hacking attacks. Avoid using social media on your office Wi-Fi network as hackers can use infected devices to spread malware through the network to other devices and servers. If you are a business owner, secure your business and the assets with the help of cyber insurance coverage.* Claims are subject to terms and conditions set forth under cyber insurance policy.

Conclusion

Social media can be viewed as a way to keep yourself entertained, stay connected and updated, or a source of income as well. But it is important to stay safe and protected from attempts of hacking which might cause severe problems to you and those around you. Securing your accounts with insurance is one way of creating a protection layer. You can visit your preferred insurer’s website to purchase the policy or to know more about what is cyber insurance, in detail. *Standard T&C Apply Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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