Malicious Activity and Your Brand

Creating a fake account on Social Media is really easy! Social Network Providers have few built in checks to authenticate accounts as they’re created and you can be whoever or whatever you want to be without much comeback. What’s a cyber criminals favorite thing to do online? Pretend to be you or your brand!

Recent research found that over a third (1/3) of all fake social media impersonators send their target to a phishing page to steal social media account credentials, credit cards, and personal information. Considering social media’s scale and brands’ increasing investment in growth and advertising on these platforms, the landscape is ripe for cyber criminals to exploit these organisations. They attack your customers, damage your reputation and rob brand value.

Don’t worry though there is the shiny blue tick to protect you….

“This profile is authenticated” is what the blue tick means, so if it’s got a blue tick it must be legitimate right? This doesn’t stop an attacker from Photoshopping the tick in, creating a customer service / support account for your business or franchisee account. The heavy reliance by the networks on the brands to self police and report any infringements as the way to tackle this issue isn’t working and is ultimately impractical.

Think like an attacker

Think like someone exploiting your brand for money or publicity. It’s a question we should all be asking, not just marketers and social media managers but any company or individual with an online presence. What’s the worse that can happen? What is my risk?

The answers that marketers come up with are often exactly in line with market trends. They believe an attacker would create a fake customer service representative and hijack ongoing conversations, develop a fake voucher or discount to phish credit card information or build a brand impersonation to shame the company and hijack followers.

Kaspersky reports that 20 percent of all phishing attacks are launched on social media, and according to Barracuda Labs, 54 percent of users have encountered a phishing attempt.

What can you do right now?

Start by understanding your risk landscape, work with a Security provider like us to undertake a gap assessment or document your social presence and any known risks. Build policies around social media usage, account password management and who can access what, when and where, what are the threats and better control workflows. Review these regularly. Use Social Media Protection technology to detect and respond to these types of risks. For an in-depth look at this process, read Hootsuite’s guide to brand protection.


Are you worried that fake websites and social media accounts could lead to lost revenues?

Concerned hijacking or impersonation of your brand online might result in damage to your reputation and a loss of loyal customers?

Click here to contact us.


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