1 in 5 SMEs have fallen victim to social media hackers

In a recent survey, one in five had fallen victim to cyber attacks on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, with more than half admitting it had caused ‘significant’ damage to their business as a result.

Arguably, the greatest asset of a business is its digital and social media presence but it is also its greatest vulnerability. It can take years to build up a following, but a few seconds to destroy it with a careless tweet or post or not being able to respond quickly enough to negative comments and feedback or a hack.

>See also: As cyber attacks continue IT security is more important than ever for SMEs

Many business leaders don’t know the login details to their firm’s accounts to prevent this from happening and senior managers and owners can be inclined to leave managing social media to younger or more junior staff because of a lack of knowledge about the digital world and an assumption that they know better.

One in four managers said they checked rarely, if at all, to see what their firm was saying on social media – or what people were saying about them, while 60% showed the same disregard for popular review sites such as Trip Advisor and Glassdoor.

More than a third of businesses did not have a social media policy and 40% offered no training to staff about posting comments on personal accounts that could bring the firm into disrepute.

Many companies still underestimate the power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, despite spending on social media advertising expected to hit £28 billion worldwide this year.

>See also: UK firms could face fines of £122 billion in 2018

The research carried out by business law specialists, Slater and Gordon, revealed worrying levels of vulnerability at 500 UK SMEs. Almost two thirds of SME managers were not familiar with the Advertising Standards Authority’s CAP code of conduct and one in 10 had fallen foul of it already.

Typically, SMEs often only identified the risk once it’s too late, after they’ve suffered a hack or some sort of serious reputational damage because of a careless or malicious post. It is essential, therefore, for SMEs – like larger businesses – to implement a stringent security strategy. Many think they will never be targeted because of their size, but in reality this is precisely why they are attacked.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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