Brand Protection Solution

Social Media Phishing Attacks

What Are the Types of Social Media Phishing Attacks

Phishing is perhaps the oldest type of online fraud tactic used by scammers. Originally, phishing scams were conducted using email. However, as users on the web became more aware and alert, the effectiveness of email phishing has deteriorated considerably. Unfortunately, this has not been enough to discourage fraudsters and scammers. Modern fraudsters have become creative and are using a variety of phishing scams to dupe unsuspecting users and brands. That’s right, phishing scams these days don’t just affect the victims. They can also hurt a brand’s reputation. In this article, we will understand how a phishing scam can affect the trust your brand has built with its audience. We will also discuss the different tactics employed by fraudsters to deliver phishing attacks. Finally, this article will also guide you about protecting your brand against social media phishing. Let’s jump right in:  What Is Social Media Phishing? Before we learn about the different techniques of social media phishing, let’s understand the basic premise of this type of scam. The main purpose of phishing is to obtain the personal information of the users. This information is then used by scammers to gain access to their financial accounts and steal their money. On social media, it has become easier than ever for scammers to conduct this type of scam. Scammers may post a lucrative click-bait link on a platform, something like, “Here’s how this 20-year-old made $1 million in a week.” When a user clicks on this link, they may be redirected to spoofed websites that steal the personal information of the users. Since they are accessing the link through their social media account, a lot of personal identification information becomes available to the scammers. Equipped with information like name, age, date of birth, place of birth, names of parents and spouses, and more, scammers can steal from the user. In many cases, scammers may even use someone’s personal information in other ways to gain financial benefit. How Does Social Media Phishing Impact Brands? Social media phishing doesn’t just impact users. Brands may feel the most considerable long-term effects of social media phishing attacks. This is because many social media phishing techniques are executed by scammers impersonating a brand or the brand’s representative. If a user interacts with someone claiming to represent a brand they love and trust, they are likely to trust the stranger contacting them. Then, if this person turns out to be a scammer, the user will associate the bad experience with the brand. While the brand itself is not at fault, a distressed user may not be able to understand the same. As a result, they may completely stop trusting the brand. In extreme cases, distressed victims may even start bad-mouthing the brand on social media platforms and in front of their friends. This can cause further damage to the brand reputation of the company, leading to real monetary loss in a variety of ways. The lack of trust may directly impact the business coming from users who have fallen victim to a social media phishing scam. Moreover, if the lack of trust is spread among the larger user base, a brand may have to spend an unusually large amount on its advertising and customer experiences just to gain back the trust it has lost. Even then, there may be many users who may never place their trust in the brand again, especially those who have been directly impacted by the phishing scam. Let’s understand the different social media phishing scams that may even impact your brand.  Most Common Types of Social Media Phishing Attacks Fake Customer Support Social media has emerged as a popular place to avail customer support. It is quicker and more convenient than calling a company’s helpline number. Not to forget, the generations that are now entering the consumer market also prefer communicating through texts over phone calls. Even from a brand’s perspective, providing support on social media is a great idea. It is cost-effective and allows the brand to be prompt with its response. This, in turn, enables the brand to create more delightful customer experiences. Such experiences have a compounding effect on social media platforms where customer-brand interactions are visible publicly. Unfortunately, it is also very easy for scammers to pose as support representatives of a brand and scam its customers. The culture of support on social media offers a glaring opportunity for committing brand infringement attacks. All they need is a fake profile equipped with the brand’s logo and a description. Using these, a scammer impersonates a legitimate brand representative and directs support-seeking customers to fake login pages that collect their personal information. This information is then used to gain access to the customer’s social media and bank accounts. The scammers then use the now-hacked social media account to scam the friends and family of their original victim. In some cases, scammers ask for an upfront payment from customers seeking support. However, these customers simply end up falling victim to the scam and never getting the support they require. It isn’t difficult to imagine how such interactions reflect badly on a brand’s image and the trust it enjoys with its audience. Fake Business Profiles, Pages Just like it is easy to create a fake profile pretending to be a brand’s representative, it is also alarmingly easy to create fake company pages on social media platforms. These pages are then used by scammers to misrepresent the brand and scam unsuspecting users by asking for their personal information. In some cases, fake business profiles may post links to fake login pages that resemble the login page of the social media platform where it is posted. An innocent user may end up clicking on such a link and thinking that they may have been logged out because of a technical issue, may enter their login details into the fake login page. With this, the scammers can gain access to the user’s profile and start impersonating them to scam their friends. Email Phishing Email phishing, as the name suggests,

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From Vulnerability to Vigilance: Navigating Brand Safety in 2023

Ensuring brand safety in the online ecosystem is becoming a growing concern for modern brands. A large chunk of marketers has started recognizing the threats against their brand’s safety. Misinformation, wrong messaging, bot traffic, and “algorithms” are just some of the many serious threats facing brands these days. In a survey of over 600 leaders at top brands, agencies, and media buying companies, 40% expressed that they expect threats to their brand safety to grow in 2023. While that is an alarming number, the good news is that the awareness needed to push back against such threats is increasing. As online fraudsters become more creative and innovative with the techniques, they use to commit fraud, advertisers are also becoming more cautious. If you are one such advertiser, this article is for you. In the upcoming sections, we will discuss how advertisers and brands can prepare themselves to face and triumph over the ever-evolving brand safety issues in 2023. Without wasting any time, let’s jump right in. Why is Brand Safety Essential for Brands in 2023? Brand safety is important to every single stakeholder involved in the advertising supply chain. Starting from the ad networks to the publishers, it is important to do their part in maintaining brand safety to ensure that their customers, the advertisers, continue trusting them with their ad budgets. That said, there is no denying that brand safety incidents have the biggest impact on advertisers and brands. In worst cases, brands may experience permanent, irreparable damage to their brand reputation. Paying attention to brand safety and protection isn’t just important from the point of view of preventing a negative impact on brand reputation. There are many positive benefits of actively pursuing and monitoring brand safety. Some of them are: For a Positive Brand Image Brand safety threats can take many forms. One of the most daunting ones includes instances where a brand’s ad is published on websites that host questionable or extremist content. Having a brand’s ad published on websites that engage in fraudulent activities can also cause significant damage to the brand’s reputation. While most stakeholders are aware that in most cases, advertisers have little control over where their ads are displayed, the same isn’t true for modern consumers. They may be quick to think that the brand in question supports the views or activities found on the publishing website. This, if not monitored and avoided, can cause serious damage to any brand’s reputation. This isn’t an imagined threat. The world’s biggest brands have experienced such a threat to their brand image and have used their position to transfer some of the consequences to publishers like Google. Unfortunately, smaller brands don’t enjoy the same luxury and thus, they must proactively protect their brand’s reputation against such a threat. To Make a Strong First Impression Brand reputation incidents can hurt any brand. However, established brands have a history associated with them, along with a loyal audience. These elements can prove advantageous and contribute towards a quick recovery after a brand reputation incident. However, upcoming brands don’t enjoy any such advantages. Even a single brand reputation-threatening instance can prove fatal for new brands trying to make a name for themselves. While that is the worst case, even in less extreme scenarios, emerging brands can expect their advertising costs to spike significantly after even a minor brand reputation incident. This is because in order to recover from such an incident will involve rebuilding the brand’s reputation from scratch. This may prove to be an undertaking that may demand a higher-than-usual investment in terms of the advertising budget. Key Considerations to Implement Brand Safety Now that we have established the importance of ensuring brand safety, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure the same. Here are actionable steps you can take to ensure your brand’s reputation is not under threat: 1. Set brand safety guidelines Defining brand safety best practices will enable you to understand actionable steps you must take (or avoid) in order to protect your brand’s reputation. To that end, you should consider defining guidelines that outline what ‘brand-safe’ content is, and what isn’t. You should also have clear guidelines outlining the kind of content that you never want to be associated with your brand. Most advertisers try to avoid content that talks about military conflict, drugs, arms, crime, death, and hate speech. While these can act as a good starting point for defining unsafe content for your brand, remember that this list is not exhaustive. You may want to add or omit certain types of content based on your brand’s preferences and audience. 2. Create a list of blocklisted sites Once you have identified what type of content you want to avoid, it is time to identify websites that are known to publish such content. This will be your own list of blocklisted websites. You can instruct publishers to never publish your content on any website in this list and ensure your brand does not appear next to questionable content. To make sure that this exercise has a positive impact, it is important to understand that it isn’t a one-time undertaking. It is recommended that you revisit this list from time to time and update your list. 3. Collaborate with a Brand Protection Partner Any smart advertiser can understand that as important as their list of blocked websites is, it can never be complete. There will always be questionable websites that you may not be aware of. However, just because you aren’t aware of such websites, it doesn’t mean that their potential to hurt your brand’s reputation is any less than others. So how do you protect your brand against threats that you are not even aware of? With the help of a brand protection partner like mFilterIt’s brand protection solution. Such a solution ensures that your brand protection infrastructure is bulletproof, with no missed instances. Let’s find out how this is made possible. How can mFilterIt help you protect your brand reputation? As mentioned above,

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