Digital Marketing Dangers Every Business Owner Must Know About

Digital Marketing Dangers Every Business Owner Must Know About


Digital marketing is a huge advancement in how information is shared; information and advertisements can reach all the way around the world in an instant, and customers can engage with your business with a simple click. This allows many businesses that would otherwise be anonymous to become accessible anywhere in the world to anyone with an internet connection. Because of the great span of the internet, there are also more hazards out there that business owners and marketing agencies must watch for. If you are thinking about taking your business marketing into the digital age, keep an eye out for these threats. 

Spoofing

Have you ever received an email that looked legitimate, clicked the link, and then realized it was a scam? This is basically what happens during a spoofing attack. Hackers and thieves will pose as legitimate businesses in an attempt to get information from you. They could be after banking information, social security numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information that could cause you or your business great harm if it is discovered. They are pretty good at what they do; oftentimes the communications look exactly like the legitimate company they are trying to impersonate. 

Fortunately, there is software that you can use to filter out these attacks. It checks for emails coming from suspicious sources as well as common phrases used by phishing and spoofing scammers. Even with anti-virus software installed, it is still important to remain vigilant and monitor your inboxes for potential threats. Ask yourself what is ssl certificate when visiting websites and make sure they’re secure. If you’re confronted with an email that you want to verify, call the company, but not from the number they provide in the email. Look up the number on your own–either by internet search or on a bill or invoice you have laying around– if the phone numbers are different, that is a huge clue that you’re dealing with an impersonator. 

Spoofing doesn’t just happen through emails, in some cases, your IP address can be spoofed. The goal for hackers here is to intercept any communications between two sources; for example, a message sent from one place to another within your business would instead be received by the attacker. They could use that information to impersonate you and send false information, or to receive sensitive information from someone in your organization. 

In this case, ingress or egress filtering can be used to prevent these cyberattacks. In a nutshell, ingress filters look at information coming into the IP address to make sure it looks legitimate, and egress filtering looks at headings already within the network. It’s not perfect, but it can make hackers’ lives considerably more difficult and will probably cause them to move on to a different target. 

Ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malware that infiltrates your system and literally holds it hostage until you can pay the “ransom” desired by the hackers. It can be snuck into an email with a link, or over public unprotected wifi. Once they’re in there, not only do they have control of your system, but hackers can then dissect it and take anything they deem to be of value; passwords, bank information, customer information, and other sensitive material. 

Installing up-to-date virus protection and firewalls is a good way to fend off ransomware attackers. These programs can filter out a lot of these attacks before they even happen. Though employees still must be careful to not click on any unfamiliar or unexpected links as these can bring on an attack. 

Social Media Impersonation

Marketing your business on social media is an incredible way to promote your business, engage your current customers, and attract new ones. Setting up social media accounts for your business is a simple process, and you can update them from anywhere in the world! You have complete control over what you share and when.

However, this makes social media a prime target for scammers. Many hackers are now choosing to impersonate legitimate businesses on social media, in an effort to gain customers’ information. When a customer interacts with a fake profile– starts to follow them, adds them as a friend, or clicks on a proffered link– the hackers can gain the customer’s information. Not only is this bad news for the person clicking the link, but it is also a problem for you as the business owner. The customer may not realize that it is, in fact, a scammer who hacked them, and they may think it is your business that is up to some shady activities. This can be devastating to how your business is viewed in the community. If word gets out that a customer was hacked after interacting with your business’s page (even though it isn’t really you), it could spell trouble. 

To combat this, regularly monitor your social media presence from an outsider’s point of view. For example, regularly search your business and make sure that just your legitimate pages and profiles come up. Also, keep an eye on the hashtags your business uses, and make sure only you and your customers are using them– not another business page claiming to be you. In many cases, you can report the fake page to the social media platform. Also, many social media sites now verify their users and indicate that the page is legitimate–usually with a blue checkmark next to the page name or description– and this lets clients know that they are interacting with the genuine article. 

Conclusion

Whether you do your digital marketing in-house or hire an outside agency, all business owners and those they employ must be aware of these different cyber threats and be ready to go on the defense. While hackers, spoofers, and cyber attackers can be clever, it’s up to you to outsmart them. Put as many protections in place as possible, and educate your employees on the red flags that indicate a possible cyberattack. Once you know what you’re up against, have your defenses up, and everyone in your company is armed with the correct knowledge, these attackers will have a much harder time infiltrating your sensitive business and customer information.