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Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud

British users at risk on social media – study

Tuesday 12 July 2016 | 09:26 AM CET

Research conducted by OnePulse for RiskIQ has discovered that 4 in 10 Brit users risk malware from shadow retail brands on social media.

65% of Brits engage with retail brands on social media with 44% saying they click on links provided by brands. The research also found men are more likely to follow a link without knowing where it directs, more than half (51%) admitted to be quick to click as opposed to 2 in 5 women (40%).

However, a rise in brand impersonation means bad actors can exploit user trust by intercepting communication with rogue social media profiles and expose them to malware, ransomware or credential harvesting sites.

72% of respondents said they engage with retail brands more than they did two years ago. When interacting with retail brands on social media, 31% say they don’t or don’t know whether they check for the blue verified badge.

Ben Harknett, VP EMEA at RiskIQ, said there’s a growing trend of malware and ransomware attacks on social media and clicking any link without knowing the source is risky. The blue badge on Twitter or Facebook is easy to miss or ignore as the survey results show.

Security experts recommend users to be confident of the authenticity of a social account before clicking on a shortened link and to choose an alternative method to communicate with a brand, like an official phone number, official email or trusted website.

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