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The Social Media President

21 August 2017 00:00

The 45th President of the United States is rarely out of the news. If he’s not being accused of using underhanded election techniques, he’s being lambasted for not condemning racist atrocities perpetrated by the alt-right in America.

Hundreds of various social media logos in a pile.

Sometimes his behaviour is so random that you begin to wonder what goes on in his head, but with The Donald we know exactly what is going on under that little toupee - because he tweets it.

President Trump has a penchant for Twitter, using it to announce policy on the hoof, attack the ‘fake news’ of the mainstream media and to also inspire wonder around totally new words (are we any closer to understanding what 'covefe' means?), but could this liberal use of 140 characters pose problems a lot more serious than simply offending anyone who enjoys reading the ‘failing New York Times’?

Social media, although a brilliant tool for both personal use and businesses, comes with inherent risks which can cause a great many problems for the user. Although the thought of Donald Trump falling for a ‘get more followers’ scam seems a little far-fetched – he’s currently on 36.1million of them, so I’m not too sure how many more his ego would need – there are still obvious causes for concern relating to the accidental disclosure of sensitive information as well as viruses and spyware, and when the potential victim of such an attack is the most powerful man on the planet, the impact of such an attack is much more serious.

The security risks of social media

A common problem relating to social media for businesses is the accidental disclosure of sensitive information, this can happen in a number of ways, from an employee accidentally letting it slip whilst conversing with a friend to posting photos where sensitive information can be seen in the background. Although you’d like to think it couldn’t happen, it’s not hard to picture a scenario where the President accidentally tweets a photo with some confidential documents in the background. And if that sensitive information is, say, a report on North Korea, or confidential information relating to an undercover operation in Iraq or Syria, the ramifications are massive.

(Take a look a look at the 5 employee social media habits putting your company at risk)

Similarly, President Trump is, despite the title, just a regular human being like the rest of us, and so the chances of him falling for a phishing scam whereby he clicks on a malicious link tweeted to him is just as likely as it is for the rest of us. But if he accidentally downloads malicious key-logger or sound recording software onto a presidential device, it’s not just the loss of financial information he has to worry about.

These scenarios are all theoretical, but a situation that has become very apparent with President Trump is his brazen and offensive attacks on anyone who disagrees with him. His personal criticism of MSNBC presenter Mika Brzezinski accounts to nothing other than bullying, and just as if an employee of an organisation was caught using social media to bully a competitor, it reflects badly not only on the perpetrator but the party as a whole.

Security Awareness Training

Social media is a fantastic tool that has myriad positive uses, and Trump, regardless of how you feel about his politics, used it to great effect to win both the Republican nomination and also the presidential election, however, in spite of these successes, now that he is in a position of power, he must regulate and check his behaviour or run the risk of losing it all.

Want to improve your organisation's social media security? Here's how to...

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