Protecting social networking accounts has been a growing interest in recent years, as more businesses are using outlets like Facebook and Twitter as central elements of their marketing and customer relationship management activities.
Now it seems social media cybersecurity has caught the attention of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is reportedly looking into the recent hacking of the NBC News Twitter account.
According to an MSNBC report, the FBI is investigating an incident in which a hacker broke into NBC's Twitter account and posted false information about a civilian plane crashing into ground zero in New York.
"Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. more as the story develops," the post read.
Though the post was promptly removed and NBC was quick to clarify that the incident was a hoax, it does raise concerns about enterprise social media use and its data security vulnerabilities.
According to the news provider, only three NBC News executives had the password to the account. The perpetrator claimed to be a member of the hacker group Script Kiddies, which, MSNBC noted, is an offshoot of Anonymous and Lulz Secturity, two hacking collectives that have wreaked havoc on corporations and government organizations in recent months.
The FBI has not confirmed the Script Kiddies' involvement in the incident, stating the officials are still gathering information.
Of course, hacks aren't the only data protection issue that businesses have to worry about when using social media platforms. Insider breaches are of growing concern, as employees may – whether accidentally or maliciously – expose sensitive corporate information through these channels as well.
Viruses are another social media concern for enterprise IT departments. According to a study conducted by VanDyke Software and Amplitude Research, IT professionals listed viruses, data leaks and account intrusions as the top social media risks – each cited by 19 percent of respondents.
As social media becomes a more integral part of enterprise activity, businesses must address these concerns in their data security policies. According to research firm Gartner, social media will become the primary form of interpersonal communication in 20 percent of businesses by 2014.
In addition to antivirus software, businesses should educate employees about the data protection implications of social media to ensure they are aware of the best practices and can avoid exposing sensitive information.