2020 and 2021 disrupted the global economy at its core due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many brick-n-mortar businesses were forced to wrap up their operation temporarily or permanently, while others had to regroup and shift their businesses online. This resulted in a rapid rise in competition.
In retrospect, it presented an opportunity to succeed in SEO, email marketing, content marketing, and social media for digital marketers. But with opportunity comes threat. As a digital marketer, if you think cybersecurity is not something of your concern – because it’s the tech team’s job – you are in for a surprise.
The foundation of any online business is security. Did you know that in February 2022, 250 NFTs worth US$1.7 million were stolen in a phishing attack? So, it is safe to say, ensuring cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility.
If your company experiences a data breach or comes under cyber attack, ignorance is futile. Understand how vulnerable you are to cyber threats to take the right course of action.
Here are the top 5 cyber security risks every digital marketer should beware of in 2023:
- Email Marketing & Phishing Attack
- Content Marketing & Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
- Social Media Marketing & Fraud
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) & Malware Attacks
- eCommerce & Ransomware
Email Marketing & Phishing Attack
Most digital marketers nowadays rely on social media to promote their brand and drive sales. That said, email marketing still plays a significant role in getting tangible business and revenue. Being one of the oldest online communication methods, it is also one of the most common tools scammers use to attack internet users
In 2021, CISCO’s Cybersecurity Threat Trends report stated that about 90% of data breaches were caused by phishing. And spear phishing is one of the most prevalent types. It comprises 65% of all phishing attacks.
Spear phishing is a type of scam where the perpetrator disguised as a trusted source steals sensitive information. They trick their target into clicking a link in a spoofed email.
Content Marketing & Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
Content is the soul of digital marketing. Most organizations rely on content marketing to engage target audiences and generate leads. This plays a significant role in converting leads to paying customers. However, as shocking as it may seem, content marketing tools like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress are highly prone to malicious attacks.
Most scammers leverage DDoS to compromise the entire content marketing infrastructure systems. It is done by overwhelming the target network with fake traffic, also known as a botnet. It potentially results in a data leak or data breach.
It can be prevented by using a residential proxy that acts as a firewall between the incoming malicious traffic and the targeted server.
Social Media Marketing & Fraud
Social media has revolutionized communication and interaction. In 2021, CNBC reported that Instagram witnesses 2 billion users globally every month. Facebook recorded roughly 2.91 billion monthly active users as of the 4th quarter of 2021, making it the world’s most used social media network.
Companies are using social networking platforms as their storefront. They sell their products, engage with leads, and convert them into paying customers. Naturally, social media has established itself as the most lucrative form of marketing.
It is not surprising then that it is most prone to malicious attacks, hacks, and frauds. It can be anything from hijacking accounts to posting indecent content, and hacking into personal and enterprise systems to steal financial and/or sensitive data.
Identity theft or even ransomware attacks are a part of this. Social media marketers must remain diligent because such attacks can cause exponential havoc.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) & Malware Attacks
CRM plays a vital role in every business. Companies are using CRM software to scour databases for information, both to find new prospects and retain existing customers. CRM analyzes this data and improves the targeted marketing strategy and digital marketing efforts.
Enterprises tend to integrate their CRM system with other platforms and departments to streamline their business processes. This creates a responsibility gap. This gap often creates a duped sense of security that makes the CRM system vulnerable to cyberattacks. Unauthorized data access is one of the things digital marketers should be wary of. Strong passwords and two-factor authentication can mitigate this security risk.
Another major cyber risk companies and digital marketers should beware of is malware attacks. Not only can you lose access to your company data, but hackers can also steal or threaten to erase sensitive customer data by holding it hostage.
They may force you to pay ransom in exchange. In addition to losing money, your brand’s reputation is also at risk if something like this happens. In 2021, UScellular, the US’ leading wireless carrier, was attacked through its CRM system. One of its retail store’s employees was phished to download software. It allowed the attacker to remotely access UScellular’s 4.9 million customers’ data.
eCommerce & Ransomware
eCommerce systems are often prone to vulnerabilities. Therefore, it becomes difficult for digital marketers to convert leads into paying customers. If there is a fear in the minds of the consumer that their data is not secure or their bank accounts may get exposed to attacks, they become reluctant to engage with the brand.
This happens when an eCommerce system’s security measures are flawed. It may result in identity and financial theft. Therefore, eCommerce marketers should build a robust content delivery network (CDN). It can protect the web store from DDoS and Bot attacks.
In a recent incident, the eCommerce giant, Tupperware’s website was hacked. The ‘bad actors’ were able to hide a malicious PNG file in their FAQ section. Every time a user clicked on the image, it opened a fake payment page. Though the company didn’t publicly announce the level of damage it did, experts believe millions of sensitive credit card information was compromised. It took the developers five days to discover the attack.
The prevalence of cyberattacks is consistently on the rise. Therefore, digital marketers are as much at risk of a cyber security breach as other entities. It is imperative to be mindful of where marketers are downloading programs from. Everyone has the responsibility to be vigilant about it as it can harm not only the enterprise but customers also.
The only way to stay secure from cyber attacks is by sealing every loophole possible, creating a robust cybersecurity strategy. Furthermore, awareness and education go a long way to preventing malicious attacks. Stay online, but stay safe and secure. Empower yourself with the knowledge that helps you ward off cyberattacks.