Most of us probably wouldn’t expect to be scammed in LinkedIn, but like all social platforms, LinkedIn is being targeted by cyber criminals.
Almost half of businesses in the UK (44%) experienced at least one LinkedIn scam this year, according to the newest research by NordLayer, a network security solution for businesses. The most affected tend to be big companies (65%), fake job offers are the most popular scam they encounter (63%), and damaged reputation, as well as stolen/damaged data (47% each) were the leading outcomes of LinkedIn scams.
“Like in every social media platform, attackers and scammers seek information and money or ruin reputations. We know that employees are considered to be the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain, and LinkedIn has millions of professional accounts, making it an even more appealing target for scammers. So no one should let their guard down, no matter how professional a message might look,” says Carlos Salas, a cybersecurity expert at NordLayer.
What size companies are the most affected by LinkedIn scams?
According to the research, 65% of big companies have been contacted by a scam/fake account on LinkedIn at least once. Furthermore, 58% of medium and 31% of small companies have experienced it at least once.
Carlos Salas says, “Cyberattacks are a major threat to businesses of all sizes. However, big companies are often the most targeted due to their data and value. They also have larger networks and databases, making them vulnerable to attack if their security measures are not up to par. Hackers will often focus their efforts on these targets to maximize their rewards.”
Most common types of LinkedIn scams and employees’ response to them
Data revealed that fake job offers (63%) is the most prevailing LinkedIn scam among British businesses. Moreover, they also experience active phishing attempts (47%), get-rich-quick offers (43%), and fake tech support (38%).
Surprisingly, 1 in 2 UK companies (50%) are also aware of a scam on LinkedIn using their organization’s brand name. This type of scam was the most prevalent among big companies (53%), but it’s also common among smaller ones: 53% of these businesses indicated that this type of scam also happened to them. Only small companies noted that they almost never experience such scams (13%).
Research also shows that the most popular employee action against these scams in the UK was to inform the community about it with a post on social media (68%). Employees were also eager to contact LinkedIn administrators (66%) as well as distribute a press piece for journalists informing them about the incident (57%).
Damaged reputation is the leading outcome of LinkedIn scams for big organizations
As the leading outcome of LinkedIn scams, UK companies named damaged reputation as well as stolen/damaged data (47% each) and high financial loss (43%). Moreover, they also experienced stolen/damaged client contacts (41%) and interruption to operations (36%).
“One of the best ways to protect your business from LinkedIn scams is to educate your employees about the types of scams that exist and how to recognize them. Also, encourage your employees to use two-factor authentication (2FA) on their LinkedIn accounts as well as verify requests for information.
“Finally, regularly monitor the activity on your business’s LinkedIn account. Look for any suspicious activity, such as unauthorized logins or changes to account information. If you notice signs that your business has been targeted by a LinkedIn scam, report the activity to LinkedIn immediately and take steps to secure your accounts and data,” says Salas.
NordLayer surveyed 500 companies in 3 countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The external agency SAGO conducted the surveys between March 15 and 25, 2023. Respondents were asked a set of questions about LinkedIn scams in the B2B industry. The samples were taken from non-governmental organizations operating in the services industry, and the target respondents were decision-makers (sole or partial) for IT-related acquisitions. Companies were divided into 3 main groups regarding size: 1 – 10 employees (small), 11-200 employees (medium), 201+ employees (large).
NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses. It helps organizations of all sizes to fulfill scaling and integration challenges. Moving towards an ever-evolving SSE ecosystem, NordLayer is quick and easy to implement with existing infrastructure, is hardware-free, and is designed for scaling. As a cloud-native solution with an easy-to-use interface, NordLayer offers protection to businesses of any size, complexity, or work model, including remote or hybrid workplaces.
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