Article November 1, 2022

The influencer: Always looking for followers, but should be looking for cyber cover

Social media is everywhere. Doctors use it, lawyers, teachers, even grandparents, not to mention the billions of TikTok users out there. So, it’s no surprise that influencers have capitalised on its popularity and growth.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals have also capitalised on this, and the upward trajectory that social media has taken since the turn of the century runs parallel to the cyber exposures out there. With this continued rise of social media use as a method for monetarization for millions of influencers, it is fast becoming an attractive target for cyber criminals.

A rising number of cases of Instagram and TikTok accounts, which are used by influencers as their main source of income, have been targeted and hacked by cyber criminals demanding ransoms to unlock the use of the accounts. The exposure to this doesn’t just rest with the influencer themselves, it’s common for cybercriminals to utilise the target’s platform and post malware links through these social media accounts causing further data loss to third parties (their followers).

This further emphasizes the importance of multi-factor authentication (MFA) on not just social media accounts, but personal accounts in general. More well-established and experienced businesses tend to have a more sophisticated cyber security program in place, but influencers can be an easy target. Cyber criminals can exploit influencers with emotional distress by the instantaneous nature of an account being hacked and disabled to either get payment or personal details.

This also highlights the importance of cyber security measures and cyber insurance for online content providers (such as bloggers or music producers) who rely on access to platforms which can be compromised.

News of large phishing campaigns and hacks of social media accounts are almost a daily occurrence, with large conglomerates such as Ryanair and EasyJet frequent targets, alongside high profile celebrities such as Selena Gomez – in this case, it was a large phishing campaign allowed hackers to hijack Instagram accounts of both companies and influencers.  Targeted accounts which alerted to a copyright infringement with an access link to amend the suspected infringed posts, which then gave the hackers’ access to the users’ account information. Google researched released a study that showed at least 15% of users experienced login issues and suspected hacks between March 2016 to March 2017, with this number only ever going to increase.

Given the stratospheric usage and reliance on social media accounts for influencers, businesses and online content providers, the attractiveness for cyber criminals will only increase the need for a cyber insurance in the years to come.

CFC’s media liability policy now includes comprehensive cyber cover, which has been created in line with the world of influencers, safeguarding them and other businesses trading on social media. Find out more about our media policy or contact the team