With Generation Z's huge presence on social media, they are opening up more doors for hackers to infiltrate. Here's how to keep your interns protected.
Internships are becoming the norm for students and recent graduates looking to gain experience and make connections. However, with social media so prevalent in the lives of younger generations—particularly Generation Z and Millennials—many tend to overshare their experiences. This oversharing, combined with overlooked security training, can cause interns to be security risks for organizations, according to a SecurityIntelligence post.
SEE: 27 ways to reduce insider security threats (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Gen Z is the most present and active generation on social media, the post said. Some 75% of this generation said they use Instagram, 73% use Snapchat, 76% use Facebook, and 90% use Youtube, according to Pew Research. Many young professionals integrate the technology into their work lives too, documenting internships and new jobs, the post said.
Many organizations don't prioritize security awareness programs with interns, leaving the training overlooked in onboarding programs, or acting more lenient, the post said. This relaxed outlook on security training, combined with young interns' significant social media presence, creates a whole new threat vector for organizations.
Interns are prime targets for hackers looking to gain information. Excited young professionals may accompany their posts with hashtags including #NewJob #FirstDay #Companyname, sharing pictures of their workspace or surroundings without making sure sensitive information isn't in the vicinity.
To help organizations keep themselves and interns safe from hackers, the post outlined the following six security tips:
1. Don't skip security training: Make sure interns and new hires go through a formal security training during the onboarding process. Consider ways to make the training more engaging and fun, to keep the audience interested and attentive.
2. Rethink your social media security policy: Don't release a lengthy policy that people probably won't read. Go over the most important rules instead, especially those on avoiding security risks. Ask employees to read and sign off on the policy physically.
3. Train managers and social teams to spot risks: Train your digital and social media teams to look at social media content through a security lens, the post said. This is especially important for managers overseeing new employees or interns, as they can train employees to do the same on their personal accounts.
4. Establish a safe photo area: Interns and new hires should be able to post what they want on their social media pages, but give them a safe environment to do so, free of sensitive information. Designate an area of the office where all important and confidential information has been cleared as a "photo safe zone."
5. Review with a seasonal focus: Alert security teams about important days in the year that may cause interns to post more about the workplace. For example, the first week the interns start or major office events. Security teams can pay close attention to these posts to make sure nothing sensitive has been posted by accident.
6. Hire a hacker: Many organizations hire ethical hackers to test their security practices, that way organizations can see where their security measures are the strongest and weakest.
For more, check out TechRepublic's article on how human error is still the top cybersecurity risk for organizations.
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