Digital platform owners confused by new cyber decree
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2023
Business owners are confused about the Royal Decree on Operation of Digital Platform Services Which Require Notification, as its obligations are unclear, say legal experts.
Digital platform providers are obliged to submit information, including details about their owners and services, revenues, users’ data, most common complaint issues, and the coordinator in Thailand (only for oversea platforms) to the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), according to the Royal Decree.
The new cyber law was published in the Government Gazette on December 22, last year, and set to be effective in August this year.
Existing digital platform providers are required to notify ETDA within 90 days of the decree becoming effective, while new digital platform operators must send that information before launching operations. Penalties for non-compliance include business suspension and criminal action.
The royal decree defines a “digital platform” as an electronic intermediary platform that manages information to create connections between “merchants”, “consumers”, and “users” via a computer network in order to “create electronic transactions”.
“Food delivery platforms are generally described as digital platforms since they incorporate all three players – merchants (a platform), customers (restaurants), and users (buyers) – with the intention of generating electronic transactions (buying food),” she said.
However, some people question whether social media should be included in the category of digital platforms. While social media platforms possess all three elements, their intentions are still debatable, with some claiming they are for communication while others believe they are for creating electronic transactions, she said.
“Evidently, a webboard such as Pantip is made for information exchange, not for selling or buying things. However, there are actually many people buying and selling goods there,” he pointed out.
The decree also requires digital platform owners to inform users of important information before or at the time of service, including conditions for provision or suspension, criteria used to recommend or advertise goods or services, and feedback from other users.
This requirement of the new law could cause problems for digital platform providers as it may reveal their business secrets, said Pawee Jenweeranon, a law lecturer at Thammasat University.
He added that the law must find a balance between the protection of platform users and corporate secrecy.
‘Red rose’ won the most hits on Google Thailand for Valentine’s last year
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2023
Rose was the most searched word in the first 13 days before Valentine’s Day last year, Google Thailand said on Sunday.
Citing results derived from its “Google Trends” tool, it said “red rose” was the most popular during that period, followed by white, yellow and pink rose.
“Rose, flower bouquet, flower, bear doll and chocolate are the most trending words every February,” Google Thailand said.
It added that the word “flower” was more popular than chocolate between February 1 and 14 last year, while the search for “flower” was 10 times higher than “chocolate” in 2004.
Love songs by British singer Ed Sheeran also proved to be the most popular during this period, it added.
“People also searched for Valentine’s Day cards, gifts, quotes, flowers and poems during this period,” Google Thailand said.
“Users also asked questions like what ‘be my Valentine’ means, what present should be given on Valentine’s Day and what colour rose means ‘first love’.”
The most popular tourist destination searched in the first two weeks of February last year were Koh Chang and Sai Khao Beach (Trat), Wat Khao Wong Phra Chan (Lopburi), Koh Samui (Surat Thani) and Koh Racha Yai (Phuket).
Google Thailand advised people to use the “Google Lens” application to search for Valentine’s Day presents for their loved ones this year.
Thailand, France team up to advance space technology sector
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2023
House of Representatives’ subcommittee on space economy and security, chaired by Settapong Malisuwan, had invited Rémi Lambert, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of France in Bangkok to discuss the promotion of space innovation and modernisation of both countries’ images.
According to the French Embassy in Thailand, since 2023 is designated to be “France-Thailand Year of Innovation 2023 (YOI)”, France hopes to develop its relationship with Thailand, which is its ally in the Indo-Pacific region, into a strategic partnership in terms of transportation and space technology by 2024, said Settapong, who also heads the committee on communications, telecom, digital economy and society,
He added that there will be cooperation in the space and technology sector, including information sharing between the governmental sectors of the two nations and scholarships for Thai undergraduates studying astronomical technology, with the purpose of strengthening both short- and long-term relationships.
The support from the French embassy corresponds to the Thai government’s plans as the subcommittee on space has been working closely with Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency to invent “Space Technology Laboratory” in the Chiang Rai province, he said.
Settapong revealed that there is also other effort to advance space technology in the country, such as the partnership between the Airbus business and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.
As businesses face the reality of a global economic slowdown, I am increasingly optimistic about Thailand’s path forward in 2023, as local companies remain durable and resilient – focusing on performance following three years of tremendous transformation.
Thailand’s Ministry of Finance recently forecast up to 3.8% economic growth in 2023, bolstered by an improved tourism sector and domestic demand. This improvement will also be seen in digital spaces, with nearly 60% of worldwide social users set to be based in Asia-Pacific this year.
With an increasingly competitive digital landscape, the potential to connect with customers where they are is crucial; and it will be platforms, creators, friends, and families that drive the discovery and evaluation of local brand products and services.
Businesses that effectively leverage technology, adapt to change, and focus on performance will be the most likely to gain an edge during times of economic downturn, so here are some of the most promising social trends that businesses must consider for their growth in 2023.
1. Artificial Intelligence: Generative AI had a breakthrough moment at the end of last year. AI is becoming more mainstream as the technology continues to advance and its capabilities expand. As a result, a wider range of products and services are now incorporating AI, such as smart home devices, self-driving cars, and virtual assistants. The use of AI to analyze, organize, access, and provide advisory services based on a range of unstructured information is only going to grow. In Apac, IDC (International Data Corporation) spending on AI systems is expected to rise from $17.6 billion in 2022 to around $32 billion in 2025.
Businesses are looking to automation to improve customer experience and save time; as such, Meta has introduced new tools like Meta Advantage to help every advertiser leverage the power of AI and automation — maximizing the performance of their ad spend – and Advantage+ shopping campaigns that help advertisers eliminate the manual steps of ad creation, and automates up to 150 creative combinations at once.
2. Business Messaging: We’re living in a messaging-first world. Globally, one billion people message a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct – DMing brands, browsing product catalogues, asking for support, or interacting with stories – with Click-to-Messenger Ad spend now standing at US$10 billion annually. In Apac, business messaging is growing across Australia, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Moreover, locally, we see how business messaging unlocks new opportunities for businesses and customers, with a recent survey showing 76% of Thais prefer messaging with a business, while 78% of people in Thailand say they already message a business at least once a week.
3. Cross-Border Shopping: The world is getting smaller as technology makes it easier to shop from anywhere. People are so comfortable purchasing from other countries that cross-border e-commerce growth is now outpacing domestic e-commerce growth by 5 points. By 2026, it’s estimated that the global cross-border e-commerce market will be worth USD 2.2 trillion – a compound annual growth rate of 17% since 2019. Meta worked with YouGov to survey over 16,000 shoppers across eight countries, and over half of those surveyed said they had already bought a product sold by a business in a foreign country, while 82% said they’re open to doing so – further highlighting the future potential of cross-border opportunities. Social media also plays an exceedingly important role in the discovery, with 58% of cross-border shoppers saying they found products from foreign businesses through these channels.
4. Virtual and Augmented Reality: Over the last year, businesses have embraced AR/VR to enhance the customer experience and are building creative and immersive ways for consumers to connect with their brands. According to the IDC, spending on AR/VR in Apac will grow with a compounded annual growth rate of 42.4% (2021-26) and reach $16.6 billion by 2026. AR ads enable businesses to deepen their connection with customers and improve the overall ad experience for people on Meta platforms. There is also a robust community of AR creators in Thailand, with the country being identified as Top 10 globally by the total number of active Spark AR creators in the last quarter.
5. Creators: Creators are the future: 51% of surveyed cross-border shoppers cited creators as a top source of information to discover and evaluate products. This provides an opportunity for brands to work with creators to co-create a brand narrative. At the end of last year, Meta launched ‘Creators of Tomorrow‘, a global campaign to spotlight creators who are innovating and building communities with diverse voices. According to our recent Instagram Trend Report Thailand, Thais – and especially younger generations such as Gen Z – prioritize meaningful connections with the people they follow, such as influencers. For brands, there has never been a better time to explore collabs and co-creations with diverse creators or even complementary brands. As they say, if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.
6. Online Shopping: Consumers are returning to physical stores, but the digital shopping habits formed during the pandemic continue to be relevant. For Gen X and Baby Boomers, mobile as a discovery channel continues to grow. A Nielsen study showed that 85% of Apac shoppers will continue to make purchases online, with Southeast Asian shoppers showing the highest online shopping intent at over 60%.
Social commerce is the fastest-growing sales channel, with 62% of online shoppers in Apac citing it as their preferred channel. With the rise of social commerce, Gen Z shoppers have recently become a driving force for shopping transformation. In Thailand, Gen Zs utilize both online and in-store touch points interchangeably – over 54% of Thai Gen Z shoppers have ordered an item online and had it delivered to or picked up at a store – with smartphones being their most important shopping tool.
7. Short-form Video: Video continues its blistering growth across the internet and on Meta platforms. This includes Reels, which continues to grow quickly across our apps – both in production and consumption. Reels is Meta’s fastest-growing content format by far, counting for 20% of time spent on Instagram. Daily Reels plays across Facebook and Instagram have doubled from 140 billion over the past year. Particularly in Apac, video is becoming the primary way that people use our products and express themselves.
So how should businesses respond? Determine your objectives, whether it is to build a brand or drive more immersive shopping experiences, and go from there. It is important to tell your brand story through video in all formats and lengths to achieve outcomes – from brand building to discovery. The upside is that businesses now have numerous ways to connect with people and build their brand through a variety of social, online, immersive, and conversational experiences. It is an exciting space to explore and as we like to say at Meta, Begin Anywhere – these new ways of doing business and connecting with consumers are only going to grow.
By Prae Dumrongmongcolgul, Country Director of Facebook Thailand, Meta
Danish firm Milestone Systems seeks to make inroads in Asia with high-tech video system
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 07, 2023
Tammy Tameryn Somhar
A global software company, Milestone Systems, is expecting rapid growth in Asia this year, setting its sights on hospitality and transportation as its prime markets in Thailand.
The company CEO, Thomas Jensen, told a meeting with over 100 employees in Asia at the Hyatt Regency Bangkok in Sukhumvit, that the company, headquartered in Brondby, Denmark, would focus on B2B and B2G business this year.
Milestone Systems is marketing video management system (VMS), which is the control panel of any video operation.
VMS provides an intelligence system that combines analytic artificial intelligence and machine learning together as software, an open platform that allows devices from any brand to plug in, such as CCTV camera or other devices, to transform videos into a searchable and quantifiable video data.
It helps add security for hotel guests. On the streets, it enhances the control of traffic and makes sure it runs smoothly. In case of emergency, it helps redirect ambulances to the accident site.
Thailand has a lot of potential for growth in the hospitality sector and also in the manufacturing sector where Thailand houses is one of the biggest manufacturing hubs in Asia, he told The Nation in an exclusive interview.
“We had healthy double-digit growth last year. I see all of Asia, including Thailand, as a market for Milestone Systems. Hospitality and transportation are the priorities in Thailand,” he said.
Thomas Jensen, CEO, Milestone Systems
“Video should become a common tool to help society and for governments to become more efficient and safer in order to get more advantages out of it,” said Jensen.
Milestone Systems has started collaborating with hospitals to help nurses improve their performance and have more time for patients by creating a video management system for patient monitoring.
“Thailand has potential to grow in the hospitality industry. The country is also a production base for manufacturing companies,” Jensen said.
Detecting gestures from patients will tremendously help nurses provide immediate assistance.
“As part of being a responsible tech company, we are very cautious about how the software is used and how we can avoid it being misused,” Jensen said.
Samsung Electronics launched its latest lineup of flagship Galaxy S23 smartphones Wednesday, putting much emphasis on enhanced camera functions — a secret weapon to fight against its archrival, Apple.
While the South Korean tech titan has aggressively improved resolution and upgraded picture quality for its premium smartphones in recent years to differentiate itself from its rival Apple, the camera developer behind Samsung phones is confident about the newest Galaxy S series.
“We’ve enhanced our camera system that allows users to take the best photos and videos in any environment. … The Galaxy S23 series not only comes with a 200-megapixel sensor but also provides a satisfactory camera experience with more value into it,” Cho Sung-dae, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics’ mobile experience division, said during a press briefing held at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco, Thursday.
Compared with the previous S22 series, the camera featured in the S23 series enables portraits to stand out more, even at night. Users can even take photos of nebulae and galaxies in the night sky with just a tripod and turn their pictures and videos into professional-grade quality, according to Cho.
When asked about the biggest strengths of the newly unveiled devices against Apple, he picked three major functions of the S23 camera — the nightography capabilities, zoom capabilities and stabled video performance. But he preferred not to name a specific company in comparison.
Using artificial intelligence technologies, the S23 series’ enhanced camera system allows optimal camera performance at night or in low-light conditions. The latest smartphone lineup also reduced the blur phenomenon of the option zoom functionality. Videos are also stable with doubled optical image stabilizer angles in all directions, he said.
Cho is a camera expert who joined Samsung as a senior researcher in 2004 and has been developing camera technology for Galaxy phones. One of the biggest concerns he had was the Galaxy smartphones being compared to the iPhones in terms of camera performance.
“I rarely check social media, but I heard many people saying things like ‘Samsung phone is good for taking photos and Apple is good for videos’ or ‘Samsung is for landscapes, while Apple is for portraits.’ To break the frame, we conducted numerous surveys globally to make the improvements,” he said.
Many of the camera functions that Samsung featured this time were from the results based on consumers’ opinions, in particular, on the user characteristics and feedback of “Generation MZ,” a Korean term referring to millennials and Generation Z, or roughly those born from the 1980s into the 2010s.
One of the improvements made through the surveys was to enhance the selfie function. The Galaxy S23 series introduces fast autofocus and our first Super HDR selfie camera. Its object-based AI analyzes each detail in the frame, even down to minute facial features such as hair and eyes, to carefully reflect a person’s dynamic characteristics.
“I’m sure users won’t tell the difference whether it was taken on the Galaxy S23 series or Apple phones this time,” Cho said.
Yet Samsung is not the first tech company to introduce a phone that features a main 200-megapixel camera. Other smartphone makers, including China’s Xiamoi launched their phones with the same specs earlier.
“We think it is right to provide sufficiently advanced technology with a stable solution to users. We believe now is the time for us to offer such functions to our users. If you compare the quality of the final saved video, you will quickly know the difference between the technologies,” the executive vice president said.
Apple’s weak iPhone sales drive first profit miss since 2016
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2023
Apple Inc on Thursday reported sales and profits that missed Wall Street expectations driven by weak iPhone sales after Covid lockdowns in China disrupted the production of the company’s biggest seller.
Shares of Apple fell 5% after the publication of the results.
Apple sales fell 5% to $117.2 billion and were down in every part of the world in the quarter. Sales from each product category dropped, except for gains in services and iPads. Earnings per share were $1.88, Apple’s first miss of Wall Street‘s profits expectations since 2016.
Analysts had expected sales of $121.1 billion and profits of $1.94 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters that the production disruptions that plagued Apple’s key quarter were now over.
During its fiscal first quarter that ended Dec. 31, Apple faced a wave of challenges that left Wall Street expecting lower sales. Chief among those were supply chain pressures when Covid lockdowns at a production facility in Zhengzhou, China, slowed production of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max devices, both premium-priced models that would traditionally help drive Apple’s margins higher.
In an interview with Reuters, Cook said that production disruptions “lasted through most of December” but that “production is now back where we want it to be.” Cook said the lockdowns in China created a dual challenge where both supply and demand were constrained, with greater China sales falling 7% to $23.9 billion.
“When things started to reopen in December (in China), we did see an increase in traffic to our stores as compared to November and an increase in demand as December rolled around,” Cook told Reuters.
The strong US dollar also hurt Apple, which derives more than half its sales from outside the Americas, but the effect was less than anticipated as the dollar eased from last year’s highs. Apple had warned investors that such foreign-exchange issues would put a 10% drag on sales but said on Thursday that the actual effect was 8%.
“I would point out that 8% is still a very severe headwind,” Cook told Reuters. “I wouldn’t want to underestimate that. We would have grown on a constant currency basis.”
On top of supply chain problems for the iPhone, Wall Street analysts had expected iPhone sales to fall this year as part of a larger pattern in which the iPhone 14 family released last year sells more slowly after two straight years of strong sales of iPhone 12 and 13 models. Apple said iPhone sales were $65.8 billion, down 8% from the year before and below analyst estimates of $68.3 billion.
The company’s services segment, which includes content businesses such as Apple TV+ and software businesses like the App Store, rose 6% to $20.8 billion in revenue, compared with analyst expectations of $20.7 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
Cook told Reuters that the company now has a base of 2 billion active devices, up from 1.8 billion a year ago. The company now has 935 million paid subscriptions, up from 900 million the quarter before, and that services sales set a record in several markets, including China, he said.
Sales of the company’s Mac computers, which had boomed during the wave of working from home during the pandemic, declined 29% year over year to $7.7 billion, compared with expectations of $9.6 billion, according to Refinitiv data. Apple executives had warned last year that Mac sales were likely to decline year over year because the previous year’s results included a burst of sales associated with the release of new MacBook Pro computers with Apple’s house-designed processors.
Sales of the iPad, which also saw a pandemic-related boost, grew 30% to $9.4 billion, compared with analyst expectations of $7.8 billion, according to Refinitiv data. The wearable and accessories segment, which includes the Apple Watch and AirPods, fell 8% to $13.5 billion compared with analyst estimates of $15.2 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
Cook told Reuters the iPad’s strong performance stemmed from the launch of new models and the absence of supply constraints that had hindered sales of the device a year earlier.
Apple investors are waiting to see whether the company dives into new markets this year. Technology publication The Information has reported that Apple plans to launch a mixed-reality headset that could retail for around $3,000 this year and is also working on a more affordable follow-up device.
Apple is one of the few large technology firms that has not announced major layoffs, though its ranks never grew as rapidly as that of its peers. In late 2022 it said it had 164,000 employees, up less than 20% from its 2019 headcount. By contrast, other companies such as Meta Platforms Inc, which is laying off about 11,000 employees, had roughly doubled its headcount between 2019 and 2022.
Alphabet revenue misses estimates as ad business takes a hit
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2023
Alphabet Inc on Thursday reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as the Google parent’s digital ad business struggled under an economic slowdown that has choked corporate spending and triggered mass layoffs.
Shares of Alphabet, which lost roughly 40% of their value in 2022, were down about 4% in after-hours trading.
Revenue from Google advertising, which includes Search and YouTube, fell to $59.04 billion from $61.24 billion, as advertisers – the biggest contributors to Alphabet’s sales – dialled back spending to cope with persistent inflation, high-interest rates and recession fears.
Rival Meta Platforms Inc on Wednesday impressed investors with its quarterly results, promising to further slash costs and boost offerings to better capitalize on ad dollars.
Alphabet’s net income fell to $13.62 billion, or $1.05 per share, from $20.64 billion, or $1.53 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose to $76.05 billion in the fourth quarter from $75.33 billion a year ago. Analysts were expecting $76.53 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Advertisers, which contribute the bulk of Alphabet’s sales, pulled back on spending as rising inflation and interest rates fueled concern over consumer spending. Consumers had flocked to the internet for everyday purchases during the height of the pandemic but have returned to in-person shopping as restrictions have eased.
Google’s overall advertising revenue slipped to $59.04 billion in the fourth quarter from $61.24 billion a year earlier.
Google is the world’s largest digital ad platform by market share, making it uniquely susceptible to fluctuations in online marketing spending. Its YouTube division has faced a surge in rival platforms, particularly TikTok, whose endless scroll of short videos is drawing younger users away.
Falling ad demand also hurt companies such as Meta Platforms and Snap Inc which swung to a loss of $288 million in the fourth quarter on flat sales.
Revenue from YouTube ads, one of Alphabet’s most consistent moneymakers, fell nearly 8% to $7.96 billion, well below the estimate of $8.25 billion, according to FactSet.
Cloud was a bright spot, however, with revenue growing 32% to $7.32 billion, but at its slowest pace since the company began disclosing the segment’s revenue numbers.
Artificial intelligence (AI) research and deployment company OpenAI recently announced the official launch of ChatGPT, a new model for conversational AI.
According to OpenAI, the dialogue provided by this platform makes it possible for ChatGPT to “answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests.”
Since its launch, social media has been abuzz with discussions around the possibilities—and dangers—of this new innovation, ranging from its ability to debug code to its potential to write essays for college students.
What makes ChatGPT so interesting?
ChatGPT is the perfect storm of two current ‘hot’ AI topics: chatbots and GPT3. Together, they offer a wonderfully intriguing method of interacting with and producing content that sounds amazingly human. Each is the result of separate, significant improvements over the last five years in their respective technologies.
Chatbots allow interaction in a seemingly ‘intelligent’ conversational manner, while GPT3 produces output that appears to have ‘understood’ the question, the content and the context. Together this creates an uncanny valley effect of ‘Is it human or is it a computer? Or, is it a human-like computer?’ The interaction is sometimes humorous, sometimes profound and sometimes insightful.
Unfortunately, the content is also sometimes incorrect and the content is never based on a human-like understanding or intelligence. The problem may be with the terms ‘understand’ and ‘intelligent.’ These are terms loaded with implicitly human meaning, so when they are applied to an algorithm, it can result in severe misunderstandings.
The more useful perspective is to view chatbots and large language models (LLM) like GPT as potentially useful tools for accomplishing specific tasks, and not as parlor tricks. Success depends on identifying the applications for these technologies that offer meaningful benefits to the organization.
Potential use cases in the enterprise
At a high level, chatbots, or conversational assistants, provide a curated interaction with an information source. Chatbots themselves have many use cases, from customer service to assisting technicians in identifying problems.
At a high level, ChatGPT is a specific chatbot use case where the chatbot is used to interact (chat) or ‘converse’ with a GPT information source. In this case, the GPT information source is trained for a specific domain by OpenAI. The training data used on the model determines the way questions will be answered.
As noted earlier, however, GPT’s capability to unpredictively generate information that is false means that the information can only be used for situations where errors can be tolerated or corrected.
There are numerous use cases for foundation models such as GPT, in domains including computer vision, software engineering and scientific research and development. For example, foundation models have been used to create images from text; generate, review and audit code from natural language, including smart contracts; and even in healthcare to create new drugs and decipher genome sequences for disease classification.
AI foundation models such as GPT represent a huge step change in the field of AI. They offer unique benefits, such as massive reductions in the cost and time needed to create a domain-specific model.
However, they also pose risks and ethical concerns, including those associated with:
Complexity: Large models involve billions, or even trillions, of parameters. These models are impractically large to train for most organizations, because of the necessary compute resources, which can make them expensive and environmentally unfriendly.
Concentration of power: These models have been built mainly by the largest technology companies, with huge R&D investments and significant AI talent. This has resulted in a concentration of power in a few large, deep-pocketed entities, which may create a significant imbalance in the future.
Potential misuse: Foundation models lower the cost of content creation, which means it becomes easier to create deepfakes that closely resemble the original. This includes everything from voice and video impersonation to fake art, as well as targeted attacks. The serious ethical concerns involved could harm reputations or cause political conflicts.
Black-box nature: These models still require careful training and can deliver unacceptable results due to their black-box nature. It is often unclear what factbase models are attributing responses to, which can propagate downstream bias in the datasets. The homogenization of such models can lead to a single point of failure.
Intellectual property: The model is trained on a corpus of created works and it is still unclear what the legal precedent may be for reuse of this content, if it was derived from the intellectual property of others.
How to integrate AI foundation models in an ethical way
Start with natural language processing (NLP) use cases such as classification, summarization and text generation for non-customer-facing scenarios and choose task-specific, pretrained models to avoid expensive customization and training. Use cases where output is reviewed by humans are preferred.
Create a strategy document that outlines the benefits, risks, opportunities and deployment roadmap for AI foundation models like GPT. This will help determine whether the benefits outweigh the risks for specific use cases.
Use cloud-based APIs to consume models, and choose the smallest model that will provide the accuracy and performance needed to reduce operational complexity, lower energy consumption and optimize total cost of ownership.
Prioritize vendors that promote responsible deployment of models by publishing usage guidelines, enforcing those guidelines, documenting known vulnerabilities and weaknesses and proactively disclosing harmful behavior and misuse scenarios.
Seven tips on mitigating cyber risks to your corporate social media in 2023
MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2023
Threats to corporate social media are evolving along with perpetrators’ social engineering skills at a blistering pace.
Sometimes their techniques reach such a high level that even the tech-savvy administrator of a corporate network can’t tell the difference between a scam and the truth.
As many businesses use social media to promote their products and services, these threats are relevant to an extremely large number of companies.
To help them stay safe, Kaspersky experts, Anna Larkina, Web content analysis expert and Roman Dedenok, Spam Analysis Expert, are offering the following advice to mitigate the cyber risks associated with social media in 2023.
Use caution with direct messages and drafts folder, delete old irrelevant information
Companies should be careful about keeping sensitive information in direct messages – it can pose cyber risks. People often use corporate social media to write directly to brands, asking for help, using the account holder’s product or service.
Also, some partnerships, such as those with bloggers, can be negotiated in direct messages. Sometimes personal or financial information is shared during these conversations, which could remain in the messages folder long after the interaction.
If there is a breach allowing cyber criminals to gain unauthorized access to the account, sensitive data may be leaked or used to organize an attack.
To avoid this risk, make it a useful habit to delete irrelevant messages when the dialog is finished and the information it contains is no longer relevant. The same applies to posts – It is worth carefully reviewing what is saved in the drafts folder from time to time.
Review old posts to minimize reputational risks
The power of reputation is growing: every word, action, and decision can either help or harm the company’s image. Everything published online is of great importance in terms of cyber security as well: when sensitive information (re)appears in public, it almost always ends up hurting a company’s reputation and could incur financial losses.
To be on the safe side, spend some time reviewing already published posts, as they might contain information that doesn’t fit into the current reality – that might be anything from inappropriate jokes to controversial advertising campaigns.
What was normal yesterday, can cause a negative public reaction today. A review of publications made over the past few years largely reduces related reputational risks.
Be careful posting your success stories
Having signed a lucrative contract or reached a deal, we want to post it on social to tell as many people as possible about our success.
But we really need to be aware of unwanted cybercriminals’ attention. If a potential attacker knows who your suppliers or contractors are, they could try to conduct an attack impersonating them or breaching their accounts and acting on their behalf.
Moreover, the clearer you reflect your company’s structure and working methods on social media, the easier it is for perpetrators to organize an attack.
For example, if it is possible to trace who is responsible for finance, an attacker can pretend to be this person’s supervisor and try to lure them into urgently transferring a large sum of money to a fake account to “close a deal” or “purchase necessary equipment”.
Exercising various social engineering techniques, a perpetrator can convincingly impersonate another person, and a victim would hardly notice the fraud.
Warn newcomers about risks associated with “new job” posts on social media
After getting a new job, newcomers usually share the news on social, but they do not yet understand how cybersecurity processes are built in this company: for example, how identification works or with whom they can share sensitive information. Therefore, a newcomer is more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Imagine: a perpetrator tracks this person in social media and collects information about them. Then the criminal writes the new employee a malicious letter on behalf of the company’s IT administrator asking to share the password to set up a technical account.
It is highly likely that a newcomer will share the password because they do not know that the administrators would never write such a letter. Moreover, new employees are usually shy, and they might hesitate to ask their colleagues if the letter is authentic.
A tiny little post on social media might turn the employee into an entry point for cybercriminals.
To mitigate the risk, offer newcomers a course on information security immediately, and tell them to be extremely careful when posting about a new job.
Control account access (and don’t forget to change the password when an employee leaves)
Logins, passwords, and access to the email address are used to create a social media account are just as valuable as other internal corporate documents. If an employee who has access to accounts and authentication data leaves the company, it is useful to apply the same rules as when blocking their access to the corporate network.
To begin with, change the password for the e-mail account linked to the corporate social network; then unlink the ex-employee’s mobile phone number and check other authentication methods – for example, a spare mailbox.
Do not ignore two-factor authentication
Any account on a social network, not to mention a corporate one, must be securely protected. Two-factor authentication is an absolutely necessary setting for any type of account.
The email address linked to the account should be as protected as the social media account itself. Often the attack begins with an initial access to e-mail. After breaching an account, an attacker can configure filters in the mailbox settings to delete all support emails from the social network.
Therefore, a user will not be able to restore access to their account, because all emails will be deleted automatically. Not to mention that in a stressful situation we won’t be checking which filters are currently configured in our mailbox.
It is best to register a social media account using a corporate e-mail address. To begin with, it is better protected (assuming the company cares about cybersecurity). Furthermore, in-house security specialists can block access to this mailbox along with all access to the corporate network.
Provide your employees with anti-phishing training
To mitigate cyber risks in social media networks, it is not enough to protect your company’s account technically, it is equally important to conduct special training for employees on information security, various types of phishing, and other threats.
According to user statistics on the Kaspersky Gamified Assessment Tool, designed to educate workers and to assist managers in measuring their cyber skills, just 11% of nearly 4000 employees demonstrated a high level of cybersecurity awareness in 2022, while 28% could not prove sufficient cybersecurity proficiency.
Attackers use sophisticated methods of social engineering. Even the most advanced representatives of Gen Z can succumb to them. The human factor cannot be reduced to zero, but it can be minimized as much as possible with the help of dedicated training.