|We often describe topics that are awkward or uncomfortable to talk about with others in a social setting as "elephants in the room." They are weighty and heavy topics requiring a thoughtful and attentive exchange of ideas and opinions to stimulate|
the kind of discussion capable of teasing out working solutions. Overlooking or ignoring the elephant is never a wise thing to do.
Over the last few years we have been noticing a significant absence of dialogue concerning malware threats and its potential hinderance on social media monitoring. A recent Cisco report touches on this topic in an effective way and I would suggest visiting the link to read more on the topic. There are many important insights to draw from the posts interview format, but the one quote which really caught my attention was this:
"So a couple of things here strike me. One that strikes me is that the criminals obviously are going where consumers are going. Consumers want more online banking, the criminals are going there; the consumer wants to be active in social networks, the criminals are going there."
After reading this statement, it makes logical sense that threats of malware will follow us in areas of the Web where consumer conversations are most likely to happen. If the threat of their potential emergence hinges on the people factor, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and every corner of the online terrain, wherever people are likely to meet and converse can potentially become targets and primary places for suspicious activity.
Taking this concept toward the path of logical conclusion, if the goal of monitoring is to catch every online mention, it will not be a question of how or why, but when and if we are capable of responding to the attack quickly and effectively when it happens. Overlooking its importance now will inevitably arouse an untenable level of scrutiny directed at vendors, consultants and firms offering monitoring solutions and services. Unless a dialogue exists where we can trace and pick apart the types of suspicious activity going on in social media, we can't possibly understand what hit us, much less be able to reason or explain how it was allowed to happen.
In the last year, there has been a noticeable and overarching preoccupation with measurement and ROI, and if real effort and investment is being earmarked towards making advancements in the brand reputation and social media monitoring industry, then the threat of malware in social media is an important topic we cannot afford to exclude.
In the interest of initiating the dialogue, I will link share a past post where we talk about something we call malware-roulette (7th paragraph from the top). We've also voiced our concern with url shortening services. In the past year, we announced our move towards using our own proprietary url sharing service because we had noticed several of our past tweets being flagged as suspicious when appearing in Google search results.
Since 2008 we have put in place a quarantine area where suspicious link activity can be safely stored and analysed by our team. None of these incidents appear in our client consoles. We do report more serious cases to our clients in the interest of keeping them informed and for preventative reasons, on the off-chance they happen to stumble on these incidents while surfing the Web outside of our system. Both the quarantine and reporting mechanisms help to ensure the effective monitoring of patterns suggesting the online replication or mirroring of incidents. The single best ally to safeguarding our subscribers from malware threats is our offering of human review. This step on its own is what allows us to effectively sniff out and block any/all incidents that computational algorithms, filters and machine logic aren't suitably equipped to detect.
We'd like to hear your opinions, suggestions and even working models that have effectively helped you remove the threat of malware from the task of social media monitoring.
RepuTrack™ monitors online media from Web sites, blogs, message boards, forums, chatrooms, microblogs, social networking sites, video and images worldwide.
To schedule a free online-demonstration of RepuTrack™, click here.
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