UK brands exhibit two times as many unauthorised accounts for every verified or authorised account on both Facebook and Twitter in comparison with their US counterparts.
This is according to the latest Proofpoint Nexgate report, which analysed data on social media accounts of ten of the top UK FTSE 100 brands.
From January 1st 2014 to February 3rd 2015, the firm discovered that there were at least 3800 social media accounts across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ related to the top ten UK brands.
For these companies, four of every five Facebook accounts are unauthorised and two of every five Twitter accounts are unauthorised.
By unauthorised, Proofpoint refers to fraudulent brands that impersonate the brand with the intent of ripping off customers, protests accounts attacking the brand, partners using the brand without approval and third parties trying to leverage the brand.
According to the report, unauthorised accounts are not always visibly hostile but can still easily lure in an unsuspecting audience.
Although the UK is 20% more active on social media than the US, UK content faces 60% more spam.
“This increase in spam could mean that there are fewer protective measures in place; data consistent with earlier posts on threats targeting the UK and anecdotal evidence that UK investment in such protective technologies lags that of the UK,” the research claims.
The study also identified 161 instances of real security risks including content that leads to malware, phishing and other malicious activity.
Researchers also found cases where regulated data including personally identifiable information such as phone numbers, emails, usernames and passwords were posted on the social media accounts of the top ten brands in the country.
“Putting this into perspective, the pervasiveness of social media use by and for UK enterprise brands is significant and, actually, equivalent to that of the US Fortune 100,” claims the document.
“At the same time, the risks and threat activity for UK enterprise brands are trending higher. This is likely due to the lack of visibility and focus on social media threats and risk vectors.
“To protect their investments, their audiences, and to close social media backdoors into the rest of their communication infrastructure, UK enterprise should endeavour to understand their social media infrastructure and take action to deal with the bad actors looking to defraud them, distribute malware on their accounts, perpetrate scams and attack their brands’ assets,” it adds.