What was the make and model of your first car? How many pets did you have growing up?
It’s all fun and games until your Facebook account is hacked…
Due to the amount of people unemployed and/or simply working from home due to COVID-19, social media activity is at an all time high. From live streams on Instagram to millions of what fictional character am I? quiz results, people are posting now more than ever.
Continuing, while all of the posts on the internet may seem menial and an easy way to pass the time, many people do not understand the danger a simple post can be. This week, CPG investigates how social media posts can put users in danger.
The Social Media Platforms of all Platforms – Facebook
To begin, you may be wondering what I am talking about in regard to what actually is putting users at risk. To sum it up, users are filling out and sharing questionnaires about themselves.
For example, one of the most popular ones is the basic 50 facts about you. The post contains 50 questions all in regard to facts about yourself. Now, naturally, people like to share facts about themselves. So, posts like this seem like a fun activity to share on their Facebook. From there, others see the original post, and decide to answer the questions as well.
A few of the questions being asked consist of the following:
When is your birthday?
What town did you grow up in?
What year did you graduate high school?
Name your maternal and paternal grandparents.
Name the make and model of your first car.
Share the name of your favorite childhood pet.
All in all, sharing the answers to these questions appears to be harmless, no? Well, that is exactly what online scammers want you to think. Now, let’s get into the real trouble with these types of posts.
Where is the risk?
Quite frankly, these questions seem all too familiar, but from what? Maybe a friend asked you about your first car? A date asked you your birthday? No… that’s not right. Oh wait, these are commonly used security questions for social media, banking and other types of accounts.
That my friend, is where the danger comes in. A person would never want to give a scammer their private information right? Well, that is what thousands of Facebook users are doing right now.
Many people don’t realize that scammers actually start these posts in hopes of gaining information on you to use maliciously. Scammers may be bad, but they are not stupid. This type of post is a cash cow for someone trying to get into your account.
For example, when you enter your password wrong so many times on your banking account, the next step to bypass that is answering your security questions. These questions are usually memorable facts about yourself or others in your life.
Further, the facts chosen for the questions are something that you would know, but others wouldn’t. Hence, when a password is forgotten and your only saving grace is your father’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name, you can get back into your account.
But, when you broadcast your life’s personal details, security questions and strong passwords are useless.
In conclusion, oversharing can actually be harmful to your account security. What may seem like a fun post to share and tag friends in, could be the key to hackers accessing your account.
My advice here is to exercise caution when posting online always. It may seem tedious, but not as tedious as resetting all your accounts and passwords after a scammer locks you out and steals your information.
By Taylor Ritchey