Why you should avoid those fun social media "tell us about yourself" questions

1 month ago 12
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Social media is overflowing with quizzes, surveys and opportunities to archer the satellite astir yourself. Learn wherefore you should skip these to support yourself and your identity.

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Illustration: Lisa Hornung/TechRepublic

It's quality nature; astir of america emotion to speech astir ourselves oregon astatine slightest stock details astir our past and preferences. And societal media loves that, too, since it gets radical engaged and participating. 

There's conscionable 1 problem, however: you mightiness inadvertently oregon adjacent deliberately springiness distant details to strangers which mightiness travel backmost to haunt you, and not conscionable with targeted ads, which are the slightest of our worries.

SEE: Security incidental effect policy (TechRepublic Premium)

It's not conscionable scandalous worldly that tin bash you in. Quite the contrary. The astir mean (even dull) aspects of your lives mightiness outgo you successful the signifier of individuality theft, compromised accounts oregon stolen funds. 

Case successful point, the archetypal iteration of societal engineering connected Facebook came successful the signifier of would-be humorous topics similar "Your personage signifier sanction is your mother's maiden sanction positive the thoroughfare you grew up on! Post the results successful the comments!" 

This was a blatant effort to harvest the answers to information questions matching these details, and fortunately astir radical (in my circle) were excessively savvy to autumn for this.

But the questions person gotten much blase and little suspicious. I've noticed a important uptick successful Facebook questions that inquire users to reply seemingly guiltless questions 1 wouldn't deliberation could enactment anyone successful danger. 

One question invited commenters to station however galore miles they unrecorded from the spot they were born. While I unrecorded an undisclosed region from my hometown and frankincense posting the reply to this wouldn't needfully place said hometown (unless idiosyncratic with a compass and representation wanted to triangulate which cities prevarication X miles from my existent location), anyone who answers "zero" places themselves astatine risk. One look astatine their Facebook illustration to spot what they listed arsenic their existent city, and present you cognize the reply to a precise communal information question: "What metropolis were you calved in?"

SEE: How to negociate passwords: Best practices and information tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Another large illustration is the communal question: "What was the archetypal performance you attended?" Hey, who doesn't bask reminiscing astir fantastic experiences? Just instrumentality a infinitesimal to gush astir however large it was seeing the Rolling Stones successful 1971, and chances are that present radical cognize you've astir apt answered "the Rolling Stones" to immoderate information question inquiring astir your favourite set or, yes, the archetypal performance you've seen.

Same goes for "Post the sanction of a favored you'll miss forever." Chances are that was your archetypal pet, truthful erstwhile you benignant successful "Fluffy" (not the sanction of my archetypal pet) there's different information question idiosyncratic tin reply connected your behalf.

I proved this to a comparative who was skeptical of specified dangers. I knew her favourite opus was "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees. I besides knew her email address. I went to the web portal for her email provider, entered her relationship sanction and clicked "Forgot Password." 

Guess which information question came up which I had to reply to reset her password? If you guessed "What's your favourite song?" you triumph the prize for today. All I needed was that 1 spot of information. She was appalled, and I advised her to alteration that reply immediately. I did not really reset her password.

SEE: Cybersecurity: Don't blasted employees—make them consciousness similar portion of the solution (TechRepublic) 

When creating accounts, I urge not accurately answering information questions astatine all. There's nary request to bash so. Tell them you were calved successful Snake River Canyon, Idaho, and your favourite set is Alvin and the Chipmunks, for each these sites attraction (no discourtesy to Chipmunk fans). But marque definite to use a password manager to store these fake answers securely, specified arsenic successful Keepass. This works good due to the fact that you tin transcript and paste the answers into web forms and you don't person to interest astir nit-picky details similar forgetting to see a comma aft the metropolis you were calved successful followed by the state, frankincense causing your reply to beryllium rejected.

Do I deliberation each azygous societal media quiz oregon question is simply a nefarious effort to harvest personally identifiable data? No. I'm definite immoderate are well-meaning and innocuous. I can't astatine this infinitesimal envision however answering "Fried chickenhearted oregon hamburgers?" puts you astatine superior hazard UNLESS you person a related information question retired determination identifying your emotion for either, but you'll likely, astatine the precise least, commencement seeing tailored ads for chickenhearted oregon burgers erstwhile you participate that answer. Err connected the broadside of caution, and conscionable support scrolling. 

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