The rise of social media has seen an increase in the popularity of quizzes, with many users spending countless hours answering questions on various topics. While these quizzes can be entertaining, they also come with significant risks that users should be aware of. This article will examine the dangers of participating in quizzes on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and others.
Sounds like just a few harmless social media quizzes, right? Wrong. These quizzes are one of the many tools hackers use to steal your personal information without you even realizing it.
One of the most significant risks associated with participating in quizzes on social media is the potential loss of privacy. In many cases, these quizzes will require users to grant the quiz creator access to their personal information, including their name, birthdate, location, friend list, and other sensitive data. This information can then be used for various purposes, from targeted advertising to identity theft.
Sometimes, the quiz creator may even share the information with third-party companies, who may use it to target the user with unwanted advertisements or solicitations. In the worst-case scenario, cybercriminals may use the information to launch attacks on users’ accounts, steal their identity, or engage in other malicious activities.
The Better Business Bureau, media literacy groups, and police departments warn that hackers and scammers are behind many of these social media quizzes, so they can collect, use, and profit from the personal information you share.
Social media quizzes can ask the same questions your financial organizations use for security purposes to verify your identity when you need to change your password or access your account without a password. Some examples include the name of your hometown or the name of your first pet.
The different questions may not all be asked on the same quiz, she said. But multiple quizzes can elicit enough information that a cybercriminal might be able to access a bank or credit card account.
Tips to Protect Your Data
Here are some tips to protect yourself from the more nefarious side of social media quizzes:
- Be careful. Free quizzes offered on social media aren’t free — you’re paying with your data that big data companies collect for targeted advertising or cybercriminals collect to sell on the dark web.
- If you can’t resist filling out these quizzes, provide fake information, especially to questions similar to security questions used by your financial institutions. For example, if you are asked, ‘What is your favorite pet,’ make up an answer.
- Once you take these quizzes, you can’t take back the information you provide. So keep a close eye on your online transactions for any unusual banking or credit card activity, for example, a transaction you did not authorize or an account you did not create.
More Cyberthreat Examples
It’s not just scandalous material that can do you in—quite the contrary. Your life’s most normal (even dull) aspects might cost you through identity theft, compromised accounts, or stolen funds.
The first iteration of social engineering on Facebook came in the form of would-be humorous topics like “Your celebrity stage name is your mother’s maiden name plus the street you grew up on! Post the results in the comments!”
It was a blatant attempt to harvest the answers to security questions matching these details, and fortunately, most people were too savvy to fall for this.
But the questions have gotten more sophisticated and less suspicious. We have noticed a significant uptick in Facebook questions asking users to answer seemingly innocent questions one wouldn’t think could endanger anyone.
Another great example is the common question: “What was the first concert you attended?” Hey, who doesn’t enjoy reminiscing about wonderful experiences? Just take a moment to gush about how great it was seeing the Rolling Stones in 1971, and chances are that now people know you’ve probably answered “the Rolling Stones” to any security question inquiring about your favorite band or, yes, the first concert you’ve seen.
The same goes for “Post the name of a pet you’ll miss forever.” Chances are that was your first pet, so once you type in “Fluffy” (not the name of my first pet), someone can answer another security question on your behalf.
I proved this to a relative who was skeptical of such dangers. Her favorite song was “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. I also knew her email address. I went to the web portal for her email provider, entered her account name, and clicked “Forgot Password.”
Guess which security question I had to answer to reset her password. If you guessed “What’s your favorite song?” you win the prize for today. All I needed was that one bit of information. She was appalled, and I advised her to change that answer immediately. I did not reset her password.
One question invited commenters to post how many miles they live from the place they were born. While I live an undisclosed distance from my hometown and thus posting the answer to this wouldn’t necessarily identify said hometown (unless someone with a compass and map wanted to triangulate which cities lie X miles from my current location), anyone who answers “zero” places themselves at risk. One look at their Facebook profile to see what they listed as their current city, and now you know the answer to a very common security question: “What city were you born in?
At CNP Technologies, we understand the dangers that you face online. You must always be alert and think twice when giving away your information online. Do you want more information on how to keep safe from cyber criminals? Contact us to learn more.