What the Tech? The Dangers of Answering Silly Questions Online

It goes without saying that while many of us are spending time in isolation and away from work and friends, the time people are spending on social media is up.

I know some people who are spending twice as much time reading and posting to Facebook and Instagram than ever before.

I’m sure you’ve seen many quizzes and viral memes in the past few months as well. Most of us understand that we should be careful what information we share in those quizzes, but every now and then I see another friend posting something they shouldn’t be sharing.

One such quiz showed up in my timeline, shared by a friend. “Today is Middle Name Day, If you’re not afraid…drop your middle name.” My friend did along with about a dozen other Facebook users.

First of all, it isn’t middle name day, and most of use know better than to post ours on Facebook.

But what about those “ten concerts I’ve attended, and one is a lie”? Or the name of your first grade teacher, or first car or pet?

How do hackers use those answers?

A few days ago I was installing a new security camera and while creating the account, I was asked to choose a password recovery question and answer. This is how most accounts work as you know.

Rather than needing to contact support, they ask security challenge that only you should know. In this case I could choose among name of my first pet, the street I grew up on, my favorite restaurant, the color of my first car and a few others.

If I were to forget my password I could enter my email address, answer the security question and reset my password.

I started thinking, ‘how many of these answers can be found on someone’s Facebook account? Quite a few actually.

Your password. Even if you’re using a unique password that only you know, or even a password from a password manager such as One Password, the bad guy can crack into the account, change the password and access the camera. This happens.

Remember last year when hackers cracked into a family’s Ring security camera account? The strangers watched and spoke creepy things to the little girl playing in her bedroom.

Ring said at the time, it wasn’t a problem with its security measures, but because the hackers got the family’s Ring password.

That could have happened because they used the same password for multiple accounts, or by the bad guy changing the password.

And it isn’t just security cameras, but it might be your bank, or credit card, or Netflix account. That’s why it’s never good to post personal identifiable information to Facebook UNLESS, you post it so that only close trusted friends can see it.

Never post it publicly, even people not on Facebook can see it.

The Facebook graduation challenge a few weeks ago is a good example. Asked to show support to this year’s high school seniors people began posting their high school graduation photographs.

It was fine (and fun) to play along and see your friends photos and share your own, as long as you did not include personal identifiable information such as the name of the school and year you graduated.

It was also safe to play if you made the photo and post viewable by only your friends or even a smaller group of friends you could trust.

I suggest if you’re asked to create a password recovery question and answer: lie. Instead of using the name of your first grade teacher, or first pet, use the name of your second grade teacher or another pet name.

Just remember that you are using incorrect information as you set up the password recovery answers.

Facebook quizzes can be sorta fun while we’re bored and especially now that we’re not around people as much as we’d like to be.

And you can play them, just know how those answers might be used by bad guys looking to hack your accounts, view your cameras or steal your identity.

Categories: News Video, What The Tech