• Randy Sklar

Are Your Security Questions Easy-Pickins For Hackers?

By now, we know everything we post online has probably been stored in a government server somewhere. The Cambridge Analytic scandal was a harsh reminder of what social media, particularly Facebook, can be used for. And yet, we’re still willing to share any random detail about ourselves online.

Just spend five minutes scrolling through social media and you’ll see thousands of comments on a photo a repair shop shared of a vintage car with the caption, “What car did you learn to drive stick shift on?”; a few hundred people swapping stories after the local vet made a post wanting to know what your first pet was; and Grandma Sophie writing an entire paragraph about the friends she had on the first street she lived on a post from some page called “The Good Old Days.”

Your Innocent Posts Are Giving Hackers The Answer...

These all seem like the standard sort of social media clutter, but posts like this have something insidious in common: They are all connected to common security questions. Think back to the last time you set up an email or bank account. You were likely given a set of questions to provide answers to in case you ever needed to reset your password. A few common questions include:

• What was your first car?

• What was the name of your first pet?

• What street did you grow up on?

This isn’t to suggest the pages that make these kinds of posts have some nefarious intent. People like to talk about themselves, and from a marketing standpoint, these posts are greatly beneficial. When a post gets a lot of response, Facebook will boost its reach without the page having to pay for it, which means they can gather more followers with ease. But comments on such posts are visible to the whole world, and each post is attached to someone’s real name. Is it such a stretch to imagine how easily a cybercriminal could record such valuable details?

Just Post Funny Cat Pictures Instead...

We recommend not responding to posts that ask for details about your life, regardless of how mundane that information seems. And if your business has a Facebook page, help protect your followers’ information by not creating these kinds of posts. Try sharing a cat meme instead. The internet loves cat memes.

Thanks for reading,

Randy Sklar, CEO

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