The below question game has been seen floating around Facebook in the recent past. Others like it have come and gone as well. Let's look at the questions it asks.
Why no one ever does these bums me out. It's fun to learn odd things. 1. What's your middle name? 2. Last time you cried? 3. What's your favorite pizza? 4. Favorite flower? 5. Do you like to camp? 6. Untie your shoes when taking them off? 7. Roller coaster? 8. Favorite ice cream : 9. Favorite thing to do? 10. Shorts or Jeans? 11. Country or rock? 12. Favorite color? 13. Tattoos? 14. Color hair? 15. Color of eyes? 16. Favorite thing to eat? 17. Favorite Holiday? 18. Beer or Wine? 19. Night owl? 20. Favorite day of the week? 21. Do you have a nickname? 22. Three people who will do this with you?
At first glance, this little game may seem harmless and a fun way to learn about your friends. But a closer look reveals that these kinds of "games" can be a hacker's goldmine for gaining sensitive information.
The "comment" above the list is a strange phrase that was specifically created to be unique which makes it searchable. I was able to find over 20 people who have participated in this with a simple 30 second search.
Most of the questions are fairly benign and aren't helpful. But, let's look at a few of these questions specifically. Number 1 asks for Middle name. This was on Facebook, which typically gives first and last names already. This question gives a hacker your full name. Favorite Holiday and nickname could be a challenge questions for a website. A challenge question is a question and answer set you create to help gain access to the account should you forget your password. Some financial institutions use a challenge question as a second layer of protection beyond a standard username and password. I've personally seen at least one of these questions used as a personal challenge question.
With enough persistence and some technical skills, a hacker could easily launch one of these each week and then mine the resulting data. As they gained more data (and were able to hit the same folks with different questions), they would build an impressively scary database of personal information about you and your friends.
Notice how it intentionally leads you to tag friends in order to "share in the fun and learn about each other" while spreading this dangerous data collection effort. In general people on social media share too much personal information and aren't aware of the risks of many of the games on there.
The best and most surefire way to protect yourself against these kinds of threats is to avoid them altogether. Think of the vast majority of these games as nothing more than a way to mine your personal data, get you to buy stuff and track your facebook activities. There are some that are on the up and up, but not many.
In any business there is a product or service in place to make money otherwise it's not a business for long. On Facebook, we don't have to pay so what is the comodity being sold? What is the intrinsic value contained within Facebook and all social media sites?
Your personal data and information is the commodity being sold. Remember that.
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