Why hackers love viral social media trends
You've seen the social media trends that circulate regularly: share a picture from your senior year or a picture of your first car. Answer these ten questions about your childhood. Share a fun pet picture.
These may seem like innocent challenges, but they can actually make you more vulnerable to cyber attacks like spear phishing scams and password attacks. In fact, the FBI has warned against participating in online challenges that involve sharing personal information.
Whether you notice it or not, some viral social media challenges can reveal some personal information that hackers can use against you. You make cybercriminals happier and their lives easier if you give them information that they can use to take advantage of you.
For example, take on any pet-related challenge. Your first, current, or favorite pet is a security question commonly used by banks. Those taking part in the challenge may include the answer to these questions in either a picture or a caption.
Types of personal information that can be vulnerable
There are a number of types of personal information that can leave you vulnerable to attack. Anything that answers common security questions is dangerous. Some of the security questions often asked by banks and other institutions include:
- What is your mother's (or grandmother's) maiden name?
- What's your first pet name?
- Which high school (or college) did you attend?
- What is the name of the city you grew up in? (Variations include the street you grew up on or the city you were born in)
- What was the first company you worked for?
This type of information can be used to break into bank accounts or other accounts by tricking hackers around security issues. From there they can access your account and even reset your passwords.
In addition to having direct access to your accounts, hackers can use the specific information from your social media accounts to fish you by including personalized information in emails that make them more believable. This leaves you to trust malicious emails and as such victims of spear phishing attacks IT companies are declared in Tyler.
Some of the social media challenges that have been trending lately that are revealing some personal information include the following:
- Share who is your current best friend or childhood best friend
- Pictures of your first pet (many people also put the pet's name in a caption)
- Pictures of your favorite concert or your first concert
- Favorite restaurants
- Photos of the first school or the final year of school (even if you don't mention the name of your school, memorabilia on photos of the seniors can give it away)
- Share memories of your favorite teacher
- Pictures of your first car
Keep your information safe
This information does not mean that you need to disconnect from people by sharing on social media. However, it does mean that you should be careful about what information you share publicly.
The easiest way to protect your personal information is to keep your settings private so only your friends can see your posts. However, given the many business and public uses for social media, many prefer to keep their attitudes open in order to gain followers.
If you use a public social media page, it is recommended that you continue to restrict personal information, including the kind that may be disclosed during these challenges, to a private personal page.
Another important step in improving your online security is using multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA requires multiple authenticators before you sign in to an account. That's the essence of what Security Challenge Questions seek in the first place, but MFA should be made up of factors that are different from information that you know and can answer.
With Secure MFA, in addition to something you know, you need to identify yourself by something you have (like your phone by texting you a PIN) or by something you are (fingerprint verification of your identity or a face scan). like the typical password or security questions). This prevents hackers from accessing your accounts even if they can find out your password and other credentials.