Tech & The Web

Pandemic Facebook Challenges Could Threaten Account Security

123RF

A few times now I’ve seen some Facebook challenges spreading during our social distancing. There’s a good reason to not join the fun.

It doesn’t take a pandemic to prompt people to give too much information away in Facebook challenges. But the past few days, two, in particular, should give people pause.

A couple of days ago, I saw people posting lists on their Facebook accounts. The lists were of cities and towns they’ve lived in over the years. In most cases, they listed their locales in chronological order. That means, of course, the first city is the first in which they lived.

The following day, I saw a new string of Facebook posts. This time, people were posting photos of cars they owned. In most of the cases I saw, they just grabbed photos from Google searches and posted them. Aside from potential copyright infringement, this also remains a terrible idea.

The reason? It’s quite simple.

Back in July, I wrote about the most common online security questions used to validate important accounts like online banking. People answer those questions when they have trouble accessing the account.

In some cases, fortunately, those accounts allow users to create custom questions.

But there remains plenty of examples in which people must use the standard questions they receive.

Among the most common you will encounter is, “What is the make and model of your first car?” If you took part in that challenge, you’ve given everyone in your friends list (if not the world) the answer to that question.

Another common question is, “What city were you born in?” For many, the first city they lived in happens to be the city in which they were born. That’s not true for everyone. So if your birth took place in a city where you didn’t live, this one might be a little safer.

But you have to stop and think before playing such challenges online. Ask yourself if the question you’re being asked might be used against you by potential hackers.

If it’s even a remote possibility, keep scrolling and find something safer to post!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.