Tech & The Web

You Didn’t Play That ‘Royal Name Game,’ Did You?

A week after the royal wedding, we’re still hearing about the dangers of a popular meme on Facebook called the ‘Royal Name Game.’

If you got caught up in the frenzy of last week’s royal wedding, you may well have joined in the fun of something called the Royal Name Game.

And if you did, for days now, you’ve given potential hackers sensitive information you shouldn’t have provided.

Here’s how it worked.

The object of the meme was for you to create a “royal name” for yourself with simple information.

You were supposed to begin with “Lord” or “Lady,” based upon your gender. (For the gender non-conformers out there, I didn’t see a third option.)

You then supplied the name of one of your grandparents as your first royal name. Your royal surname was the name of your first pet.

Then the location over which you were Lord or Lady was the name of the street you grew up on.

So if you’re John Doe, grandson of Jacob, and whose first pet was named Fido and who grew up on Maple Street, USA, your supposed royal name might be Lord Jacob Fido of Maple.

Simple enough, right?

Just a little goofy fun for people who were perhaps a bit too enraptured in all things royal.

Here’s why it’s a problem.

Perhaps you’ve never had to reset a forgotten password.

Maybe you’ve never had a bank account or credit card account ask you to set up security questions so that you’ll be able to regain access if you forget a password.

But if you ever have, you’ll know immediately that at least two of the questions that are part of the Royal Name Game are among the most common of security questions.

Almost every account I’ve set up questions for will default to “What is the name of your first pet?” for one of its security questions.

I’ve had several ask for the name of the street I grew up on.

Some give you the option for choosing alternate security questions if you feel that those might be too well-known among those close to you.

But not all give that option.

If someone knows your email address and the answer to at least one of those questions, there’s at least a chance — perhaps slim but a chance nonetheless — that they could reset one of your account passwords and gain control.

Depending on the type of account, that could cause you some problems.

When I first saw the “game,” I immediately saw the questions being asked and knew I wasn’t going to participate.

I hope you recognized the danger as well.

If you didn’t, it might be a good time to go back and pull that information off of your Facebook profile or delete your comment if you played it on someone else’s.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 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.