I know, a lot of us are bored during our stay-at-home time. Also, recent studies have shown that people often turn to social media to reduce anxiety, and these are certainly times where anxiety is running high. These factors explain why social media seeing a huge jump in usage. Unfortunately, there are those who are taking advantage of this and you should be constantly vigilant about what you are doing online, no matter how innocent sounding it is.
Take, for example, two recent “viral” challenges—the “senior photo post” and the “first cars posts”. In the former, users are supposed to be “showing solidarity with the graduating high school seniors who aren’t in school” and the requirement is to post a picture of one’s high school senior photo with a hashtag. In the second, users are asked to share photos of their first cars along with a hashtag.
I have seen many people in my Facebook feed sharing their senior photos and first cars, but what they may not realize is that this is a coordinated scam to gain access to their personal information. You know those security questions that you have to answer when you are resetting your passwords online? How many of those ask for, “What city were you were born in?” or “What high school did you attend?” or “What was the make and model of your first car?”
Yes, with a simple hashtag search or an advanced API, hackers are able to find all of the people who have posted their answers with these hashtags and cross-reference them with personally identifiable information that is already available on the dark web, such as names, emails, and accounts. Some security questions are similar to, “What is your favorite sports team?” and this information is already sitting right there for people who have public profiles. It is too easy.
So, although it is fun and seems innocent, always remember that people are always taking advantage of information found online, and very little of that information is private. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.