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Digital Dangers - Quizzes and Memes.

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    It all seems so cute and innocent.  A friend posts a list of all the great concerts they attended to their timeline and encourages you to do the same.  Or maybe, you saw a friend post results from a quiz that revealed something new and you consider trying it too.





    Be very wary of Facebook quizzes and memes!  It’s true, they may seem fun, but they can also be dangerous.  Yes, dangerous!  Think about the information that you share - Pages you like/places you do business. Mom’s name in the About Me section/security question and answer. 


    These unassuming quizzes may deliberately, or unwittingly, reveal your personal data to third parties like marketers or hackers.  They are not necessarily as harmless as they purport to be.  At worst, they are click bait, designed to lead users to other sites.  At best, they reveal personal information that in the wrong hands, can be extremely damaging.


    Spotting the Danger

    Let’s start with the third party quizzes that are prolific on Facebook and that FB is actively trying to limit.  Some of these quizzes do ask permission before posting in your name to the platform.  When they did, did you read their privacy policy?  I’d be willing to bet you didn’t.  If they have access to post on your behalf, what else could they post as you?  How would friends know that you didn’t really initiate the post?


    Let’s look at the memes.  Unlike the third party apps, memes just appear as a post from a friend with lots of personal information on them and an invitation for you to share as well and “continue the chain”.  But take a closer look; the answers being revealed are often closely related to common security questions or can provide clues for an effective spear phishing attack.


    Steering Clear

    If you’d like to avoid unnecessary exposure to hacking and targeted marketing, I highly recommend that you stop using Facebook, Twitter or Google to log into third party apps.  Also, take a moment to review, and as necessary revoke, third party app access to your accounts.  I know it’s tedious, but it is recommended that you have a separate username and a strong, long, unique password for every account.  No short cuts (unless of course, you consider a password manager as a short cut, in which case, go right ahead).


    Be vigilant in the protection of your privacy.


    Tech4Life airs every Wednesday morning at 8:15 AM