The FBI issued a warning regarding a worrying social media trend, with seemingly innocuous activities that would give possible attackers information they could use to gain access to once-protected data and accounts.
Remember all those security questions you were asked to complete to set up an important online account, like the name of your pet or high-school? The answers are just another obstacle put in front of a criminal who wants to access your account, but learning the information is tricky for someone who’s not a friend.
It turns out that some of that private data can be retrieved from the people themselves, and one way to do that is to make it fun. A new social media trend encourages people to share those details online, not realizing the dangers of making that information public.
“The high school support photo trend encourages users to share their high school photo to support the class of 2020,” says FBI in their advisory. “Many people are including the name of their schools and mascots, and their graduation years. All three are answers to common password retrieval security questions.”
“Other examples include posting a picture of your first car; answering questions about your best friend; providing the name of your first pet; identifying your first concert, favorite restaurant, or favorite teacher; and tagging your mother, which may reveal her maiden name.”
The FBI has also issued advice that should help users stay safe. First of all, it’s important to set up multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Secondly, and just as important, is to avoid sharing important information online and ensure that the security settings for social media don’t allow strangers to get that information.
Remember, security is an ongoing process, not just something you set up and forget.