Look, we’re all guilty of participating in an ill-advised meme or two, and it’s all fun and games until your identity gets stolen.
As Alexis Kleinman, Mic’s tech editor, tweets, those seemingly innocuous Facebook questions you comment on to pass time at work aren’t always as harmless as they appear. People could be using them to collect your personal information:
an INTERNET PSA from your friend alexis!
do NOT participate in memes like this.
they are a really simple way for bad people to get the answers to your security questions.
it’s a trap!!! pic.twitter.com/kogvY2pLcY
— Alexis Kleinman (@alexiskleinman) May 18, 2018
A year ago, internet privacy folks were warning people not to participate in the meme in which they listed 10 concerts and friends guessed which they hadn’t attended. It was often accompanied by a note about their first concert, according to USA Today, which is a popular security question.
While some professionals said concerns were overblown, others said they were open invitations to hackers. Just avoiding the questions all together is your safest bet. Or, as Lifehacker has suggested, use fake responses to security questions:
Your first car? Just write your dream car, or the car you’re planning on buying. Mother’s maiden name? Easy, just make it whatever irksome term of endearment she used to address you before asking you to get those dishes done. As long as those answers aren’t searchable, you should generate incorrect answers and keep them secure.
Of course, you want to make sure you can keep track of all the false responses you’ve concocted, and keeping your new, false responses secure means storing them with the rest of your secure data. Turn to your favourite password manager to store your security questions and answers (or generate better ones).
You can create a spreadsheet for all of them, or just write your questions and bogus answers in the notes field of the corresponding site or service (assuming you already have it in your manager of choice).
And maybe skip posting your royal wedding guest name on a public Facebook thread.
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