Social media is a great way to stay connected, but it can also be a great way for hackers to connect with you. Online hackers can steal your information in ways you might not expect.
In the THV11 newsroom, we heard that playing games, taking quizzes, or commenting on posts on social media could mean a gold mine for hackers. So, we verified with a cyber security expert.
It turns out hackers can steal your information through shareable, interactive posts and pictures. The posts usually ask you a question which makes it incredibly easy for hackers to steal your detailed information. For example, a popular post asks people the name of the street they grew up on. It seems simple and fun, but sharing the information can put you at risk.
Christopher Wright, a cyber security expert, said sensitive sites like banking sites will use these types of questions as security questions or forgotten password questions. That means, if you forget your password to a site you’ll be asked 3 questions only you are supposed to know the answer to. One of those questions is usually what street you grew up on. Wright said it’s important to remember what your bank asks you when they ask security questions and make sure to not comment on or share those posts.
“Some other common questions center around your first vehicle, first girlfriend or boyfriend,” said Wright. “So beware of freely giving out that information hackers could use against you.”
Shareable pictures and posts aren’t the only issue. Some people like to link games or quiz applications to their Facebook pages, and that can cause further damage.
“You usually have to give up some permissions to answer any of the quiz questions or play a game,” said Wright.
In order to take certain quizzes or play certain games, you often have to give up access to your profile, friends list, email address, and your birthday. Application hackers can then use any of that information to steal your identity or go and try to compromise an email or bank account.
But, there are some easy steps to take to protect yourself from these hackers.
First, you really need to understand what you are using. Don’t just click through things – do the research. You should also keep your computer up to date. Wright says hackers are often able to carry out malicious acts by using a vulnerability in your computer. Make sure you’re updating your computer automatically if possible. Finally, make sure you use an anti-virus and anti-malware program.
You can choose to unlink any application quizzes or games you may have connected your Facebook account to in the past. Click here for directions on how to do this.