Social media sites are littered with seemingly innocuous little
quizzes, games and surveys urging people to reminisce about
specific topics, such as “What was your first job,” or “What was
your first car?” The problem with participating in these informal
surveys is that in doing so you may be inadvertently giving away
the answers to “secret questions” that can be used to unlock
access to a host of your online identities and accounts.
I’m willing to bet that a good percentage of regular readers here
would never respond — honestly or otherwise — to such
questionnaires (except perhaps to chide others for responding).
But I thought it was worth mentioning because certain social
networks — particularly Facebook — seem positively overrun with
these data-harvesting schemes. What’s more, I’m constantly asking
friends and family members to stop participating in these quizzes
and to stop urging their contacts to do the same.
Krebs is right (as usual), but at the end of his post he points to the real problem — the fact that so many websites, particularly banks, still rely on questions like these for verifying your identity. It’s not secure at all.