Don’t Give Away Historic Details About Yourself :: Krebs on Security

by Volker Weber

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.

Let's be frank here. Everything on Facebook is designed to harvest your data. Every single IQ test, every quizz, everything. It's Facebook's "partners" who want their piece of the pie.

The bigger problem is that those "security questions" are not secure. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What is your mother's maiden name? The answers are often easy to find. Solution: you have to lie. And write down those lies so you know them later.


One of the difficulties brought on by the internet age is that we are all the sum of past interactions, many of which may have happened when we knew less or when security mattered less. Every site we've been on for five+ years may have passwords which were secure enough then but aren't now. Every site we are on today requires security which may be good enough now but may not be in five years.

All of which is to say, the advice to lie and record your lies may be necessary for all sorts of things. One of the few active ways to fight the tide of data known about you is to add enough chum that the sharks are distracted and confused. Even that may not work for long as AI is applied to larger and larger sets of past interactions.

Ben Langhinrichs, 2018-04-10

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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