Why an innocent Facebook quiz can lead to a security breach

  Simonx   |   16th April 2019 - 4 min read

Data Protection

Which celebrity most suits your personality? If you were a dog, what breed would you be? Which Disney princess do you look like the most? There are lots of quizzes on Facebook that hook us in that we share online every day.

We’re often lured into partaking because a friend or colleague took part in the game (which usually doesn’t take up much time) and the results were shared on their Facebook timeline for all to see.  

If you’re of the impression that these quizzes are just an innocent way to fill up your lunch hour or to fill up some time at work while you’re sitting bored at your desk, you’d be gravely mistaken.

These tests may be popular and a bit of fun, but cyber security experts and law enforcement professionals have warned about participating in these games on a frequent basis.

According to reports, these quizzes can frame questions in such a way as to get access to your personal information, which the creators can then use to try and hack into your social media accounts if they want to.

Note – we say: “social media accounts” and don’t just single out Facebook as people typically use the same passwords for all of their social platforms that they join (big mistake), making it incredibly easy for hackers after they get some basic information from you.

These quizzes can literally be created by just about anybody. A flash search on Google resulted in the first link leading to a site called socialmediaexaminar.com, which provides a tutorial on how to create on online quiz on social media.

The article starts off with asking its readers if they ‘want a fun way to learn more about your audience and customers?’. It goes on to explain how you can use tools to create such a programme which can ask specific questions about their brand and industry preferences.

While teaching people how to create such a quiz is not illegal, it very simply demonstrates just how easy it is to do as the information is so readily available.

The article explains that this could be a useful tool for businesses to find out more about their client’s preferences, but – in the wrong hands – it could provide fraudsters with access to your personal Facebook or business account and the ability to use the information on there (which can provide them with access to all your contacts and more) for their own gains.

Facebook has recently made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Last year it was found that back in 2016 UK based data firm Cambridge Analytica was employed by the people running Donald Trump’s campaign to harvest millions of Facebook profiles of US voters. The information was used to gain insight into how they would vote. This was all done without people’s consent.

While social media sites like Facebook can provide you with an invaluable way to talk to your clients and promote your business, that doesn’t mean that everything you find on there is good for you or your business.

If you’re not sure about the origin of a quiz game that you see on your Facebook timeline – best you avoid it as you never know who could be gathering your data and using it for their own benefit.

If you’re worried about any possible data breaches and aren’t sure what to do you can always hire the experts. Check our blog post here on the importance of hiring a data protection officer

Simon Cowling

Simon spent over 10 years programming from behind a keyboard, before transitioning across to management. A keen adrenaline junkie, whether that involves going up the mountain or over the edge of the cliff. He learned his management skills not just in the I.T world but also running youth camps and conferences, helping teenagers find a footing in life. He also really likes pie.

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