Doug Bedell — April 9, 2018, 11:58 am

‘Innocuous’ Web Questions Can Be Harmful


In this time of freshly dawning awareness of the security hazards of social media, Brian Krebs warns against responding to “data harvesting” questions on websites.

“I’m willing to bet,” Krebs writes, “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.

“On the surface, these simple questions may be little more than an attempt at online engagement by otherwise well-meaning companies and individuals. Nevertheless, your answers to these questions may live in perpetuity online, giving identity thieves and scammers ample ammunition to start gaining backdoor access to your various online accounts…”

So, Krebs advises, “Don’t give away historic details about yourself.” It’s hazardous out there. Be careful.

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