While we see quizzes and things of the sort all over Facebook and Messenger, these concepts might not be as safe as we expect them to be. Sure, they are fun and entertaining but according to a cybersecurity expert we should be avoiding them. 

CBC.ca in recent times spoke with a ‘cybersecurity expert’ by the name of Nur Zincir-Heywood who told them that these popular quizzes like ‘Which Harry Potter Character Are You?’ and “What Will You Look Like In 10 Years?’ are not things we should be engaging with. According to this person, taking these quizzes leaves us all more vulnerable to identity theft and even fraud. 

CBC.ca wrote as follows on this topic:

“Never do these,” said Zincir-Heywood, a cybersecurity expert who teaches in the computer science department at Dalhousie University.

She said social media quizzes can ask the same questions your financial organizations use for security purposes to verify your identity when you need to change your password or access your account without a password. Some examples include the name of your hometown or the name of your first pet.

The different questions may not all be asked on the same quiz, she said. But multiple quizzes can elicit enough information that a cybercriminal might be able to access a bank or credit card account.

Zincir-Heywood said this can leave you vulnerable.

“Maybe they are watching [your] social media in general, they know your location, they know other things about you,” Zincir-Heywood said.

“All of these then put together is a way to collect your information and, in your name, maybe open another account or use your account to buy their own things. It can go really bad.”

I know, it might sound a bit over the top but in reality, the things we do online even if they seem harmless can be quite dangerous for us in other ways even if we do not see it off the bat. While these quizzes seem fine, they are still working through personal data and given access to things we might not want to be giving access to. You can’t undo these quizzes and well, once you’ve put something out there, it’s out there. 

Mental Floss wrote as follows going further into this concept:

From phishing schemes to a thief pilfering your passport, there are plenty of ways to fall victim to identity theft. And now, participating in Facebook quizzes is one of them. As ABC News reports, the seemingly harmless surveys that populate your feed could wind up providing unscrupulous hackers with the answers to your online security questions.

Popular Facebook quizzes often ask users to answer a series of sharable personal questions, ranging from the name of their pet to their birth city. Some people see them as a fun way to bond with friends, or a way to make new ones. But as one local police department in Massachusetts recently noted on Facebook, many of these queries are similar—if not identical—to security questions used by banks and other institutions.

“Please be aware of some of the posts you comment on,” the Sutton Police Department in Massachusetts wrote in a cautionary message. “The posts that ask what was your first grade teacher, who was your childhood best friend, your first car, the place you [were] born, your favorite place, your first pet, where did you go on your first flight … Those are the same questions asked when setting up accounts as security questions. You are giving out the answers to your security questions without realizing it.”

Hackers can use these questions to build a profile and hack into your accounts or open lines of credit, the department said. They could also trick you into clicking on malicious links.

Sure, some of them are fine but there are people out there in this world who want to gain things from anyone they can and you should be careful what information you offer when it comes to things like this. Sure, simple quizzes are fine but be aware of the things you’re answering, if it sounds a bit invasive, don’t answer truthfully. Sometimes, you are better off safe than sorry when it comes to the things you’re putting out there on the internet.

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