While we talk about the periodic leakages of personal information from Facebook and how that information is leveraged by cybercriminals, the community of Facebook users can change their ways. Let’s pair up victims with criminals based on what’s broadcast by the victim. Here are Facebook’s seven deadly sins matched up with the most likely categories of interested criminals:
Address and birth date. Disclosing your home address or your place or date of birth could make you a target of an identity thief. Your home address even could attract a burglar or stalker to your home. If you're throwing a party and need to provide directions, do so through email.
Year of graduation from high school or college. These can help scammers pretend to be former classmates, a common way to win victims' trust.
Mother's maiden name. Businesses often use your mother's maiden name to confirm your identity, so it's prudent to keep that name as confidential as possible. (Keep in mind that pet names are another common security question.)
Business contacts. Professional networking websites typically let people on your contact list see the names and IDs of everyone else on your list. An unscrupulous competitor, dissatisfied customer, or former employee could send a damaging message about you to everyone on the list.
Burglars and Stalkers need…
Travel plans and schedules of groups you belong to. If you mention the dates of an upcoming vacation on a social-networking website, or that you've joined a Wednesday-night book group, you might unwittingly have told a burglar when your home will be vacant.
Your valuables. Don't discuss your expensive art, antiques, or jewelry. It could make you a target for a burglar.
Your address. See ‘cybercriminals’ above.
Medical Fraudsters need…
The name of your doctor or dentist. If a scammer learns where you receive medical treatment, he might attempt to obtain your insurance information. This could be sold to someone who lacks health insurance, who would then pose as you to obtain treatment.
Okay, that was fun but let’s end the reverse psychology with a few lessons.
Try hardening your past as well as hardening your password
I have one simple rule if you happen to feel your personalized passwords are already vulnerable: Don’t use your mother’s maiden name or any other information such as ‘your first friend or pet’ names for authentication for your banking. LIE.
How to lie to your bank and get away with it
- For online security question purposes, when your security questions are asking for the name of someone, use something else, such as a color. Put ‘blue’ or ‘magenta’ as your mother’s maiden name, or ‘bluemagenta’ all together.
- If your bank asks questions about towns such as where were you born or where did you graduate high school, answer with the name of a pet. I’ll bet very few people graduated from ‘Lassie’ Junior High.
- Remember to tell the truth when you’re opening an account with the bank – providing false information then isn’t the time!
Don’t go too far over the top…!
- Your answers should be something you can easily remember, yet not readily known by others.
- Try to avoid using answers that will change over time.
- If you share account access with anyone else, you may want to establish your security questions together so that you both know the answers if you are ever prompted to provide additional information when logging in.
- Enter your answers carefully as you will need to supply exactly the same answer if you are ever prompted with one of your security questions.
Securing Our eCity Contributing Writer
Author ESET Research, ESET