The Danger of Social Media Quizzes

Here is something to consider the next time you check-in with your favorite social media website and a quiz pops up that offers to find out what your famous Viking name is…spoiler alert, don’t do it! 

Normally, you may not have been tempted to take this quiz, but you just noticed that one of your friends did and posted their results, getting a Viking name of Loki.  This seems to help tip the scales to take it, especially since you have been watching the Vikings series on the History Channel. Besides, you’re bound to get a better name than your friend, right?

Does this sound familiar? Don’t feel bad, people love quizzes, and most of us have taken them, but it is also the reason why quizzes are such an easy target for hackers.  It’s important to take a moment to consider the seemingly innocuous questions that are asked and what information we are really providing.  We don’t want to make a hacker’s day by taking a quiz that yields more than a heroic Viking name.

Hackers can glean information like your pet’s name, your favorite color or the food you like best from the questions asked in quizzes.  Many of the questions are designed to be similar or even identical to those asked by legitimate entities who ask these types of questions for identity verification or as password reminders.

This is not to say that all quizzes are bad. However, some quizzes may have ulterior motives, and while you may want to know what dog breed is just right for your personality, you may be oversharing information and becoming a target for hackers.

If the thought of hackers trying to get into your accounts isn’t bad enough, you should also know that some quizzes, such as personality quizzes, are designed to build personality profiles and possibly social engineer outcomes.  Sometimes you can be directed to a phishing page or malware site while taking quizzes without even knowing it, all in an effort to gather more information about you.  Still other personality quizzes are used by political candidates to gain insight into the electorate’s mindset in order to tailor messages and align their campaigns with potential voters.

The take-away here is, while we might think it’s fun to find out our ancient name or what state we should live in by answering some questions, we need to be careful not to over share our personal information.

We’ve provided some links that can provide further information on this topic and tips on how to take quizzes and not give away all your personal information at the same time.

Good Housekeeping

Lancaster Online

Fight Identity Theft

Zero Fox