Social engineering and why I won’t do the “bucket list” posts

You’ve seen the posts on Facebook, a friend posts something like this list that probably contained 50 items:

I don’t do these much, but this one looked like fun!

Bucket List – You’ll be surprised at the responses! This was fun!

Been Married – yes
Been divorced – yes
Fell in love – Yes …..

 Or any of the similar posts.  And they want you to copy it and do the same.

Let me tell you why I DON’T participate.

When a lot of people think about their social media account getting “hacked” … they think the old fashioned way.  A hacker somehow figures out your username and password. A la War Games.  Someone who knows computer code stuff.

And yes, that still happens.

But it’s becoming ever more common for people – even those who do not have as much “code” experience – to simply GUESS your information.   They do that through social engineering – the new type of hacking.

They learn about you.

They friend you on Facebook.  Either as a stranger that you accept, or with a faked account from what you assume is a friend.

They pay attention to what you’re posting.  Things you talk about in your life that may be important and provide some type of clue to what username or password you may use.

They see you have a kid who you talk about all the time.  They’ve friended you so they can see your friend list and see your kid’s name.  They see from HIS profile a birthdate or year.  Or you posted Happy 27th Birthday son on your profile yesterday.  So they try some combination of your child’s name and birthdate.

Or they see that your favorite place in the world is Bali.  You go to Bali every year, stay at the same resort, and post about it on your social media without fail.  And they figure out that your password is BaliGirl1.

Or they watch the answers you make to these types of “have you ever” posts.  And in the file they have on you (yes, if they’re trying to hack you, they have a file on you), they’re saving all of your answers.   And then next month when you do a different type of “have you ever” post, they’ll save those answers too.   And they include your son’s birthday information.   And everything else they’ve found out about you by simply watching.

And it’s not the Facebook account they want.  It’s the websites that you use Facebook automatic login to access.  Or they’re not even going to hack your social media sites but try to go directly to your bank account.

That’s why I don’t play these types of games.

That’s why I rarely accept friend requests from someone that I don’t personally know or that we have enough mutual friends in common that I can remember “oh yeah I went to high school with this guy”.  And when I accept anyone even slightly questionable I put them on a “limited” list restricting what they can see.  And why I keep my friend list private.  And why I choose my audience thoughtfully with every post I make.

So feel free to send me requests for the type of personal question games that go around social media – just know I won’t respond (unless it’s something really goofy. Or I lie about my answers.)


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