The Dangers of Social Media Challenges

There are many ways to connect via social media: sharing pictures, life updates, and participating in viral challenges. These challenges can range from silly to physically dangerous to cyber dangerous! Let’s talk more about the cyber dangers of social media challenges.

Social Media Challenges

Recently, there was a challenge going viral called the “Florida Man” challenge that has users divulging their private information. Here’s how it works: participants perform a web search using the key words “Florida Man” and their birthdate to come up with a shocking headline. This headline is shared on their social media profiles. An unintended consequence of sharing the headline is also sharing your birthdate.

The Florida Man Challenge is popular right now, but in the past there was the “Royal Guest Name” challenge, which combined grandparent’s names, pet names, and streets names. If your profile is public, strangers could use this information to gain access to your accounts or impersonate you in other ways. Can you think of other places we use this information online? Password reset questions.

Divulging too much through social media challenges?

What’s at risk?

Password reset questions are meant to help recover access to accounts in the event you forget your password. Unfortunately, these questions are also a means by which someone can gain access to your account by obtaining personal information about you. If you’ve chosen questions that are public record or easily researched, you may be handing over access to your account unknowingly.

There are a couple of ways to avoid exposing your personal information online. First, keep your social media accounts private and limit your connections to people you know in real life. Next, if you enjoy participating in these challenges, use fake information! Pick your favorite celebrity and use his birthdate instead. Be mindful of everything you share on social media, even when it feels insignificant.

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