Recent social media ‘challenges’ could reveal private info used in password authentication


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina stay-at-home order has people spending more time on social media to help keep themselves occupied, and during the pandemic there has been a rise in the number of “challenges” that have popped up on social media.

However, there is a dark side to those challenges that could put your personal information at risk.

When COVID-19 closed down schools, many seniors students were denied the chance to graduate in a traditional way.

Soon thereafter, a challenge soon popped up on Facebook asking people to post their senior photos to honor the 2020 graduates.

But there’s been some pushback.

Comments like: “How is posting your senior photo supposed to make 2020 seniors feel better? And “honoring the class of 2020 with your senior picture is like honoring the homeless with a picture of your house.”

But, posting that info on social media can put you at risk.

Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina says there’s another side to that challenge.

“A lot of security questions are based on what year did you graduate? What was your high school mascot? What was the make of your first car?” she said.

To better secure your information on social media you should:

  • Check your security settings on social media accounts
  • Know who you are “friending”
  • Change passwords and security questions on all accounts

“Some of those security questions are real easy to find the answers to on your social platform,” Parker said.

After weeks of resisting the challenge, CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia also posted his senior photo on Facebook.

When he spoke with Parker, he wanted to know, should he bother to take it down or has the damage been done?

Parker said, “I suspect the damage has been done.”

But she did offer this advice: “Most importantly, review your settings on your bank accounts and credit card accounts online, and change them.”

Following that interview, Sbraccia says he spent several hours at home doing just that: changing passwords and putting in answers to new security questions to his online accounts.

He also says he sanitized the Facebook post to remove any personal information.

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