Terry Cutler – The Ethical Hacker
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Quizzes, online status updates and invites

I’d like to discuss social media quizzes, online status updates and invites.

Let’s start with a topic that just fascinates a lot of my social media friends. I can’t understand why they want to know which Disney horse resembles them, or which movie star resembles them. When they are on one of these sites, it is likely they will receive a request to fill out a quiz. While the quizzes are cute and all, there’s a hidden agenda.  


Quizzes are set up to harvest personal information and preferences from you. Things like your name, your birthdate. Be very wary of quizzes that you have to sign into before you can start. Almost no one reads the fine print before they log in to the quiz app, and this is dangerous. It’s dangerous because you’re allowing the app to see and contact everyone on your friend’s list, see your profile and copy it, and send advertising to your friends about the quiz.

Let me give you some examples, you could be doing a quiz and the question is, “How many corners are in this image?” so you type in your answer, and next would be a question like a city where you were born. Doesn’t that sound a lot like a question your bank asks you when you have to verify your login? Be cautious. Stay away from these quizzes.

What about status updates? 

Ever see your friends post a message like this “Woohoo! Going to Florida for a whole week! Be back next Sunday! C-ya!!!” Thanks for telling the world your house is empty. 

Or this one “Just lost all my contacts, please text it to me at 514-555-5514!” Now you risk getting text messages and prank calls at four in the morning.”

What about this one? “Can’t wait to go to this concert tonight at the Bell Center, John Doe will be there, who else is going?” We need to keep the privacy of others in mind when we tag people without their permission. 

What happens is that when you tag them and geotag them, the post shows up on their status update page and all his friends will see where and when he’ll be going. Especially if they called in sick to work and the boss finds out. So be courteous.


Let me tell you a quick story about social media app invites that had my friend explaining herself to her friends and coworkers. One of my friends is in a serious relationship and she got an invite from one of her contacts to join this website called Badoo. 

Now Badoo is a site where you can meet new people and date. Anyway, not to make her contact feel bad, she decided to LIKE the app which then asked her to sign into it using her Facebook account. She did that without reading the fine print. Moments later, her profile with all her Facebook information was automatically set up in Badoo and messages to chat with her started to flow in within 10 minutes. Not only that, her entire Facebook network was notified that she joined the site. 

She showed up to work the next day and co-workers began to say “Hey I saw that you joined Badoo, aren’t you in a relationship?” or other co-workers would invite her out for a drink. Even high school friends were messaging her saying they had such a crush on her like 20 years ago and they should go for coffee one night. See this review of Badoo.

So it’s important to watch what invites you’re accepting and what the app wants to do with your information.

Found this blog post interesting? You can get training on Internet Safety with my Internet Safety Program 

Finally, don’t forget to download our interactive mobile app, FRAUDSTER, available on Apple and Android. You can learn more at www.FraudsterApp.com.

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