January 17, 2011
Niles Nerd

A New Facebook Privacy Threat, and Remember to Lie on Those Security Questions

[this post from Nerd Dennis Houseknecht]
Facebook wants to give away your address and your cell phone number – through a new API. True, you can opt to keep this information private, but few Facebook users fully comprehend the implications of allowing access to this information and most just go with the default and agree to make the information accessible. I hate to be a FUD farmer or a paranoia planter, but there ARE folks out there with whom you would not share that information – particularly through and API which allows companies to gather information about thousands or millions of individuals with a few mouse clicks.
To make matters worse, you could keep your cell phone number private, but it might still be obtainable if your friends store it in Facebook’s online contacts. More information and links to the Facebook privacy pages can be found here.
Here is another example of someone using those stupid security questions to hack email accounts. The irony is that these questions are far less secure that the passwords that can be reset by answering them.
Honesty is NOT always the best policy. If your mother’s maiden name is Smith, enter the answer as “htims”, or “notsmith”, or “smith622”, or “benandjerry” = ANYTHING other than Smith.
Mama aways said that keeping track of your lies is hard work, and she was right. Don’t even try. Create a consistent pattern (such as spelling the answer backwards or adding something to it, or just use a good password manager, such as Lastpass or Roboform.

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