A new social media trend that encourages people to share personal information about themselves has been described as a ‘field day’ for hackers – and also catapulted one TikToker into her own ‘Truman show’.
The #gettoknowme hashtag has been used hundreds of thousands of times on Instagram alone, with users posting answers to questions including their name, age, likes, dislikes, pets’ names and star sign.
However, cybersecurity experts have warned the information is a treasure trove for hackers, who can use the information to either create convincing fake profiles pretending to be Instagram users, or create more credible phishing emails.
‘Knowledge is power for scammers, and the recent “get to know me” template circulating on Instagram and TikTok serves as a potential goldmine for fraudsters, providing them with a treasure trove of personal information,’ said NordVPN cybersecurity expert Adrianus Warmenhoven.
‘From age and height to zodiac signs and pet names, this data can be exploited in various ways, offering insights into passwords or enabling scammers to create more convincing fake profiles using the intimate details of users’ lives.
‘A hacker can use your details to create more plausible phishing emails that are tailored to impersonate you and target your contacts to trick them into downloading malware or revealing their financial information.’
The warning bell was first sounded by TikToker Eliana Shiloh, who posted a video warning people about the trend.
She warned anyone who had already taken part in the trend to ‘delete that sh*t right now’ after almost joining in herself.
‘I won’t lie, I almost fell victim to this,’ she said. ‘I literally started filling it out, and then I was like, “Wait a damn minute”.
‘These are the answers to a lot of my security questions – the creepy creeps of the cyberweb are going to have a field day with this trend.’
Her video prompted quite a reaction.
Some of her followers accused her of being paranoid, and argued their date of birth had nothing to do with their security questions.
‘Obviously, no one’s security question is ‘What is your birthday?’ But using your birthday, they can find out many things about you and use that information to get into some of your accounts,’ she said in a follow-up video.
‘But using your birthday they can find out a lot about you, and use that information to get into your accounts.
‘And security questions are not that hard to figure out.’
However, her videos were picked up by a number of news outlets, including the New York Post and Mail Online, describing her as a ‘cybersecurity expert’.
Eliana, a cyber and strategic risk analyst at Deloitte joked that she had only been in the role 18 months, and wouldn’t describe herself as that. However, she added: ‘Shout out to all the people who thought I was being paranoid or having a blonde moment – well, the New York Post has declared me a cybersecurity expert!’
She later posted another video, joking that after ‘dozens and dozens’ of stories about her warning were published, she experienced a ‘Truman Show-like moment’.
But expert or not, Eliana’s comments are 100% correct when it comes to not sharing personal information on social media.
‘The best way to avoid putting your security at risk is to avoid these trends altogether,’ added Adrianus.
‘But if you choose to engage, ensure that your profile settings are configured to be private. If your profile is public, make sure you are monitoring who is viewing your story and block any suspicious users.
‘What may initially appear as a harmless social media trend can inadvertently expose individuals to unforeseen threats.’
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