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This simple-looking Instagram trend could be a boon for hackers

Looks like folks spent the final days of 2023 sharing more about themselves with their followers. Or, as per a cybersecurity whiz, inadvertently aiding potential hackers in getting hold of their info.

It boils down to this trendy set of 11 questions making the rounds on Instagram. People are spilling the beans, sharing personal stuff like their height, birthdate, and strong opinions on things like favorite food and phobias. This trend started picking up steam in late December, but similar question templates have been going around on various platforms since the dawn of social media.

It’s a bit unclear how widely spread the latest version is since most folks are sharing their answers on Instagram stories, which vanish after 24 hours. Lately, though, many have been reposting their responses on TikTok, using the caption “Get to know me.”

Yet, there’s a creator urging folks to steer clear, hinting at potential unexpected outcomes if you jump on the trend. Eliana Shiloh, a cyber and strategic risk analyst at Deloitte in Chicago (according to her LinkedIn profile), dropped a TikTok video on December 23, giving a heads-up about the trend.

She then went on to say she believed the questions align with some security queries linked to her personal accounts. She warned that hackers could “have a field day” with the trend.

“If you did that trend, delete that shit right now. Get rid of it. Remove all proof of it from the internet,” she said. She also feels that “we’re inching” closer to sharing social security numbers online.

Her video racked up 1.6 million views, but a lot of the comments brushed off her worries. People said she was “reaching” and pointed out that going from sharing a favorite color to revealing a social security number is a big leap. Many viewers also disagreed with her argument, stating that the questions in the template didn’t match up with usual security questions.

Actually, most folks probably don’t even have those traditional security questions. Lisa Plaggemier, the executive director at the National Cybersecurity Alliance, shared with Business Insider that relying on personal questions to recover account access when you forget your password is almost outdated. According to her, most companies have shifted to more secure multi-factor authentication methods, such as push notifications or codes sent via text or email.