With the looming of the new GDPR rules everyone is talking about what will happen. This article isn’t about GDPR (that would be way too boring) but what we talk about here will impact the security side of the new rules.

Since you will be required to take adequate precautions against data loss/theft then there is a pressure on small business owners to ensure their security processes are documented, implemented and up to the job. That means you have to write down what you are doing to make sure you keep any data you hold safe and secure.

So what have Facebook scams got to do with that? Most business owners I know have a personal profile on Facebook that they use to keep in touch with friends and family, I do even if I don’t post often. If you have a Facebook business page, like me,  then you should be even more careful about your security online. I’ve talked about this in past blogs – keep your settings to friends only and avoid having an open profile. This becomes even more important after 25th May 2018 when GDPR comes into effect.

I see so many people playing games through Facebook, taking part in Quizzes and generally having fun. Don’t stop doing that if it floats your boat! What i would advise is to choose your games and fun stuff more carefully. I avoid taking part in anything that makes me give it access to my Facebook account. Why would I potentially compromise my security just to see what I would look like in 20 years or as a bloke?

Not everyone on Facebook is your friend. In fact I bet many people have Facebook friends they don’t even know for certain are real people! Have you checked lately? Many of the games and quiz developers are perfectly legitimate but how can you tell the difference between a genuine business asking you to give them access to your Facebook account and the nefarious data thief?  You can’t. I see so many people duped into sharing what they think are high street brands posts but are really spam posts, so how do you expect to know the company asking you to share your friends with them are for real without going to lots of trouble and investigation. If you have time for that then great, get the magnifying glass out and hunt them down – personally I can’t be bothered, it’s easier not to play those games.

But there are other games too, ones where you can inadvertently give away security information without even realising you are doing it. For example I saw a game that asked people to give away their year of birth, harmless fun? Not if you have a think about how many things use your date of birth as part of your security access and how many people have their date of birth (or a family member) as part of their online security (passwords, PINs etc) for bank accounts and other sensitive systems.

Imagine I find you on Facebook, look up what you have been doing. I can see your full name, your birthday and you gave me your year of birth in that game you played last week. Last month you told me your favourite colour was elephant grey and the fact that you have a pet Blue Giraffe named Oscar. I’m building a picture of you now. There is a photo on your timeline of your house all decorated up for your child’s birthday party and your car is in the drive, I know where you live, the age of your first born and the registration number of the car you drive. My picture of you is getting clearer. You gave me access to your Facebook account just now in that face changer game that was such fun, now I can see who your friends are, who your kids are, who you are married to and where you work. Get the idea.

I’m not trying to spoil anyone’s fun but as a business owner you have a responsibility to take care of your data as well as that of your customers. Choose the games you play more carefully. Don’t give away information that could be used to guess your password or other security questions. The nasty people are out there and they get bored easily, don’t be the next target for identity theft. Don’t end up with a security breach.

I love to play games and I enjoy inane quizzes on occasion but I stop as soon as something asks me for access to my Facebook account, I go find something that doesn’t require me to identify who I am! All I’m asking is that you do the same. Stop and think. You have more to lose that that mate of yours who has a steady job with a steady wage – you have a business reputation and a risk of being fined (and it’s a pretty big fine).

Stay safe out there playmates!