Is It a Social Media Game or a Clever Hack?

If you’ve been on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, chances are you’ve seen them. Posts that appear to be innocuous enough, asking for a combination of personal info to find out things like what your Bridgerton name would be by asking you to name your grandmother’s name combined with the street you grew up on.

The problem with these types of posts is that they are not innocuous – far from it. These attempts by various entities to gather personal information are a type of social engineering.

What is Social Engineering?

According to this helpful article on Imperva, social engineering is “the term used for a broad range of malicious activities accomplished through human interactions. It uses psychological manipulation to trick users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information.”

The types of posts you may see on social media sites will ask all sorts of questions related to personal information that is often the same type of information used in security questions used to retrieve a forgotten password. A single question may appear innocent enough, but the way these scammers often operate is to gather information through multiple questions. For example, to gain access to someone’s account by answering security questions, you will often need to enter your birth date. These social engineering posts will be clever in the way they ask for information. Instead of, “post your birthday!” they will instead ask things that combine your birth month or number combined with other information. If you were to comment that you were born in January, they would have one piece of information. Another post may ask when you graduated high school, or what age you were in a certain year. When pieced together, the perpetrators have your birth date.

Type "Halloween" and the year you were born in the GIF bar. That's your costume this year.
Example of a social engineering meme

Answering security questions can be used to retrieve a forgotten password or as an extra security measure to log in to some websites. Some common security questions ask about the street you grew up on, your favorite pet’s name, or the name of your firstborn child. To get this information, the perpetrators will word it in a different way such as, “what’s the name of the child who made you a mom?” A question that sounds innocent, but has malicious intent.

What Do They Do With the Information?

There are several ways the perpetrators can use your information. The easiest way is security questions. Once they have your information, they can visit your various accounts, be it Google, Yahoo, or even your bank account, and use the information to reset your password. What about the example question mentioned above about the name of the child that made you a mom? A common security question asks the name of your firstborn child. Your favorite subject in high school is another common question asked in Facebook posts that people answer without hesitation.

Besides answers to security questions, this information gives a heads up to those attempting to guess passwords. If hackers have a starting point, for instance, if your password contains the name of your childhood pet or your first born, it makes it easier to guess the rest of the password, especially if they are using hacking programs that can automate the process.

Men laughing with text "we posted a Facebook quiz with password security questions and they not only answered the questions, they shared it with their friends.

An Easy Solution

An easy way to combat this problem is to not share personal information on social media. While you may think only your friends will see the answers, once you comment on a public post, anyone on the internet can see the information you provided. Another way to avoid this problem is to not use security questions when given the choice. Instead, opt for a backup email address or a text message as a way to verify your account in the case of a forgotten password.

While the attempts to find out personal information on social media are plentiful, with due diligence, you can keep your information away from these information harvesting attempts by scrolling right past them.

Have you noticed these types of posts on social media? Let us know in the comments.

Get Unbiased Product Reviews with Free Access to Consumer Reports

Are you looking to make a purchase and want to find unbiased reviews to help you with your search? The library offers access to Consumer Reports Online, which features reviews for a variety of different products including appliances, cars, electronics and more. Their website also offers a deals section with weekly deals on top rated products, news about product recalls, helpful articles on various products, and more.

If you would like a quick tutorial on how to access the database, check out our YouTube video tutorial:

To get started, go to the Find it Online section of the library’s website. Please note that remote access to this database is only available to resident cardholders. If you have any questions about how to use the database, please call the library or leave a comment.

Access the Times Union with Your Library Card

Have you ever wanted to access articles from the Times Union but weren’t sure how? The library offers access to a database called America’s News that provides access to back issues of image editions (2018 – Present) and text editions (1986 – Present) of the Times Union.

If you’d like a quick tutorial on how to access this database, check out our YouTube video:

To access this database, visit the Find it Online section of the library’s website. Please note that remote access to this database is only available to resident cardholders. If you have any questions about how to use the database, please call the library or leave a comment.

Warmly: Virtual Business Cards for Virtual Meetings

Do you use Zoom or other virtual conferencing software for professional meetings? Now there is a free app that allows you to easily add a virtual business card that appears during your meeting.

Head and shoulders of a man attending a virtual meeting with a virtual background

Warmly allows you to create a custom virtual business card and background for use during virtual meetings. With just a few clicks, you can add your contact information and a virtual background that will be displayed during your virtual meetings.

In addition, if you often meet with other members of your work team, you can create a uniform design that allows others to easily see that you work together as well as the role each person plays within your team. Using Warmly, you can add your company’s logo and create matching virtual backgrounds that help your team appear as a cohesive unit.

Screenshot of four people in a virtual meeting. Three have Warmly business cards and identical backgrounds displaying and the fourth has no virtual additions

In addition to Zoom, you can also use Warmly with Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.

Warmly has committed to not sharing your data or calendar information. Their privacy policy is outlined in detail on their website.

If you have more questions on Warmly and how it can be used, check out the Frequently Asked Questions section of their website.

Have you tried Warmly? Let us know in the comments.

Scan and Sign Documents Using Your iPhone or iPad for Free

Have you ever needed to scan and email a document but didn’t have access to a scanner? You’re in luck! You can scan (and electronically sign!) documents using the built in Notes app on your iPhone or iPad.

Scanning Documents

To begin, open up the Notes app on your iOS device. From there, choose an existing note or create a new one by tapping the new icon.

Toolbar with the "new" icon in last position

Next, tap the camera icon on the top navigation bar.

Toolbar with the camera icon in the second position

Choose Scan Documents from the menu.

screenshot with "scan documents" as the first option in a list

The camera will open and you will see the option for Auto or Manual. Auto attempts to find blocks of text to scan, and manual will let you choose the area manually. Once you have your document in the frame, you can tap the white button or the volume down button on the side of your device to take a picture.

Screenshot of the scanning view with the whit button at the right of the image

After the document image has been captured, you can select the area you would like in your PDF by tapping and dragging the white circles on the corners of the scan. When you have selected the area you would like in your document, you can tap Keep Scan. If you are unhappy with the capture, tap on Retake.

Screenshot showing the retake option at the lower left of the screen

If you only have a one-page document, tap save. If you have a multipage document, continue to capture images, and when you are finished, tap on Save. You will see the images you have already scanned in the bottom center of the screen.

Screenshot of a new scan showing a thumbnail of the previous scan in the bottom center of the screen

Once you tap save, you will see your saved document in the note. To share the document to email, text, files, or other platforms, open the document by tapping on the picture of it. The default name will be Scanned Documents, unless the scan detects clearly written text in the header of the document. The document will be in PDF format, which is easily accessible to different operating systems.

Screenshot showing the scan for selection to open

Once you have tapped on the document to open it, tap on the share icon and choose how you would like to share it. If you would like to rename the document prior to sharing it, tap on its name in yellow in the top center and enter the new name.

Screenshot showing the menu under the share icon

Signing Documents

Once a document has been scanned, you can also add an electronic signature, either typed with text or signed with your finger or stylus on the screen. As mentioned in the previous step, tap on the picture of the document to open it, and then tap the share icon. From the share menu, tap on Markup. A toolbar will pop up near the bottom of the screen. To add a signature, tap on the plus icon, and then tap on Signature.

Screenshot showing the markup toolbar with the menu from the "plus icon" showing

Once you tap on signature, a box will pop up where you can sign your name with your finger or a stylus. You also have the option to add a text field, which may come in handy if the document has a field that requires a printed name.

Screenshot showing signature box

Once you’ve signed your name, tap on done. If you make a mistake and need to start over, tap on clear. After you’ve tapped done, you can resize the signature by tapping on the blue circles in the corners of the signature box and dragging them to your desired size. You can move the box to your desired location in the document. If you want to delete the signature field, simply tap on your signature and then choose delete. Once you have created a signature, your device will save it for easy access in the future. If you would like to delete saved signatures, tap the plus sign, then signature, and then add or remove the signature. You’ll see a list of saved signatures and you can tap the red symbol next to the saved signature to delete it. You can also add another signature by tapping the plus symbol on the top left.

Screenshot showing entered signature

Once you have added your changes, you can share the document using the method discussed earlier. If you would like to remove signatures after exiting the app, open the scanned document in your note and choose markup. You can remove any previous additions by tapping on them and choosing delete. In addition to text fields and signatures, you can also add a description. Image descriptions can be read by screen readers and are useful for anyone who has difficulty seeing images online. You can also use the magnifier to enlarge portions of the document. Another markup option is adding shapes that include a square, a circle, a dialog symbol, and an arrow. You also have the standard markup tools available as well: the marker, highlighter, colored pencil, eraser, lasso tool, and ruler.


Scanning and signing an electronic document can be done will your iPhone or iPad. You can create multipage PDF files, add electronic signatures, and easily share your documents via email, text, or other methods by using a built-in feature of the Notes app. Have you tried scanning documents with your iPhone or iPad? Let us know in the comments.