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One surprising reason why you should never tell anyone your porn star name

Do you know your pornstar name?

For as long as the Internet has been a mainstream thing, there have been a steady stream of quizzes or websites that let you identify the name of your porn alter-ego.

The first one I remember is “the name of your first pet” + “your mother’s maiden name”.

I tried it out in my head. It’s pretty good. It made me laugh. I’m not going to share it with you. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

A common one now is “favourite pet” + “street you grew up on”

If you answer that information publicly, you have just given away these three bits of information:

  • your first (or favourite) pet
  • your mother’s maiden name
  • the street you grew up in

That list look familiar? It’s three of the most common security questions that banks, financial institutions and online services use to verify your identity.

Social engineering

Getting hold of your permanent details is reasonably easy. Things like your full name, or date of birth. These datapoints exist in official databases all over the place. But subjective questions like your favourite pet are harder to track down. It is not an official fact. Few people other than the actual person involved will know their favourite pet.

This information is extremely valuable to identity thieves. A full profile with answers to common security questions is more useful than a simple full name/date of birth.

The pornstar name meme was a smart piece of social engineering designed to elicit this valuable information from people in the guise of a light-hearted meme. It worked so well that people chose (and still choose) to broadcast their intimate security details to strangers on social media.

So next time someone asks you for your “fill-in-the-blank” name, pause for a moment and think about whether you are revealing something much more important than you thought.

 

I talk about this story often with my clients. They are always surprised, even though I thought it was common knowledge. So I decided to write a post about it. If you don’t think it’s common knowledge, feel free to spread the message.

Nicholas Lovell