Making Security Questions Secure

February 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

I have a love/hate relationship with security questions. You know those questions and answers you are required to setup with your online accounts so that they can add extra security levels if you forget your password.

I amĀ gratefulĀ for the added security. But I always get annoyed when I have to set them up or if I login from a different computer and they add steps to my login. Oh, and beware that they are usually case sensitive, so you had better remember whether or not you capitalized your answers.

My biggest annoyance about security questions is that they are often too easy for someone to figure out or something that I might have a different answer for next week because my favorite food might change. They are not always as secure as I would like them to be.

Here is my solution. Make up better answers that are not true so that someone who knows you will not be able to guess the answers and gain access to your account. There are people in my life who know the answers to some of these questions who I don’t want to have access to my accounts.

Here is an example of using a different answer that you would remember.

Question: What is your mother’s maiden name?

Instead of using your mother’s maiden name, you could use someone else’s maiden name. Maybe your grandmother, or a friend. Or you can answer this question with the last name of your favorite actor or musician. You just have to remember the answer you put in there. I always make it something that the question will actually trigger my answer, but it is more like an inside joke that only I am in on.

I am not going to give away my exact methodology because then you might be able to guess my answers. Just know that the answers to mine are funny. For some reason, I remember funny things better than anything else.

Now you have some new options when creating security questions. Just don’t forget your answers.

Chris Walker

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