Secure security questions

In addition to setting a strong password, the account creation process often requires you to set security questions. If you forget your password and need the system to retrieve it, or allow you to reset it, you will be asked these questions to verify that you are who you say you are. While a great idea, and a valued additional level of security, you should set answers to these security questions that are not easily guessed by others.


Generating answers to security questions
A typical security question is “What is your favorite color?” Unfortunately, many people may know what your favorite color is, diluting the effectiveness of this security question. “On what street is your workplace located?” is also a common security question, and again easily answered by a myriad of people, including anyone in possession of your business card. So how do you answer security questions with answers that are not so easily determined?

The answer to that question is to get innovative. For example, if your favorite color is black, you could set the answer with the letters typed in reverse (i.e. kcalb), answer with your least favorite color instead, or enter a complete sentence as your answer like “My favorite color is black”. Obviously you will need to remember the answer that you set for the security question in case you encounter it at a later time, but at least the answer should help thwart all but the most determined password hacker.

How do you answer security questions like “What is your favorite airline?”. For this one, you could answer with a favorite airline that is now bankrupt or perhaps enter a foreign airline that you admire. Another option is to use the nickname or derogatory reference that you typically use for a particular airline, such as “The Worst Airline Ever” or “Flying Cattle Mart” for example. Or make up a fictitious airline name, so that someone attempting to hack your account would not be able to answer the security question correctly.


Set your own security questions
A third option is to enter your own security questions; increasingly more and more sites are using this format. Create security questions that are unique to you and allude to information that very few people would know about you. The more personal you create security question and answer combinations the harder it will be for a casual hacker to compromise your account.

What has been your experience with security questions on your accounts? What was the worst security question you ever encountered? Comment below and let me know.


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About Shy Witness™

My blog posts range from observations about current events to technology, general life observations, and the antics of my dog Sandy, her brother Ricky, and her half-brother Morgan. View all posts by Shy Witness™

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