If you are anything like me, you HATE the dreaded security questions when you go to register on a new site. They can be confusing sometimes, they are like those word problems we had in school. Sometimes worded just right that they trip you up!
I noticed that financial institutions have gotten even more complicated with their questions. “who was the best man at your patents wedding?”, “What was the house number of the house you lived in 3rd grade?” I read some of them and thought, wow, I don’t know an answer to over half of these….imagine someone who came from a broken home or moved around a lot. What about someone in and out of foster homes? The questions could get a little ridiculous. They could even sink a depressed person into deeper depression!
I know the questions are there to protect us. To make sure that only we are accessing that site, no one else. For that, I am appreciative. Not all of them are that complicated.
Today’s post is about helping you protect yourself, even with these security questions. With the social media ever-present in all our lives, a lot of the basic security question’s answers could be found using your photo album and your friends list. You want to be able to answer the questions but not let anyone else be able to answer them.
1. Use formal answers instead of shortened. For example, if the question is, “What is the name of the High School you attended?” Don’t put “GVHS” if it’s all over pictures, you might want to put Green Valley or even Green Valley High (leaving out the word High or High School).
2. Use Various punctuation. Most security questions are case-sensitive; meaning upper case and lower case must be how you typed your answer. Remember that most people are lazy with their security question answers and leave them all lower case or only capitalize the first letter of the first word. Do not do this! Mix it up a little as long as YOU remember what you did. You could even reverse it. For example: gREEN vALLEY hIGH sCHOOL
3. Try not to use just numbers. Even when the security question is your date of birth, try spelling it out instead of just numbers or using the punctuation associated with your number on a keyboard. For example, instead of putting 28, put ]*
4. Do not answer things that put all of your most basic questions in one spot! I have seen this going around Facebook a couple of times and cringe when I see it.
It is giving a potential hacker so much key information. All they have to do is sit and wait for your friends to comment on them. Over a few days they will have almost all if the answers at their fingertips. Maybe not to your most secured sites, like those crazy financial institutions, but it might give them enough to hack into your computer and then access all that information.
5. Use past pet’s named instead of current or use the name you call them instead of what you type. For example, I might put “ZipZip” instead if “Zipper”. A name only I use. That way, when someone is going through my photos and see “Zipper” or even “Zip” on all my photos, they still don’t have the answer to: “What is your pet’s name?”
So remember, the next time you are signing onto a new site, don’t blow through the security questions. Take a minute to really answer them. Use some creativity but not so much that you won’t remember what you put! You may even want to go in and update some of your old ones.
Have fun on the internet but also stay safe!