Internet Safety: How to Answer Secret Questions

Did you know that 53% of people can’t remember the answers to their secret questions? Did you also know that hackers can guess those answers at least 20% of the time? That’s kind of shocking when you realize that these sorts of verification questions are sometimes the only barrier between your information and the world. A lot of people’s secret answers aren’t even that secret– how hard would it be to look up where you went to high school, or where your dad grew up? In this series, I’m going to teach you how to be a little bit more cyber-savvy, and the first thing we’ll talk about is how to make sure your secret questions stay secret.

Avoid the Obvious

Questions like “where as the first place you traveled to?” or “what’s your favourite sports team” are way too easy to get around! You probably talked about the first place you traveled to with friends or online (or your kids may have talked about them), and with a little bit of social engineering, a hacker will eventually figure out your sports team. Instead, pick questions that are a little bit less obvious. Always stay away from questions about pet’s names, birthdays, places you grew up, and where you went to high school, because that’s not hard to figure out at all.

Lie

The aforementioned rule doesn’t really matter if you lie on your security questions, but it is absolutely crucial that your lies are memorable to you. For example, let’s say you were actually born in Santa Monica… for your security question, just say you were born on Jupiter’s 79th moon, or in a Doritos factory! Even the sports team question can be worked around if you can remember a lie: maybe you’re a big fan of the Big Belugas or something equally ridiculous.

Misspell Everything

If you grew up on Somewhere Road, and instead of writing that out, maybe you lived on Sssumewhare Roaude. If your favourite food is pizza, write it out a [email protected] While these answers can be a bit more difficult to remember, they’ll also be more difficult to figure out!

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