How to Strengthen Your Security Questions
Security questions are used to help you reset or recover your password in case you forget or in the event your account becomes compromised. If you can’t remember the username or password you use to sign in to a site, or if you attempt to reset your password, you may be prompted with questions that you need to answer correctly before regaining access to the site. You would have selected the questions and provided your response when you initially created the account. But just like with passwords and usernames, your security questions also run the risk of being compromised by hackers. Follow these tips to strengthen your security questions and prevent unauthorized access to your accounts.
Avoid Easy Guesses
If a question only has a limited number of possible responses, such as colors, it’s simple for a hacker to guess the correct response. When possible, avoid questions like “What is your favorite color?” and “What color was your first car?” as these would be easy for a hacker to guess.
Choose Something Only You Know
The answers to some security questions can easily be found online, thus can easily be found by the wrong parties. Questions like current or former zip codes, mother’s maiden name, birth place, etc. can be found in public records. Other personal information can be found on your social media pages if you don’t have strict privacy settings. Even if you think you’re not sharing personal information online, you still could be. Chain posts frequently circulate on social media as fun “getting to know you” posts, where you’re asked to share things like the name of the street you grew up on, your children or pet’s names, your mother’s maiden name, the year you were born, etc. While these types of posts may seem harmless, it’s not fun and games when this information falls into the wrong hands. Cybercriminal can use these posts to gather personal details that are answers to common security questions. It’s best to avoid sharing these types of posts or information altogether.
Make Your Response Longer
Of course you want to make the answer to your security question something you will consistently remember, but a response longer than a one-word answer is far more secure. For example, for a question like “What was the first concert you attended?” your response could include the artist and the name of the tour or even the venue you saw them at, rather than just the name of the artist or simply the musical genre. Or for the question “What was your high school mascot?” your response could include your school’s name and the town, rather than just the name of the animal.
Change Your Question and Answer Often
When sites allow it, regularly updating your security questions and answers is a good practice to get into. Especially for any sites associated with your financial accounts, credit card, healthcare or legal details, or other secure information. Consider changing your security question responses multiple times throughout the year, when possible.
The safety and security of our members is a top priority. Protecting your information works best when we have your help. Let’s work together to keep your accounts protected. To learn more about how we protect our members every day and how you can protect yourself, review our Security and Fraud information online, and watch our Scams and Fraud playlist on YouTube.
At Robins Financial Credit Union, our mission is to enhance the financial well-being of our members and community. We honor this commitment by providing educational content to help you make the most of your finances. Read our other blog articles to help you gain the financial knowledge you need to succeed.