What’s The Best Security Question?

June 10, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

When you sign up for a new account you’re normally asked for a username, password, and a security question in case you lose access to your account. Yet the answers to these questions are often easily guessed as Sarah Palin found. What’s a good question to set?

  • The answer to the question must be memorable – you likely won’t need it until many years after you set it.
  • It also shouldn’t be easy to find through social media.
  • Based on research done by Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University the best question then is “What is your father’s middle name?” as it meets both criteria.
  • This wouldn’t work for famous celebrities, but it does work for the average person.
  • Other questions that work include: “What was your first phone number?” and “Who was your favourite teacher?”
  • Preference questions such as colour are too easy to guess – there are really only a few options.
  • The answers to questions such as “Favourite historical person?” are often forgotten by the users themselves.

To read the questions (and answers) that Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin set for their accounts, some examples of questions that seem difficult, but really aren’t, why nonsense questions don’t work, what not to do when you set your own security question, and other things to watch out for, click here.

Source: Slate