A Key Step to Being Safer Online That is Frequently Overlooked

So you have a nice long, complicated password and think you’re safe online. Maybe not. Unfortunately, online security requires more than that. A good password is certainly necessary but that is not all that is needed. You also need a secure answer to the challenge question that you are asked to use if you forget your password.

For example, anyone who finds out your email address can go online to your email provider, claim that the password has been forgotten, and ask to reset it. Typically, the service will then ask a security question like, “What is your mother’s maiden name?” The problem is that this is information that is easily found on the Internet. Armed with that information, a hacker can then reset your password and start using your account.

Once a hacker gets access to your email account, he/she can find all sorts of information in your saved messages and your list of contacts. If you use your email address as a log-on name at other accounts, the hacker can repeat the process of claiming the password has been forgotten and asking for a reset.

It is essential to use an answer to security questions that can’t be easily guessed or found online. One solution is to use a security question that has an uncommon answer. However, many services provide only a limited choice of questions. In that case, use a false answer to a common question. Instead of providing your mother’s actual maiden name, make one up. Whatever security questions you choose, don’t use a plausible answer but instead try nonsense combinations like “Mxplxqwb”. Or use highly unlikely answers such as “Elizabeth Taylor” for your favorite color.

Naturally, you then have to make sure you can remember the answer to the security question that you have used.


About SCB Enterprises
System Solutions and Integration

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