I hate Internet passwords. I understand why they are necessary, but I get so tired of having to come up with different passwords for different sites. I have worked out a standard system, but it doesn’t work with sites that don’t recognize symbols, and I can never remember which are which. Therefore, I have a lot of my passwords written down, which I know is a bad idea, but that’s reality. About half the time, I just click on the “Forgot Your Password?” link and start over. That bothers me, too, because then anyone who hacked into my email could get access to about 50 million of my other accounts.
But what really hacks me off, no pun intended, are the “security questions” that people are asked to enter in order to get their passwords recovered. These make a little too easy for someone to hack your account. Relative with a gambling problem? Bitter former spouse? Anyone with halfway decent Google skills? I wrote about this a year ago, and Gawker just wrote about it this weekend.
I’m proud of where I went to high school. My mother, aunt, uncles, brothers, and sisters went there, too. It’s not a big secret, nor should it be. Network security administrators, in trying to make things simple, are actually making the situation worse.
My advice is to make up answers to the questions. Don’t tell Vanguard that you are a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School, unless you didn’t go to Mooney, of course. You went to Rydell High! Or Cooley High. or Sky High. Or something else. You’ll probably have to keep notes about what fake answer you gave to what website, but that’s okay. Your information will be a lot safer.