A wee conundrum …

By Sue Trollip

I am not flaky. Yet security questions to ensure the safety of my online accounts drive me batty.

friend clip art. Friends Clipart #216828 byFor example: type in the name of your childhood friend. While I don’t want to be melodramatic, my childhood meandered through nursery school (kindergarten), junior school and on to high school, arguably it lasted longer, but let’s stop here anyway. So which besties name do you want?

What is my favourite book/author? That, my friends, is downright laughable. There’s a top ten list, but even that is fluid.

What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen? Worst for it’s blood and gore content? Worst for it’s idiocy? I need you to be more specific. Off the top of my head I’d say “Perfume”, but I only stayed for the first five minutes. Would that count? Or the one I saw at the Durban Film Festival. A British movie. Oooh that one I LOVE MOVIES!!!!!!!!!!!!was awful, but I can’t remember it’s name. I don’t think it made it onto the circuit. What am I supposed to do here? What if I see another awful movie this weekend? Will I remember which one I put down next time I have to remember this security question? Hell no! By this point, in the long list of questions, I’m thinking of movies and not whatever website I’m trying to sign onto.

I had a little rant at the office on Friday because we were logging onto a new website and had seven security questions to answer. Seven, really? More than half of them were opinion. Facts people, I can remember facts. What is my mother’s maiden name? What is my father’s second name?

So I conducted a wee google search (not on company time) and discovered the next problem. Facts can be hacked by hackers far easier than opinions. Then I found a website telling me how hackers got into yahoo and found out the answers to all our security questions along with phone numbers and our emails. It’s not worth thinking too hard about otherwise we’d never do another thing online. Where’s the fun in that?

But I found out the answer to the security conundrum. Lie.

In her article Time to Kill Security Questions – or Answer them with Lies Lily Hay Newman says lying may be the correct answer.

In an age of frequent data breaches, your mother’s maiden name should probably be 4tz9Ru#p and your childhood best friend b2p^fqw.