The Ten Weakest Security Questions

                                Google recently “analyzed hundreds of millions of secret questions and answers that h...
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The Ten Weakest Security Questions

by NewsEditor_ on June 11th, 2015 in Riff Raff.

Google recently “analyzed hundreds of millions of secret questions and answers that had been used for millions of account recovery claims” and discovered some of the most ineffective security questions:

What is your favorite food?

According to Google, a hacker has a 19.7% chance of guessing the answer to this question for English-speaking users on the first try. Not surprising, the answer 19.7% of the time was “pizza.”

What is your city of birth?

Depending on the size or geography of a user’s home country, there may be a limited amount of urban centers wherein medical facilities are located. For example, a potential attacker would have a 39% chance of guessing a Korean-speaker’s answer to this question with only 10 guesses. 

What is your frequent flyer number?

According to Google, only 9% of users could remember their frequent flyer number, rendering their secret question ineffectual for the purpose of account recovery. Furthermore, users who provided a false number for such answers, in an attempt to avoid possible attacks (37% of Google users provided false answers) were even more susceptible to an attack, as the same false answers are commonly used among multiple users. 

Inspired by Google's research, here are some other dubious security questions from around the web:

Where did you go to high school? 

Considering the proliferation of websites which attempt to facilitate reconnection with high school friends, this information is often publicly recorded and easily accessible. 

What was the first car you owned?

Based on the country and the attacker’s knowledge of the user’s age, it may not be difficult to narrow down the choices of car brands. 

What is your pet’s name?

A user’s neighbours and acquaintances would have access to this anecdotal information. 

What is your favorite season?

What is your favorite sport’s team?

What was your grandfather’s occupation? 

Who was your childhood hero?

To avoid problems with accessing your online accounts, also see: The Importance of Having a Top-Notch Password

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