Passwords and security questions

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 23, 2015

Websites and companies with online services are trying to keep users’ personal information private.

But just like a game of cat and mouse, hackers will eventually figure out how to get access, forcing the companies to create better security measures.

One of the methods most recently employed, the security question, provides an extra layer of protection and also provide an easy method of password retrieval.

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They’re typically pretty straight forward questions, such as “What is your favorite food?” or “What street did you grow up on?”

The problem is hackers have determined 20 percent of Americans use “pizza” as the answer to their favorite food, allowing the digital thief instant access to that account, according to research conducted by Google.

The thing is, a more complicated answer is harder for users to remember.

The research found 40 percent of Internet users can’t remember the answer to their security question. However, a reset code sent via text or SMS message was recalled about 80 percent of the time.

I would attribute that statistic to the fact it’s displayed on cellphone screen long enough to enter it into the website.

What this all boils down to is another method to protect online accounts, while still being able to easily recover access, is needed. Google also suggested the use of a secondary email to recover or reset the password to an account as an alternative to the security question.

Unless the cellphone is lost or stolen, then the reset code method seems to be the best possible alternative at this point.

That is unless fingerprint or retina recognition is employed in all electronic devices. Some of the newest smartphones and laptops already have fingerprint readers as a standard feature.

I just hope security measures will continue to stay ahead of the hackers and provide the best possible protection.